Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More Emails Show Clinton Foundation Ties to State Department (Democracy Now)
     Hillary Clinton is facing questions after a new round of emails released Monday again reveal the close ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. The 725 pages of emails were released by the conservative group Judicial Watch, which obtained them through a Freedom of Information Act request earlier this year. They show Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, corresponding with multiple Clinton Foundation donors, including Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain, whose scholarship program committed $32 million over five years to the Clinton Global Initiative. He was seeking a meeting with Hillary Clinton. Another email shows Abedin corresponding with a Los Angeles-based sports executive who had donated between $5 million and $10 million to the foundation. He wanted help getting a visa for a British soccer player. The visa was never granted. On Monday, Bill Clinton said he would remove himself from the board of the foundation if Hillary Clinton becomes president.
Review: ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ Time-Travels to Silicon Valley’s Dawn (NYT)
One of my faves.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The August meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees: live and direct!

SOCCCD administrators Mr. Sturm
and Mr. Drang
     (Be sure to read Tere's Board Meeting Highlights.)
     6:30 - Here we are once again in the big barn known as the "Ronald Reagan meeting room." There's no sign of the trustees just yet. The room is fairly full with people scattered about, yacking, preparing to make public comments and whatnot. Maybe somebody's getting a prize.
     One hears rumors about this board lately. Evidently they are very divided over something. Something having to do with SC Prez Burnett's banishing of a certain administrator, and a plot most foul among some district and IVC administrators to do—I don't know what. The recent and surprising departures of IVC's VPI and the district Chancellor have something to do with it all (casualties?). Evil deeds are, or have been, afoot among some administrators, I'm told, and some of this darkness will inevitably come to light. Stay tuned.
     Meanwhile, we're all melting and wilting in the heat. At IVC, I'm teaching these days in a crummy old room (A207) in a crummy old building (A200) with lousy AC. "There's nothing worse than a sweaty philosopher," I tell my students. They agree, near as I can tell. They seem aghast, but that could be me.
     Tonight's discussion items, as I recall, include the allocation of basic aid money (SOCCCD's infamous gravy train) and the "parking study report." Unsurprisingly, the latter will describe two campuses up to their blazingly hot roofing tiles in sizzling autos and endless parking wars. Solution: the erection of parking structures among other things. Won't that be nice?
     6:42 - Still no sign of the trustees. The agenda for their closed session looked like it could contain fiery controversy, but who knows. "Public employee discipline, dismissal, release." Burnett? The guy who sells me coffee in the morning? I dunno.
     6:54 - One of the lawyers (or the Fitz replacement guy) just emerged. Now IVC's Prez Roquemore. Now trustee Lang. So things are hoppin'. This dang thing will likely start in 5 minutes.
     6:55 - Trustees Prendergast and Jemal are having an interestingly intense tête-à-tête. Where's Marcia? Wright? Whitt? Babs Jay?
     6:57 - Acting Chancellor Fitz seems pretty chirpy: she's jawin' with Babs. Whitt and Milchiker just arrived. Marcia looks grim. Hmmmm. Wright has sauntered in. Lang's back. We're about to start.

The best ever!
     6:59 - The meeting begins
     Lang: Actions in closed session: Lang: a number of actions. 7-0 vote, approved Fitz as interim chancellor. 7-0 vote: general unpaid leave of absence without benefits for full-time employ .... 7-0 general unpaid leave of absence for full-time classified at SC. General leave of absence, 7 LHE blah blah blah. ... 7-0 settlement agreement, 1 million and 80 dollars for Swinderton Builders.

     Trustee Jay's invocation: "Dear heavenly Father...." Something, she said near the end, was, "a gift from God." Chirpy, earnest, full of gratitude and other 'tude.

New building, new monster
     Public comments (two requests):
     Sahar Wanidi (?) of IVC Student Government. 7 folks stand at podium. We're here, she said, "in support of the ASG budget." (That's it. They immediately sit down.)
     Dr. F Bonefaith (Father of recently "disciplined" student—see below): a man with a thick African (?) accent speaks. Not sure what he's talking about. Thanks the board for the education provided....

     Moving up item 6.3. Student discipline issue("Conduct a public hearing to provide an opportunity for the disciplinary matter [concerning a Saddleback College student] to be discussed in public session.") Prendergast: amend recommendation; the student should meet with Avelos to come up with conduct contract. Vote: Amendment unanimously approved (student advisory abstention).

     Trustee reports:
     Trustee Prendergast: Attended anything that involved food. (Laughter.) Thanked especially the luau people. Was invited to speak during Laser week, to new students. Tips and advice for succeeding. "I'm glad I did it...I think they actually listend to me."
     Trustee Jay: short report. Wonderful experiences blah blah blah. Lots of warm and fuzzies, like her prayer.
     Trustee Jemal: Staff Development Week was a whirlwind. Attended everything I could. Was an honor to do so. I travel a lot; our district gets recognized much of the time. Pretty proud of that. Fitz is situated as interim Chance; it's all good. Makes a point that the transition to the permanent chancellor is going well. "We'll get incredible candidates for this position," he said.
     Trustee Wright: applause to in-service week. I enjoy it, he says; a great time to meet with others, hear what's planned. Enjoyed Chancellor's opening session. Wonderful events. Visited "that new science building" (again, he speaks of "we," failing to note that its Saddleback's building, not the district's; once again, district=SC and IVC doesn't exist). Delighted to have Fitz as Interim Chancellor. Thanks staff of colleges, district. Golly you do a good job.
Craig Justice
     Trustee Lang: I was unable to attend inservice week this year, he says. Nevertheless, it's wonderful, a great learning experience. I was back at the Cleveland Clinic, getting an executive health screening. (This seems to mean something to people; I feel alienated.) B-Day greetings to Trustee Milchiker. (Applause) [Jemal urges Lang to lead room in a round of "Happy B-Day." Nope. Won't go there, he says.] Looks forward to working with Fitzsimons and new financial person (who is present). Mentions Craig Justice's retirement. Thanks to him for his hard work.
     Trustee Milchiker: "I spent my B-Day today here." (This struck everyone as funny.) A cool day, she says. To viewing public: you should know that classes began today! Fabulous faculty, etc. Says there are Emeritus Institute classes still open! Better snap 'em up! Evidently, Marcia's signed up to the max. Attended OC business council blah blah blah. Attended Professional Development week. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Chinese students, debate, etc. Erwin Chemerinsky's talk at IVC was a real highlight. He's the dean of UCI law school and he discussed the First Amendment and everything! Many of the sessions will be online later this week, she adds. [Jemal desperately hides his mirth, but he only manages to ignite it around the room.]
     Trustee Whitt: welcome back to "all of you." So proud to serve on this board. Amazing. Went to both (colleges') sessions. "I am very lucky." You are lucky too, she adds. And so are the students. Stellar colleges. Thanks interim Chance Fitzsimmons for your hard work, attention. Gee Whiz, ain't life grand?
     Student Trustee J. Forde: participated in workshop, League of Community Colleges (?); great experience to learn about being a trustee. I am now prez of all the state's student trustees. "That was excellent; I was really happy." Wants to increase communication and continuity between the two colleges. [I'm sensing trusticular discomfort with this fellow's ramblings.]

    Chancellor's Fitzsimons report: mentions a couple other B-days: Terry Whitt, Glenn Roquemore. And even Tim Jemal.
    Thanks the board for appointment, etc. Enjoyed seeing faculty returning. Attended Faculty Association lunch. Classified breakfast too. Met new faculty, managers. They're enthusiastically happy to be working here. High caliber of new hires! Great seeing the students back! We're moving right along in the chancellor search process. Special board meeting this (?) week. Search firm meeting with trustees. Open to public. Tonight, though, we'll hear about basic aid, district budget, parking study, student government budget. Imagine the fun!
IVC outreach to the business community
     College Presidents' reports:
     IVC's Glenn Roquemore: blah blah blah, and I mean that. Congrats Deb Fitzsimons. Refers to Craig Justice's retirement. 9 years at IVC. The crowd is mute. Rocky asks for applause. It is provided, begrudgingly. One of the best Professional Development weeks ever, says Glenn. Two highlights: student embassador's training. Also: student government training. Shazam!
     SC's Tod Burnett: introduced two new members of management team. Dean of Math, S, and E. The fellow is made to stand up in audience. Applause. Second, Dean of blah blah. She stands up. Prof Deve't week was extremely successful, says the Todster. Thanks trustees for attending "the breakfast," etc. Opening of the science building went "very smoothly." Congrats to all of the B-Day folks. We're thrilled that Dr. Fitzsimons has this job. Thrilled I tell you!
     Chirpy student government kids give their reports, etc. They're so cute (thinks the board). And they are. I'm right behind them. Almost pet them.

Discussion items:

4.1 - Basic Aid allocation process
     Various people start hovering around the podium. They talk: Consensus (during accred evaluations) was that DRAC model is fine. Basic Aid funds are a different matter (according to Accreds). Commences dry PowerPoint presentation. Process described. BAARC. Blah blah blah. Bluh.
     Bramucci steps up, looking thin. Discusses techno spending. He's talking "cloud based systems" and the like, and so I go into a coma. "Any questions?" Nope. We're all unconscious.
     Brandye steps up. Capital projects are her thing, natch. Lists projects. ATLAS major renovations: $3 million. Blah blah blah. A new solar structure that will give juice to the PAC. Sounds good, I guess. Are we talkin' lightin' a few bulbs, or what? Next: support projects for capital projects. Blah blah blah. Energy consultants and whatnot.
     Questions?
     Jemal: what about these Radio/TV/photo upgrades. About a year and a half ago we got this grand plan vision for alligning our radio station with CSU Northridge, etc. It sounded too ambitions. Was it? Fitz: yes (I think). CSUN folks came down, though. We're jointly hiring a consultant who will work with both colleges. That's our next step.
     "I'm glad I asked," says Jemal. He can be funny.

Saddleback College Science Building
     "Will be a win-win situation," says Fitz. Nevertheless, she's not trying to be funny. She's dead serious. (Funny.)
     Milchiker: has bragged about BAARC being so open and all, etc. Have all of these committees agreed with these recommendations? Brandye: Yep. All done according to Hoyle.
     Lang: concessions project? Could you shed light on this? Brandye: a concession stand for sports facilities. Blah blah blah. I have no idea what they're talking about. Hot dog sales? Popcorn? (Lang seems satisfied.)
     Wright: refers to projects dependent on Propostion 51. Will 51 be approved? (There's some dispute about the prop's number; Wright insists on his number.) Brandye and other chirpy gal: seems likely, they say. We've been busy applying for funds. "It's looking good but we can't make promises."
     Forde: speaks about need for health center "concessions." Refers to power issues in the summer. [Again, I'm sensing the some trustees who shall remain nameless don't like this guy, this Mr. Instant Confidence, Mr. Smooth-boy.] Can't upgrade owing to power issues (overloading, etc.). Often don't have grills or fridges for a week at a time! Sheesh! [Jemal's glance seems to say: shuddup.]
     Trustee Jay: refers to item—does this have to do with Workday? Yes but also for other things, says Chance Fitz. I dunno.


4.2 - Parking report
     Deb Fitzsimons steps up to give the report. Davit and Carol and Mary will be here to support [my yammerin'], she says. Neither of the colleges have conducted formal analyses/studies of their parking situation. This time, we did a comprehensive study. We learned about the advantages of a "parking plan." What was the reason for "parking study"? Gosh, I'm glad you asked. Blah blah blah. We're interested in ATEP, too. We're not convinced that we have enough parking out there (restricted by the endlessly prickly City of Tustin's desires).
     Mary: a consultant came in last Spring. Did analysis. ATEP, IVC, SC. First week of classes. Came back in middle of semester.
     Key findings: greatest impact at SC: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. At IVC: 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lots of illegal parking goes on. She shows chart. Be stare at it. Based on info (including projected increases in population), we've got deficits. 2020 deficit: 532 stalls. 20130 deficit -- 1000 (?) stalls.
     SC: all parking lots are beyond capacity for first week of class.
     Proposed improvements: incorporate a parking guidance sytem, construct a parking structure. Etc. Blah blah blah.
     IVC: a little bit different. Data collected: many lots beyond 85% capacity. Blah blah blah. Utilization chart, shows peaks. Projected 2020 deficit is 548 stalls; 2030: 1277 stalls. Gotta have deficit reduction. Some measures pricier than others.
     Proposed: incorporating a parking guidance system, constructing parking structures, etc.
     ATEP: parking needs will grow greatly. More parking stalls will be needed. Hopefully, armed with this data, we can negotiate with the city, get more for parking. The city of Tustin is a mite pesky.


     Discusses parking ratios. Not good at SC. Not in line with state average.
     What we've learned: yes, we have peak parking concerns. Blah blah blah. Questions?
     Lang: terrific study, boy. Consultant did an excellent job, identifying the issue, potential solutions. Parking structures: expensive ($34 million). Likely a future basic aid recommendation, he guesses. Could we get state assistance? (A: Nope.) Would like to have more [electric] charging stations, etc. Incentives [for electric vehicles?]. Any consideration of shuttle service? Shouldn't that help? Better than cost of structures? How about people movers like at some universities. Situation at ATEP: telling city about best practices, urging them to make concessions. (Jemal kids Lang for all of his ideas. It's like he's on uppers or something.)
     Davit says reassuring things.
     Prendergast: parking guidance system? What kind of a thing is that? Tells you how many spaces left in this lot, that sort of thing? A: Yep. Charging stations: an excellent idea. (Some joke I didn't get. I need a hearing aid.)
     Milchiker: parking structures are very expensive, expensive to keep up (security) too. What about all those dang fees collected?  Fitz: some costs are paid by parking fees, but doesn't cover cost of capital. Drop in the de bucket.
     Forde: "echoes" trustee Lang. [He gets nasty glances.] Shuttle services in Long Beach around the college. Blah blah blah. Something about "grass pitches" (?). Am I the only one who wishes that he have less to say?
     Jemal: are we satisfied with the OC Transit bus services here? Burnett: they've cut back bus services in South OC, and it's a drag. The new trolly systems in some south county cities might help.  Jemal: so the study didn't consider buses? Burnett: they did. Yes, we're working with the bus people, city level, county level. We're all bussed up.
     Milchiker: use of (I dunno?). Roquemore: "We're not really designed for those buses."
     Milchiker: can we reconfigure entrances to parking lots, etc.? (For buses?)
     Yep. Blah blah blah. Blih.
     Fitzsimons: can do interesting things like putting tennis courts on top of parking structures. Night clubs, too. [Well, no.] Joint ventures with the city. Way to defray costs of parking structures, which are big.

     Move up before consent calendar: item 6.1 (adopt the budget).
     New guy steps up. Heavy Indian accent. Asks that they go through whole presentations before questions. Smart guy.

     8:20 p.m.: ...I've gotta go. Sorry. [P.S.: I'm told that the meeting went on for hours!]
   

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Preview of Monday's Board Meeting: the budget, parking structures, Basic Aid allocations

Hey there, Hi there, Ho there!
     Recently, and as usual, district denizens received a link to the agenda of Monday’s (August 22) meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees (BoT). Here's a preview.

     This item is from the 5:00 p.m. closed session. Make of it what you will:


      The open session starts at 6:30, natch.
      Here are elements taken from each of the college presidents' reports:
Burnett's report: "17 new full-time faculty...."
Roquemore's report: "The morning began with breakfast...."
     There are two "discussion" items for Monday's meeting:
     Item 4.1 is a report of "Basic Aid Allocation Recommendation for FY 2016-2017."
     Here's the PowerPoint:
     Here's one among many graphics from the presentation:


Ain't basic aid wonderful?
     Item 4.2 concerns the District-wide Parking Study Report. Here are the "key findings":

At IVC, the annual fee for student parking is now $80.
At UCI, student parking is literally ten times more expensive.
In our future, apparently.
     No surprises there.
     Here's the first part of the long list of recommendations:




     There're no big surprises among the consent calendar items, I guess.

     General action item 6.1 is approval of the FY 2016-2017 Adopted Budget.

     Links are provided:
     Item 6.3 is curious: "Conduct a public hearing to provide an opportunity for the disciplinary matter [concerning a Saddleback College student] to be discussed in public session":

     Golly, what did this student do (allegedly)?

     This was in one of the attachments to item 6.9, Academic personnel actions:

Donald Trump's call for poll watchers brings back fears of 1988 Santa Ana
(LA Times)
     (Oddly, this article fails to mention [future SOCCCD trustee] Tom Fuentes’ key role in all this.)

The new and improved A400 (IVC)

Shiny new classrooms
And there's lots of new office space upstairs

Welcome!

"Employess"?