Monday, April 30, 2012

April meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees: night of the war veteran


     It's getting harder and harder to show up to these things. In the bad old days when the likes of Don Wagner and Tom Fuentes showed up, outrageous and absurd statements and actions were fairly routine. Nowadays, one still encounters absurdities, I suppose—Nancy's eye-rollings, Dave Lang's weird continued obeisance to Team Fuentes (he recently endorsed Mathur's City Council bid, as did Burnett)—but they're not worth hanging around for. These people are really no fun at all.
     In part, that's a good thing, I suppose. Boring and decent is better than exciting and outrageous. Unless you're a writer, of course. [See Tere's Board Meeting Highlights for an account of this meeting.]
     6:12 - OK, they're trailing in: Prendergast, Lang, Meldau.
     While we're waiting on Nancy, I'll mention that tonight's discussion item is actually a report—requested by Nancy Padberg, as I recall—on "veteran's [sic] services."


     6:15 - Nancy has arrived. They'll start soon.
     6:16 - It begins. Marcia reads out actions taken during closed session: 6/0 vote, approved 3 month leave to classified employee. 6/0 vote, approved unpaid leave 6 months leave, employee. 6/0: reject claim filed by Baily Constr. against district. 6/0 vote, approved intervention state suit against County of Orange, Vehicle adjustment fee.
     Prendergast did the invocation: quotes Japanese saying, "Once you've finished 95% of the journey, you're half way there." Jay led the Pledge.

     RESOLUTIONS:

     You can just imagine the blathering that attended each of these. The student trustee takes himself very seriously, I'm afraid. I'll leave it at that.
     Blah, blah, blah. "Our classified employees are truly wonderful," gushes Marcia. Applause. Yammer. Applause. Yammer. Applause. "They prop everyone up," adds Marcia.
     Teachers of the year. IVC dancer. She "inspires from within," said a student, reads Marcia. Applause. Roll call. Yammering. Applause. Photo op. Applause.
     IVC part-time teacher of the year. "This is what we're all about," said Marcia, idiotically. Blah, blah, blah. He's an "Egyptian American." "Heroic and confrontational." Blah blah blah. Roll call. Applause. More yammering. Photo op. This guy speaks well! Gracious. Applause.
     IVC Emeritus Prof of Year. Couldn't make it cuz she's teaching. She's trustworthy, loyal, helpful, etc. Applause. Roll call. Applause.
     Saddleback teacher of the year. DiLeo comes up. Meldau reads resolution. Applause. Roll call. Applause. Gracious yammering. Applause. Photo op.
     Saddleback associate teacher of year. Lang reads res. Applause. Roll call. Applause. Terse, humble yammering. Applause. Photo op.
     SC Emeritus Teacher of the year. Lang reads res. A "perfect instructor for the senior population," whatever that means. Applause. Roll Call. Applause. Nice, short speech. Applause, applause, applause. Photo op. Repeat.

     Public comments:
     1. Glenn Roquemore. Takes pride in recognizing ("retiring," they're calling it) colleague Gwen Plano. She recently received a leadership award. Mentions: her focus on veterans, personable style, best practices, yadda yadda. Applause.
     Gwen: gosh thanks. A few words at this, my last board meeting. I applaud you for steps to revitalize both campuses. Difference is noticeable. Set into motion possibility of real change. We need to be freed from old way of doing business. Personal agendas and political ambition: putting that finally to rest. The quiet majority: that's who I serve every day. The heartbeat of the 99%. Not lingering agendas and intrigues of the few. Your task is a sacred responsibility.
     She's pretty emotional. Applause. Holds award. Photo op. Applause.
     A second recognition: Chris Hogstedt, nurse. Apparently, she's active at the state level. She is a member of an organization dedicated to keeping students healthy. "It's been a wild and wonderful 26 years," she says.
     A third recognition: two students. Coca Cola "gold scholar." Phi Theta Kappa. Roquemore goes on and on. Congrats to two students who can't make it tonight. Also faculty advisors to honors society. Blah blah blah.

IVC vets
Trustee reports:
     Bill Jay: congrats to Gwen P
     Frank Meldau: congrats also to Gwen. Looking forward to commencement, fashion show, nursing pinning, etc.
     Marcia Milchiker: congrats to Gwen; you'll be sorely missed. Marcia attended SC fundraiser. "Really fun." Attended distinguished lecture series. Laguna Woods. Attended Cabaret and Rent, two student productions. "Low cost and wonderful," says Marcia.
     TJ Prendergast: echoes "all that as well." Will attend dinner with Scott Lay as speaker.
     Nancy Padberg: congrats Gwen on your retirement. Attended foundation fundraiser.
     Dave Lang: congrats to those honored tonight. Dittos all around. Best wishes to Gwen. Student trustee the best ever.
     Jordan Larson: DeLeo pushes you "past your limits," he said. "You haven't seen the last of me." (Uh-oh.) I'll be back to give you a report, he said.
     CHANCELLOR'S REPORT: [Poertner]: tonight, many recognitions. I'd like to add my personal thanks to all faculty: lifeblood of our organization. Also: recognize Saddleback College—for bringing Dr. Tinto to campus. A national figure. Wonderful event. Also: emergency preparedness event. Want to commend Glenn R...Congrats to Gwen Plano, her husband.

Board requests for reports:
     None.
Discussion item: report re service to veterans. Shows YouTube video made at Montgomery College (another CC). Video:


     On the video, brief remarks by veterans: difficulties adjusting to lack of absolute orders, structure. Back at home, looking for danger where there is none. Glad about GI Bill of Rights. You realize you're not alone, says one.
     --A pretty lost seeming bunch of guys and gals. But very sympathetic.
     Tere Flugeman comes up to present report. "I was a military brat." Discusses her involvement, what goes on on campus. Legislative visits, etc. 2.2 million veterans in Cal. Many will be coming to the community colleges. Veterans face financial, health, family issues. GI Bill won't pay out-of-state charges (that started in August). New legislation designed to overcome some of these problems.
     Legislators have agreed that the GI Bill has favored private colleges. Needs to be adjusted for support for attending public institutions.
     Saddleback guy comes up to describe IVC and Saddleback veterans programs. Veterans benefits offices per campus. Work study students work at these offices. Over 90% of our veterans under "New" GI Bill of Rights. Bill passed in 2009. That resulted in a tremendous increase in student veteran population. Great increase in amount of money. Old bill: $1400 per month. New: $2000 per month and VA pays college fees and book stipend. A significant increase, thus increased number of veterans going to college.
     Increase in veterans on campus 100% at IVC and 130% at SC since new GI Bill.
     Providing deferrals (while vets waiting for VA money).
     How to improve services?
     We were quick to provide priority registration at our colleges.
     Residency status: services have been very successful in securing this status for vets (in one semester, typically).
     If benefits increase, as they might, we need more staffing.
     Another speaker: Terrence Nelson. Our district has been good about working out interface with government. (This guy is a relatively good speaker. Has various recommendations about what can be done next, what needs to be done.)
     We do substantial outreach. Etc. Passes on to Darryl Cox of IVC. Darryl had veterans in the room stand up: quite a few. Speaks of locating the vets in the library: why put all these bulls in this china shop?, asked Darryl. But the library has embraced the vets and the vets have embraced the library.
     We're very proud to have first veterans resource center in our region. Tell story of vet in crisis, just today (at office).
     Darryl: veterans come to center, realize they're not alone. Very important.
     Dedicated veterans counselor hired (at Saddleback, I believe).
     Need more job opportunities for vets on campus. We need child care services.
     Full time veterans counselor at IVC much needed.
     WELL, AS IT TURNS OUT, I was wrong, and this veterans presentation is quite worthwhile (albeit uneven, a bit unfocused). I'm glad they gave it. Pretty inspiring stuff. Kudos to Nancy for asking for it. Kudos to those who gave it. Kudos to all involved in providing these services.
     I for one will look for ways to support these people and their services, as I'm sure many of you have already been doing. I very worthy bunch. Good people, very deserving of our support.

Questions/comments:

Meldau: very proud of what we're doing. Supporting these vets during this reduction of forces very important.
Prendergast: emphasizes "legislative task force" efforts on behalf of veterans.
Milchiker: really appreciate the presentation. This is very important.

Consent calendar:
A couple of things pulled.

5.16. Payment to Jay (Jay abstains). 5 yes votes
5.17 Payment of Milchiker (Milchiker abstains). 5 yes votes

6.1 Public hearing, proposed agreement, blah, blah, blah.
     Most of these "general action items" are pretty routine, unremarkable, I suppose. (Part of the problem is that they're hard to understand. The board made an "agreement" for "energy services." OK, I guess so. I have no idea what that means, nor is there any effort to clarify matters either on the agenda or during the meeting.)
. . .
etc.
. . .
6.5 Board Policy revisions "for review and study"
. . .
6.7 Ac. Personnel Actions. Unanimously approved
6.8 Classified Personnel Actions. Unanimously approved.

Reports:

7.1 info item
7.2 College speakers.
7.3 Basic Aid report
. . .
Lang gets in the weeds.
. . .
7.4
7.5
. . .
yadda yadda
7.6
. . .
7.7
. . .

8. Reports of constituent groups:
Saddleback College Academic Senate: elections. Bob Cosgrove will be back as Senate Prez. Comments that the meetings are much better tonewise than what they once were. (Not first such comment tonight.)
Faculty Association (union): Lewis says he won't be coming back. New leadership elected as of tonight. Comments on improvements in atmosphere in last few years. Incredibly pleasant now. Working with Bugay and Poertner, very good.
IVC Ac. Senate: echoes earlier sentiments. I'll be stepping down too (Lisa Davis Allen). New Prez coming in (Kathy Schmeidler).
Peebles (econ development):....
IVC Prez: ..... It's been an honor to work with you two (Lisa, Lewis).
SC Prez: ..... Yadda yadda. Created an award, named after Richard McCullough
Bugay: speaks in praise of Lisa Davis Allen, Lewis Long, et al.
Etc.

(Addendum: A couple of things of interest found in the agenda:

These expenditures (contracts) are anything but self-explanatory

All of these passed, of course

6 comments:

  1. I thought Glenn didn't like Gwen.

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  2. Thanks for being there even if it is boring.

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  3. Lang endorses Mathur. The man has lost all credibility.

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  4. Veterans services is a movement throughout the nation and Saddleback has set the standard in CCC

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  5. I'm not assertive, but I was very self-motivated and ready for the academic challenge. Glad your intro to Philosophy class was my first semester back at school. And at the time, even though there were little services available, I wouldn't have gone or used them. I don't know if this makes me minority, or if many are similar to me in that regard. What I needed and found was someone such as yourself, blog authorman, to inspire and cheer and challenge me. So, thanks.

    There are a couple other things I meant to comment on. RE: child services: I see this as an absolute must. Even with the generous living stipend (covers rent and the utilities in Irvine, mostly, and not much else), vets with kids sometimes can't afford to go back to school.

    "Legislators have agreed that the GI Bill has favored private colleges. Needs to be adjusted for support for attending public institutions."

    I'm not sure that the bill favors private colleges, but rather, according to my chums at the VA (in DC), some predatory private "colleges" found loopholes in the bills and they took advantage of it. BIG TIME.

    And yes, IVC absolutely needs at least one full time veterans counselor/employee person. I believe funding for this position can be arranged through the VA. I'm sure Daryl knows all about it.

    ReplyDelete

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