May 2006 Archives

Administrative work pays

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Thanks to a raise SF State President Robert Corrigan’s annual paycheck is 1.5 times that of the governor of California.

The university president makes more than $260,000 a year, while Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would have received $175,000, had he chosen to accept his salary.

In October 2005, the California State University Board of Trustees gave 23 state university presidents 3 percent to 23 percent salary increases. Many of them also received increases in their housing and car allowances.

Corrigan received a 13.2 percent salary increase of $30,456, as well as an annual $60,000 housing allowance, a 63 percent increase from last year. His annual car allowance increased by 33 percent and is $12,000 this year.

“The university is being run under a corporate model. You have campus presidents that are acting like CEOs,” said labor studies major Joseph Jelincic, who volunteers for the SF State California State University Employees Union chapter.

Corrigan declined to comment on his executive pay and benefits.

While the board of trustees says competitive salaries will help CSU attract and retain competent administrators, detractors like Jelincic argue that the money should be used to increase faculty and staff salaries and to create more courses required for graduation.

But according to CSU Assistant Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Claudia Keith, every CSU employee is being paid below market rate compared to similar state institutions.

“Our administration on the whole, they haven’t gotten large increases,” Keith said, adding that this was also true for faculty and staff.

CSU Chico President Paul Zingg who received a $32,748 salary increase returned part of his raise to students through two new presidential scholarships.

“It shows that some people still have a soul for the institution,” said Linda Ellis, SF State chapter president for the CSU California Faculty Association.

Lee Blitch, SF State vice president for university advancement makes $225,000 a year. Other top administrators – Provost John Gemello; Leroy Morishita, vice president of administration and finance; and Penny Saffold, vice president of student affairs, each earn $185,184 annually.

They did not respond to questions regarding executive salaries.

Many SF State employees say it is unfair for administrators to make so much money and receive hefty raises when faculty and staff were given minimal salary increases in the past five years.

CSU faculty members had an average 3 percent salary increase in 2002, a 0.8 percent increase in 2003, and a 3.5 percent increase in 2005, according to the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

For the 2005-2006 academic year, a CSU professor made an average of $86,000, 22.6 percent less than professors from other comparable universities in the country, according to CPEC. The CSU faculty salaries were compared to figures from 20 other institutions such as Georgia State University, Cleveland State University, and Arizona State University.

CSU assistant professors made an average of $57,000, while instructors at other state institutions made $62,000. For the 2005-2006 academic year, the salary disparity between CSU and other state university faculty was 16.8 percent. The education commission said the faculty salary difference is projected to increase by 18 percent next year.

“They are going to jump ship if the salary is not competitive,” CPEC Executive Director Murray Haberman said about instructors leaving CSU for other institutions that pay faculty more.

He also said the high cost of housing in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and certain parts of California might deter instructors from teaching at CSU.

Russell Kilday-Hicks, president for the SF State California State University Employees Union chapter, said staff members are demoralized by low salaries and minimal raises.

After no salary increase for three years, bargaining units for Health Care Support (Unit 2), Operations and Support Services (Unit 5), Clerical and Administrative Support Services (Unit 7) and Technical and Support Services (Unit 9) received 3.5 percent to 4 percent raises for the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

SF State cinema professor Steve Kovacs said all university employees should be given equal salary increases, and not just administrators.

“I have absolutely no respect for the trustees,” Kovacs said. “They reward the administration at the expense of faculty and the education mission of the university.”

Many SF State students say funds for the president’s pay raise should have been used to create more course sections and programs for students.

Every semester thousands of students are unable to enroll in classes required for graduation due to budget constraints – there are not enough funds to employ more instructors, said Kilday-Hicks, SF State CSUEU chapter president.

SF State business student Kavita Sharma said she was lucky to be accepted in English 114 during her sophomore year. Her late enrollment in the prerequisite language course delayed her graduation by a year.

In addition, undergraduate student fees have increased by 38 percent since 2000, based on figures from SF State’s Office of University and Budget Planning.

Sharma, 19, said she is angry with the administration’s pay raise.

“I’m paying to go to school, but it’s going to their income increases,” she said.


Faculty Salary Difference
between California State University and similar state institutions*
2001-02 - 7.9 %
2002-03 - 10.6 %
2003-04 - 11.6 %
2004-05 - 12.7 %
2005-06 - 16.8 %
2006-07 - 18 %**

Faculty Salary Increase
2001-02 - 3.2 %
2002-03 - 3.0 %
2003-04 - 0.8 %
2004-05 - 0.0 %
2005-06 - 3.5 %

*Comparison institutions such as Arizona State University, Cleveland State University, Georgia State University and 17 other universities

**Projected figure

Source: California Postsecondary Education Commission

Graduating Even More Satisfying For Parents

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Walking hand and hand with your son or daughter makes graduation a little bit more sweet—the icing on the cake.

For some students the burden of education and taking care of a family is too much to withstand. But for several students at SF State, perseverance, encouragement and a center would be the remedy to all ailments.

About 100 people were in attendance at the 5th Annual Student Parent Graduation in the Science Technology and Theme building at SF State. The event was hosted by SF State's Stay-In-School Family Resource Center, which captured and framed the sheer joy of graduation.

“I’m very enthused. I feel like I can go out there and be a good role model for my son and the African-American community," said 48-year-old sociology graduate, Herbert Hatcher.

The celebration was full of excitement. From jamming keyboard pianos, tearful testimonial speeches, food and an emotional singing performance—the graduation was a hit with all in attendance.

“I think it was beautiful, everything came together very well. It was touching for the graduates and the guests that attended," said Kelly Komasa, program coordinator of the San Francisco Urban Institute and the Family Resource Center.

Jenny Negron, a graduate from the Child and Adolescent Development program couldn’t hold in her tears of joy when she spoke about her journey through school while raising a son.

“To my son, I love so very much, you changed my life,” said Negron. Her son would eventually run to the stand and grasp her leg with a hug.

“And for the kids out there I want to let them know they can do whatever they want. With every struggle there is a goal to achieve.”

Author, activist and teacher Elizabeth Martinez, the keynote speaker, showed her appreciation by delivering a speech to the graduates about becoming the next role models in the fight for fairness in the United States.

“This event is the all time best and unique that I have attended and I’m not just saying that,” said Martinez.

The 2005 nominee of the Nobel Peace Prize referred to the immigration debate and told the audience that minorities should aligned together to start the next revolution.

The Stay-In-School Family Resource Center is dedicated to serve and provide support, advocacy and services for low-income CalWORKs and all student parents to fulfill their goal of achieving a college degree.

“The center gives us (student-parents) a chance to focus on our studies and also motivates us to continue with our education,” said Hatcher.

Still working on her thesis, soon-to-be masters graduate Deanna Sklovsky said the Family Resource Center is an excellent program that she stumbled upon while using their room for nursing.

“(Family Resource Center) sets the right path for student-parents on their future,” said Sklovsky. “This program is needed on all campuses because many women and people with children need the services that they provide.”

Diana Spatz and Roma Guy were leaders in creating the Family Resource Center. With SF State’s student population growing, Guy and Spatz advocated with CalWORKs and the Department of Health Service to establish the center in 1998.

The Stay-In-School Family Resource is located in room 120 of the HSS building.

Up to 200 activists, along with city leaders, gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall to shine light, literally, in support of an ordinance that would make San Francisco the largest publicly owned clean power system in the world.

Attendees showed up fully equipped with mirrors - which they directed at the building - creating little beams of sunlight, in an effort to raise awareness of the need for the first citywide, citizen-driven green energy program in the nation.

The rally, which took place on May 15, at noon, was organized by the Community Choice Energy Alliance, which is a collaboration of some of the nation’s largest environmental groups, including Greenpeace, Local Power, Our City, Sierra Club, and over a dozen other organizations that formed to implement the initiative.

“This is a groundbreaking initiative that will give people the choice to choose where their energy comes from.” said Samantha Rodgers, Greenpeace Clean Energy Now campaigner. “It is something that San Francisco voters have repeatedly called for, and it will make San Francisco a world leader in clean energy.”

The plan - drafted by Local Power, an East Bay organization, and finalized over the past year by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) - will use solar, wind, and energy efficiency to supply a percentage of the city’s energy. The goal is to meet over half the city’s energy needs by 2017.

“To say the least, this is a historical occasion with the possibility and probability of weaning San Francisco off of oil and harness the power of the sun and the wind,” said Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco supervisor, in a brief speech. “All of it makes me feel the future is so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades.”

The crowd at the event ranged from businessmen to students, who received free T-shirts that read, “Clean Energy Now - It’s the Community’s Choice.”

Eric Eagon, an international studies major at the University of Wisconsin, flew out specifically to attend the event after seeing it publicized on the Internet.

“I’m here because I think it is important to raise awareness and show that clean energy is available, said Eagon. “San Francisco is a model for others to follow.”

San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano, and General Manager of SFPUC Susan Leal, also made speeches in support of the initiative.

“We need to move forward and get out from under the monopoly,” said Leal, in reference to PG&E.

According to Sierra Club organizer Lindsey Hodel, the initiative just received a $5 million start up budget by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on May 3.

“That was a huge victory, and we want to thank him (Newsom) and the other city leaders for being so responsive about the environment,” said Hodel.

According to a recent announcement by Newsom, the plan is expected to go before the Board of Supervisors sometime in June. The program, funded by energy bonds, will offer rates equal to, or lower than, those currently offered by PG&E.

“This is not only an opportunity for clean energy, but it is a chance to stabilize rates,” said Tony Winnicker, director of communications for SFPUC. “It’s not just about price, but stability of rates, particularly over time,”

Beverly Varvour, former resident of San Francisco, said she hopes this is just the beginning of the breakdown of the alleged PG&E monopoly.

“Look what they did to us during the energy crisis,” said Varvour. “I’m disgusted with PG&E, and I think the citizens ought to be too, but many people are too concerned with convenience to see the future. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction toward changing that.”

A Different Theory on the Earthquake of 1906

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Author Stephen Tobriner spoke about his new book, "Bracing for Disaster: Earthquake-Resistant Architecture and Engineering in San Francisco, 1838-1933," which came out in April to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the biggest and most devastating natural disaster to occur in San Francisco, the Earthquake of 1906.

Torbiner discussed his latest work in front of around 30 guests at the "Friends of J. Paul Leonard Library" annual meeting at SF State, which took place in the Science building, room 270, at around 2 p.m., on May 11.

“There was a 40-year history of earthquake-resistant building design in San Francisco before 1906,” said Tobriner, professor of architectural history at the University of California, Berkeley.

Tobriner said the whole point of his book is that the rampant subsequent fires, and not the earthquake, caused the most damage to the city, which he added is in direct opposition to some journalistic and historical perspectives.

According to Tobriner, only 10 to 15 percent of the damage was earthquake related, and less than one percent of the population in San Francisco died in the actual earthquake.

To reinforce his thesis, Tobriner displayed many pictures and graphs of the architecture in San Francisco before and after the earthquake and fires of 1906.

Torbiner covered topics, such as his assessment about what really happened in the city’s earthquake, which structures endured the earthquake and the reasoning behind their survival.

One attendee weighed in on Tobriner's book.

Urban Whitaker, a member of the Board of Directors of the J. Paul Leonard Committee, said Tobriner's theory had
"lots of good evidence to back it up.”

Most in attendance were part of the committee, however, the meetings - which are designed to finding ways to raise funds to support the library - are opened to the public.

“Membership to the committee is open to anyone including students,” said Robert Cherny, history professor at SF State.

Tobriner's book was available for purchase during the reception following the presentation at around 4 p.m.

Art Professors Say Goodbye to SF State

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Several SF State art professors have announced retirement this semester, leaving legacies beyond the confines of their studios.

Standing behind her weaving loom with classical music playing in the background, Candace Crockett's face remained solemn. Leaving with 30 years of memories, the art department chair knows it's time to move on.

“I think it’s time for somebody else to come in,” Crockett, 61, said.

Born in Colorado, Crockett attended Reed College and Portland State University before attending graduate school at San Jose State University.

Crockett currently teaches Textiles 2 and Textiles 3, which gives training in basic weaving techniques using four harness looms.

Sitting in front of her huge masterpiece weaving in her office, she recalled her years at SF State.

“It’s changed, and it’s stayed the same,” Crockett said with a smile. “We lost the sunset when the Humanities building went up.”

She remembered the Loma Prieta earthquake well. She said she was talking on the first floor of the building, when the filing cabinets starting tilting in front of her.

“It sounded like an erector set,” she said of the noise.

She’ll miss her students, however. “I probably learn as much from them as they do from me,” she said. “In some ways, the students have been the best part. SF State students have lots of energy, lots of good things going.”

Her plans include spending time in her studio and splitting her time here and in Europe, at her house in Italy.

Another retiring member of SF State is 63-year-old Whitney Chadwick, a professor of art. A San Francisco resident, Chadwick began teaching at SF State in 1978.

"The campus has grown over the years," Chadwick said.

Chadwick teaches art history, and will miss her students.

"The diversity of San Francisco State students is remarkable," she said. "I'll miss the contact with the students. I'll miss their ideas and ways of looking at things."

Chadwick doesn't look at retiring as the end, but an opportunity to pursue her writing and other projects.

"I don't think of myself as retiring," she said. "I see myself as shifting focus."

Cherie Raciti is a retiring professor of art and painting. She has spent years alternating her time between painting and sculpture.

During the 1970s and 80s, Raciti produced several outdoor and indoor installations on walls in abandoned lots, alternative art spaces, as well as in galleries and museums. They were all focused on material presence, process and color.

Leonard Hunter is a professor of art and sculpture who will be leaving the SF State family in four years, but is switching to a part-time position as of next semester.

Hunter attended the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Architecture and the University of California Department of Art, where he received is master's of fine arts degree. He has spent a large portion of his professional life involved in large public commissions and has been active in many arts organizations. Hunter has served on hundreds of juries throughout the country for various agencies.

Hunter's work in architecture-based, and uses a wide array of techniques and materials. He has taught beginner levels through graduate levels at SF State.

Pedal Revolution

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Painted with colorful neighborhood murals, Pedal Revolution looks like other Mission District buildings — but going beyond its cheap parts and quick repairs, it is not your typical bike shop.

Pedal Revolution is a full-service shop whose greater mission lies in teaching disadvantaged youth skills to build a bike, and in turn, to better their lives.

“It’ll take the kids a few weeks (to get the hang of building a bike),” said shop manager and former Pro-Am road racer Elijah Pfister, 28. He said while some may never fully master building a bike, the kids still benefit from it.

“Any kind of exposure of a quality situation changes their lives in some way,” he said as a toddler zipped by unsteadily on a yellow bike with training wheels, sporting a 'Harley-Davidson' sticker on the handlebars.

Located at 3085 21st Street, Pedal Revolution employs up to 10 interns each year, between the ages of 15 to 24 years old. By the time their six-month internship with the shop ends, many have also gained experience in sales and customer service.

But Pfister pointed out that building a bike is not as easy as it sounds. “It’s not always the case like when you see somebody hit the ball out of the park,” he said.

Pfister said Pedal Revolution was started out of a trash closet, and pointed to an alcove portion of the wall in the shop.

Now run by the non-profit Golden Gate Community, Inc., Pedal Revolution offers new and used bike parts. The shop was started under Youth Industries at a warehouse next door as a drop-in center for underprivileged kids.

Today, Pedal Revolution gets the word out throughout the city for interested kids and bikers.

“Other bike shops directed me here for used parts,” said Swarup Henderson, 33, from San Francisco. He said he builds bikes frequently. “I’m always working on different projects for friends to know what’s out there whenever they need it.”

Returning from a test drive of a road bike, Ben Brower, 35, from San Francisco said it wasn’t the first time he’s been to the shop.

“I bought a bike a few years ago for the AIDS walk and it was pink and it was 300 bucks and it was awesome,” said Brower, out of breath. “They did a good job setting it up and everything.”

The employees are often in a hurry and don’t make much effort to be polite, but their rough demeanor can’t be mistaken for their efficiency at fixing bikes and an ability to help kids.

Pfister said he found himself at the bike shop by happenstance.

“I didn’t have a typical path,” he said. “I wanted to work with a population of kids that I saw myself in.”

Thirty bucks a year gets a rider's membership and access to all the tools they need to fix their bike. Pedal Revolution also takes in used bikes, and gives tax cuts to people who donate them.

The shop also offers free repair classes, which teach the basics of bike maintenance, flat repairs and other skills.

Clinics run every other Sunday, with the next one scheduled for May 21 at 5:30 p.m.

The Governing Board

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In room T-161 on the Terrace Level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, members of the center’s Governing Board sit in their headquarters where they facilitate the operations of the building.

The Student Center Governing Board, according to their Web site, “are responsible for all facets of the Cesar Chavez Student Center: its facilities, services, and programs. From approving new murals on the building, to working on vendor leases, to deciding which services the Student Center provides…”

“We are a board that oversees functions, set forth policy and a vision for the Student Center,” said board member Chris Jackson.

The SCGB is a non-profit that is made up of students, five of which are elected by the general student population every two years and the three other students are appointed by Associated Students Inc. The rest of the board consists of SF State faculty, administration and alumni.

The SCGB breaks down into six smaller sub committees that take a more in depth look into the different aspects that constitute the Student Center. The committees are Community Relations, Finance, Human Resources, Master Plan, Rules and Vendor Services, according to the SCGB Web site.

The board holds meetings the first Thursday of every month and are always open to the public. Meeting times and their agendas are posted near the Center’s business offices in the lower conference level.

“We invite any students or persons related to the university to come to the meetings,” said Amrah Salomon Johnson, 28, the finance chair of the Governing Board. “Any person can bring something in writing to the meetings and it will be handed over to the Chair for review,” she added.

In the past weeks the SCGB has come under some scrutiny for their decision to close the Student Center on May 1 in recognition of the economic boycott in support of the country’s immigrant population. In their May 4 meeting, some students accused the board of wasting student money and violating IRS requirements that state that a non-profit organization cannot close their facilities due to political reasons.

Members of Concerned Students for Reform, a bi-partisan group that formed in response to the closure, hope to find the governing board accountable. Leigh Wolf, 21, president of the group, said that they will continue to follow up on the IRS statements.

Members of the board said that the SCGB decided to close the Student Center as an educational service to the campus community. They said that the action that they took on May 1 was an effective way to let as many students as possible conscious of the events of that day.

“That was an educational endeavor,” said Jackson. “We all stand by our decision,” added the 23-year-old speech and communication studies major.

Carl Clark, 21, president of the College Republicans, called their reasoning “ridiculous,” and said that they wouldn’t have objected to the closing if there had been an educational forum on immigration.

Johnson said she thought it was a human rights question not a political one and that it was “the duty of the Student Center to make students aware of the immigration issue.”

As for the accusation of wasting thousands of dollars in students’ money both Jackson and Johnson explained that not all the money for the Student Center is gathered from student fees.

The Student Center receives 63 percent of its revenue from student fees, 34 percent comes operating revenue and 3 percent comes from interest from the two stock investment plans the center holds, according to financial information provided by the SCGB.

Students pay a fee $62 every semester that goes to the student center.

SF State Celebrates 40 Years of Study Abroad

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The Office of International Programs (OIP) held its 40th annual "End-of-the-Year International Education Ceremony and Reception" to honor SF State students who were selected to study abroad, and the international exchange students who have successfully completed their program at the university.

Over 170 students and parents filled the seats of the McKenna Theatre in the Creative Arts building - at around 2:30 p.m., on May 10 - to hear speeches from SF State President Robert Corrigan, Coordinator of Study Abroad and International Exchange Programs (IEP) My Yarabinec, and students from the International Education Exchange Council (IEEC).

The honorees were awarded certificates stating that they were chosen to participate in the study abroad program.

2006 was declared the year of study abroad with SF State leading the 23 CSU (California State University) campuses.

The OIP is sending over 250 students abroad from 2006 to 2007, which is the largest group of SF State students to be sent overseas, according to IEP Advisor Marisa Thigpen.

Thigpen accounts marketing for the success of IEP at SF State.

“We are starting early,” said Marisa Thigpen, IEP advisor. “We’re making a strong commitment making sure everyone knows about it.”

Thigpen has been part of the exchange program for three years and said the best way to get students to know about the program is to start at the dorms when students are freshman.

Thigpen spent a year abroad in Germany and highly recommends it to other students.

“It will be the best year of their life,” Thigpen said. "It changes them. It makes them more confident, articulate and adventurous."

According to President Corrigan, SF State has the largest amount of students who come from other countries to study at the university.

Design major Dan Harvey, 21, is one of many students who came to study at SF State from London. He has spent close to a year at the university and said he plans on returning to San Francisco.

“I am sad to leave,” Harvey said. “I am trying to get a green card so I can work out here.”

The exchange program currently spans 15 countries, ranging from Denmark to Ghana.

There are two different programs which students can choose to apply for.

The first is the International Program (IP), which is an academic program which lasts for a year. All the classes taken are counted as college credit. Student are required to take 15 units per semester.

“They really stress the academic program,” said Danielle Mayer, 21, liberal studies major.

The second program is a bilateral program which is one semester long and is taught in English by professors in the chosen country.

Mayer said one of the things she likes about the program is they do not find housing for you.

“They don’t do everything for you, it’s very valuable," she added.

The Co-Chair of the IEEC Osilone Abebe said it is important for students to have an understanding of what goes on in the world around them.

“It puts you above the rest with independence,” Abebe said.

Harvey said it is very important to travel to other countries while students are still in college.

“You must (travel) while you’re young,” Harvey said. “It gives you a great experience to get out of your comfort zone. You must see the world."

Contesting Traffic Tickets

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Around 10 SF State students came to the Business building with traffic tickets in hand, hoping to find help on how to deal with their pricey fines.

The Student Legal Resource Center (SLRC) - an Associated Students program that offers free legal information, resources and referrals to the campus community - hosted, "Fight Your Traffic Ticket," a workshop featuring traffic attorney Sherry Gendelman.

According to Gendelman, the most common reasons people get tickets are speeding, running red lights and stop signs, and a lesser known offense - driving a child without a seat belt.

"The thing that has been astounding to me as I teach this class is how little people know about what their basic rights are," Gendelman said.

The workshop, located in BUS 104 at 4 p.m., covered topics such as reading and contesting citations, appealing court rulings, wearing appropriate dress attire in court, and options for paying fines.

Alonzo Jones, director of the (SLRC), said that a "tremendous increase" in the amount of students who have come in with traffic-related issues prompted the need for such a workshop.

Raymon Panlilio, 26, a biology major, said he received two moving violations in the past month, totaling up to $300.

"I have two court dates coming up, and I want any information that might help me get me out of it," Panlilio said.

Another student said commuting causes her to get a lot of traffic tickets.

"I get a lot of tickets because I drive back and forth from San Jose everyday,” said Phuong Truong, psychology senior.

Traffic laws, while they are not crimes, are considered infractions, a breaking of a minor law that is not punishable by imprisonment, such as overstaying a meter or speeding.

And although Gendelman acknowledged that the police have the responsibility and right to police the roads and to enforce the vehicle codes, she said that knowing one's rights can be a definite advantage if one is confronted with an intimidating situation.

Gendelman suggested that when stopped by the police for a moving violation, the less evidence a driver provides, the more he/she is protecting his/herself.

"So when the police approach you and say to you, 'Do you know why I pulled you over,' they want you to confess to what you have done," Gendelman said. "Say as politely as you can, 'Officer, here's my registration, insurance and ID,' and nothing else. It is your constitutional right to remain silent."

While traffic school is a popular alternative to going to court, Gendelman said that there is “only a benefit if you go to court” because in San Francisco, most citations will be significantly reduced.

Students said the workshop taught them a lot about dealing with traffic tickets.

"It's always good to know to learn your rights," Truong said. "I learned so much more than what I came for. So now, if I'm ever stopped, I know what to do."

Gendelman teaches the same class at San Francisco's Hall of Justice once a month.

As part of the Traffic Division of the San Francisco Superior Court Self Help Center, free classes are offered to the public. They are intended to make the courts more accessible or user friendly, as well as to prepare people on how to conduct themselves and how to prepare a defense against their violation.

Gendelman insists that her class is not aimed at helping people simply find ways to get out of their tickets, but rather, to inform them on how to exercise their rights.

“I love telling people how to defend themselves,” Gendelman said.

The next “Fight Your Traffic Ticket” workshop will be held on Wednesday, May 24 at 5:30 p.m., in San Francisco's Hall of Justice.

Culinary Program Helps Give Jobs

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Two aspects of life in San Francisco, an abundance of people without homes or jobs, and a bustling economy in the restaurant and food service industry, have been combined as part of San Francisco’s 10-year plan to abolish chronic homelessness.

The Episcopal Community Services, a shelter and social service organization, created the CHEFS program to teach homeless people the skills needed to work in a professional kitchen.

CHEFS, which stands for Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Service, was created in 1998 as part of ECS’s skills center for adult education and job-training. The program provides three months of instruction in food safety, sanitation, knife skills, teamwork, and cooking techniques. After the in-house training, students are placed in a three-month internship in a professional kitchen where they practice and build upon their skills.

There are generally between 15 and 30 students in each course. The dropout rate is high, since the intensive training session can be difficult for some to adjust to, according to Sandra Marilyn, the manager of employment and training for ECS. All students must be homeless to be eligible, and many are struggling with substance abuse or other disabilities.

West Chumley, an energetic man with a warm smile, was a hairdresser in his hometown of Houston, Texas for 17 years before finding himself in San Francisco with $900 to his name, a suitcase of clothes, and living on the streets. After his training with CHEFS, he has secured a job at Zingari Ristorante in the Donatello Hotel downtown, and now volunteers to help current students in the program.

“I’ve seen the effect this program can have on people first hand,” Chumley said. “Not all the people who start make it through, but I know people that went from having nothing to making 18 or 19 dollars an hour in a kitchen.”

Executive chef Bill Taylor, a seasoned veteran of San Francisco’s restaurant, instructs students with the help of a part-time chef instructor.

“Bill has worked everywhere in the city,” Marilyn said. “He brings talent and a wide variety of experience to the program.”

All food that is prepared by students is donated by the food bank and is served to other people involved in the skills center at ECS or to people who live in the shelters. Chumley estimates that the students prepare about 250 meals a week.

Using only donated food can provide valuable lessons to the students in how to make decent meals without having every desired ingredient available. Sometimes student cooks need to figure out what to do with an over abundance of a particular ingredient, just like a professional kitchen.

“Sometimes you have to come up with 150 different ways to cook potatoes if that is what is donated,” Chumley said. “We are very serious about the food. The ingredients may not be the best, but we still want to make good meals.”

In addition to instruction by Taylor, CHEFS invites professional chefs industry professionals to be guest lectures. Eric Tucker, executive chef of the posh vegetarian restaurant Millennium, has been involved in the program for several years.

“As an instructor who has worked with the students, I can vouch for the program offering tangible job skills in the food service industry, as well as giving the students confidence in themselves,” Tucker said. “It must continue.”

Graduation Routed in Rituals

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As you don your cap and gown this graduation day you may wonder what an unflattering polyester muumuu, square cardboard head gear, and long speeches have to do with academia. As it turns out, they may have more to do with America's traditional British roots than anything else.

Baccalaureate: The ceremony probably dates back to 1432 when Oxford University passed a statute requiring all bachelors to deliver a speech in Latin.

Diploma: The concept of receiving a degree for completing an established curriculum originated in Islamic culture. The earliest degrees were written on sheepskin, a tradition that continued until about 100 years ago.

Gown: Both the traditional cap and the traditional gown date back to England around the 12th century and have both religious and academic significance. It is thought that when universities were spreading across Europe most did not have their own buildings and instead held classes in local churches. Gowns were the traditional garb for clerics and because most students and teachers were also clerics, the gown was adopted as appropriate dress for scholars as well.

Cap: Theories regarding the origins of the cap are more speculative. Some believe that the square shape of the cap is supposed to symbolize a book, while others believe that it symbolizes a mortar board.

Tassel: The tassel is to be worn on the right before receiving a diploma. Once the diploma is received, or before the graduate steps off the stage, the tassel is to be switched to the left side. This is meant to signify progression from one stage of life to the next.

Biking Group Battles Gas Prices

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Because of the laundry list of expenses that come with owning a car, junior Chris Wachter said he would love to drive his vehicle off a cliff.

“If there was a bike at the end of the cliff, I’d be really happy,” said the 20-year-old English major, who said insurance and gas prices for his 2000 Hyundai Accent are through the roof.

Wachter’s got the right idea for this week’s 12th Annual California Bike Commute Week.

Organizers are urging people from all over the state to help save the environment, get in shape and save money by riding their bicycles instead of their cars. The week consists of several local 'Bike to Work' days and May 18 is San Francisco’s turn.

“'Bike to Work Day' is a day dedicated to using alternative modes of transportation to get around,” said Cole Portocarrero, the event coordinator for the Bay Area Bicycling Coalition.

The Bay Area Coalition has held several events this week and California’s commute week is the largest of its kind in the nation, according to its Web site. Its purpose is to promote bicycling as an environmentally friendly and healthy form of transportation.

Portocarrero stresses that biking should not be seen only as a leisure activity, but as a way to get around. “We want people to get on a bike and experience what bicycling has to offer,” she said.

The hope is that once people try commuting by bike once, they’ll be hooked.

All it took for Avi Megiddo to get hooked was a near-death car accident he experienced last year. Since then he has been “happily car-less.”

“For me, every day is bike day,” said the 29-year-old graduate student. Megiddo, who is enrolled in the teacher credential program at SF State, teaches at a private high school in the Sunset district. For him, the bike ride also equals a great time-saver.

“I used to get all the tickets and waste my time finding parking,” he said. Now he can avoid the road rage and cruise on by as car drivers wait.

“You can get around a crowd real fast,” agrees Emily Chambliss, 19, a sophomore who is studying psychology. “Biking is faster and you get a work out.”

Chambliss rides her bike to school, but not to work. Biking to work would mean trying to haul her bike onto BART, which she said places time restrictions on bikes. But for the sake of today, she’s considering taking it on BART.

Although she also owns a car, Chambliss rides to campus because she lives so close to school. Switching back and forth helps her tank of gas last a little bit longer.

“Gas prices are bad, biking is good,” she said.

Portocarrero said people do seem to be getting really frustrated with the rising price of petrol.

“They should ride bikes not only to save them some money, but also to make it a point to show the government that this is not acceptable,” she said about the high cost of gas.

Not only does biking save money and serve as a good way to exercise, it’s also environmentally friendly. Global warming issues are putting the heat on everyone to do their part, and biking to work is one way of keeping pollution and smog under control.

This commute week is actually held as apart of the national bike commuting week campaign, National Bike Month and the American Lung Association's Clean Air Month.

Senior Will Gurin, 22, is a geography major who specializes in climatology.

Unfortunately, he can’t participate today because he doesn’t own a bike, but he supports the idea behind 'Bike to Work Week' because it helps to see other people biking instead of driving.

Gurin says more needs to be done to bring attention to global warming.

“It’s just going to get worse,” said Gurin.

British Health Outweighs US

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The assumption could be made that Americans would be at least as healthy as their British counterparts considering that we spend twice as much on per capita health care. Instead, wealthy middle-aged white Americans are about as healthy as the poorest Britons.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Americans had much higher instances of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and other life threatening diseases.

“Americans are much sicker than the British,” wrote Michael Marmot in the conclusion of the published study.

While Americans spend $5,274 per person on health care per year, Britons spend on average $2,164 per person. Yet, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease rates were at least twice as high in the United States.

The study looked at white, non-Latino, Americans and Britons between the ages of 55 and 64 who were at varying socioeconomic levels.

SF State health education professor Ramon Castellblanch took issue with the researchers’ methodology.

“It’s an odd way to do a study,” said Castellblanch. “Your saying that non-Latino Caucasians are the only people who are important.”

The researchers contended in the study that they only looked at middle-aged white people in order to counter any argument that health discrepancies were based on racial differences in the two countries.

Castellblanch said there have been other studies and indicators that have shown that British people are healthier than Americans.

Two such indicators are longevity and infant mortality, both of which are better in Britain, according to the Organisation [sic] for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In fact, the United States ranks 29th in the world for life expectancy.

Castellblanch pointed to several possible factors for the relatively poor health of Americans.

“You can start with the fact that they have universal health care and we don’t,” he said.

“But, something else is going on besides the health care system and other things that you can easily put your finger on,” Castellblanch said, suggesting that a person’s overall sense of well-being and security are also extremely important factors when it comes to leading a healthy life.

SF State holistic health professor Erik Peper agrees that lifestyle is extremely important to health.

“We live in a culture of malnutrition,” Peper said. “We have a super abundance of food with many micro-nutrients missing.”

Peper thinks that Americans’ physical immobility and lack of social support networks also contribute to our poor health.

Peper added a lighthearted quote that he uses to open his holistic health class at SF State.

“It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies: The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians or Americans. The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians or Americans. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians or Americans. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadian or Americans. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausage and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians or Americans.

"CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.”

Looking For a Way to Stay Longer

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With so many options and graduation right around the corner, marriage is just another idea for Sevin Yurdatap, an international student from Turkey.

Aside from completing their education, international students have yet another thing to worry about: finding a way to stay here longer.

Yurdatap, 25, will be graduating from SF State on May 27th with a bachelor’s in international business. With only a year until her student visa expires, she must make a decision to either stay here in the United States or move back to Turkey.

“My first choice is to stay here in San Francisco,” Yurdatap said.

As time passes, so will her options if she does not take action. She has currently sent out her resume to Victoria’s Secret and Sephora in hopes of landing a traveling job based in the United States. She either has to find a job where they will give her a working visa, get married to secure citizenship, or apply for citizenship through her brother, who has been here since 1995. If she still has not obtained a visa after a year, she will apply for an MBA program which will allow her to stay longer. If these options do not work out, then she will be forced to move back home.

“My immigration lawyer said marriage is the best option. But it is my last choice,” Yurdatap said. “It’s scary.”

Yurdatap loves the United States, and both of her parents want her to stay here and get life experience rather than worry about money.

“They believe I can have a better life here with the opportunities,” Yurdatap said.

Yurdatap originally planned to complete her education and move back to her home country. Seven years later, after making many friends and wanting job experience, she has changed her mind.

Moving to the United States in 1999, she began language classes at the UC Berkeley Extension. A year later, she started Foothill College in Los Altos Hills where she worked to complete all of her classes to transfer to a four-year school. She entered SF State in the fall of 2004, studying for a business degree in information systems. She quickly had a change of heart after she took an international business course in the spring of 2004, and switched her major to international business.

“I’ve always been interested in different countries and cultures, and realized I would do much better with international business,” Yurdatap said.

Among completing her degree at SF State, Yurdatap has also completed a reader titled, “Creativity for Managers,” with Professor Bruce Heiman.

“Sevin was a student assistant of mine, and she did an outstanding job helping me with the research,” Heiman said.

Although she pursues her goal for higher education, Yurdatap definitely misses her family and life back home at times, especially when she worries about school and work. Her brother is the only family member she has in the United States.

“Sometimes I compare the two countries, and sometimes I am so desperate here that I want to go back,” Yurdatap said. “I get stressed out, and I want to go home. Turkey is my escape.”

When the reality hits her though, she views Turkey as a vacation, and knows it’s better for her to stay in the United States.

“I feel so confident here. I can make more money, and be more independent, and I can express myself more in the U.S.,” Yurdatap said. “I can be myself, and trust myself. People respect you no matter who you are.”

Yurdatap said she would have a tough time moving back to Turkey after living here for seven years.

“I am stuck in the middle of American and Turkish cultures. I’ve been here since I was 19, and all of my friends are American. It has changed my life perspective and it would be hard to live in Turkey again,” Yurdatap said.

Senior international business major Krystelle Carroll, 23, has been Yurdatap’s close friend since she began attending SF State, and said that Yurdatap is always willing to help someone out.

“[She] is very kind-hearted and genuine... and fun to be around. Only [she] can pull off the outfits she wears,” Carroll said.

Yurdatap said that Turkey is a male-dominated society and everyone judges you on outside appearances.

“In Turkey, there are values for your job and social life. If I go back to my city, they judge your personal life and your experience. They don’t give you a chance to prove yourself,” Yurdatap said.

“For example, here, I wear what I want. Who cares, as long as I do my job,” Yurdatap said.
Sporting a hot-pink furry hat, Yurdatap strides forward as she looks for her opportunity to stay in the United States.

Earth Day for the Eco-conscious

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Used books, toys, and clothes donated by eco-savvy students drew other students to an environmental fair and gave them a chance to find a good home for stuff that would otherwise end up in the dump.

Founded less then a year ago, Ecostudents has made progress with on-campus composting and consumer waste collection. Burned out from their massive career fair in March, where they attracted more than 40 recruiters, the environmental studies students were unable to make Earth Day a major event but still hosted games and environmental vendors for three days in the quad last week.

Yussef Milburn, a 23-year-old biology and environmental studies major, coordinates the Ecostudents bicycle and alternate transportation group.

“Unfortunately with scheduling and the weather, probably due to climate change, we couldn’t do as much as we hoped,” said Milburn.

“We’re really promoting the reuse idea,” said Ecostudent leader Suzanne McNulty. “Were still getting the word out and people are having fun, which is never a bad thing.”

“Our primary goal is to keep stuff out of landfill,” said Ellen Burns, an art educator with SCRAP: the Scroungers’ Center for Reusable Art Parts. A SF State alumnus with a master’s degree in sculpture, she teaches kids how to creatively reuse materials instead of dumping them.

SCRAP, located at 801 Toland Street, has a 4,000 square foot warehouse filled with cards, fabric, toys, magazines, yarn, paper and other recycled items, many of which are free. Burns has used discarded compact disks and their cases in her own personal projects.

“You wouldn’t believe how many CD cases we get, people put their disks in more convenient storage and toss the cases away,” Burns said.

Although the Earth Day event was to be billed as a Green Machine Exposition and seminar the organizers ran into trouble—the administration would not let them have vehicles on the quad. Tuesday they had an electric car demonstration by Sherry Boschert of the San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association.

“We had to keep it behind the Franciscan building,“ said McNulty. “She got frustrated and left.”

Chris Marco, a member of the San Francisco Biofuels Cooperative was there, although her 1984 Chevy diesel van was parked off campus. Marco was there to demystify biodiesel, a century old alternative to gasoline that has been used extensively in Europe over the last ten years, Germany has over 1,200 retail biodiesel pumps.

“You don’t have to buy a $30,000 hybrid, you don’t have to wait for hydrogen fuel cells, you can run many existing models on biodiesel,” said Marco. “It’s environmentally friendly and it’s available right now.”

Biodiesel, made from 85% vegetable oil, is refined in a process called transesterification that removes the glycerine from the oil. This is a refined fuel that takes no conversion to be used in a standard petroleum diesel engine—actually as a more powerful solvent it will break down fuel deposits and may prolong the life of the engine and fuel injection pump. While cars can be converted to run off of straight vegetable oil or recycled waste oil they usually use a two tank system, switching to biodiesel when starting and stopping the engine to prevent the engine from sticking up.

“Most people who are running diesel are getting older Mercedes and Volkswagens,” said Marco. “They are really reliable and built like a tank. Just look at and begin to examine the types of diesel cars for sale there.”

She says Willie Nelson is a major national advocate of biodiesel as good for both farmers and the environment. He has recently opened BioWillie pumping stations in five states including two in southern California.

A Discussion on Homelessness in San Francisco

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Chance Martin and James Chionsini work at the Coalition on Homelessness, and both write for Street Sheet. They both are formally homeless themselves, and understand the daily obstacles and depression that homeless people face. James and Chance discuss the role that organizations like the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness and Street Sheet play in society, and the roots and structural causes of homelessness.

Bioteck Giant is Alumnus of the Year

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SF State has named Dr. Kenneth Fong its 2006 Alumnus of the Year. Fong, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1971, will receive the award at the University’s 105th commencement exercises, which will be held at 12:30 p.m. in Cox Stadium. Fong was inducted into SF State’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 1998.

Fong went on to receive his Ph.D. in micro and molecular biology from Indiana University and spent the next three decades working with cutting-edge technologies in the field of genetics and gene cloning.

“We are honored that Kenneth Fong discovered and developed his interest in genetic research on the campus of San Francisco State University,” SF State President Robert Corrigan said in a press release.

“He has never forgotten his roots and for that we are deeply grateful.”

Fong was born in Guangzhou, China and raised in Hong Kong.

“I feel very honored to receive this award,” Fong said. "Returning to the college I attended is almost like returning to the village where I was born, I feel a sense of high emotion.”

The award is given to former students who have made significant contributions to their field of work. Fong joins the ranks of previous winners: Manny Mashouf, founder of bebe stores Inc., journalist Ben Fong-Torres and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

Enhanced One Card Available in June

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A joint effort between SF State and Well Fargo Bank, N.A. will give faculty and staff the option to choose an enhanced SFSU OneCard beginning this June.

The new OneCard will be a Visa debit card issued by Wells Fargo that will provide convenient access for ATM, debit and point-of-sale transactions wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. The OneCard will also serve as an official campus ID card and a SF State library card.

Larry J. Ware, associate vice-president-fiscal affairs of SF State, said in a press release, “We selected Wells Fargo because of the company’s commitment to the community and successful track record in the campus card market. We look forward to a successful relationship.”

Wells Fargo has launched similar programs at other college campuses in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Arizona.

Campus-Wide Smoking Ban Is A Real Drag

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Breaking the campus-wide smoking ban by lighting up at school could get smokers slapped with a misdemeanor, according to information cards distributed by campus police. But the odds of an actual fine are slim to none.

To remind students that adherence to the 2004 policy is not optional, campus police have been handing out cards to smokers with an explanation of the policy on one side, and a map of the campus showing the designated smoking areas on the other.

According to Ellen Griffin, director of the Office of Public Affairs and Publications at SF State, smoking on campus outside of the designated smoking areas has actually carried a misdemeanor punishment since the policy was first implemented. Griffin said she was unsure of the fine amount.

Griffin doubts any student has been cited as of yet and said it is unlikely one would be except in “extreme cases,” such as someone smoking indoors and refusing to put out his or her cigarette.

“I knew you weren’t supposed to smoke on campus, but I didn’t know they were actually approaching people,” said Allison Rawley, a 21-year-old environmental studies major.

“There’s definitely less smoking here,” she added.

The information on the card cites “Title 5, CA Code of Regulations, section 42356,” adopted in October 2002, which delegates authority to regulate smoking on campus to CSU presidents.

The card also reads that a “misdemeanor citation” may be issued for violation of the policy under “CA Education Code section 89031,” which allows the Board of Trustees to decide how CSU grounds are used and maintained, though the actual penalty for such a citation is not disclosed.

“I don’t smoke very much on campus, anyway. I feel bad when I do,” said 22-year-old consumer and family science major Chelsea Reynolds, glancing at the sign that hangs over the walkway toward 19th Avenue past the HSS building. “Especially near these banners, I feel guilty.”

Reynolds said she has not yet been approached by a police officer with one of the cards, but knowing she might be cited for smoking does make her less likely to smoke on campus.

“Especially if, somehow, I know I’m going to be punished,” she said.

According to a 2002 San Francisco Department of Public Health report, nearly 20 percent of Californians aged 18 to 24 smoke tobacco regularly.

Raza Studies major Jessica Sheahan, 21, said her roommate was told not to smoke on campus, but not by a police officer.

“My roommate said one time she was sitting at (Cafe) Rosso and someone came out and told her she wasn’t allowed to smoke there anymore,” she said. “Nobody’s said anything to me, so far.”

Sheahan occasionally smokes on campus, but she stays away from high-traffic areas.

“I don’t do it down there by Rosso,” she said.

Ellen Griffin said the main purpose of the information cards distributed by police is to dispel a rumor that the policy is not enforceable by campus authorities, reminding students that the policy is law.

“They are to counter a misperception that it’s voluntary,” Griffin said.

Pledges For Paychecks

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Your professors are revealers of knowledge, harbingers of truth and protectors of the United States and California constitutions. This may be a lot for one person to take on.

Since the 1950s all state employees in California, including employees of the University of California and California State University systems, have been legally required to sign an “Oath of Allegiance” before they can be paid.

The oath states that, “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and that the oath is taken, “freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

While this sounds like a critical function, most professors don’t even remember signing the oath.
“It basically doesn’t mean much,” said SF State history professor Christopher Waldrep. “People don’t think about it on a daily basis and they probably don’t understand what they’re signing.”

According to Waldrep, who is Pasker Chair of American History at SF State, loyalty oaths became widespread in the 1950s when Republicans in the United States were trying to recover political power following 11 years of democratic presidents.

“Loyalty oaths are very politically effective,” said Waldrep who teaches courses on constitutional history.

While the oath means little to most professors, occasionally objections are raised.
According to the SF State human resources department, between 20 and 25 years ago an employee brought up an issue with the oath.

The employee was instructed to attach an addendum describing their objection to the signed oath and then was allowed to work and be paid by the university.

More recently Jimmer Endres, who was hired by the UC Berkeley, refused to sign the oath, saying, “the oath was perfectly repugnant to my deepest principles, but I would be denied my livelihood until I signed it.”

Endres eventually settled on an addendum that allowed him to feel comfortable signing the oath.
According to the California Constitution, not upholding the oath is considered a felony and is punishable by no less than one and no more than 14 years in prison.

However, what constitutes breaking the oath is unclear.

In 1949, when the oath was administered by individual institutions and not by the state, the University of California system included a provision saying that signers were not members of the Communist Party or any other group that advocated the violent or otherwise unlawful overthrow of the American government.

The inclusion drew protests at UC Berkeley and was eventually removed, but only after several people were let go and a number of professors refused to sign.

Business is Booming

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Pay no mind to the media, say downtown staffing companies: business is booming.

Despite reports of a slow economy, San Francisco's Financial District business owners and U.S. labor statistics indicate that Bay Area college students have something to look forward to after graduation: well-paying entrepreneurial and employment opportunities.

William Ng, 26, a senior business major with a concentration in corporate finance said that although it would be great work experience, many businesses require internships of 1,600 hours of pro bono work first.

"I don't think they (businesses in the Financial District) are looking for people from San Francisco State University, though," Ng said, and added that he is looking for a government job in the public sector, because the pay is better with more benefits.

However, when asked if they would consider jobs in the Financial District or corporate sector, some students at SF State said “no.”

John McBride, a 27-year-old senior and geography major, said that although a recuiter hired him in the past for a job at a vehicle research and development company, he said he only worked there for four years before quitting, because he said he did not like the company culture. McBride currently works as a carpenter for Wilson Associates, an architecture firm located in Berkeley.

Similarly, Leanne Jones, a 21-year-old junior and international relations major, said she was more interested in working for a non-profit organization. After interviewing with AmeriCorps, Jones said she applied for eight other jobs recently without hearing back from employers. She also noted that “without a degree, or without experience,” it would probably be difficult to find work in the Financial District.

One way SF State students can find out how to work in The City and elsewhere, however, is to attend career fairs and workshops offered by the Career Center in the Student Services Building, room 206. The center recently held a job fair that drew nearly 100 businesses and 1,000 students.

James Wong, career counselor at the center, said company representatives from the Financial District attend the fairs regularly. He said interested students can also visit the Business Relations Center in BUS 112 for current employment and internship listings.

Other tips for SF State job hunters include attending career fairs sponsored by specific departments within the university. For example, students of all ethnicities interested in pursuing media-related jobs can visit the Center for Integration and Improvment of Journalism Web site at to learn more about events, workshops and grant opportunities.

Even if new graduates do not want to work downtown, Financial District business owners still view the economy and their environment with optimism.

“I don’t think the economy is sluggish at all,” said Tony Leng, a partner at the corporate start-up Hodge, Niederer & Cariani. Instead, he said the American economy possesses an “underlying strength,” which he described as a business environment conducive to “slow, steady growth…rather than a mad scramble.”

Leng also said the current economic climate not only enables businesses to plan and develop more effectively, but he said it makes long-term investments more viable. Additionally, Leng reported that his seven-partner firm, a two year-old company specializing in high-level executive headhunting, experienced its best month ever this past January.

Likewise, Pam Connor, entrepreneur and founder of Bay Staffing Solutions, said the Financial District is thriving. She said her company, a full service staffing agency providing administrative support for real estate, financial and non-profit organizations, “fulfilled its mission statements and even exceeded its financial goals in 2005.”

Connor added she started her business nearly two years ago using her own capital. With personal savings and 22 years of experience in the staffing business, she said she took the advice of friends and other small business owners and set out on an entrepreneurial journey.

“San Francisco is a great place to have a small business,” Connor said. “Clients and companies appreciate the personal touch (afforded by) a smaller company.”

The optimistic outlook doesn’t stop there. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor, reported in July 2004 that workers in the Pacific region of the United States, on average, earned higher hourly wages than the rest of the nation.

Specifically, the Bureau’s National Compensation Survey indicated that workers in the West roped in nearly $21 per hour, while those in the Central Southeast made an approximate $14 per hour. Other high-wage earners included Americans in the Mid Atlantic at nearly $21 per hour and those in New England at just over $20 per hour, according to the report.

The bureau also published reports in 2005 specific to the Bay Area—San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose—indicating that white-collar professionals earned an estimated $33 per hour, while those in executive and managerial positions raked in an approximate $41 per hour.

Overall, whatever career path students choose, Wong said they should keep focused and develop a strategy for seeking employment.

While Hodge, Niederer & Cariani may not recruit at the undergraduate level, Leng said his company uses something called the “search rule” when screening CEOs.

“You are what you were,” Leng said. “Where you have worked in the past will be key in going forward with your career in the future.”

Cinco de Mayo at SF State

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SF State’s La Raza student organization kicked off its 31st Annual Cinco de Mayo (May 5) celebration with live music and a message of unity in the Malcolm X Plaza.

More than 200 people showed up at noon to watch and join in the festivities. Aztec dancers in elaborate feather headdresses danced in a semicircle to the beat of a drum, accenting the beat were the seed pods and metal bells around their ankles that rattled as they moved in unison.

Students from Cleveland Elementary School participated in the celebration, reenacting the Battle of Pueblo. Often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1892. It is celebrated widely in the United States, but is considered only a minor holiday in Mexico.

SF State Baile Folklorico (traditional Mexican folk dancers) performed in red, white and green dresses, moving their feet and twirling their skirts to the music.

Attendees and organizers of the event weighed in on the celebration, and Cinco de Mayo as a whole.

“Cinco de Mayo is not just about drinking Coronas and getting drunk," said Jose Villalobos, event organizer to the crowd. "It’s not a celebration just to get wasted, that is not what our culture has been reduced to.

“That is why you must celebrate Cinco de Mayo and celebrate it for what it is, a victory of the oppressed, of those who struggled and a showing of us rising as a people”

“I’m glad to see Cinco de Mayo on campus because it brings me back to my childhood,” said Fides Rojo, a graduate studies coordinator, who grew up in the Mission District.

Claudia Montaovo, 26, did not celebrate Cinco de Mayo because of her Central American roots. However, after recognizing a need for Latin Americans and Mexican Americans to unite, she began partaking in the festivities.

“In relation to immigration reform rights now, it’s important to unite to say these are our roots, this is where we come from, and not get wrapped up around the national boundaries and borders,” said Montaovo, a political science graduate student. “We both have heritage of being conquered by Spain, the indigenous roots are the same so why not celebrate together."

“Cinco de Mayo represents being proud of my background and my heritage, and just coming together and partying," said Margoth Turcios, 20, political science major who plans to continue celebrating through the weekend at the massive Cinco de Mayo celebration planned for San Jose.

Raza Studies Professor Brigitte Davila spoke against immigration bill HR 4437 - which would illegal immigration a felony- and encouraged students to continue to stand up against it.

“These laws are unjust just as the Jim Crow laws were unjust that barred people on the basis of race,” she said. “Keep taking to the streets, and not only that, email your Sen. Dianne Feinstein and tell her what you think.”

A mariachi band wrapped up the lively event by 2 p.m.

Villalobos said he was happy with the turnout.

“For a Friday, it was much more than I expected,” said Villalobos. “It’s a reminder of what Cinco de Mayo is, an event geared to tell people that we’re still here, we’re still in the struggle."

Professor One of Only Five Recipients for Award

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When receiving awards, SF State history professor Paul Longmore is never sure how to react.
But in 2006, Longmore is just one of five candidates throughout the California State University system who has been selected to receive the prestigious Wang Family Excellence Award.

According to Cal Poly Pomona’s Faculty Affairs Web site, The Wang (pronounced “wong”) Family Excellence Award was “established in 1998 to recognize and celebrate those CSU faculty and administrators who, through extraordinary commitment and dedication, have distinguished themselves by exemplary contributions and achievements in their academic disciplines or appropriate areas of university assignment.”

Although every campus is allowed five nominees each year, Longmore was the only one nominated by SF State. He will be presented the award at the CSU Trustees’ meeting May 16.

“I’m really honored to think the university would nominate me. It’s very flattering,” said Longmore, who has been teaching history at SF State for 13 years. He is also the director of SF State’s Institute of Disability, which he said is the only department of its kind in the world.

Winners of the Wang Family Excellence Award get a one-time $20,000 prize. Besides the cash, Longmore said he mostly gets recognition since very few of these awards are given out.

But according to Marilyn Verhey, dean of faculty affairs, recognition is not something Longmore gives much importance to.

“He’s the most down to earth, witty, un-assuming person,” said Verhey, who was partially responsible for Longmore’s nomination.

Verhey added that she is excited and happy Longmore has been selected to receive the Wang award, but is not surprised at all because Longmore fits all of the criteria of the award.

She said Longmore has made “absolutely outstanding achievement in all three areas of faculty work: teaching, being a scholar, and service to the campus and community.”

Verhey credits Longmore for inventing the field of disability studies through Institute of Disability. According to the Institute of Disability Web site, the Institute “promotes interdisciplinary education, training, research and service in disability-related areas. The Institute develops partnerships with programs that serve the disability community on the campus, locally and statewide, nationally and internationally.”

Longmore has written many books relating to the disability field, analyzing disability in the social and cultural context and also explains the history of disabilities.

“Very few courses in the world exist that deal with the history of disability,” Longmore said.
Longmore and the Institute of Disability work very closely with SF State’s Disability Programs and Resource Center, the department that deals with physical accessibility issues for disabled people.

Working together, they make sure all individuals are provided “full and equal access.”

This access is personally important for Longmore, who has disability himself and rides a powered wheelchair. To Longmore, having a disability is the least of his problems.

“It doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I’m proud about that.”

On May 8, a week after national protests against new anti-illegal immigration legislation, San Francisco State students react.

Several students accused the Cesar Chavez Student Center Governing Board of violating federal guidelines when they closed down the student center, wasting thousands of student dollars.

On May 1, the center was closed in recognition of the economic boycott in support of immigrant communities. The Student Center Governing Board released a resolution last month announcing their decision to close the student center in support of the protest. In addition, they waived the rent for the day and gave paid vacation to any employees who were scheduled to work that Monday.

“The consequences of these actions will be dire,” 20 year-old BECA major Leigh Wolf, who read from a prepared statement at the Governing Board’s meeting Thursday morning.

The group of concerned students is now demanding that Chairperson Liliana Cortez resign.

The statement outlined how the board violated many policies, including an federal regulation. Wolf said that according to IRS requirements, a non-profit organization, such as the student center, can not use any of its funds for any political reasons and that the closing of the center was clearly in support of a political cause.

Wolf then threatened to file a complaint with the IRS, alerting them of the situation, unless the board agreed to the demands of several concerned students.

“You will lose your tax exempt status. You will lose much money for the federal government paying taxes,” Wolf read. “And frankly, you have no one to blame but yourself.”

According to the IRS Web site, “a (tax exempt) organization may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status.”

“We’re upset…that was technically our money and we’re going to call them on it,” Wolf said before the meeting. He estimates a loss of $20,000 from the day of closure.

Wolf demanded that the board retract their resolution and make a public apology with in one week of the meeting date. He also called for the resignation of the board’s chair, Liliana Cortez, who he said further violated the federal tax policy by using her title as chair while promoting an on campus coalition that supports immigrant rights.

“We knew we wouldn’t have one hundred percent,” said Guy Dalpe, the managing director of the student center, regarding public support of the student center closure. He acknowledged that it was a public meeting and they allotted the time for public comment.

“We’re open to having a discussion, but the day is gone,” he said of May 1.

In response to Wolf’s accusation of using her status to implement the resolution, Cortez pointed out that she does not even vote at board meetings.

“I am professional before everything else,” she said. “I am chair, but I do have a personal life and I do have a right to my own beliefs.”

Cortez, a 21 year-old La Raza studies major said her and her staff has yet to discuss what action to take.

“I’m not threatened by anybody,” Cortez said. “Because I know what I believe in."

Wolf specifically pointed out that the coalition Cortez is a part of organized a rally at Malcolm X Plaza on May 1. Her signature tag at the end of each e-mail indicates the title as chair of the Governing Board.

Wolf had obtained a message posted on the coalition’s Yahoo! Group thread, sfsusisepuede. In this message, one of the organizers wrote that the rallies were being called education groups for policy reasons, which are not restricted by IRS regulations. But the group was instructed to ignore any counter-protesters, such as the College Republicans.

Judging from the reaction from the board, Wolf doesn’t expect to see an apology.

“I think they are so stubborn that they're letting the student center go down,” said Wolf, adding that the only choice left is to go to the IRS.

“We can’t let these people continue to waste our money,” he said, and added that he thinks he can get at least 125 students to send in complaints in protest of what the board did.

“If they want to do it on their own dime that’s fine, but she got paid that day,” said Rob Journey, 22, a criminal justice major.

Journey, along with two other students, business major Nhan Huynh, 20, and international relations major Michael Degroff, 22, attended the meeting with Wolf. Although Wolf, Journey, and Degroff are all officers of the College Republicans, they said they were not representing the organization.

Wolf, who considers himself a moderate, said the students he knows that are concerned over the issue land all across the political spectrum.

Adrian Covert, 22, a political science major who considers himself a moderate liberal, said that he was also upset over the closing of the student center.

“I support the plight of illegal immigrants…this has nothing to do with that,” he said. “I do not support the student center taking a position.”

“It affects thousands of students,” Covert said. “It’s a place where students eat, where they sleep, where they study.”

Covert is the president of the Political Science Student Associate, but he does not speak for the group because he knows there are different opinions on the issue with in the organization.

“If the case is in clear violation then (Cortez) should resign,” he said. “If the Student Governing Board isn’t competent enough then somebody needs to be held responsible.”

Joining protests across the Bay Area and nationwide, an estimated 100,000 people marched in San Jose in opposition of Congress' anti-immigration legislation. The march was one of the largest in the history of San Jose. It brought together families, students, workers and immigrants.

SF State Students Honor Immigrant Rights

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For the first time in history, the doors to SF State’s Cesar Chavez Student Center were closed and locked during school hours in honor of “A Day Without Immigrants.”

The Cesar Chavez Student Governing Board was behind the closure.

“This issue is effecting the whole nation and there is a big population of immigrants, and sons and daughters of immigrants, on campus, and the government is trying to criminalize our population,” said Liliana Cortez, 21, the board’s chairperson, and a Raza junior. “Our goal is to build a connection with campus and the community outside and be proactive, not to be reactionary.”

Last December, the House of Representatives passed HR4437, which makes illegal immigration a felony. The bill is currently under debate in the U.S. Senate.

Cortez set up a table in front of the Student Information Desk, and handed out free scantrons, blue books, pencils and flyers “supporting a fair, just and humane immigrant legislation.”

To show support for the cause, students participated in class walkouts and marches.

Arturo Sernas, 21, history junior, welcomed the marchers to approach the Malcolm X Plaza stage to voice their thoughts on immigrant rights.

Students, one by one, spoke their part.

Chris Velasco said that he believes an attack on immigrants is an attack on home.

“These are hard working people coming here just to benefit their lives and we need to support them,” said Velasco, 18, undeclared freshman, to the crowd chanting, “¡Sí se Puede!” which means, “Yes we can.”

Michael Hoffman, 25, math graduate student, talked about previous immigrant strikes in Chicago that led to unions and 8-hour workdays.

“Those immigrant protesters were fired upon by police,” he said. “People were murdered for their rights and that struggle got us a union. Once again, labor laws are being chipped away. A movement must force bosses and government to take action to stop the demonization of immigrant workers.”

By 10:45 a.m., the crowd had grown to about 200 students. Some chanted, while others stood with their arms folded, like Leigh Wolf and AJ Weissmiller, both members of SF State’s College Republicans.

“It’s like everything is tolerated but intolerance,” said Weissmiller. “They say that they’re inviting everyone to express their opinion, unless it’s contrary to their present beliefs.”

Wolf, the press information officer of the College Republicans, raised his hand to speak, but was ignored by the students organizing the campus protest.

“They say they want diversity,” said Wolf. “It’s like ‘equal rights for everyone, unless you’re a Republican.’”

The crowd proceeded to march in a circle around Malcolm X Plaza chanting, “Whose school? Our school! Whose war? Their war!” The group then started making their way through campus. They sang out “No ala Migra” – “No for INS,” as they marched pass the long lines outside Café Rosso that had developed because it was one of the only places on campus to buy food.

However, Kristi Vizza, 18, a freshman business and dance double major wasn’t bothered by the longer wait time in line.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” she said. “I understand why they’re doing it, and if I get my bagel five minutes later than usual, it’s not the end of the world.”

“I just wanted a water,” said Jacey Correia, 21, a senior hospitality management major. “There are some people at a table selling water and hot dogs and stuff, so it’s not that detrimentally effective though.”

Correia was referring to the table - selling hot dogs, hamburgers, muffins, water, and coffee - that was sponsored by the Pre-Law Society on campus. They refused to comment on the situation or participate in a walkout.

After leading the march though campus, Sernas got on the Muni with a group of approximately 250 students and faculty to protest at the Civic Center.

“It’s amazing,” said Sernas, whose voice was horse from all the yelling. “There’s a lot of anger on campus and people are really becoming active. We picked up about five more people straight out of their classrooms.”

Spurred on by the controversial HR4437 immigration bill, activists gathered throughout the Bay Area on Monday in various demonstrations as part of a national effort for immigrants' rights.
From downtown San Francisco to SF State to the South Bay, check out [X]press Online's ongoing coverage of the day's events.




Throngs of peaceful marchers, mostly young families with children, gathered and rallied at Justin Herman Plaza on May 1, as part of a nationwide worker’s protest billed “A Day Without Immigrants.”

After marching down Market Street, the protest converged upon Civic Center around 1 p.m., where civic leaders chanted rallying cries from a makeshift stage in front of City Hall.

Throughout the warm afternoon, immigrant workers, political activist groups and their supporters turned out in the tens of thousands, primarily to voice their opposition against the bill, HR 4437. The proposed bill makes illegal immigration a felony and punishes anyone guilty of providing assistance. The House of Representatives passed the bill last December, however, it is still under debate in the U.S. Senate.

Police would not make any official estimates of the turnout, but said that no arrests had been made.

“I’m happy to fight for equality,” said Oakland City Council candidate Aimee Allison. “Immigrants fuel this country. Immigrants are the future.”

Draped in Mexican and U.S. flags, protesters carried signs that protested HR 4437 and called for legalizing undocumented workers. They chanted numerous slogans including “Si se puede!” meaning “Yes we can!” the rallying cry of migrant farm workers who were led by Cesar Chavez.

Hotel worker, Carlos Hernandez, attended the rally with his wife and his 8-year-old son, Carlos Jr.

"I've been here 15 years with no papers," Hernandez said. "They still need my work no matter what status. Why can't I be legalized? They want me to work, but also want me to be illegal."

The protest march was organized locally by SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 87, and is intended to demonstrate the economic impact of immigrant workers, both legal and illegal. Supporters were also asked to refrain from purchasing anything today.

SF State student Blake McConnell, a 24-year-old art major, skipped class today to join the protest march.

“Today is international worker’s rights day," McConnell said. "Having been a restaurant employee myself, I felt it was important to come out and show solidarity with all workers. I feel camaraderie with them.”

San Francisco restaurant cook, Edgardo Sanchez, 40, took the day off from work with his employer’s blessing, he said. Sanchez feels strongly that undocumented workers should be naturalized because he has been contributing to the workforce for 8 years, yet is not eligible for health benefits and receives lower pay than legal workers.

SF State graduate student, Kit Miller, attended the rally with her teenage daughter, who skipped a day of school to show support for immigrant workers.

"It is up to us legal citizens and immigrants to stand by workers and see that they are not disrespected and turned into criminals," said Miller, as she and her daughter marched with signs that read, "Mi casa es su casa" - “My house is your house.”

Although there seemed to be little opposition, not all of the bystanders at the march agreed with the workers' cause.

“There are a lot of angry voices on the other side of this issue,” said Niels Nielsen, 38, an office manager. “I support their cause, but the borders do have to be enforced better than they have been.”

Tondalayo, a performance artist and art model of Spanish-Indian decent, said she does not like when immigrants complain about the United States, and asks the question to Mexico: “If Mexico does not grant citizenship to anyone who is not born there, then why do they ask something their own country isn’t willing to give?”

However, she said she is opposed to HR 4437 because it’s using the taxpayers’ money, adding that it’s cheaper to just send them home, as long as they did not commit a serious crime.

Frank Parish, an anthropology student at Vista College, held a sign that read, “Impeach Bush-Cheney.”

“This whole thing is a result larger than the immigrant community, it’s about our civil rights,” said Parish.

Husband and wife, Richard and Shirley Hanson, did their part to promote civil rights by setting up a voting booth - between the State and Federal buildings – with a sign that read, “Vote Democrat today.”

Mrs. Hanson said that the only way to take back the country is to get people to vote.

The couple resides in the Richmond District, and both are students of the University of San Francisco (USF).

“I am in sympathy with the objectives of the rally,” said Mr. Hanson. “The Statue of Liberty was dedicated to the poor, and now aristocracy has taken over.”

San Francisco schoolteacher Letty Pena, 34, expressed her concern about the aftermath of the immigration bill.

“If HR 4437 goes into effect, we will see the same level of civil uprising and action as happened in the 1960s in the South,” she said. “And it would start immediately.”

Student Reaction on 'A Day Without Immigrants'

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SF State students had a lot to say on Monday about what may go down in American history as a memorable day for immigrants.

May 1 marked “A Day Without Immigrants,” a day in which massive boycotts and protests took place in major cities, like Los Angles, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. To show support for immigrant rights, a number of people took part in a nationwide walkout by abstaining from going to school and/or work.

“A Day Without Immigrants” was initially sparked by the U.S. House of Representatives’ approval of an immigration reform bill, HR 4437. The bill, entitled the “Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005,” calls for actions like erecting a 700-mile-long fence along the country’s southwest border and making illegal immigration a felony.

At SF State, students, faculty and staff participated in marches and class boycotts throughout the day. The Cesar Chavez Student Center was closed in observance of the day of protest.

“I’m impressed that so many people are making a commotion on campus,” said Cecilia Zamora, a sociology major. “They’re causing a lot of waves here, so I think it’s a great thing.”

A political science and Arabic double major, Robert Burrell-Smith, wanted to show his support but could not because his teachers held classes, and he feared his grades would suffer if he didn’t show up.

Burrell-Smith doubted a single day of protesting would have any impact.

“One day isn’t really gonna change anything,” said Burrell-Smith. “It’s one thing if all illegals wouldn’t show up to work.”

Elena Winoto also did not participate in class boycotts. Like Burrell-Smith, Winoto didn’t think a day of rallies would have an effect on issues surrounding immigrants.

“It’s good for [students] to express their views, but I don’t know if it will make a difference,” said Winoto, who is studying design.

Other students, like April Simoni, is not participating in class walkouts, however, her professor canceled class when he learned that almost half of the students were not planning to attend.

Simoni, a junior in nursing, added that the boycott was reflective of the campus community.

Diana Miller, a 24 year-old psychology major, has family members who are immigrants, but did not state whether they are documented.

“I don’t think [undocumented immigrants] should be considered felons,” said Miller.

Cynthia Ugarte, an office administrator of SF State’s Office of International Programs, stepped outside to join the rally on campus. Campus protesters were not only showing their disapproval of HR 4437, but also calling for amnesty for every undocumented immigrant.

“If [HR 4437] passes, it would be harder for them to get a visa…Whether you come as a tourist or an international student, it might affect you,” said Ugarte.

A.J. Weissmiller, a member of SF State’s College Republicans, wanted to see the immigration reform bill passed and like Ugarte, saw the vast effect the bill would have on this country.

“If we gave free amnesty to everybody, do you know how many people would come across the border,” asked Weissmiller.

Vera Chen, a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) student, also does not agree with those who want to reprieve undocumented immigrants. According to Chen, complete amnesty for undocumented immigrants would diminish all the work legal immigrants have to do to come here.

By not going to work and school or spending money, undocumented immigrants and their supporters also wanted to show the economic power that immigrants have.

“If their message (today) is, ‘We contribute to this economy and we want to show that to people,’ that’s great…If they’re saying, ‘We’re against HR 4437,’ that’s idiotic,” said Weissmiller.

Contributing reporters: Matthew Raiche, Paulette Bleam, Poh Si Teng and Asami Novak.

Roundtable Forum on Ex-Offenders

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Around 35 people attended a roundtable forum about potential strategies that deal with San Francisco’s ex-offender population.

Sharon Hewitt, the executive director of a youth project entitled, Community Leadership Academy Emergency Response (CLAER), co-facilitated the discussion - on April 29, in HSS 154 - alongside Kevin Bard, a first-year political science master’s student at SF State.

“We want to have solid, deliverable goals to bring people together," Hewitt said. "We want a response to a partnership between the university and the community."

The three-hour meeting, which began at noon, included an eight-member panel, which discussed issues that ranged from career discrimination to the lack of basic life skills.

Statistics show that ex-offenders face serious barriers to employment; a criminal record reduced positive responses from employers by about 35 percent for white applicants and 57 percent for black applicants, according to

Solutions, such as first-time drug offender programs, have been in the works, according to San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, one of the panelists.

Another panelist, Allen Nance, who runs the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice in San Francisco, said there are two effective solutions to better equip society for ex-offenders, namely, effective housing, and the enhancement of programs to re-enter the work force.

“We are not investing in people, just institutions," he said.

Celina Lucero, who has worked for the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP) for three years, came to the forum to get inside tips on how to help troubled teens within the program.

“I wanted to gain insight for strategies on how to help these children,” Lucero said.

MYEEP typically helps 500 children during the school year, and they are expecting 900 children for this summer, aged 14 to 18 years. It offers services to low-income youth, such as paid work experience and community service opportunities.

Lucero has also worked for Horizons Unlimited, a youth organization based in the Mission District, which is one of many MYEEP agencies. Its mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of substance abuse among youth, emphasizing the importance of education, cultural affirmation, individual accountability, community involvement and family reunification, according to its Web site.

Hewitt, and the Rev. Doctor Amos Brown both echoed the importance of treating not only the ex-offenders, but also their families.

Brown said he would like to implement a program through the Church for the community of ex-offenders as well as their families.

"In our community, we have to quit making excuses for failure," said Brown, the pastor of San Francisco's Third Baptist Church. "There is a systematic arrangement to keep this madness going.

Brown also said that he was "tired and numb" of going to these meetings and not accomplishing and fixing the problems.

However, Hewitt warned that advocacy organizations are "under siege," and she stressed
the importance of such meetings.

“If one thing changes after today, then it’s worth it,” she said.

The panel also included the San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly, Raymond Ross of the District Attorney's office, Julian Davis, a representative for Assemblyman Mark Leno, and Michael Bennett, a violence prevention coordinator at the Visitacion Valley Community Beacon Center in San Francisco, who is currently attending SF State.

Upcoming events include a May 2 career fair aimed towards ex-offenders - at 70 Oak Grove St. - sponsored by the San Francisco Sherrif's Department.

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