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Kids, families join Oakland’s general strike

Staff Photojournalist

I’ve been holed up in the Tribune’s downtown `command center’ since before sunrise, taking information from reporters out in the field, but they tell me people of all ages have taken part in today’s demonstrations.

Here’s a report from Dana Hull, who lives in Oakland and writes for the Mercury News:

A crowd of more than 300 parents with babies, toddlers and children of all ages marched from the main branch of the Oakland Public Library to 13th and Broadway as part of a “Children’s Brigade.” Children led the march and chanted “Who are the 99? We are the 99!” while parents with wagons, strollers and infants in carriers marched behind them, toting snacks, crayons, chalk and bubbles.

“I’m only 6. I can’t afford a lobbyist,” read one sign.

Chris Specker, a Temescal resident who owns the “It’s Your Move” game store on Telegraph Ave., attended the march with her 5-year-old daughter Sarah, who is in kindergarten at Oakland Unified’s Peralta Elementary. Specker said she was one of several Peralta parents who signed her daughter out of school at lunchtimeWednesday.

“The concept is easy: Everyone needs to share,” said Specker, a single mom. “I closed my store to support the strike, and I want my daughter to learn that activism is important.”

Specker said she hoped that Oakland residents will support local businesses, and she planned to eat dinner with friends at a downtown restaurant before heading home. She said she was unlikely to join the massive march to the Port because her daughter was tired after a long day.

Did you bring your kids to the march? Why did you decide to take them? What did they have to say about it?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    We’ve touched on this issue in older threads. My view of kids at demonstrations is that if the school or it’s staff are taking them it’s a big problem and should not occur. If the parent’s are taking them it’s a family matter and really up to the parents.

    Demonstrations are politics – public policy actions. Schools are for education not for the political use of children for personal gratification of the staff. Maybe some children should see political rallies, conventions, demonstrations, riots or whatever. But that is the province of the family.

    As far as what I think of the riots/demonstrations – that’s another post. Most people can guess.

    I would strongly suggest people take notice of who is there or involved and who is not – and figure which bunch you want to identify with and vote with your feet and phone calls. If children are taken and get hurt – that’s on the heads of those who brought them. Kind of like renting a car – it’s all at your risk, have insurance.

    Have a great day!

    Brave New World.

  • Kaiser Mom

    Nextset:

    All the children at the protest we’re there at the behest of their parents and most of us marched in masse together.

    It is ludicrous to even use the word “riot” in the same discussion of yesterday’s protest, especially in the areas where parents massed together with their children. It was entirely peaceful and purposeful and a great educational experience for the children involved. Do you not believe in field trips too?

  • Carlee

    Did any Lincoln Elementary School teachers and students participate? Was there any damage? This is a school that was close by to the protest??? Just curious.

  • Nextset

    Kaiser Mom: I really love field trips.

    And I believe these “demonstrations” are the beginning of something big. No I don’t have a problem with some parents taking some kids to some demonstrations. I do have a problem with putting kids in (unreasonable) danger of violence. So as long as things are as you indicate – great for you!

    Although some of this can be watched on TV there’s nothing like seeing history get made as a child. My mother was inside a bank when all the nation’s banks closed during the Black Thursday, Friday or whatever day that was. I love hearing first hand accounts of being there when the world changed.. Like being on a plane during 911.

    And we’ve seen nothing yet.

    Something very big and very bad is coming. These kids will one day describe all this to their grandchildren.

    CA and the USA is not going to go on in it’s current configuration. And the “change” will be very swift and very bloody. Count on it. Can’t say when and what will happen. Based on history – something is coming. You can’t debase the currency, destroy industry and the tax base and print money but for so long. There is no longer any question that the US will superinflate. If some other Black Swan doesn’t land first.

    And it will be (in certain neighborhoods) like Katrina, a complete overnight cessation of law and order. Having the kiddies stay awake and aware during these little exercises will be a good thing.

    When they see how the liberal government tends to let a mob destroy property, loot and riot they will understand how important the 2nd Amendment is and lots of other life’s lessons also.

    Got news for you. The places that count have machine guns in their police inventory. We have yet to see Occupy Piedmont, Belmont, the other “monts”, Bel Air, Malibu, Danville, Orange County’s Vietnamese neighborhoods, etc. Places that count believe in shooting looters on sight.

    There’s a reason you see these anarchist parties in Oakland and Berkeley.

    Brave New World.

    Brave New World.

  • TheTruthHurts

    Nextset,

    When you write about other Black Swan events, hyperinflation and coming anarchy, I’m not sure folks know where you’re coming from. Maybe they do and I just see it as written in code.

    I don’t know if the retirees connect the 0.1% interest rates they get on their savings with government policy to debase the currency. Meanwhile gas goes up and Social Security gets no cost of living adjustment. I don’t know if people believe you can go from that interest rate to 20% inflation PER MONTH (e.g. Argentina, Iceland, Greece). I don’t know if people see that our nationwide line of credit will be cut and we as a nation will be able to buy less of EVERYTHING (e.g. jobs, cars, houses, FOOD); hence anarchy. Not tomorrow, but coming.

    I hope they get it. I hope this occupy stuff understands what’s coming and tries to build some real protection (such as is possible).

    I too am pained that leftist havens permit the destruction of their limited infrastructure, wasting of their limited resources and further flight of small business in the name of permitting free speech. Quan and others are sorta stuck now.

    One must ask why not deface banks in the actual “Financial District” in SF or maybe even go to where the 1% actually live (Palo Alto, Woodside, Los Altos). Nope, instead we tell the police they are unwanted and then proceed to allow non-Oaklanders to deface the city and scare patrons and businesses alike.

    Let’s face it. Oakland is the place to riot. Protest in SF, march in Berkeley, riot in Oakland. As positive as all the energy was yesterday, I get the sinking feeling all that will be remembered is some truckers that didn’t get paid and some graffiti-ridden businesses.

    BTW, don’t even get me started on the demographics of Oakland vs. the demographics of the protestors.

  • Nextset

    The way to handle rioters/looters is to do what has always been done across history – the SF 1906 earthquake comes to mind. Something along the line of the mayor declaring a state of emergency and ordering looters to be shot on sight.

    This is not going to happen in those places where the anarchists are made welcome and basically given permission to riot. Again, Katrina comes to mind. Rape gangs roaming freely, that kind of thing. The Rodney King Riots in LA.

    It all stops when the mob turns into the places that count.

    Too bad about Oakland. It was a real nice place once.

  • J.R.

    Oakland was beautiful and safe at one time, see it here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_eHYfhSMQM

    We crumbled from within, and we have the dependent welfare state to thank for that. We have been on our own long,slow Bataan death march since the inception of the social programs of the 60′s.

  • Hmakesyouthink

    Wow J. R. and Nextset,
    Thanks for reminding us that people like you still exist. It keeps good people from becoming complacent.

  • J.R.

    Yep,
    The truth and reality are a kick in the head aren’t they? Look around see it for what it is, there is no other conclusion that can be reached.

  • Hmakesyouthink

    Wow!
    You thought that was a a support of your narrow bigoted view. I guess that confirms it, thanks for showing who you really are.

  • Oakland Teacher

    Tee-hee! Good early morning chuckles re inability to do basic inferential reading comprehension.

    original “Oakland Teacher”

  • J.R.

    Makesyou,
    Wow, not at all(sarcasm works both ways I guess), I knew you were lost(therefore the advice). Once again, framed a little differently, people can make or break their own lives. If you aren’t born into means you had better decide to educate yourself or you WILL live life as if you were a leaf caught in a tornado. Foe example, there is a reason why OUSD tends to be toward the bottom of the list academically(while there are some great teachers and some good ones, there are also some who are inept,deficient in math, reading comprehension and generally in over their heads) right, Oakland teacher?

  • J.R.

    Inevitably, we hear “I have a degree or multiple degrees(they often turn out to be such relevant ones such as: Chicano studies,sociology,black studies, and animal sciences. If we did not have an educational system to teach these there would be no earning a living with them. Thank goodness for the notion of taxpayers and governmental make-work jobs,huh.

  • J.R.
  • Cranky Teacher

    The demographics of the protests Wednesday were actually much closer to those of Oakland than, say, the Iraq War protests. Many minority youth, many celebrated rappers on the stages, older minority leaders like Angela Davis, Native American leaders, etc. Many of the supporting unions have a lot more color than they would have in the 60s, when unions were still primarily white. And the reality, too, is that Oakland has become MUCH whiter in recent years.

    Of course, you don’t see the church folks coming out, that’s for sure. They are surely frightened by all the radical opinions be shouted.

    Contrary to popular belief, the most vulnerable in society are rarely the leaders of movements for change, initially — they simply have too much too lose. Emboldened by success, they can join in great numbers at key moments.

    From the American Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement, it was those with education and at least some economic means who were, as the commies used to say, the vanguard.

    I’m not an occupier, but I would have to say as a history buff that the movement has already succeeded in changing the national conversation(s), which is a huge victory in and of itself. Plus, it is educational: When my generally anti-intellectual students are grappling ON THEIR OWN TIME with trying to figure out the economics of globalization or debating protest tactics, rather than, say, discussing Kim Kardashian’s booty and/or divorce, that has to be seen as important.

    Or, as the song says, there’s something happening here. Of course, what it is, is not really clear.

  • J.R.

    What we have here is a misguided belief, and a faulty understanding of economic reality. Politicians don’t create or bring jobs, people who see an opportunity to make money create jobs. The government create make-work jobs that may or may not be necessary or even crucial. People who have never made education a priority or had children when they couldn’t even take care of themselves are the ones paying for those bad decisions now.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/03/MNCL1LQDFG.DTL&tsp=1

    You cannot save a person(or persons) hellbent by stupidity to fail(knowingly or unknowingly), from themselves. No one screws your life up for you, you do it to yourself(and if you then have kids, you have doomed them as well). It’s the truth!

  • Nextset

    JR is right.

    It’s no surprise that the educrats out of OUSD are drawn to the “Occupy” movement. They will take their schoolchildren with them literally or figuratively.

    It’s all part of the Brave New World. Lemmings.. No social mobility and an acceleration of racial & caste differences in the mortality tables.

    When the welfare state falls – and believe me, it will when the superinflation starts (and as it did in the collapse of the USSR and similar communist garden spots) these people will be taken off life support.

    But other people will survive just fine. Annoyed at changes maybe, but never in doubt of survival.

    I am looking forward to a Cain Administration. Old school black republicans are a trip. Never thought the country would become that desperate, though.

  • Nextset

    Nice comment by Michelle Malkin on Occupy Oakland:

    http://www.vdare.com/articles/occupy-oaklands-dangerous-strike-follies

  • J.R.

    Watch the special council meeting:

    http://oakland.legistar.com/calendar.aspx

    You will see all the damage, the harm caused to businesses, the businesses the are threatening to leave and the ones that are refusing to come to Oakland. This is the result of misguided thinking . These occupiers say that want jobs, but by their actions they are causing businesses hardship, which results in businesses leaving and with them go the jobs. That results in less tax revenue which means less money for schools. Does that clarify things? The kids are going to be hurt by this, not helped.

  • J.R.

    Good job OEA(that was sarcasm,FYI). Social and economic justice demonstrations = businesses leaving which = no jobs and less money for schools, just brilliant thinking!!!!

  • livegreen

    I have to agree with JR. I agree with the OO overall. But what’s happening is the costs are being left in Oakland. Both the peaceful & violent, since neither had a license and the cleanup costs for both were born by the City.

    In addition is the cost of both businesses & residents in DT. Imagine having moved into DT with a young family. You can’t get in or out, & the kids can’t sleep with loud booms going on all night.

    The final straw is all this chaos is then brushed aside by demonstrators as having been caused by the Police. Easy to transfer the blame demonstrators started by simply blaming everything on OPD. That’s it, explain away your responsibility by blaming it on somebody else.

    The Demonstrators need to find a way to work both with the City & with the Police. And when OPD says it’s time to disperse (either because you’ve violated City ordinances by blocking the public right of way for everybody else, setting fires, breaking into buildings, breaking windows, causing loud noises at 1am, destroying small businesses, etc., etc.) then its time to disperse.

  • Cranky Teacher

    “What we have here is a misguided belief, and a faulty understanding of economic reality. Politicians don’t create or bring jobs, people who see an opportunity to make money create jobs. The government create make-work jobs that may or may not be necessary or even crucial.”

    Simply baloney. Silicon valley exists because of government investment, from military tech to the Internet to subsidized universities providing the intellectual capital. Southern California was built with water provided by government. Government built freeway, dams and military industry drove our post-war boom.

    People turn history and economics into religions or oversimplified catechisms; Marxism, libertarianism, etc. — they all have interesting things to say, but the historical reality is much more complicated and messier, with enormous overlap between private business and public machinations.

    Learn your history: Japan, Germany and Britain all industrialized to become economic superpowers through massive government oversight, influence, investment and planning, subsidization, tax breaks and military and political support. And I haven’t even mentioned Keynes influence on the West. Now China, Singapore, Taiwan and so many others have blurred those lines in so many ways.

    I mean, fer crissakes, even downtown Oakland would still be the bomb zone it was when I was a kid if the govt. hadn’t completed the freeway, brought all those govt and UC jobs downtown, subsidized the rebuilding of the paramount and the fox, used redev monies for Le Cheval and the ice rink and all the rest that got the ball rolling.

    Govt spending is no panacea, for have some perspective.

    Also, JR, OUSD doesn’t receive money from local business or payroll taxes.

  • J.R.

    Cranky,
    Small businesses employ the overwhelming majority of workers in this country,state and city and they don’t have government contracts. As I said before, some government jobs are a necessity(and some are limited duration or scope). You are confusing silicon valley with the internet which came from universities. Microsoft,Apple,IBM and most of the valley companies are private enterprise companies bankrolled by investors. I know property taxes are used for education(I pay plenty myself)my point was If the businesses leave, then the jobs leave, and people lose jobs and then their homes(or even move to another city). There goes the property tax-base. Does that clear it up for you?

  • J.R.

    I am really forced to wonder how/why some teachers are so lost, is it because you have never worked in the real dog-eat-dog world? How can anyone be so insulated from reality?

  • Livegreen

    To clarify, JR’s comments I was agreeing with are #19. I agree w/Cranky re govt-private sector cooperation. I also agree with the spirit of OO & OWS. But for OO to work in Oakland and pay for the costs associated with both the Peaceful and Destructive parts of demonstrations.

    The costs to clean up, organize traffic, lost tax $, costs to law enforcement, etc. are why events require money and permit fees (including when they’re peaceful). The Unions that endorsed these demonstations are more flush in cash than the City. They should now contribute to helping clean up the damage.

    Otherwise it’s the other 99% of us who will, through either decreased service or higher taxes (in addition to less businesses & jobs).

  • Hmakesyouthink

    Wow J.R.,
    You are obviously inflicted by some deep down emotional angst that views anything different from your world view as a threat and thus must be relegated to the box of inferior.

    I will pray that your mind will broaden.

  • J.R.

    Makesyou,
    Wow, does that mean I should stop working,lose my home, and go on section 8,foodstamps, and welfare just to understand? I do understand, as a person who can be fired at any moment(and lose everything), and without any union to prevent it. In a work world of “perform or be replaced” I understand what it means to be without. My views are plenty broad, it’s just that I have no patience for people who want to take, without being productive(not counting child bearing, because that is the last thing non productive people should do).

  • Nextset

    It’s odd to me that teachers from schools who teach students to be unemployable want to take off from “work” to protest unemployment. They also seem to approve to taking the future unemployable kiddies along so that they can protest their future unemployablilty.

    Meanwhile the immigrants are doing (relatively) just fine. And I don’t seem to notice them in the demonstrations. They are too busy working.

    What a joke.

    The process of destroying these urban government schools must continue. Cut pay and layoff the teachers, drive them and the students off into the Charter Schools.

  • Luv To Teach In Oakland

    Nextset:

    Just Wondering! If you cut the pay and layoff the teachers, thus driving all the students off into Charter Schools, won’t the Charter Schools with all the students driven off to them, resemble Public Schools?

  • Nextset

    Not AIM. The Charters presumably would not rot from the core like the urban districts because they are independent of each other and competitive.

    This is similar to the USA as a whole. Those in power believe the States have no sovereignty and only exist as an administrative arm of the Federal Overlords. The USSR was run the same way. Roman Empire also. Rot creeps in to the central government and is freely distributed to bring the entire organism down. The US Constitution was specifically drafted to prevent this – but we all know what finally happened there.

    The reason the urban schools no longer function as schools include captive clients and rot starting from the school board to the super and teaching staff. The Charters will close as soon as they no longer are able to attract and keep the required number of students. At least that’s the general idea. That process keeps rot in check.

    Which is why complaining about AIM is so silly. The things the liberals hate about AIM is why the families have their kids there in the first place, including the alpha male Chavis. I remember public school friends (we had a few) complaining they and their families would never subject them to the mean old crazy Nuns – well, yeah. They wouldn’t last a month anyway. They weren’t supposed to be in our Catholic school. They weren’t good enough to make the cut. To each his own. But the urban public schools are no longer “good enough” for white children.

    The idea behind the creation of the Charters is the distruction of the urban school districts. Perhaps it was thought that the slum dwelling electorate just isn’t cognitively capable of electing a real school board for real schools anyway.

    You don’t see the same Charter movement in high IQ areas such as Piedmont, Belmont, Palo Alto etc.

    While I urge segregation of schools and students by abilitiy and aptitude I am concerned that we are now entering a period of USA history where we are not having a common civic background at all but rather a birth defined caste in which some people are not really Americans at all but rather some form of untouchables with their own mortality (short) and no social mobility. (Like India?) I don’t like a world where only some of the population understand they need to stop at a red light.

    Basically I believe the pre civil-rights movement 1960′s had far better promise for all including the blacks than what the USA is moving into now.

    I think things are about to get very bad – and the kiddies need to be prepared not indulged. The upper class (and the immigrants to some degree) are going to weather things ok. They are very much capable of wielding a shotgun in many different ways (like at their building in downtown Oakland). They can survive. You-know-who is really in for it.

    Too bad, so sad.

    PS: I’ve been around a long time. But now I am aware of people of substance having “vacation cabins”, having a whole lot of guns and ammo stashed (target shooting with their kids), having Kruggerands and Silver Coins stashed, and even stockpiling medical supplies. Since certain people never send their kids to urban public schools you people – urban school people – really will not be aware of what’s up. Smart money is not going to be unprepared. Maybe it’s just from the PSAs on TV about earthquake preparedness. Maybe it’s just seeing Rodney King and Katrina riots on TV. Smart money knows what is going to happen when the government loses it, and they will not be taken by surprise.

  • Sue

    We were at the protest last Wednesday. But oddly enough, our family doesn’t fit any of the stereotypes people here are posting about the protesters.

    Our 19-yo college student (the one with autism, and a GPA of 3.9) didn’t attend. He had classes, and wants to keep getting those A’s.

    Our 14-yo Skyline freshman wasn’t really interested in going. My husband and I decided to take him out of school and bring him with us after we found out that half of his teachers would be attending the protests.

    It was a better learning experience than a day spent with substitutes, and he enjoyed it mostly – although when hubby and I were singing along with some of the old protest songs, he was kind of embarrassed and moved a few feet away from us in the crowds. Hubby and others who protested Vietnam during the 70′s talked about their experiences, and when we spotted some of the black-block types we pointed them out, and explained their dress and why we needed to pay attention – we also observed peaceful protesters stopping a couple of incidents of violence/vandalism during the day.

    I’ve worked for a “major financial institution” for 20 years. Got my 20-year certificate last month (remember when companies used to give out gold watches?) and carried it with me that day, and apologized a number of times for “working for Satan”. It’s a funny joke, but also true.

    I don’t know what the current CEO is paid, but I know that the last one got $19million for his last year’s salary before he retired. I make 1/200th of that, and I seriously doubt that the CEO is contributing 200 times as much to the company’s profits as I do. I’m a computer systems engineer, and the application I support handles $20-30billion in transactions every day. But the bank’s tellers make maybe 1/3 to 1/4 what I do, and they are the faces that customers see every day – they should be better paid…

    My husband works part time at a local retail shop. The store was one of the main distribution points for fliers for the protest. His boss, the owner, closed the store in support, and paid her workers for the day anyway. He doesn’t normally work on Wednesdays, so he wasn’t paid. He was the full-time stay-at-home parent for 17 years, and went back to work when my 1-2% per year raises weren’t enough to keep up with the rising costs of living.

    A lot of people, not just the imagined stereotypes, are tired of the rich getting richer, and the rest of us getting a few crumbs – or getting “trickled” on. If that CEO gave up $20k per year, he wouldn’t even notice it. But an extra $20k would mean I could pay for college son’s special program for his extra autism supports, and he wouldn’t have $80k in student loan debt by the time he graduates. And younger son wouldn’t have to take out student loans either when it’s his turn.

    Our family could really use the money that the CEO wouldn’t even miss. That’s why we joined the protest.

  • J.R.

    There are so many problem in this district but no one has the backbone to get or give definitive answers.

    Why does a district with such a comparatively large budget cut the people who make schools what they are, and where is all that money going?

    Look here:

    excerpt- “What is the size of OUSD’s budget and how does it compare to other districts?

    OUSD’s total budgeted expenditures for 2009-10 are $616.6 million. Of that amount $118 million is restricted, which means it can only be used for designated purposes such as construction, insurance, and debt servicing, to name a few. The remaining $428.6 million comprises the General Fund.

    Of the $428.6 million in the General Fund, $252 million is unrestricted, meaning OUSD can use this money for a wide variety of purposes. Another $176.3 million of the General Fund is restricted, meaning OUSD has little discretion over how this money is spent because it comes with strings attached.

    Overall, OUSD’s budget is larger than those of most districts its size. This is due to the large amount of restricted or categorical funding that OUSD receives. Restricted and categorical funds are reserved for specific purposes determined by the state or other government entities.

    The most common kind of categorical funds are known as Title I funds. Title I funds are designed to provide services and support to low-income students. Consequently, districts with high rates of poverty typically receive more Title I monies. With 69 percent of OUSD’s student population qualifying for free and reduced lunch (one of the highest percentages in California), the District receives a greater share of Title I money than most school systems. The additional revenue OUSD receives in Title I and other categorical funds is used to provide critical service to some our most disadvantaged students, thereby helping to increase student achievement, social conditions, and the level of equity in our schools”.

    http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us/199410102104342143/blank/browse.asp?A=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&C=57082

    Oakland has over twice the budget of a majority of east bay districts, but is near the bottom in performance, why is that?

    We have a 30+ year old ed code written and passed by a democratic legislature(funded by guess which unions)that has forced burdensome rules upon us which foster mediocrity(which is what we have now, or worse).This system was designed to cater to the lowest common denominator(vis a vis productive vs unproductive) and as a result we are on the edge of financial oblivion.

    Where else does the money go?

    http://www.calchamber.com/pressreleases/pages/californiaeducationstudyrevealsdisturbingtrend.aspx

    Maybe Michael Moore, or better yet a fearless reporter could shine some light on this, as all the people who should be informing the public are apparently complicit in this outrageous scam.

    http://californiawatch.org/k-12/spending-far-equal-among-state-s-school-districts-analysis-finds-10567

    For those of you that blame charters, look at this:

    http://www.abetteroakland.com/how-should-ousd-respond-to-declining-enrollment/2011-03-02

  • Nextset

    Sue: I enjoyed reading your post, please keep us informed.

    But I have to say: The point you really make is that other people have a lot of money so you believe you have a right to take some of it for yourself – because it would please you to do so and you think you are such a good/better person you should have their money.

    This point is as opposed to thinking that you should be able to make more money yourself by doing something in the marketplace – or your taxes should be lowered, Or some other such expectation.

    I see people who think like you seem to be thinking, and they are in court on theft charges. It started with that feeling of entitlement. You should check that – it’s a dangerous way to be thinking.

    I have no problem with the position that we need to make some serious changes in the tax code. Perhaps we should discuss death taxes also – I am willing to consider the position that it is reasonable to (effectively) force wealthy to spend down or transfer wealth before dying to prevent the rise of an aristocracy beyond acceptable limits in this nation. And I even believe CA should adopt Oregon’s no self-serve gas station policy.

    I have a real problem with anyone saying that their CEO makes so much money they personally have the right to have some. If you don’t like your employment, resign and seek other options in the marketplace. Earn your own money. Teach your children to do the same.

    believe me, immigrants are doing just that. And there are a whole lot of ways to make money in this nation.

    Herman Cain said something about “if you’re poor in this nation it’s your own fault”.

    It hurts to hear it, but it’s true. Poor people are poor for distinct reasons. I’ve known poor and rich. I’ve known certain people go from poor to rich to poor in 3 generations. IQ has a lot to do with it, but discipline, control of one’s affections, and a healthy dose of not falling in love with a bunch of losers helps.

    We are in a period just preceding the real fall of the US. The middle class is on the way out. Violence is likely coming. It will be fascinating to see who comes out on top when the real change hits us. Still, we can more easily see who ends up on the bottom.

    Teach your students not to be on that bottom.

  • J.R.

    Factual edit,

    OUSD’s budget is apparently lower, $376 million(but still outstrips most districts in the east bay.

    I would also tend to agree with Nextset on the issue poor people. Just watch the public comment portion of the school board meetings and you will see/hear “You supposed to educate my child”(In truth an education is a participatory endeavor by parents and children, it isn’t something that is done to/for you. You will hear “we must have equity”, when the reality is many poor schools receive extra funding(title 1, ELA etc)As I said before, when education is at the top of parents,kids,politicians priority list our kids will excel, but not until then because an education must be strived for, cherished and earned.

  • Nextset

    JR: The first problem is that the school board and it’s officers have failed and neglected to tell the bad students and the bad families that they are just that.

    Flunk them out.

    Stop trying to “educate” them, stop trying to “fix” them. Stop making any excuses for them and stop trying to make them feel anything but shame for shameful performance.

    If you have a “student” that has not learned appropriate english and math skills despite the children around them in the same school learning those skills – perhaps the bottom 25% or whatever – flunk them and tell them to get themselves ready for work in the fields – or whatever other lawful menial labor is available for them. If they are good at song and dance maybe they can be the next Whitney Houston. But stop trying to teach remedial lessons to screw-ups who don’t want to learn anyway. Flunk them out and get them away from the normal kids into alternative and vocational schools. Yes, medical intervention might make the difference for a very few where the problem isn’t low IQ but rather a treatable brain chemistry problem. It would be nice to have medical screening for the screw-ups. Nice, but optional.

    And as far as their “families” go – you can tell them to take their kiddies with them and leave, to go elsewhere where they can find other people who care about them.

    It’s simple, really.

  • Harold

    Nextset: ““if you’re poor in this nation it’s your own fault””

    So, if my job was recently ship overseas and I burn up all my savings trying to pay the mortgage, that’s my fault?

    Really??

  • J.R.

    Harold,
    If you haven’t learned how to make yourself a valuable commodity and availed yourself of excellent educational opportunities, then it is your own doing(maybe -fault- is a little too harsh).If you have an education, and have skills that are in demand and learn how to do many things well, you will most likely be able to weather any storm. If a person views school as purely a social playground, and a place to kill time he/she will suffer the consequences before too long. Most of the poor(not all)peoples station in life(predicament) have been self induced in one way or another.

  • Nextset

    Harold: Yes. You should have (or did) see this coming and made plans accordingly.

    Is this such a hard concept for you?

    I’m not saying miscalculation/misfortune won’t strike me and mine next. Frankly, I have some relatives who are not going to end well. Friends also. Funny how freedom works – everybody does what they want to. It’s interesting to see who pays the bills in the end.

    The idea is that it’s better when you are required to lie in the bed you make. When government disrupts that by allowing people to take from others when they want (or “need” to) – you have far less caution, probity and good child rearing.

    Like when the (more or less) socialist presidency and congress created social security – Follow that up with divorce on demand and welfare entitlements you have 80% of blacks born out of wedlock (with white numbers climbing also but never so high). You also have elderly of all ethnics thinking the government is going to take care of them when they can’t work, as opposed to themselves & their children. In the end society becomes far more loosey goosey about how the kids are raised.

    That’s a thought. Would the people of Oakland have allowed OUSD to become such a disgrace if there were no social security and children and grandchildren were a principal source of old age support?

    When you, by legislation of any kind, insulate people from the consequences of their own decisions subtle and large – you get a LOT of bad behavior. By bad I don’t mean Penn State, I mean failure to hedge bets, to keep insurance, to maintain strong relationships like family, church, cult or whatever. Too much booze and Vicodin. Everyone can start thinking they really can do whatever feels good at the moment. Spouses and kids get neglected & discarded.

    It’s all an illusion created with printing press money.

    As far as burning up your savings trying to pay the mortgage – why would anybody do that? You are expected to sell the house you can’t afford to keep, or walk away from a purchase money mortgage. You are exected to move away to a place you could find work and could live within your means. You know, like in the Mid 1940s relocation from rural to industrial America. Or the Western Migration during the depression (family migrated as far west as St Louis then – for work).

    Harold, I’m not trying to make you feel especially bad. These concepts were taught in grade school when I was there. Things change – people move with the times. They also change occupations. Family does what it can to help family. I know a family that was run out of the United States in 1963 and made a nice living in Ghana till the heat died down and they returned to the states. There are plenty of such extreme examples in business and industry. You do what you have to and keep on living. Don’t expect the government to take care of you unless you enlist. And I had friends do that too. For the most part everybody lived to laugh about their bad times and grudgingly admit they had the times of their life and learned who their real friends were, and made new ones.

    It’s all just history repeating.

    A friend in municipal government told me a year ago that people don’t understand that these ARE the good years. There are terrible days coming. But the sun will still rise and many of us will endure. And we will have lived in interesting times. Just don’t wait for someone external to come and save you.

  • Sue

    @Nextset, Re: #33.

    Are you familiar with the psychological term “projection” or “projecting”? I ask because you apparently read my post, and then you projected your thinking, mindset and attitudes onto what I’d written. Your response wasn’t even remotely about my thinking or my ideas. It was all about you.

    I don’t think the CEO and the executives of any corporation (whether it’s the one I work for, or the one you work for, or the one that anyone else works for) should reward themselves excessively, and fail to equally reward the employees that are taking care of the customers and bringing in the company’s profits.

    Back in the “good old days” a CEO might be worth (i.e. receiving pay in the amount of) 20 or 30 times the lowest paid employees. Now we have CEOs who make 600 to 800 times as much as the lowest employees – that is my CEO and my bank tellers example above. That’s what is destroying the middle class.

    The 1% (CEOs and boards of directors) are taking more than their share, more than they bring in in customers and company profits – they’re being enormously short-sighted. A hundred years ago, Henry Ford is supposed to have responded to someone who criticized his decision to pay his workers $2 when the prevailing wage at the time was $1: “If I pay them less, then they can’t afford to buy one of my cars.”

    In my industry, banking/finance, when the bad times come and the middle class is all gone, who will be the customers? Poor people don’t use banks. And there won’t be very many rich people left who will still need banks… So, if we don’t find a way to correct the problems, the banks will fail.

    Remember back in the 80′s when Savings and Loans were deregulated? Today we have no S&L’s left. Since the passage of Gramm-Leach-Bliley deregulated banking, a whole lot of banks have gotten in trouble and gone under. Some are still in the process of failing.

    I’m a capitalist. I don’t want the banks to fail. I agree with your solutions, and I’d add repeal of Gramm-Leach-Bliley and reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, because well-regulated banks have a much better likelihood of staying in business. Even Newt Gingrich came out this week and agreed that repeal of Glass-Steagall was a mistake.

    I can’t speak for anyone else who participated in last week’s protest, but I was there because I want to find some way to force government to pass the necessary laws in time to prevent the “brave new world” you like to predict. The two ways I see of forcing government to act: A) hire lobbyists, B) huge waves of populist protests, like the one that ended the Vietnam war.

  • Nextset

    Sue: The problem with the banking industry is the FDIC and it’s insane guarantee of bank deposits.

    The taxpayers are on the hook while the corporate fat cats use the bank to speculate and skim off the money in the form of pay, bonuses and expense accounts. They flee when the bank fails and leave the mess for the taxpayers to clean up.

    FDIC coverage should never have been raised beyond modest amounts. The constant threat of a bank run would keep the banks conservative – and from growing too big. It would also force them to syndicate the larger loans. We do not need the big national banks and were better served by the larger number of state only banks. The housing bubble was made possible by the FDIC and government (congressional and executive branch) policy to push AA on the banks and force (incentivize) them to lend to unqualified borrowers. And as long as they were going to do it they arranged great paydays for their officers in the process.

    The same thing is happening again with the Student Loan bubble where irrational student loans are being made to people who have no intention and no prospects of ever paying them. All guaranteed by the taxpayers and generating fees and subsidized interest. The problem is not the concept of a student loan, it’s the concept of no (perceived) risk and immediate fee income for the bank. The default rates are climbing to historic highs and still the money train continues. Maybe 20% plus of our nations’ colleges should be closed, but the loan party keeps them going. For now. It will all fall down and go boom soon enough, and all the execs involved will have made off with the loot.

    Printing press money. Hell of a drug.

    The solution is election of a new conservative government and the roll back or shut down of the New Deal and Great Society Social schemes. It may take Calcutta levels of poverty and starvation to get the population to change their ways. Far more likely is the arrival of a police state required because of the printing press money.

    We know from history you can only print money so long before you have the big bang collapse. The money becomes worthless sometimes overnight. Then the point of a gun is required for the government to get anything done.

  • Sue

    Um, Nextset, I work in this industry. Have for more than 20 years. Your understanding of the situation is extremely shallow and limited.

    But I’m not going to continue hijacking this topic in a likely futile attempt to educate. Anyone who really wants to get it should start with Googling the two federal acts that I named above. After absorbing the contents of wikipedia, you’ll have about 10% of the info needed to really understand what’s going on. Keep reading! Keep learning!