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Posted on April 1 at 12:57 p.m.

Would the teachers actually not be working on those days? Or would they risk being called "failures" if they didn't spend that time writing curricula, grading student work, and analyzing test scores?

Being asked to work less is one thing. Being asked to do more work for less pay is another. Teachers have already been propping up diminishing school budgets for too long by being expected to do the latter.

On School District, Teacher Negotiations Continue

Posted on August 20 at 12:20 p.m.

UCSB should pay attention to this case. The campus' walkways are incredibly unsafe. They allow skateboarders to use the same sidewalks as pedestrians. Plus, inadequate bicycle enforcement essentially allows cyclists to ride on the sidewalks as well. This means that people who are trying to walk from one building to another must deal with an onslaught of people on skateboarders and bicycles traveling much faster both head on and from behind. Many of the cyclists and skateboarders actually believe that they have the right of way and pedestrians should yield! In addition, the campus' "deferred maintenance" has allowed many cracks and uneven spots in the sidewalks, which makes the sidewalks unsafe for skateboarders and cyclists and puts the university at risk for lawsuits exactly like this.

When I was a student on campus, I was nearly hit by skateboarders several times, plus I was cussed out by a skateboarder who got angry when I didn't get out of his way (instead I put my arm in front of my face and he ran into it), and I was physically punched from behind by a skateboarder after I attempted to take his projectile/skateboard to campus police after he lost control doing a trick, causing it to nearly hit me. I am a woman who is 5'0" and I was walking from my TA office to my classroom when the incident happened.

UCSB has known about the issue for several years (I began writing letters in 2006). In their 2008 survey, they found that 25% of pedestrians on campus had been hit by a skateboarder. Yet, last I checked (I moved in 2009) the campus had still failed to take any meaningful action that would allow people on campus to access their buildings safely.

Like other posters, I'm not sure whether I agree that the county was responsible in the Jones case. But in UCSB's case, it would be easy for a lawyer to prove culpability, particularly if the plaintiff is disabled or suffers significant injuries. It seems like it will only be a matter of time before the campus is sued by a pedestrian, skateboarder, cyclist, or even all three.

On Bella Vista Bicycle Crash Victim Files Claim

Posted on February 12 at 9:02 p.m.

Let's give up on the charade of "saving" teachers' jobs and services that directly affect students. The state of California and the people who voted for them have spoken, and quality education clearly isn't what they want.

Let's just cram as many kids in each classroom as fire codes will allow and have teacher/technicians administer scan-tron tests. It will save the district money and allow it to stay within the new budget parameters. This will even provide the money to hire the additional administrator/beancounters who will be necessary to ensure that all 46 criteria for meeting AYP requirements are satisfied and to file all of the requisite paperwork.

On The Cruelest of Cuts

Posted on December 18 at 6:46 p.m.

It would be nice if more Isla Vistans valued their beaches as more than a place to throw 10,000-person parties with no sanitary facilities or coherent clean-up plan.

I've moved to another state, but after the Floatopia Fiasco, I tell people that UCSB is a school where there are quite a few wealthy, entitled kids who love to brag about the campus' "activism," "innovation," and beautiful beaches, only to turn around and trash what makes their community beautiful and desirable. People in IV need to consider whether they're actually contributing to building the community they brag about so much.

On Top 10 Reasons to Love Isla Vista

Posted on December 16 at 2:21 p.m.

Oh, I forgot to add:

The guy who acted like he was doing me a favor to meet me for a "date" at the Barnes & Noble in Ventura. I ended up paying for my own iced tea when I got there. Then he seemed so distracted and made so many random, out-of-context comments, that I was actually checking to see if his eyes were red because I thought he was high.

On Single Ladies Lament

Posted on December 16 at 2:17 p.m.

I wish I'd gotten a copy of this column before I'd thought about moving to SB when I was 32. After living there for five years, I have to agree that it's a difficult town for single 30-somethings, and particularly for single, 30-something women.

And it wasn't because I was a gold-digger, or had unrealistic expectations, or spent all my time in bars. I volunteered. I played beach volleyball. I went on hikes. I got involved with lots of different groups and lots of different people. And I didn't expect the guys I dated to spend a lot of money: I was just as happy to do something free like go on a hike, or to do something inexpensive, like go for a beer. I have my own profession and my own income, so I didn't need a "provider," and I don't go on "shopping safaris" so I didn't need funding for that. I wanted someone who enjoyed doing things, who could hold up his end of an intelligent conversation, who had his own interests, and who could support himself. It also helped if he was somewhat attractive and presentable. In other words, I just wanted to date a peer and a equal.

Here's what I met:

The guy who seemed to think that buying me one drink justified a midnight booty call, after I'd already said I had to get up early the next morning.

The guy I went on several dates with and started to really like, who asked me on another date, then called me the morning of to say he'd decided to date someone else, then emailed the next week to let me know that she'd treated him "terribly" but that he still wasn't into me either, but that he was wondering if we could be friends.

The guy who started a first date with "are you a monogamous type" and then proceded to tell me about how his ex-wife had wanted him to have an affair while she dealt with abuse issues. A year later he hit on me through a different dating site, and then responded passive-aggressively when I figured out who he was and said I wasn't interested.

The guy who showed up on a hiking date wearing a ripped, Ernie and Bert T-shirt that appeared to be at least 10-years old.

Overweight 50-60 year-old men on match.com.

On match.com, there were also lots of "successful" men from L.A. who detailed their workout schedules. They wrote that they wanted to date someone "fit" (apparently it will now brand you as a sexist assh__e to just say "hot") and who would support THEM and make THEM feel important and good about themselves (with no mention besides their "success" and pecs of what they could bring to the table).

A LOT of men my age who seemed to only want to date 22-year old playboy model look-alikes.

I don't think finding any of the above undatable makes me superficial, materialistic, or unreasonable. I think it makes me a balanced person who is finding that she is much happier being single than handling this kind of baggage. I moved last summer and I've been much happier in my cabin in the mountains.

On Single Ladies Lament

Posted on November 9 at 10:51 a.m.

"In this city of unsupervised youth, the majority of Isla Vista residents party with harmless intentions."

The author's mistake was in referring to the IV residents as "unsupervised youth." Almost all of IV's residents are not youth, they're legally adults. And as adults, it is their responsibility to supervise themselves. If they are doing this, they shouldn't have any problems with the IV foot patrol, which as she admits mainly goes after the most idiotic and obnoxious of the many people who are out drinking. I have trouble seeing how this is biased and unfair -- it's like saying that since you weren't the only one speeding the cop was "discriminating" against you when he pulled you over instead of the other speeders.

It's tiresome to hear people in IV go on about how it should be different for them and about how the laws that apply to everyone else are "discriminatory" when applied to them. And it definitely gets tiring that the rest of us in the county have to fund their parties. $700,000 could go a long way if applied to more productive county services, or it could be used to help SB's schools retain the music and art teachers they had to let go in the last round of budget cuts.

I think the county should levy a tax on IV residents that would pay back the expenses it incurs each year. If they are going to act like "unsupervised youth," they should pay for their own supervision.

On I.V. Foot Patrol: Friend or Foe?

Posted on August 30 at 1:22 a.m.

While gasoline admittedly causes even more global problems than pot, the difference between the two is that some of us have few viable alternatives to buying gas (for example I now live in the mountains in Colorado where cars are the only form of transportation and priuses don't yet come with 4WD). Also, the oil industry is at least regulated (albeit too liberally): they aren't indiscriminately spraying pesticides, leaving trash, starting fires, damming streams, and holding semis in hikers' and hunters' faces when they're on state lands.

But buying pot is a recreational choice and there are many alternative ways to recreate, relax, or create an altered state of mind that don't fund gangs, violence, and the misappropriation of public lands.

Meanwhile, I've lobbied for better fuel efficiency standards, and I'm looking forward to the day when I can plug in my car, get the oil and gas wells that proliferated during the Bush administration off of Colorado's public lands, and tell OPEC to screw off.

On Pot Farmers Sparked Blaze

Posted on August 24 at 8:54 p.m.

I think it's ironic that so many liberal potheads go on about their peaceful, alternative lifestyles, changing the world for the better, and "sticking it to the man." But they seem to have no qualms about buying a crop that is degrading public lands and rendering them unsafe. And they seem to have no qualms about the fact that the money from their purchases is funding gangs and cartels, which make the streets less safe on both sides of the border, and which are a major driver for the increasing violence in Mexico. Within the current state of affairs, pot is one of the "dirtiest" crops in existence.

The marijuana consumers who post to sites like these usually blame the war on drugs and argue that if pot were only legalized, all these problems would magically disappear. And personally, I'm for legalization and I agree that the war on drugs is a terrible waste of my tax money. But the current reality is that pot is NOT legal, which means that buying it means contributing to the problems above (unless you grow your own or know where all your pot is being grown).

If marijuana consumers really care as much as many of them say about creating a more peaceful, sustainable future, they need to take a good hard look in the mirror (before they light up). The real reason why we have problems like the La Brea fire and violent drug cartels is because people are buying drugs.

On Pot Farmers Sparked Blaze

Posted on June 4 at 5:40 p.m.

The best gift is a child who is interested in learning, generally prepared to learn at school, and generally respectful to both other students and the teacher. Ensuring that children come to school ready to learn, and that they remain enthusiastic about learning while they're at school, is a team effort between teachers and parents. Parents who recognize this are some of the best gifts of all.

These are the same parents who usually consider giving teachers gifts at the end of the year, and I don't know that it's really necessary for them to buy gifts after they've already given so much support.

But if they MUST buy something, gift cards that teachers can use on their classrooms would probably be appreciated and useful. These could include gift cards to book stores, art supply stores, stores such as Target, or even DVD rental stores. When I taught high school I spent several hundred a year on classroom supplies ranging from kleenex, to a fan (the building's "climate control" often wasn't functional in my wing), to a clock for my classroom when all of the buildings' clocks broke (what other job requires you to supply your own wall clock?), books, posters, food for sensory writing lessons, and film rentals because I used film clips to help students review and make connections to the texts we were reading in World Literature. It's amazing how all those little $1, $5, and $10 purchases can add up.

On None

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