Corey Johnson, investigative reporter for California Watch, delivers the keynote address to students at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) northern California conference on Sept. 22, 2012. Johnson was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his piece “On Shaky Ground,” an expose on widespread negligence by the state of California in making public school buildings safe in the event of earthquakes. Johnson urged attended to put principles first. “You are our future,” Johnson said as he ended his speech. “If you welcome and accept that responsibility, that you be that person, then the American people will be smarter, better and will live in a brighter day.”
What’s the most embarrassing song on your playlist?
Taylor Swift – We are never ever getting back together
How long would you survive a zombie apocalypse?
Until they’re all died probably. I’m very agile with what I do and I’m very smart with tactics.
If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Who’s your same-sex celebrity crush?
This is easy. Darren Chris or Justin Bartha.
Would you burn the American flag for $1000?
I don’t have a price to do that at all.
If you could have a secret power what would it be?
Freeze time or make ice with my mind. I would want to turn things into ice or make ice sculptures on the fly.
If you could play one offbeat sport professionally, what would it be?
Wake-boarding for sure.
If we wrote a front page story about you, what would the headline say?
“Nico Portugal rescues puppy from burning bus”
If you could do one thing, anything you wanted, with no repercussions, what would it be?
I would road trip cross-country and write about my experiences. Travel without money being an issue.
As a recovering alcoholic, there are some things I don’t mind sharing and some I do. One thing I don’t mind sharing is that before 2006, my life was virtually non-existent.
From having a diminished family life, to ruining multiple long term friendships, to finding myself in severe financial despair.
In 2006, I finally made the decision that enough was enough — I could not be a productive member of society if I kept partying every time the opportunity presented itself. I could never have achieved the goals that I am now capable of achieving. I got sober. 100 percent, stone cold sober.
There are several ways of initiating the process, but mine was through an outpatient drug and alcohol program in Oakland — a part of Kaiser that most don’t think of. The first step of the process was simple. I made a phone call to the local Kaiser and after 15 minutes, I was set to show up the next day.
Since then my life has become much improved. I am able to function like a human. I have people in my life who are willing to help in times of need and I don’t need to worry about being on the wrong side of the law.
Throughout September, the Bay Area’s urban art culture was broadcasted to the masses.
Owner of “Proven Mangagement” contractors, Alan Varela, purchased the property at Gilman and 4th St. in Berkeley for renovation. The former Flint Ink building had been abandoned for more than 10 years. To Varela’s fascination, however, the ruined lot was under new management—by local graffiti writers.
“There was incredible art on some of the walls,” said Varela, member of the board of the Oakland Museum of California, “and I wanted to preserve it.”
The crew at Endless Canvas, the Bay Area’s premiere street art/graffiti blog, volunteered to host a sanctioned exhibition of the graffiti at the Flint Ink buildling, now dubbed “Carbon Warehouse.” Special Delivery 2012 is the third large-scale urban art gallery put on by Endless Canvas.
Over the past decade the “Carbon Warehouse” garnered notoriety as the mecca for Berkeley’s graffiti art. The endless, thankless and dangerous task of graffiti writers is considered by its practitioners, such as featured artist G.A.T.S. (Graffiti Against the System), as the community’s last-stand to preserve public space.
In an age where the appreciation of and access to art is waning, these urban innovators are keeping alive a time-honored, though-often-vilified tradition. The exposure of the warehouse’s art to the general public is the last grass-roots movement in the Oakland and Berkeley area since last year’s “Occupy Movement.”
Beginning this summer, over 80 artists retouched and reinvented the 36,000 square-foot property.
Provocative masterpieces of unique style crowd every wall, floor, ceiling, pillar, corridor, and staircase with arresting color and detail.
Special Delivery 2012 was scheduled for a final public opening Sunday the 30th of Sept. from 12 to 6 pm at 1350 4th St. in Berkeley.
On Sept. 8, the opening night of Special Delivery, the line to enter the noisy warehouse wound around the block. Several local news reports, including CBS, had expressed concern about potential fallout from the exhibition. The massive crowd at the exhibit, however, maintained an uncompromisingly positive and sociable attitude.
All types came through to confirm the hype. The who’s-who of the local art scene strolled in with friends and associates, flanked by small groups of grade school students.
College-aged folks of every culture engaged parents who had brought their entire family to the spectacle.
Local DJ’s, MC’s, dancers, and art enthusiasts all flexed for the electric, monumental spectacle. What was originally touted as a shrine to vandalism quickly became a cultural movement. And a block party for the books.
“People in the area are satisfied with the clean and the responsible measures taken by the owner [Alan Varela] and Endless Canvas,” said Dead Eyes, a veteran street artist of two decades who was a co-organizer and featured artist for Special Delivery. “I talked to long-time residents in the direct area and they were enthusiastic about the show. Down the road, the main thing people will remember is it was a great show.”
The Hawks lost 3-1 to the Cañada Colts on the road this past Tuesday Sept. 25.
Conference play has not started off the way it was envisioned for the men’s soccer team at LPC.
The first half was competitive, with LPC having more shots on goal. After a goal from Colts’ midfielder Ulyssis Milanes, Hawks’ center midfielder Gerardo Garcia answered right back with a goal of his own towards the end of the half to tie it up.
In the second half, Cañada took control with two unanswered goals from midfielder Andres Peredes Carrasco.
The Hawks continue to not be able to capitalize on opportunities to come out on top.
“We were not able to carry the momentum from the first half to the second,” Head coach Larry Aguiar said.
“We need to do a better job of finishing strong, the pieces are there.”
In two conference games, the Hawks have been unsuccessful in their efforts to get a win.
They played undefeated Hartnell (3-0-5) to a scoreless draw in the conference opener on Sept. 22.
Their record now stands at 1-3-4 overall with a 0-1-1 conference record.
It is about a third of the way into the season.
The Hawks only have one win, which is out of conference.
However, the players are optimistic about the future because of the amount of close games they have been in this year.
With Conference play underway, Midlfielder Jacob Torres feels now is the time to do damage.
“We’ve been in a bunch of close games this year,” Torres said. “I think those (close games) are going to turn into wins now.”
The team seems to be gelling together.
The Hawks have been trying to play more of the team oriented soccer that coach Aguiar stresses to the team.
They will need to keep working on improving that if they want to have more wins this year.
“The team is playing more motivated than the last year I played,” Sophomore midfielder Edgar Santana said.
“All the games have been close.”
The Hawks next game will be at home on Friday Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m. against Gavilan College.
The newly instituted 1440 degrees are both a positive and negative for community college students.
The result of the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (SB 1440), which was signed into law in 2010, was the creation of specialized Associate of Arts degrees and Associate of Science degrees. Once a student completes one these degrees, they are guaranteed admission to California State University system.
In addition to admission, students will receive priority consideration for entry into their major program.
While these changes are undoubtedly good for students who seek transfer, it represents a trend in California’s education system towards narrowing the focus of community colleges.
Community college was once a place where, in addition to working towards transfer, students could take classes at their own pace for no other reason than their own personal development.
Junior colleges were meant to enrich and improve the communities that surround them.
Along with this change, California schools have cutting course offerings to emphasize transfer eligible classes, the limiting of course repeatability and limiting fee waivers and financial aid grants.
All the changes signal a fundamental change in the purpose and mission of California’s junior colleges.
Where once they were places of higher learning where a person, regardless of income or standing in society, could come and have the time needed to learn and grow at their own pace— they now run the risk of becoming little more than transfer factories.
Understandably, times are tight in California— especially in its educational system. School budgets have been slashed across the board. Teachers and staff are being laid off regularly.
As the economy improves, which it eventually will, much of what has been cut from budgets should be restored. Teachers and administrators should be rehired. There should be large-scale rollbacks to restore full access to as many students as possible.
When more funds are available, community colleges in California can once again become what they have always been and should always be— bastions to that great American idea that anyone with the will to work and improve their standing in life always has a chance to do so.
Instead of presidential debates this fall, to increase interest, I’d suggest a presidential punt, pass and kicking competition.
Ever since the controversial end to the Packers-Seahawks Monday Night Football game, I’ve heard more conversation about it in two days then I’ve heard people talk about the presidential election all year.
It’s estimated that $150 million shifted hands in bets on one poor replacement referee decision.
But really, who cares? Let’s get some perspective here— it’s just football.
While you were busy checking your fantasy team, or worrying about Monday night’s game, the middle class in America was still disappearing and the Middle East was still in chaos.
There are a whole litany of other things going on in the world, both positive and negative that are more worthy of your attention.
It’s a testament to the short attention span of many in this country that more people are discussing a blown call in a football game than the fact that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in New York at the United Nations this week.
The ever-present threat of a war between Israel and Iran casts doubt over all world events.
Except for the quality of the replacement officials, we all know they were terrible.
The top trending topics on Twitter follow the same order— NFL commissioner Roger Goddell, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, National Football League and then, finally, Iran.
Not to mention the fast there is an election this Nov.
We as a nation will choose the leader of the free world for the next four years. We face a monumentally important choice between two very different visions of America that will guide our direction for a generation.
After the presidential punt, pass, kick competition, perhaps to settle the Middle East conflict, we can arrange an impromptu football game. Ahmadinejad and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can be the head coaches.
Barack Obama can be the replacement official.
At least the TV ratings would be enormous. No one seems to care unless someone gets tackled.
I know that a lot of people would say football gives them something to momentarily distract them from the ills of the world.
But the possibility of World War III, or a presidential election or the disappearing middle class should take a backseat to any sport.
OK, now that I’m done writing this piece and the NFL referee lockout has ended— we as a nation can get back to what really matters, hating the actual officials.
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