Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Beat Goes On And On


You know, some things never change. Over at the CM Press, the racist author continues with his drumbeat about Costa Mesa's under performing schools, which he blames entirely on the presence of children of illegal immigrants. He laments the relatively poor performance of some Costa Mesa schools when compared to schools in Newport Beach, again blaming the disparity on those children of illegal aliens. He, of course, ignores the socio-economic differences between the two cities. If you disregard the illegal immigrants in Costa Mesa - and no one really knows how many people that represents - Newport Beach is still far ahead of Costa Mesa in every economic measurement. The CM Press author says, "..you want the best education for your kids and you want them to have a leg up on life." That's undoubtedly true. However, many - probably most - of the kids living in Newport Beach don't just have a leg up, they start several rungs up on the ladder before ever throwing that leg up. That's just the way it is. Expunging the Latinos from Costa Mesa - the CM Presses ultimate objective, if you believe his rants on the internet sites for which he writes - doesn't resolve that disparity.

No rational person will deny that injecting students with limited English skills into a school system creates problems. It's one thing to insert new limited English students at the Kindergarten, First or Second grades - programs are available to manage those students and get them up to speed quickly. However, when students with those limitations are inserted at higher grades it will take Herculean efforts to keep them from failing. It takes hard work and dedication on the part of the administrators, teachers, students and their parents for them to succeed. Rather than expend that effort, the CM Press would rather just flush them out of the city.

Now, this would be bad enough if he was the only person in this city with such intolerant views, but he's not. Today, in our city, we have a majority on the City Council who are in lockstep with his views. As a result, anytime any issue that might, in the slightest way, involve students of Latino origins comes up, the New Majority on the council hammers it. And, since the minority on the council, Katrina Foley and Linda Dixon, seem willing to help craft solutions to the problems, the New Majority freezes them out - discarding almost every positive, progressive effort they propose. The most recent of these was the Youth in Government proposal that was trash-canned in a fit of pique by the New Majority instead of taking the time to flesh out their concerns and move forward with a program that was already in progress. Letters to the editor and online comments in the Daily Pilot reflected the disappointment of the children involved, and that of many concerned citizens, as well.

Steve Smith, in his Daily Pilot column, recently took the New Majority to task for that particular move and alluded to an insensitivity to children's issues on their part. Certainly, that cannot possibly apply to Councilwoman Wendy Leece who, in addition to being a mother and grandmother, spent several tumultuous years on the school board. Smith's assessment about Bever and Mansoor, though, may be more accurate. Childless, as far as we know, these two men continue to take actions that appear to be the result of insensitivity, ignorance or just plain stubbornness - maybe all three.

The New Majority has placed the welfare of the children of Costa Mesa squarely in the cross hairs of their misguided attempts to expunge Latinos from our city. Following the lead of the CM Press, they've made the children pawns in their petty political games. Shame on them.

Further in that same posting the CM Press author goes on to lament the fact that "We're not only not attracting upwardly mobile people, we're seeing many of those who already live here flee to safer communities with better schools and a higher quality of life". He then says, "And, it is people who make a difference. A city is its people." He's 100% correct in those observations.

I know a few of those young, upwardly mobile families who decided to leave Costa Mesa recently for what they perceived as a better place to live. They left not because of a problem with the schools - they were very happy with the educational opportunities available to their children here. They left because of the atmosphere in this city - an atmosphere of intolerance that not only festers on the Westside, but is encouraged by the actions of some of our elected leaders. They simply didn't want to raise their families in a city where such Neanderthal values thrive. They looked ahead and saw no light at the end of this dark, dark tunnel - so they moved on. How can you blame them? Do you really enjoy living in a city where such views control the agenda? This is a real tragedy for our community.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

I have to strongly object to the term "intolerance." Why is it that those of us who wish immigration laws be enforced and that people who voluntarily choose to live in the United States make a concerted effort to learn our language are intolerant? Isn't the intolerance actually on the other side? How about those who are "intolerant" to our society and culture?

I know that sounds harsh, but the main point is that the onus is on the immigrant to assimilate into a new society - not the other way around. It is alos tough to demand that we "tolerate" people who break our laws to get here. Regardless - while we bend over backwards to hire bilingual teachers and build new classroom capacity to accomodate thousands of non-English speaking potentially illegal immigrants - very little effort is made at home to conduct their lives in English.

I suggest that you read Victor Davis Hanson's book Mexifornia, it is shocking and disturbing. The seemingly complete lack of desire to assimilate into mainstream American culture is insulting to me. We are all paying a very heavy price for this lack of assimilation. maikng it easier to avoid learning English only perpetuates this cycle.

I know that it is very difficult to learn another language, but how much of the burden does the host society have to bear? If Costa Mesa wants to progress peacefully for all residents, there has to be compromise. Some Newport Mesa schools are among the worst in the County on standardized testing, and that is largely due to non-English speaking students.

I don't know what the solution is, maybe separate classrooms where non-English speakers can learn English in an immersion setting? A US Supreme Court ruling requires us to educate all kids, regardless of immigration status, so lets do it in the best way possible. A huge part of the equation is stop labeling those frustrated with the lack of assimilation as "intolerant."

2/06/2007 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

rob,

"Tolerance" is defined in my dictionary as "A fair and objective attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc. differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry." A good example of that is the fact that I printed your comment unedited, even though you appear to have strong differences with my opinion. You are, in fact, intolerant of my view, right?

We're cluttering up a fairly simple point, I think. The guy over at the CM Press has demonstrated not only intolerance, but flat out bigotry, in the views he's expressed over many years on many venues. These positions have significantly influenced some people in our city, particularly some of those in power right now. I'll not attempt to, once again, quantify all that in this space.

I do not disagree that the presence of probable illegal immigrant children, and children of illegal immigrants, in our school system creates challenges for our educators. I stated that quite clearly in my posting. I suspect many of those children are not "illegal" themselves. They likely are American citizens, born here of probable illegal immigrant parents. As American citizens, they are entitled to the public education provided to all citizens. The law requires the state to provide those children - and those who are, in fact, here illegally - that education, complicated though it might be by their limited English fluency. Are you suggesting we not follow that law?

If this subject was a simple one to solve, it would have been solved long ago. Right now it's a frustrating situation, just as the current movement for accelerating deportation of those found to be here illegally. Do you seriously think this deportation plan is going to be effective until our borders are secure? Of course not! Yes, if those deported return and again are apprehended they can be thrown in jail for that offense - a felony. All that does is exacerbate an already overcrowded jail situation - one that has the Los Angeles County Sheriff making plans to export criminals to private, out of state detention facilities. No, we need to fix the borders FIRST, then go forward with the other elements.

In the meantime, I'm glad you continue to read this blog, and appreciate the time you take to present your viewpoints - even though we differ.

2/06/2007 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

pot stirrer,

We are cluttering up a simple point. I have read CM Press, and his rhetoric can be way over the top. I may strongly oppose illegal immigration, but I still recognize illegal immigrants as human beings.

I also know that we don't have a choice regarding the education of all children in our community. I simply want some acknowledgment of our heavy contribution to their education. I want to see a fair and objective attitude toward learning to speak our language and equitably participating in our society.

Elsewhere on your blog there was talk of sincere dialogue, that requires that all participants bring something to the dicsussion. That is the point I am trying to make here.

People try so hard to get here, stay here, and make a life here - they should take the extra step and do so in a manner which respects and honors the society and culture that "tolerates" them with massive benefits provided by their hosts.

As for the deportation of criminal illegal aliens - that ship has sailed. Even Sheriff Baca is soundly behind the practice, as are the Daily Pilot's editors. Hispanic activists are also holding their fire. It is extremely hard to garner sympathy for repeat offenders, and protesting the deportation of criminals is a losing proposition, in my opinion. I wholeheartedly agree that the border needs to be secured, but that seems like a long way off with the Democrats in power.

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on your blog.

2/06/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Just a reminder. No "Anonymous" comments will be posted here. Pick a name, any name, before you submit a comment if you expect it to be posted.

2/06/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous The big A said...

Nicely stated Rob! Unfortunately, I must post anonymously on this one, as a relative is an educator at one of the three schools up for improvement.

The lack of parental willingness to participate in education of the mainly Hispanic population attending this school is staggering. The night the school had its public hearing at the campus 10 parents showed up, 10 out of about 100 students, what’s that! It was stated that the location was not suitable for the Hispanic portion to reach this site and that it should have been moved to once again accommodate them. I do see the week before the school year starts there is no problem with the parents getting to this same school for the free lunch and healthcare give away; the line are out the door for 3 days. However, when the focus is on bettering the school (day care for most Hispanic families) and their responsibilities to this no one shows.

Therefore, if you look at the NMUSD website and see how the testing is ranked at all three of these schools by ethnicity you see the major disparity in the numbers. Adding multiple kids in the middle of the year just coming over the border (illegally) into the mix can only drag down the number because they are expected to rank with the rest of their class with little or no education; even in Spanish most of these kids are not at grade level and show no formal education at all. But these kids just over the border are a few, most of the Hispanic kids failing have been here in the US since birth and have no grasp of the English language. That means years of NMUSD education and they cannot speak, write, or comprehend English. Why, because there is no emphasis on this in their homes!

So who will continue to pay for this? You Rob, you Geoff and yes me. We will keep throwing money at the problem, keep adding programs and curriculums that cannot be met because there is no willingness to assimilate on their part. Please Geoff, get in your car during a weekday, drive down to one of these campuses and see the problem firsthand, it’s a real eye-opener.

No matter how much hate you have for the Mayor and the council I cannot believe you do not see the tremendously negative impact illegal immigration is having on CM, its schools and its residents.

2/06/2007 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Big A,

Thanks for re-submitting your comment. Your perspective is much appreciated.

One more time... I DO NOT hate the mayor and his majority on the council. That's a myth perpetuated by his minions. I don't like his tactics or the fact that he and his campaign managers lied during the campaign. Nor do I like the willingness of Eric Bever to play fast and loose with the rules. I think the mayor is an easily-led young man, who allowed himself to be manipulated by fawning admirers - the Minutemen, etc. I think he probably had good intentions, but he's lost his way. No, I don't hate him - I pity him.

Thanks for writing. I hope you'll continue to stay engaged.

2/06/2007 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Len Bose said...

Illegal Immigration

National Identification Cards might be the short-term solution. I write “might” because I just keep hearing in my head “ Badges, We don’t need no stinking BADGES!” I am willing to pay, than give into the idea of more government.
There is truly only one fix to slow down immigration; “you have to raise the economic standing of the suppliers. Until then, your better deal attracts” Tomas Barnett.
I have to question if an ID would work? My gut tell me no.
Anyone have thought’s to the ID cards?

2/07/2007 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous dvs said...

So much passion. How about less rhetoric though?

Rob, you make several good points. You are right that NMUSD is required to educate all children. You are also right that there seems to be a disconnect between the non-english speaking community and the district. Then you launch into generalizations and accusations. There goes any chance for a rational dialog.

Reign it back in and lose the frustration. You can not even hope to fix a problem if your vision is tainted by strong negative emotions. Only you and I and our neighbors can make a difference in the short term. Don't count on the feds. If you believe part of the solution is to encourage speaking english at home, then how would you suggest we as our community accomplish that?

Big A; same thing. Yes we will all continue to pay with our tax dollars. But guess what? everyone living in Costa Mesa pays property taxes from which education funds are derived. Even those that rent. So your beef is what? Disengaged parents? There are enough of those in the english speaking community as well. My wife and I have volunteered at our kids schools since they were in kindergarten. The highest percentage of volunteers have always been from the english speaking population, but that percentage was and is still dismally low. Where are all of those highly motivated english speaking families? They aren't there either.

Len, interesting thought on the ID cards, but seeing as how the DL ban for immigrants was so unpopular here in CA, I don’t see much chance that would happen. I personally appreciate the fact that you are one of the few here that is thinking outside the box and offering creative solutions. That might not mean much to you, but I thought I would let you know anyway.

I'll offer one. How about a program where english speaking families adopt a non-english speaking family and work with them on keeping them engaged with NMUSD? It would be their combined goal to have both families attend all school zone and PTA meetings to keep the community focused on educational issues.

2/07/2007 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous the big a said...

DVS – The only rhetoric I see posted is from you. I read a lot of passion from people regarding their quality of life. People that are living in the mix of it right now. Frustration, anger, it useful when used the correct way. People are fed up and angry and are channeling that anger and frustration to get things done. I think we believe that CM is moving in the right direction. It will take some time and I am sure there will be bumps in the raod along the way but CM will become a better place to live and I am willing to stick it out for now to see this come to fruition.

I myself will never send my kids to NMUSD; like the majority of the young families I know who live in CM we use private schools. I am heavily involved in my children’s education and in their classrooms. My kids will get the best education I can afford even if I am paying for it twice!

Your statement about everyone, even renters, paying tax dollars to fund the schools is a simple one. How much of the rental tax dollars that are funded into the school with 5 to 10 families living in a single residence or apartment cover these kids expenses? That is a negative balance right there mate! That is almost every Hispanic attendee of the NMUSD who lives in CM who lives with multiple families. How about the kids that we teach in NMUSD that come here from Santa Ana every day? Are we getting a single tax dollar from them? There are a ton of these kids from Santa Ana in NDUSD, the district knows about it and they choose to look the other way. The bottom line is this hurts the real taxpaying citizens of CM, like myself, and makes us have to look for other educational options, especially if we want our kids to learn and succeed.

Your dull feedback and silly recommendation don’t and won’t fix the root of the problem. I know you try a crack back for something I said here but I know you will not address the points I am making above because you don’t have an argument for them.

2/07/2007 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Len Bose said...

Advocates of a national card contend that, in addition to helping to prevent terrorism, a national I.D. card could be useful in apprehending illegal aliens and criminal fugitives and would ameliorate a wide array of abuses, including cheating on standardized examinations, illegal gun sales, and delinquency on child-support payments and other debts. Similarly, a national identity card could help to prevent fraud involving voting, welfare payments, credit card purchases, check cashing, and securities transfers. Such cards also could incorporate such information as the names of persons to notify in case of an emergency, organ donor instructions, and warnings about medications to which one might be allergic.

If an employer faced a very large fine, no badge no work. No work, no food, no reason to come here illegally in the first place?

On the other end of this argument is assimilation. How do we sell the idea to the legal alien to assimilate as fast as possible? If you think about it the Spanish population, being mostly Catholic, should be able to assimilate easer than a Turk in France. Which leads me to wonder what type of Spanish/ American leader should we have on the council?

2/07/2007 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous dvs said...

Big A:

Not to pass up a challenge, please correct me if I miss any of your points:

1) I am the only one posting rhetoric

First, you picked up on the negative context within which I used this term. All that is left is for you to re-read your posts. I will leave that as an exercise for you, but if you need any hints try this alone:

“That is almost every Hispanic attendee of the NMUSD who lives in CM who lives with multiple families.”

An appropriate argument would have included a statistic from a credible source that supports your implication. As it stands your statement is accurate as far as it goes. You leave it to the reader to determine if it is one dwelling or all dwelling in Costa Mesa that have multiple families. I don’t know about you, but there are none on my street, so it can’t be all. So how many is it? Please provide useful statistics unless you whish to stic with empty rhetoric.

2) Frustration and anger are useful when used correctly

I have always associated frustration and anger with the inability to effectively accept to the circumstance at hand. To broaden my scope in an effort to see if there were positive attributes as you suggest I did a search on anger and frustration. I see most authors providing advice on how to reduce it and an occasional author suggesting you channel them into positive actions. I don’t see you doing anything other than hand wringing over our city’s supposed social ills. I stick with my assertion that it is unhealthy and unproductive.

3) You believe CM is heading in the right direction and are willing to stick it out to see it come to fruition

That is so broad it makes my head spin attempting to address, but I will make a silly and dull attempt. Our mayor alone is an example of the wrong direction and by extension the wrong direction that those that support him espouse. You only have to watch him at a city council meeting to come to the same conclusion. It doesn’t matter if you agree with his political agenda or not, our city should be led by thoughtful inclusive politicians that will listen to all of the citizens in the community in a respectful and deliberative manner. Only after letting all interested parties weigh in on a subject should the mayor then steward the discussion on the council and then let the council decide on the issue. Leaders do not shut down opposition.

4) You will never send your kids to NMUSD so that they can get the best education you can afford

Yes, my wife and I went through this also, and continue to. We believe that being involved in the schools and classrooms help mitigate the concern we had over the quality of education offered. It turns out that almost every one of our children’s teachers were highly qualified caring educators. In the end I would suggest that if you are involved in your child’s education it doesn’t matter if you send them to your neighborhood school, Waldorf, Park, Fairmont or a religious institution. They will thrive. The advantage to going to school locally is the ability to connect to their community and neighbors and I value that.

5) My assertion that everyone pays property taxes is flawed as per-capita income from renters is lower than single family dwellings

Yes, you are correct and the residents of Newport Beach complain about you sucking up their property tax dollars to fund schools that their kids don’t go to all of the time. So you can see that property taxes are a somewhat progressive tax, much like income taxes. You live in Costa Mesa; that implies that you could not afford to live in Newport Beach. You are therefore also the beneficiary of our progressive tax systems. I pointed out that everyone pays taxes. You do not feel that some pay their fair share. My above statement points out that you are also in that category.

6) Our tax dollars are diluted by students attending NMUSD schools who do not live in the district

Yet you provide no statistics. I will not take your word for it and I will tell you that the vast majority of students in NMUSD are from inside the district boundaries. You information is merely anecdotal and not backed up by anything other than what you have heard. Same here. This is your assertions and I propose your responsibility to prove it.

7) My silly recommendations and dull feedback don’t and won’t fix the root of the problem

Can you provide some evidence that they will not? I am not aware that they have been attempted, so I would think that some discourse other than calling them silly and dull would be reasonable. What makes you think that mentoring non-english speaking families won’t work?

8) I have no credible argument to refute your above assertions

Again that is left to the reader to decide, not you.

2/08/2007 10:05:00 AM  

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