Teacher Pay

Sep. 8th, 2017 10:30 am
kay_gmd: (fair)
I decided that I was going to be a teacher when I was 8. I studied and worked to get there until I was 25. At that point I accepted that I didn't have the necessary skills, and was not willing to be miserable for the 10 years I thought it would take to get them, nor put 10 years worth of students through that time. It was a hard decision, but since my life has grown and continued I'm quite happy with where I've landed so far, and where I look to be going.

Last night I had hammered home to me how grateful I am that that dream fell through.

I have just over 10 years of service with the State with a BA as the only necessary education, and I am within $5,000 of the top teacher salary for Davis Joint Unified School District, and more than $10,000 above the average salary. To cover my entire family with health coverage I have under $700/month taken out of my paycheck for medical and $33/month for dental, and our coverage is awesome. Last night I heard teachers talking about $1,400 a month for medical coverage, and take home pay within a few hundred dollars of their childcare costs for one child.

There are places where this wouldn't surprise me. Teaching isn't ever sold as a high pay option.

This, however is Davis. We take great pride in our schools. People move to Davis for the schools. We passed a parcel tax last year for our schools, and in the 20+ years I've been connected to Davis I haven't heard of a funding request for schools that hasn't been passed.

Last night we were at the school board meeting to support the teachers who were highlighting the 80 teachers the district had lost in the last 3 years by neither paying or respecting our teachers.

Brian and I among many teachers and parents, including one parent who came for something else entirely, but joined in to supporting the teachers enthusiastically, spoke during public comment. By the time my turn came I was choked up because of the lack of support from the superintendent, and the real experiences our teachers and parents described. This is what I meant to say:

Hi I’m Sarah my child Joshua is a 1st grader at MME

In our year and a bit of school at Davis we’ve been extremely impressed with the school, and the teachers. Maestras Diaz, Ortega, a and Valdez have been passionate, hardworking and inspired. Joshua has grown and flourished. This brings me to my first point.
  1. We have amazing wonderful teachers. They deserve better. They deserve pay parity. They deserve to be able to live in the community they teach in. If we do not provide this we have no reason to expect them to stay.

  2. By refusing to offer competitive pay we are missing out on teachers who don't even consider working here. I know three amazing teachers who live in Davis and teach elsewhere. One of them would take a $17,000 pay cut if she transferred to Davis another friend lives in West Sacramento and commutes to Fairfield. He would love to teach in Davis, but he can't afford the pay cut involved.

  3. It is expensive to live in Davis when we chose to buy a home in Davis we were able to make it work with our budget because we knew we would not have to worry about private schools. I can't imagine we're alone in this. Davis schools are well known and we have much to be proud of, but we cannot maintain the quality of our schools without our teachers.
      We are here to help you with this. We will campaign for and vote for the taxes you need to keep our schools great, but we cannot do this if you do not ask for what you need. We need to pay our teachers for our kids, and for our community.

I hit my key points last night. A lot of people hit some excellent points last night. What remains to be seen is what the school board will do with this. My kid is in first grade. The board can look forward to at least 11 years of hearing from me.
kay_gmd: (Default)
I learn all sorts of things as I parent Kosh, but today's lesson seemed particularly important.

Kosh is in a Spanish Immersion program. That means that instruction is primarily in Spanish. This is Kosh's second year, but we didn't do nearly as much as we should have over the summer to maintain the language, and Maestra V has a different approach than Maestra D (Kosh's kindergarten teacher). I think both approaches are great, but Kosh is having trouble behaving because Kosh doesn't understand, and thus can't participate.

First mad props to Kosh. I haven't heard anything from Maestra V about this. Kosh brought it up, so I suspect that Kosh's behavior isn't that bad, and isn't that different from other students. So kudos for bringing up the issue to Kosh. Even if it took a few days for us to dig out why the behavior was happening. Kosh's first suggestion seemed more like a symptom than the problem.

So this morning had me emailing Maestra V to see if there were a few words or phrases we could work with Kosh on so that Kosh could more fully participate, and be more likely to behave.

While writing this I realized that this is exactly what non-English speaking students experience when they start school in our schools, except their parents are less likely to feel empowered to ask for help from the teacher, and likely would need help making the teacher understand the problem.

This isn't anything I couldn't have figured out, but it's much more concrete seeing it happen to my kid.

Also it helps understand more in depth. I hadn't thought about how not understanding could involve some physical acting out, because when I remember being bored in class was from older years when I'd read, or doodle, or talk to friends (not often). Kosh is likely flopping on the ground (the problem is coming up most during carpet time). This is likely involving bumping several classmates which could easily escalate.
kay_gmd: (Default)
For those who have been following my rare installments of Princess Juney Bean stories I just updated the last one because Kosh pointed out the Cera didn't know Snowflake before this episode.

Also I've just switched to dream width, so I'm less familiar with formatting and such. Please let me know if I should change anything.

Also since it's been a while a brief recap:
PJB and friends were on their way to Cute's cave to invite her to the frogs' party when they were interrupted by loud crashing sounds and tasty leafs. resolving this tasty food was sent on Swampy to the party, and they are now continuing to Cute's cave.

Now here's the story:

So while Swampy and Sticky took the swamp weed harvest back to the frog pond the rest of the group continued to the bat caves. Without Swampy they took special care to make sure they stayed on the path.

Princess Juney Bean took advantage of the time with a new friend to practice her diplomacy lessons.
"Snowflake you must be very good at finding good food. I know my father will be eager to visit that patch of swamp weed."

"It's one of my favorites, but there's lots there so I'm happy to share. This is an interesting group. My parents think it's odd that I'm friends with Princess Juney Bean , this group will really confuse them." grinned Snowflake.

"I like making friends, and my mother, Queen Bookreader, always encourages me to 'get to know individuals who are different from what I know '. Just today we met Slimy and Sticky."

"Slimy, I'm confused. I thought Sticky seemed more slime covered than you, why're you Slimy?"

Slimy twitched, glanced to the Princess and Cera, twitched again, and then her tongue flew out swinging back and forth spraying the group with a fine mist of slime.

She hung her head. "That's why. When I'm nervous, which is a lot, I slime people."

The group wiped their faces, and Princess Juney Bean said "I'm sorry we made you nervous. Do you still want to be friends?"

"Of course" Slimy slurped "Everyone makes me nervous."

As they got to this point in the conversation they came out of the forest and the Princess pointed out the bat caves in the cliff ahead.

Slimy licked her lips. "That's awful dark. Are you sure we're welcome?"

"Absolutely, I've been a couple times they should just be waking up."

"Uh, okay."

They clamber up to the cave opening; Cute lived in a cave at ground level so that Princess Juney Bean and Cera could more easily visit.

As they entered the cave bats swirled around them. Slimy jumped and licked her lips.

"What are you doing here?!" Squeaked out from somewhere in the cloud of bats.

While Princess Juney Bean was asking for Cute, Slimy's head swiveled left and right, up and down trying to find the individual bat. Her mouth hung slightly open. A drop of saliva dripped down her tongue onto the floor of the bat cave.

The squeak became a screech. The cloud jumped away from Slimy and the rest of the gang, screeching and whistling, reformed, and shot in a wedge at Slimy. Just a foot away from impact another squeak joined the cacophony.

"WAIT! That came in with Princess Juney Bean. Give me a minute." A loan bat half the size of the others floated down around the wedge and as she pulled up to land next to Slimy opened her maw showing a glistening line of needle sharp teeth.

Snowflake seeing Slimy's imminent slimesplosion opened her mouth covering slimy entirely. Slime coated all of her mouth even into her sinuses and throat. It was disgusting, but it was contained.

Snowflake exited the cave in search of water and a place to spit.

The bat finished her yawn and asked "Who are you? I'm Cute and Cuddly, but you can call me Cute."

Princess Juney Bean was concerned about the still hovering wedge of agitated bats. "Cute what's wrong?"

"We hate wetness in our cave! Especially since we just dried it out yesternight. Why did you bring this frog?"

"Should we discuss this outside?"

"Good idea!" Cute flapped off to tell the bats.

Cera piped in "I can clean up while you're outside."

"Thanks," said Princess Juney Bean.

The bat swarm settled as Juney Bean, Cute, and Slimy headed out.

Once they were out of the cave Slimy settled down significantly, and then started thinking "Cute, do bats hate wetness everywhere or just in caves? I'd heard that bats didn't like frogs except to eat. Is it because we're wet?"

"Oh no, Slimy! Wetness is fine outside. But NOT. IN. THE. CAVE. Old bats still talk about how the frogs vandalize our caves; to hear them tell it we were cleaning for a year!"

"Do you think it would work to invite the bats to the party?" Juney Bean asked, King Leaf always said that people got along better if they ate together.

"Sure" said Cute.

"Couldn't hurt" Slimy agreed.

"Princess would you deliver the invite? Slimy might get them upset again, and they might not take me seriously."

Princess Juney Bean did. Not all the bats decided to go, but some of them did. This was going to be some party.
kay_gmd: (true love)

We have a shortage of organs for transplants. Yet no one suggests that we should register our blood type etc and be responsible for donating organs as needed. Not even ones we could lose with minimal negative effect. No, in fact we don't even use organs that are clearly no use any more because someone has died. In order to use someone's organs the person with the organs has to volunteer and if the organs are to be removed while the person is alive they have to demonstrate that they're not volunteering under duress.

I'm an organ donor by the way. Please use anything I haven't used up once I'm done with it.

If I died without ID or someone who knows me nearby they couldn't use my organs.

It doesn't matter who needs those organs it could be the President, the Pope, a drug addict, a rock star, or a young adult with all the potential in the world or all of the above. None of them get the organs unless they can verify that I chose to be a donor.

No individual has more rights to my body than me, even if I'm dead.

There isn't massive disagreement on this issue until I get pregnant. Then even though I could not be required to give up one organ to sustain the life of another or multiple other people I am required to give up my body.

(Not currently in California. Here I could have the potential that might become a child removed, but if those who oppose abortion get there way that might change. )

I've been pregnant. My understanding is that my pregnancy was more or less middle of the road. It ended almost 6 years ago.

While I was pregnant I lost lung capacity, my digestive system went wonky, my feet expanded, I lost endurance on my bike, my memory became less reliable, and my hormones shifted (I used to very rarely cry, during pregnancy books and commercials could make me cry, I've mellowed some but not back to where I was).

I plan to remind my sweet child of this as needed through the years, but it was okay because it was something I had chosen.

When someone says that abortion kills that is no more accurate than saying that not donating organs does. If that's the case and one still opposes abortion then I expect them to also require everyone to register to donate organs. I could use an ear, I know people who could use several other organs.

If one is claiming that the problem is just that the government pays for it:

First yes it is a medical procedure any state that covers medical care should cover all medical care. Otherwise treatment is based on something other than medical need.

Second in the US sadly it doesn't, some states do including California.

Third governments nearly by definition gather your money to do something you don't want them to. The government is also going to use it to do a bunch of other stuff you do want.

Fourth considering the relevant cost in relation to the population for the vast majority of us if we're contributing to it at all it's likely less than a penny.

So either get everyone signed up for an organ registry, and answer when the collectors call, or stop trying to keep people from choosing who they donate their wombs to.

kay_gmd: (fair)

Last Thursday I left practice early to attend the part of the board meeting where the board discussed the resolution that "We All Belong: Sfe and Welcoming Schools for All" you can find the resolution here:


Resolution 37-17 (Item VII of the agenda)

I participated in a discussion session where we discussed 5 key points. While I don't have the texts we discussed then, my impression was that these were stronger, and addressed a broader swath of children. I'm glad that the resolution is protective of immigrants and religious minorities because I see these groups as the most threatened right now, but I thought I remembered more general data protection and more focus on LGBTQ+ in the discussion. I fully accept that this is my particular filter, but I'd like it to be stronger there.

I also thought we talked about more concrete actions. This one is much more important. We will need to be watching for the concrete practices and policies that will make this more than a pretty piece of paper.

That said I am thrilled that DJUSD adopted this. It is a strong statement of our community values and it gives all of us pushing for support of all students something to point to. It is our city on the hill beacon that we stand for all students.

I failed to do my homework so I spent a bit of time when I first got there pulling it up and reading it on my phone.

When I got there public comment on this item had begun. All comments were generally positive, with some suggestions for edits.

I was particularly impressed by the statements from the mother and father of the Islamic school (I'm not precisely clear on the meaning of the titles in this context, but these two obviously included parental love and nurturing for their students in the duties).

She spoke with power and articulation and focused on how much more we are similar than different. She quoted Mia Angelo. She wore a full burka. When she started speaking I'd been trying to look something up, and I had to stop to listen because she had that presence.

He spoke more humbly. He spoke of his experience going to high school the day after September 11th. The bullying and hurtful experiences he had, and the teachers who helped him through. Then he spoke of his students, of their needs to be included, and to have time for prayer.

I pray daily, but as a Methodist, there's no particular time that is proscribed for prayers I do it right before bed because that is a time that works for me, but that doesn't mean it is not a real need for others. I was reminded of when we had some Muslim housemates. We helped them move in, and as prayer time came up there was consternation. It was a new place, and they weren't sure which way was east. We managed to find information that covered their need. It emphasized for me how even with our many similarities it is in supporting our differences that we show we are welcoming.

There were many other speakers. Anoosh represented Yolo Rainbow Families well. I was happy to see Montgomery well represented.

The Trustees of the board spoke. There was enthusiasm and word-smithing. The resolution was adopted with plans to edit, but not change the substance.

There were a couple of issues that weren't fully addressed:

How will parents be reached? The parent communications system works reasonably well for me, but there was a notable lack of Hispanic participation in a discussion item which was in large part trying to make sure our students of varying immigration status are welcome. When we had our previous discussion meeting we made some suggestions hopefully good methods will be used. The response when this came up was lacking in specifics, and used an example that overstated the parent board interaction.

How will training get to staff and students? This to me is the real crux of the issue. I'm thrilled that we have this resolution to point to but changing the climate in the schools is the real work.

And the wonk question: what policies will be put in place because of this. This is never exciting or popular, but it is what turns the light of a resolution into the salt that does the work of making the world, or in this case the school district a better place.

Like the Women's March this is a great first step, but it is nearly nothing if we do not follow it up.

Know this.

We are here.

We are watching.

We will roll up our sleeves and work with you.

But this is a great mountain of work that you have set yourselves to do, and we expect you to follow through.
kay_gmd: (fair)
So this went up on facebook first, but I want to keep it here too.

I'm second generation Chinese American. My dad moved with his family from China to Hong Kong as a young child, and then came to the states for college.
He was an electrical engineer. He created a company,that he eventually sold,and then he did East Asian sales for Silicon Valley telecom companies. Now he's retired in Thailand, apparently when he was traveling for work he noticed that Thailand was the most relaxed place to be.
Dad's first move was because his dad was on the wrong side of the war in China. His family had papers, but they were refugees. They didn't want to leave China, it just wasn't safe for them to stay.
The US has never lived up to the bold statement on the Statue of Liberty, but it has been the quest to do so that has made us strong. It has brought the diversity of thought and culture that has allowed us to grow and thrive as a nation. That is all to the good.
I'm glad that it turns out that doing good has good results, but it isn't actually the main reason we need to welcome immigrants and refugees. We do good because it is the right thing to do.
Hospitality is a tenant of Christianity as well as many other religions. When someone comes knocking we welcome them in. It's not usually because we're happy to see them, or even because we're where they really want to be. It is because our home is a less bad option for them.
We are called to welcome our neighbor and the stranger, and our neighbors is defined to be everyone. When Christ talked about sorting out the good from the bad he did not talk about how well we knew or followed the law. He talked about how well we treated those less fortunate.
There is never any indication that these people we offer hospitality to will be model citizens. Some will. Some won't. Just like any sufficiently large population. We welcome to help, but we also welcome to be people we can take pride in being.
Build a bigger table if you want to build something, so that we can share meals, we don't need a wall.
kay_gmd: (fair)
When we left off Princess Juney Bean, Swampy, Sticky, Slimy, and Cera were heading through the swamp to invite Cute to the frog party.

Edited September 1, 2017

Read more... )
kay_gmd: (fair)
I've been hearing a lot of people saying something to the effect of

"Even if Trump voters arent themselves racist, sexist, homophobic etc, the fact that he was didn't stop them from voting for him! That's a deal breaker for me!"

I have to say as a biracial, bisexual, liberal mother of a gender creative child that makes a lot of sense to me. But after seeing a few of these something was bugging me.

I don't know all the reasons people voted for Trump, and I may be totaly off on this, but an anology occured to me.

If my house was on fire, and a firetruck came zooming up to my house with a giant swastika painted on it I wouldn't even see that swastika until I was sure the fire was put out. or even if I did I surely wouldn't stop the firefighters while my house was still in danger.

Once the fire was out I'd raise holy hell, but I wouldn't, during the fire, have the bandwidth to care.

I'm not hurting in life. I've got a great job, and a great family, and I don't have any fear that this is likely to change. So, to me while this election was urgent. I wasn't going in feeling like my livelyhood was on fire.

It seems like helping people not feel that way would be a good way to help make sure we can focus on the issues that we find vital.

I don't think we can reasonably expect people to focus on the safety of others when they are conserned about there own. There are people who do that. These are great people. They should be praised. They should not be the new standard. If we're honest I suspect most of us don't live up to that. I know I don't.

Mr. Trump has put a spotlight on the people we have not adequately served. It's easy to be angry at them, or doubt their inteligence, or morality. It's even possible that it's right to feel that way. If we want to move forward as a country we need to find a solution that doesn't rely on anyone feel like a lesser citizen. If we don't we may fix the problem for now, but we're just setting it up to get worse for our children.

My impulse is to push the guaranteed minimum income as a part of the solution, but I think one of the areas where government trying to help people falls far short is going in saying we know the solution we'll do this thing that we came up with in our government office. Many of these things do help. But many don't, and even if they do help there isn't buyin from a lot of the community.

What we need to do is find a way to listen to eachother to seek to understand. In this process we're likely to hear a lot of things that set our teeth on edge. We're going to want to shut people down and tune them out because of that, and we can't afford to do that. We need to find ways to understand eachother. My hope is that in that process we will be understood, but the primary goal is to understand. To find the pain, and work together to relieve the pain.

I want to say that we also have pain, and it is legitimate, and it also needs to be addressed.We should work on that too. But the pain of the Trump supporters just added immensley to the rest of our pain. I suggest we focus a lot of our effort there.
kay_gmd: (Default)
A few days after the surprise party ( but not the day after the party; that was a party that required a sleep in day to recover, and A cleanup day) Princess Juney Bean and Cera were adventuring in the local swamp. They were careful to keep to the marked paths. King Leaf had been careful to negotiate a treaty with the Jurassic Alligators so that he could come in to harvest some of his favorite vegetables, but the treaty was quite clear that if people wandered off the marked paths their safety was not guaranteed.

As Cera was munching on some lovely cattails just reachable from the path eyes appeared in the water. Cera jumped back, but Juney Bean laughed. "Swampy! Stop scaring Cera!"

"But I'm scared why shouldn't she be?"

Swampy had seen what she thought was a ghost, but she couldn't find Snowflake. Juney Bean and Cera decided to investigate. Cera might have resisted, but she wanted to show her bravery after the fright from Swampy.

Swampy had them climb on her back. They had standing permission to ride Swampy as long as it was okay with her. Usually she complained that Cera was getting too heavy, but taking the marked path would take an extra hour and Swampy wanted the ghosts to leave. They were right next to her favorite hunting spot.

As they got close to the spot the mist became thick and soupy. Ahead they saw glowing baubles about two Juney Beans high. They bobbed and swung.

"Do you see them?!"

They did. Cera and Princess Juney Bean looked at each other they were going to have to investigate.

They climbed onto the path. "Stay here Swampy, we'll check this out."

Princess Juney Bean walked quietly toward the lights. She grabbed a stick and when they got close she noticed some lights were moving and other ones were staying mostly still, and she heard squelching noises. She pushed the leaves out of the way and was confused.

There were a whole pod of frogs hanging lights and setting out piles of flavored flies, and setting up a dance floor, and music stage. The lights were decorations for the party. Sticky leapt over.

"Hi Princess Juney Bean, I had so much fun at your place we thought we'd have one too! Do you want to come?"

"Yeah! I should explain to Swampy. Can I invite her and Cute?"

Swampy was upset. "Sticky! I thought we were friends! Why didn't you invite me?"

"Oh, we were just setting up. We should be done in an hour or two, then we were going to invite people. If you want to help set up you're welcome to."

Swampy calmed down and offered to help go get Cute.
kay_gmd: (fair)
So in a complete break from politics we started doing PJB stories with Kosh a bit before Halloween. I've been meaning to get them down. I thought this would be a good time for some sillyness. Some of these, like this one, are from a bit back, and there are differences between oral storytelling, and writing, and I'm adding detail and retconning, so this won't be exactly what we told, but should be similar.

The Story )

We go High!

Nov. 9th, 2016 01:22 pm
kay_gmd: (fair)

It's a tough day today.

I started wanting to write something last night when it started really looking like Trump might win (I had a blessedly meeting filled afternoon, and between that, and taking Kosh to her Daisy
Scout meeting I didn't see results that I took seriously until about 8.

 My first thought in response to a Trump presidency, was to offer Governor Brown help with building the California wall. That was an angry and scared response. In content it's a bigger version of moving to Canada. Take me and mine out of the control of this government with this man at the top of it.

I had various ideas, but my dad consolidated my thoughts. I checked my email this morning, and my dad, who is retired in Thailand had emailed all 4 of us kids with encouragement to move to Canada.

That gave me a target.

This concept is tempting (like a California sesesion would be), but it's really terrifying if you follow it.

It's already too easy to keep yourself in an echo chamber. And in this case most importantly for our governmental leaders to keep themselves in echo chambers.

It would be one thing to run from Germany in the 1930s you could be running to someplace that could reasonably have been expected to be stronger than Germany. The United States is too powerful for that to be reasonable.

Therefore we desperately need everyone who is upset with the election results to stay in the United states, and to get active.

We need to  build relationships across socio economic barriers and across parties. We need to find the areas where we agree, and build movements based on those. It's going to be hard, and it's going to be scary, but it's our best chance to minimize the damage of this presidency.
That said there's no way in hell we're leaving California, My hope is that we're a big enough economic engine that we'll be able to maintain what we're doing.
Love and prayers to all,

This is what I wrote to my family.

That's more or less what I think, although I'm a little torn. There were people who said a Trump presidency would bring the revolution. I'm not 100% sure what that is, but I'm open to that potentially, but I'm tentative.

Regardeless if the next step is revolution or moderation and regroup for 2018 there are some steps I think we all benefit from.

We need to take care of ourselves. In as much as we can we should cut ourselves slack and allow ourselves to vent as we need to. We should try not to do something in anger or grief (or whatever strong emotion) that will haunt us a month from now.

Love and express your love for those we love. Give and get more hugs (or whatever sign of affection is best for the people involved) Make sure our groups know that they are safe, and if there is a real lack of safety do what we can to make it more safe.

As we have spoons/energy we need to be kind and loving to others. Do what we can to show that people are good and loving.

Give ourselves time. Time to think, and plan, and feel.

Be as well as you can be.

My Vote

Oct. 26th, 2016 04:01 pm
kay_gmd: (fair)
So last night the school board candidates spoke at our PTA meeting, which was the last part of my information gathering on this election.
So here's how I'm voting. I think everyone should vote their conscience, but if you are undecided please feel free to vote the way I am, alternately use this and your understanding of me to increase your understanding of the ballot.

One of the things someone suggested at the meeting was to start at the bottom on the local items, and work your way up, so I'm going to run through that way.

Measure H - Yes
I'm a tax and spend liberal, and this will probably concretely benefit my child. It's an increased parcel tx for schools. I actually agree that it would be better if we did funding on a statewide, or even nation wide scale in a predictable way, but until that covers education needs fully I'll probably vote for any chance to fund education.

DJUSD Board vote for 2 - Alan Fernandes and Bob Poppenga
I'm actually excited about Alan. He's focusing on children's health and happyness, and talking about needs of minorities where the other 3 seemed more interested in churning out college students. Bob seemed the best of the 3 talking about building relationships between students of different ages. Jose Granda had interesting points about English language learners, but opposes Measure H, and even if I was going to vote against it I would expect the board to attempt to get the funding. Susan Loveburg didn't adress what she would work on so much as point out that she was a veteran of the board. While I haven't been unhappy with the board so far I'm not voting for anyone who just talks about what they have done without talking about what they will do.

Los Rios - Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald
She has the endorsment of the entire DJUSD, and that's really all I know about her.

Yolo County Board of Ed - Shelton B. Yip
Experienced educator over a non local lawyer. (I don't have anything particularly against lawyers, but I think educators are better for the Board of Education)

State Assembly - Cecilia Aguiar-Curry
I went for someone more liberal in the primary, but she's the best choice in this election.

State Senator - Mariko Yamada

US Representative - John Garamendi

Prop 51 - Yes
Bonds for schools

Prop 52 - Yes
Continue Hospital fees necessary because the governonr is playing politics with this standard fee

Prop 53 - No
State approval of bonds makes it too hard to stop vital local bonds

Prop 54 - Yes
Legislation public for 72 hours before votes. I don't actually plan to look at any of these, but I want the legislature to have that time, and if we don't insist on it being public it won't happen.

Prop 55 - Yes
extention to taxes for schools and medical

Prop 56 - Yes increased tax on cigarets it seems like a big bump, but it will bring us to parity with other states, and has been shown to decrease smoking.

Prop 57 - Yes
Possibility of early parole for non-violent crimes

Prop 58 - Yes
More flexibility in bilingual education

Prop 59 - Yes
Do something to stop Citizens United. It won't actually do anything, but if it gets a strong vote people can point to it as a sign of what the public thinks.

Prop 60 - No
Porn condoms. The really problematic part of this one is that the enforcement is anyone watching it sueing. Everyone I've heard about it who works in the industry says that it makes them less safe not more.

Prop 61 - Yes
Perscription costs tied to what the VA pays. There's consern that this will hurt the VA's ability to negotiate, and the oddity of doing it as a state rather than nationally. I think with CA as the 5th largest economy in the world state vs national isn't huge. Also this one does allow the legislature to adjust things if it turns out to be problematic.

Prop 62 - Yes
End the death penalty. We've had so many instances where someone was on death row and then evidence came out that proved they were innocent.

Prop 63 - Yes
Background check for ammunition purchase

Prop 64 - Yes
Marijuana legalization

Prop 65 - No
Requires that the fee for bags go to specific funds. Currently the grocery store gets it. In large grocers they may have some profit from this, but in smaller grocers they're taking a loss, and it adds unnecessary buraucracy.

Prop 66 - No
Speed up death penalty. I actually think this would be better than the current system if it would work, but it sounds like it wouldn't.

Prop 67 - Yes
No plastic grocery bags. We already approved this once. The bag makers managed to bring it back onto the ballot. Also we've done it in Davis for a while seems to be working well.

Senator - Kamala Harris

President - Hillary Clinton
In the primaries I voted for and supported Bernie Sanders. I like his policies better, but I was happy to have my choice of 2 candidates that I liked to vote for. She's going to make an amazing president. Also I prefer to stay positive, but I think it is vital to thoroughly trounce Donald Trump. We need to make absolutely clear that he does not represent America. We need to do this to help our look internationally, but more than that we need to show ourselves that we can be better than that.

kay_gmd: (Default)
I'm late to the game, but there are rumblings on the Internet about picture taking at Folsom Street Fair. For reference, although I haven't been, my understanding is that Folsom is a street fair with a bondage/kink focus. My focus is that it is a place one might express parts of oneself that might not be freely expressed elsewhere somewhat like a gay pride event. I'm picking this example because it's closer to my experience. I'm sure it doesn't adequately express the wonderfulness that is Folsom.

It is a public location which is especially vital for groups that are outside of the mainstream. At a public event some people take pictures.

Some people are saying that the people in the pictures should have a say in whether or not they are in the pictures, and others are saying that no the photographer has a right to take the pictures regardless of the opinion af the subjects. It's important that photographers have this right in situations where the public needs to know about something. That does not absolve the photographer of responsibility. These photographs have consequences. In the case of events like Folsom not usually for the photographer.

So if someone doesn't want their picture taken, or asks you one delete it. Do your best to comply unless you feel like this picture being public will add to the greater public good because that person is in it.

You don't know why they're asking. It could be Thaler they don't like pictures, but it could be that they

fear a stalker

need their activities to stay closeted to maintain family relationships that may include financial support either for them, or support they're providing that might be refused if their activities were known

might be fired, or not considered for a position or promotion, or executed if the wrong person saw it

might be bullied or harassed because of it

There are other consequences but those are the ones that come to mind.

How would you feel if your photography lead Matthew Shepherd's tormentors and killers to him? Think about that when someone asks you to keep them out of your photographs, because it might be what they're worried about.

And this can be a conversation. You can express why you love a photograph that they're in, or talk about your process if that's a mutually enjoyable conversation. Maybe you'll find out that it's okay if their face doesn't show or something else may be the issue.

I'm a photographer. I know it's a pain when you get that great shot and can't use it, but I would be ashamed to use any picture that someone was upset about being a part of.

Also this isn't all about the photographer and the unwilling subject. If you know someone doesn't want pictures you can help by letting them know if a camera is out, or letting the photographer know that your friend needs to avoid pictures.

This has gone rambling because I have a lot of thoughts on it.

I was initially going to let this particular rumbling on the internet pass by, and then a good friend mentioned how incensed he was by it, and that made me think.

And like many a parent when I start thinking of something I thought about my sweet child. Kosh is 5 and happily tells people when it comes up that she was born with boy anatomy but is really a girl. I'd love it if she got to keep growing up safe in that and picked up in a history class that it used to be not so safe to be gender creative, but I don't anticipate it. I suspect even many years from now when she might want to go to this Folsom, rather than the Folsom Renn Faire with the trains in the playground, there will still be consequences to having pictures of having been around, and I hope it is a choice for her whether or not to chance them. I'm working on bringing her up so that she knows her family will support her and letting us know she's going, when she's old enough, will just get a request to make sure she's safe and kind. But I don't rule the world and can't make the rest of it follow those rules.
kay_gmd: (fair)

I've known this for a while, but he's been particularly awesome this past weekend.
On Friday I got home, and dumped on him that he and Kosh should cook dinner (it wasn't that way in my head at the time. I'd been pondering that they would miss out on Sunday dinner cooking, part of our routine, because of Faire, and trying to come up with a solution, but on further reflection with the understanding that he can't read my mind that's certainly how it came off). He rolled with it, and came up with a dinner plan, sent me to the store for ingredients and got started.

While they were cooking I set to work gathering our garb, as I'm progressing through he pokes his head into the bedroom. "So Kosh got a lesson in kitchen fire safety..."

There had been a pool of grease (or other flamables) in the bottom of the stove that caught fire Groblek had calmly assesed the situation, dealt with it and turned it into a teaching moment for Kosh all while I was blisfully unaware. Incidently in case of a small containable fire steps are:
1) Stay calm
2 for kids) tell the nearest adult "Yes, really you can always interupt with this information"
2 for adults) assess the situation
3) extinguish the fire
4) air out and clean up

In this case that involved removing the rack (with mitts) to better see the situation, and the kitchen fire extinguisher (also make sure you have a fire extinguisher, our garage extinguisher got moved to the kitchen until we can get the kitchen one replaced).

Groblek then finished cooking using the toaster oven. We had a pleasant dinner (hotdogs broccoli, seasond by Kosh, and beans) and cleaned out the oven.

Then Saturday morning we discovered lice. We'd had suspicions, but I caught one, so we had them confirmed. He ran out for treatment while I got us ready for the rest of the weekend, we shampooed, and I escaped to a meeting at church while he wrangled Kosh and got a preliminary comb through and laundry, and packing of bedding to make sure we didn't have to worry about leaving unexpected "friends " in the bedding at Groblek's parents place done.

Then we had a lovely time keeping our heads away from everyone at Battymaiden's wedding. It was a fabulous celebration with dancing love laughter and games. Groblek looked particularly fetching, and we got to dance together a good bit while Kosh played with new friends.

kay_gmd: (fair)
So today Groblek has the day off, so Kosh and Groblek got to have a bit of a sleep in. Kindergarten doesn't start until 8:30. Kosh wanted to see me in the morning, so we set her alarm for 6:30 (I leave at 6:40). Because I wasn't rangling/dodging Kosh in the morning I was all set to go at 6:30. Her alarm went off, and I was able to suggest a snuggle.
We climbed back into bed with Groblek for snuggles. It was only a minute or two, but it was a great start of the day.
kay_gmd: (Default)
I've had two good reasons to be grateful this week.

First on Tuesday as I was biking from the bus stop to pick up Kosh my wallet fell out of my pocket. I actually recall thinking it might not be totally secure and hopping on the bike anyway.

I biked along picked up Kosh, went to the library where I noticed it was gone when we tried to check out books. The library staff know us because we're there ever week, so they check the stuff out to us anyway. Kosh trucked along while we backtracked around campus looking to see if I dropped it near by. As we were finishing that up Groblek met up with us. He and Kosh went off to the Round Table fundraiser while I backtracked my whole ride stopped in to the Taco Bell to see if it was turned in there rode back the other way and had pizza, called Yolobus in case it was on the bus (they were super helpful and even went out to physically check the bus) no luck.

Meanwhile my wallet was discovered by a kind gentleman on his bike ride within 10 minutes of my dropping it. He called the number on my business cards (my work number) looked at my drivers license realized we lived relatively close by and swung by my house where he found our amazing housemate who is very obviously not me. He left a message.

We played phone tag for about a day and I got my wallet back Wednesday evening.

It's always good to be reminded that people are kind.

Then Friday Kosh came home with her red folder with work and handouts from the week. That's standard practice for kindergarten. In it Maestra Diaz had included, and made sure Kosh knew to point out, the school district's policy on transgender students. We've been emailing and talking with her about Kosh, and her preference for female pronouns. I thought it was really considerate of her to get us a copy, and it looks reasonable. I like that the call out protection for transgender and gender nonconforming.

In general Kosh has been in school for a couple weeks now, and I'm thrilled with the experience.
kay_gmd: (fair)
So here's my first practice of talking to Christians

I saw this article

I wrote the governor http://www.in.gov/gov/2752.htm ;:

Beloved Brother Mike,
I pray that I find you well full of blessings.
I'm writing to share my deep concern about something I've heard in the news. I have heard that in 2015 Indina allowed an HIV outbreak to spread in. It is my understanding that there was an opportunity to greatly minimize this with a needle exchange, and this solution while greatly desirable was not allowed by the governor's office.
I find this concerning because I know that you identify as a Christian first, and I see this as misrepresenting Christianity.
Specifically I'm having difficulty reconciling this with:
-Jesus identification of the greatest commandments as Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. And a second is like it You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Mat 22:37-39
- The sheep and the goats what Jesus will judge us on Mat 25:36. Specifically "I was sick and you looked after me" It seems to me that while Jesus absolutely encourages us to pray he is very specific and clear that we should act and in this case in particular action was necessary.
Can you help me reconcile this?
It's important to me that we present a clear picture of Christianity that most fully represents Christ's teachings. I feel that this missed chance to care for the sick misrepresented the faith.
If you would like to discuss this further you can reach me at xxx@gmail.com.
Praying that this finds you well,
Sarah Williams

Then I edited it slightly, and wrote to the Indiana Catholic Conference icc@archindy.org

Beloved Brother or Sister,
I pray that I find you well full of blessings.
I'm writing to share my deep concern about something I've heard in the news about our Brother in Christ Mike Pence. I have heard that in 2015, while our brother was governor, Indiana allowed an HIV outbreak to spread in. It is my understanding that there was an opportunity to greatly minimize this with a needle exchange, and this solution while greatly desirable was not allowed by the governor's office.
I find this concerning because I know that you identify as a Christian first, and I see this as misrepresenting Christianity.
Specifically I'm having difficulty reconciling this with:
-Jesus identification of the greatest commandments as Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. And a second is like it You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Mat 22:37-39
- The sheep and the goats what Jesus will judge us on Mat 25:36. Specifically "I was sick and you looked after me" It seems to me that while Jesus absolutely encourages us to pray he is very specific and clear that we should act and in this case in particular action was necessary.
Can you help me reconcile this? If you agree that these are difficult to reconcile can you please contact them?

I've contacted them, but suspect that they might listen more carefully to you.
It's important to me that we present a clear picture of Christianity that most fully represents Christ's teachings. I feel that this missed chance to care for the sick misrepresented the faith.
If you would like to discuss this further you can reach me at xxx@gmail.com.
I want to apologize. I'm a Methodist, and am not deeply familiar with the workings of the Catholic church, but as Mike Pence is Catholic I thought it would be best to contact you. If I have contacted the wrong person please let me know, and forward as appropriate.
Praying that this finds you well,
Sarah Williams
kay_gmd: (Default)
I wrote this up a week and a bit ago.

So as I'm flying off to beautiful Missouri, Groblek and Kosh are off for a fun day, and then tomorrow will be protesting at the church in Sacramento where the preacher said Orlando wasn't a tragedy.

While I'm looking forward to time with my mom. I wish I could go with them. I remember marching with Mom, for candidates, and against war. I've done the same in college and with Groblek. Not often, but from time to time. It's a part of being a citizen as much as voting and paying taxes for me.

This one cuts closer to my heart though. I am a Christian, and many of my friends are atheist, agnostic, or not practicing. When I talk about my faith I like to think that my friends see that and think huh Christians aren't so bad. People like this pastor are eating away at the beautiful message of love that is Christianity.

People like this man, and the Methodist governor who used Psalms to pray for our presidents death, and so many more who preach hatred and damnation, and seem to have missed Jesus condemnation of the Pharisees. These people are why I can't sing "They will know we are Christians by our Love" it's a lovely hymn, and I wish it were true, but just can't imagine that at this point anyone sees someone doing something particularly loving and thinks oh they must be Christians. I know I don't.

I know plenty of loving, kind, generous people who are Christians. I also know plenty of non-Christians who are loving, kind, and generous.

So, until Trump started publicizing just how quick to hate, I didn't particularly feel a need to take back my country. I'm more socialist than Bernie Sanders, and there have been plenty of things that angered me about my country (thus the protesting) but it's always been my country.

On the other hand we desperately need to take our church back!
I want to be clear. I am a big fan of freedom to believe and practice whatever faith or lack of faith you like. But that freedom ends just before it impinges on or threatens someone else's freedom.

So for those bigots and hypocrites using their pseudo Christianity only to express hate the answer is to be loud forceful and correct them publicly and repeatedly as often as possible with the highest religious authorities possible. This is going to be hard. People are much more likely to share read negative news. But if we want to have a faith worth keeping it is on us to do this work.

We can do this by protesting but we need to do more. It's time to add bishops and , for Methodists, UMW (for other faith groups UMW is United Methodist Women, and while you don't want to mess with the pastor it is infinitely worse to piss off the UMW I imagine your group has something similar you should contact them) leaders to our letter writing campaigns.

To make this easier I'm drafting a letter:

Beloved [person you're addressing],

I pray that I find you well full of blessings.

I'm writing to share my deep concern about our brother/sister in faith [name]. I have heard that they did/said [concerning item].

I'm having difficulty reconciling this with [tenant of faith that this contradicts likely options include: (my samples are Christian I'm not confident in my ability to provide samples for other faith groups)

-Jesus identification of the greatest commandments as Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. And a second is like it You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Mat 22:37-39

- Jesus exhortation to the crowd gathered to stone a woman who committed adultry "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7
- Paul's explanation that in Christ there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:26-29
- The beatitudes Mat 5 1-12
- Jesus against murder Mat 5:21-23
- Jesus on judging others Mat 7:1-5
- Golden rule Mat 7:12
- The sheep and the goats what Jesus will judge us on Mat 25:31
- The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37

Can you help me reconcile this? If you agree that these are difficult to reconcile can you please contact them?

I've contacted them, but suspect that they might listen more carefully to you.

It's important to me that we present a clear picture of Christianity that most fully represents Christ's teachings. I feel that [concerning item] misrepresented the faith.
[adjust as necessary to represent your situation]

If you would like to discuss this further you can reach me at [contact information]

Praying that this finds you well,


Let's start holding our leaders and spokespeople (self appointed and otherwise) accountable.
kay_gmd: (fair)
So in Sunday's Sermon Pastor Kelly called us to be explicit about our spirituality, and that got me thinking.
I'm not sure this is what she had in mind but this is where my faith comes from.

My first church memories are at Sunnyhills UMC.  Mom, and my little brother and I started attending there when we moved to California when I was starting 1st grade.
When I say that it takes a village to raise a child this church is what I imagine as the village.
I remember Sunday school with a nice woman running the class with short white hair, a new leaflet every week (with a story, questions, and activities), and the playground out back. I remember feeling so important marking the pages in the hymnal for the songs in the bulletin. I remember being acolyte.
I remember playing at the parsonage while the congregation helped mom move us out of dad’s house when they separated.
I remember meeting, and being taken under the wing of the kid that would become my best friend. I remember her family. They say that little girls look for their daddy in potential partners .  Groblek’s not particularly like my dad, which is just as well, because our tempers wouldn’t meld well, but he has a good deal of similarity to their dad. I’m most grateful for finally having a group of friends at school when I started going to the school they went to in high school.
I remember “helping” with watching the younger kids so that we could march around the playground and leave at children’s time. 
I remember youth group, and writing the puppet shows.
I remember marching for political candidates, and against war.

That’s the experience I remember. As I look back there are other things I know. I know that the community that I grew up in was an odd combination of hippies who’d developed careers and ways of taking care of their responsibilities, but did not changed their political opinions, and retired military. I’m sure there were others who were there, but those are the ones I recall.
In 1984 when we started there the pastor was Pam, who was a single woman, and the congregation was, or was becoming a reconciling congregation. (Reconciling Congregation is the Methodist for accepting of LGBTQ.) I remember one couple of men who was strongly active with the church.

This is the foundation my faith was built on.


Mar. 27th, 2016 11:06 am
kay_gmd: (Default)
This is sort of in the middle of a story kicking around in my head. I just decided to switch a couple of things up so it may not be as smooth as I'd like. Comments are appreciated.

"Thank you Chief Culwell! I'll try not to interrupt her work too much."

"No worries young Kil. Quin's 3 shifts ahead of estimates, internal estimates, and I think she's just reworking the one she's on since she knows how Fe Ett runs it so hard still wanting the performance he paid for before he banged it up."

"I'll pull whistle to get her head loose."

The FS Pide showed Quin's expert care. When Quin first dragged her over to see it Pide was the newest, best, fresh from hub central, model that she'd been reading specs on for a half quarter. Now the boiler and the ,added supplemental boiler were over clocked with double speed heat circulatory moving temp where it needed to be. Quin was magbooting from within the tender.

"Not that way either. Need some Chief?"
"You've got a visitor. You know we could just seal it up and send it out."
"Yeah, but Fe'd just complain and bring her back, and you know he tips a share of his prize, best to help make sure it's a good prize."
Still hanging out of the tender Quin turned to see Kil's twitching braid.

"Crack! Am I late for study group?"
Quin hit a button and caught herself turning to land closer than she would to a customer.

"Nah, I'm just wondering why I'm only seeing you there and at class now."

"You're off, and I won't touch yer baby. Go on with you."
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