Categories
Uncategorized

St. Nicholas Day Thoughts (not about st. nicholas but of parenting and such).

It’s the morning of our first real snow in Plumas County—though by midday it will be melting as it does in our new climate reality. Nothing holds forever. Nothing sticks.

I am sitting in my former living room with my son who will go to work in a few hours and our remaining family cat, Ivy (Mars disappeared in May of this year). My ex-husband still lives here as does my daughter. My decorating eye slightly challenged at the bacheloresque decor and my daughter’s look of all this is temporary I will leave you people soon vibe.

Last year it was the end of the world not to remain together. This year we live the reality of so many Americans. There is strength in numbers.

There’s a calm about this. It isn’t impending anymore. It just is. I have to remember that just like separate checking accounts, my life is separate and only slightly tethered now by children. I’ve just fed the kids some favorite dishes. She’s off to shower. My son turns on the giant netflix screen. I make a makeshift cozy sleeping area out of a love seat and ottoman. We are still influx. I’m not all together sure which Christmas decorations wound up at which house. We had to throw out some boxes last year. A family of mice had taken up residence in them.

We’re watching season 2 of Luke Cage and he’s more than peeved that there is no season 3 as it’s a Netflix cancel. He makes a comment. We have a similar sense of humor that would get either of us on a watch list if taken seriously. We don’t take it seriously.

They remarks these days the way teenagers are apt to do. Question their surroundings, their upbringing, take everything for granted, and complain about how bad their cushy American lives are. They are not silver spooners however–and feel the American class system acutely as it hits them once in awhile.

I try to let it pass by me without comment. For this I’m scolded for being lenient. To me I am surviving. Picking my battles, The mother of teenagers job is to see people through to 18 alive and relatively unharmed. And everyone’s grades are high enough and extra curriculars interesting enough to get them into something somewhere when they graduate. I want them to explore the world but not so much that they wind up in rehab pre-college. I keep a watchful eye on those that would help dim their lights. And that they are relatively good people who can stand up for themselves and others.

It is with–of course–mixed success and many abject failures that one mothers teens correctly–whatever that is. Weird stuff sets me off. When they have unmeaningful conversations in horrific slang –when the social justice I’ve taught them is coming only half way through–when they piss off their grandmother who has not kept up on the psychology of  what one says and doesn’t say to teenagers.

Lots of forgiveness is needed in raising teens–as well as the willingness to call them out. There are however, many gifts that even as belligerent teens they’ve given to me and made me proud and quite possibly as if I’ve done a good job. They are often lazy and non compliant. But they seem to always rise to the occasions when I need them.

Like last night with my migraine. Like sticking up for kids of color when they are bullied at school.  Standing with LGBTQ kids and being out spoken about it. That makes me feel good. They are good with most of their elders too.

St. Nicholas Day. Tonight they will find oranges and something chocolate. We will start Sunday’s tamale prep tonight too. Our lives are changing.if we parents can let go of control we never had to begin with long enough we’ll know that this is okay. This is how its done.

They are almost 14 and almost 16. There is very little we can hide from them now. They know our secret. That we are human and that we aren’t just here to sacrifice ourselves for them. That we need love and strength and support as well.

Categories
Uncategorized

Thoughts on Student Needs

I took a weekend off and went to teach a seminar workshop in Santa Cruz where I met some really inspiring UCSC students. I love getting the opportunity to return to teaching now and then—it keeps the teaching chops alive and it also means I keep abreast of student concerns and needs across the state. Since 2015, I’ve had the opportunity to go around the state and speak at community colleges, Cal States, UCs and private colleges on subjects near and dear to my heart.

Student concerns and what boards and admin think are student concerns sometimes overlap but often they do not. It’s a great reminder and eye opener. The UCSC students were clearly enjoying their community (albeit an expensive one) and they were navigating the far away from home and culture aspect of being in college.

I thought of our students here. I thought of how great it would be if the board and admin took the whole student into consideration. I’m going to preface what I say next in the context of what I learned from teaching in Japan. Sports are a part of daily life, sure, but they cannot be the sole reason for existence. A prison program is a noble and in the case of our school—a lucrative adventure. But these cannot take the place of academics and certainly should not be prioritized (in the case of prison) above those students who have not committed crimes. We need balance and right now we are out of balance. 
It took a few days for things to sink in deep, but I was really troubled during our league of women voters forum when my opponent said that FRC had vocational education because it had a fine arts degree.
I liken his statements to someone saying because they offer a biology program students with botany degrees will become medical doctors. Sure there’s a base relationship (Biology 101) but those are two very different paths. Our board needs to understand that the critical fundamentals of arts classes do not mean they are off the hook for providing vocational education. Graphic Design—a popular major in the 1990s is not the future of all art degrees. Talk to an artist if you’re confused, I want to tell my opponent.
FRC has a great art teacher and department head—I know—I lobbied to get him here in the first place. 
Listen to students. They are graduating into this 21st century economy. Provide what will make their economic futures viable. Also remember to educate the whole student. As an artist myself, I highly value my education and the critical and creative thinking it brought me. 
And that’s what’s needed on the board. #featherrivercollege#votegarcia4frcboardtrustee

Categories
Uncategorized

Tell YOUR TRUSTEE TO VOTE NO!

Please read below and please get ahold of your FRC Board Members and urge him to vote NO on the Trutna power grab. The vote is going down next Thursday to make sure Trutna has the votes wrapped up before the election. If you’re in Quincy your rep is John Sheehan. East Quincy Bill Elliot. Please urge all three of these yes men to vote NO -if you care about public access to the college board and if you care about education.
I’m putting aside running for office for a minute and want to discuss something important to those who live in the FRC community college district.
President Trutna has proposed that the policy of open public access to the board be changed to require that ALL requests to address the Board must be addressed to him alone, and that he alone will decide whether or not the request will be honored. —This is not how a public college operates.
Last night at the League of Women Voters Forum Candidate McNett demonstrated that he did not understand that there was no need to change the ed code. That the ed code as is allows the public to access the board. He did not understand that if he cares about the community he needs to vote NO on the Trutna power grab.
Next Thursday away from public view, the FRC Board will vote on Trutna’s proposal to limit public access to address concerns to the board. Trutna tried this measure this spring in the academic senate and the teachers and staff did not want his overreach. The meeting will take place far from Quincy in Chester. Please contact ALL YOUR BOARD MEMBERS AND TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON STRIPPING PUBLC ACCESS TO THE BOARD. But especially let Guy McNett know that you are not cool with limiting democracy and access to the college board.


This is exactly why I’m running for office—to demand accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility at the college.

Categories
Uncategorized

Running on Inspiration

Happy Friday. This seat on the board of trustees that I’m running for is of course a non partisan one. I’m struck however with a few observations on that.

This season I’ve had the opportunity to see both people running for Congress in our district up close and personal. The differences between them couldn’t be more striking and I definitely felt way more of a kinship with one than the other.

One treated me with dignity and respect when I met them and asked what challenges I saw here in Plumas County. The other got my name wrong–called me Maria–and gave me the sense that I wasn’t worth their time and that they knew best. There’s that Pat . Pat . On the head. AGAIN. Made me feel like an assault victim at a congressional hearing.

I knew most definitely who I’d be voting for after my interactions with both of them.

I have strived from the beginning of the campaign to be like the former and not the latter. While I have opinions based on research and experience as to what I think the best choices for the community college district is– I recognize that you all live here and you also have ideas and needs regarding what you think is best.

I promise to listen and come about a consensus that works for all of us. I don’t like being pat on the head and being told that someone else knows what’s best for me and my family and I’m going to take a leap here and say you don’t like that either.

When you elect me to the board, you elect all of us. You put the community back in community college. You send a message to FRC that this seat will not be bought to do the bidding of the president without question. You send a message that you want the college to take the needs of students into consideration not just the select few. No Pat-Pat on the head. No one saying they know what’s best and that what we want isn’t realistic. You put us all back into the democratic process when you vote Garcia 4 FRC Board Trustee.

Categories
Uncategorized

Stop the FRC President Power Grab

  Feather River College has, like most community colleges, a very open approach to the public addressing its concerns to the Board of Trustees. A community college by definition should function to serve the needs of the community in which it resides.

  In accordance with Government Code Section 54954.3; 54957.5; Education Code 72121.5 the public may address the board one of two ways.

  One. At each regularly scheduled meeting, the public can submit a written request that summarizes the item and provides the name of the requestor and any affiliations to the board president and president. Though no actions can be taken by the board on an item submitted by the public in this late manner, discussion can take place and awareness of an issue can take place.

  Two. Members of the public can also place an item on the prepared agenda ahead of time at least five working days ahead of the meeting for both discussion and action.

  But Feather River College president, Dr. Kevin Trutna, is  seeking a rewriting of this very code to where all items submitted by the public must go strictly through him only and not to the board first at all. He alone would deem whether or not such items were worthy of discussion in a public forum. In a public document that our current board of Trustees has read, Trutna seeks to change the language to read that he alone will “judge whether the request is or is not a matter directly related to community college district business.”

  This sounds like a blatant disregard for the needs of the community. So often lately we’ve seen people in power decide that a matter is not worthy of discussion—even when it directly effects students—particularly when it effects students not in the same elite demographic of the president—or a board.

  Where is the democratic process here? Where are the checks and balances in governance in this nefarious request of the president of the college? Why would a public institution or the board that governs it, fall for a clear power grab like this one?

  I strongly urge my opponent in the Board of Trustees election, Guy McNett, to stand up for his constituents and vote no against such a power grab that seeks to destroy public input at our community college.

McNett claims he’s working in the best interests of students and Indian Valley–and the entire county. Let’s see him stand up for all of us and vote against Trutna’s desires to consolidate power and silence our community.

  The purpose of a governing board at a community college is not to rubber stamp what the superintendent or president decrees, but to make sure the best policy possible is moving forward for the good of all students, instructors, staff, and the community needs in a sustainable manner.

Please do your job, McNett, and vote no on the Trutna power grab.

–Margaret Garcia

@votegarcia4frcboardtrustee

“put community back in community college”

.

Categories
Uncategorized

Election Poem # 1

Vote 4 Garcia

She really knows her stuff

She taught all your kids

And she’s pretty tough—

She’s the Bernie to Your Hillary

She’s the Beto to your Cruz

If you don’t vote for her,

it’s you who’s gonna lose

Cuz she ain’t no rubber stamp

And she ain’t in no one’s camp

Except the students and the teachers

And the community and staff.

If you want a woman on the board

Whose experience strikes a chord

Who has the knowledge and skill to call the shots

Then Vote Garcia—

To hold them good ol boys accountable– a lot!

 (ouch really bad rhyme).

Vote  Garcia on Nov 6th (or sooner ! Mail in ballot!)

Categories
Uncategorized

Remembering the Why

 When you’ve taught at the same community college for 11 years you often wonder after your students graduate, did I make a difference?

I mean it’s one thing to meet the student learning outcomes, but it’s quite another to instill the idea of life long learning and it’s also difficult but so necessary at the community college level to explain to students—especially those moms who’ve been in the workforce awhile and are going to college for the first time in their 30s–that they can do it.

Such was the case of Dawn who I had as a student somewhere around 2011. We surprised each other the other day as I had to come in to the health department for a routine TB test for work and she was the one reading my test. She had her own office even.

Beaming with pride. Both of us.  

We both cried.

She made it to the other side. She was the first one in her family to go to school and she paved the way. Her three kids are now also in college.

There were hugs and tears all the way around. Yesterday as I was driving to the Bay Area I had one of those imposter syndrome moments of self-doubt.  There are people I respect and admire who have signs for my opponent in their front lawns. They are of course not clued in with the college and are casting their votes with the establishment regardless of my experience or credentials or the issues. They are voting out of pressure to conform.

Yesterday I drove to San Francisco International airport and back to pick up my mother as she returned home from a trip to Boston. Long drives give you too much time to think.

I took a deep breath on the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday. I had to ask myself again—why am I running? Last year when I thought about it I tried to find other people to run and everyone I encouraged turned around and told me I was the best person for the job. I should do it.

Dawn said my class in 2011 is what kept her going. My reading assignments and my encouragement. It sounded like she couldn’t let me down by not keeping to her goals. She kept them and more so.

This morning as we were all hugs and tears I realized that Dawn—and all the students like Dawn—are what keep me going.  I’m in this race because I want the best possible educational experience for students like Dawn and her family. I want them  to know that the homegrown Plumas County citizens who were told college wasn’t for them—have a right to it—and that they can achieve no matter what age they are and how much money they don’t have.

The opportunity for college should belong to all of us. The chance to run for office should also belong to all of us.

I chose the right slogan for the campaign. Putting the community back in community college.

Thanks for the reminder this morning, Dawn, that despite not being an elite member of the political good ol boys network of Plumas County? I belong too.

Categories
Uncategorized

#DearProfessorFord

I originally wrote this on my FB page but thought it was worth repeating and expanding here. 

Trigger Warning:

Here’s the thing. You don’t forget being attacked. You remember every last physical detail –not the date, not whose house. You remember the smell of his hair and his sweat. You remember it down to what his finger nails felt like on your skin. You remember the weight of the body you couldn’t lift off of yours. But at the same time that you have these memories, you want to live your life and not dwell in the freak zone of the memory that can kill your soul. When you one day have a relationship and someone says a word or holds your hand in a certain way your whole body remembers even if you are trying to forget. And you try not to tell people because you are trying to flee that space not live in it.

I remember the first time I saw my attacker’s profile come up on FB. I froze. I could hear my heart beat louder and louder. I looked at his page a moment. He’s not a ghost in my journal. He’s still alive. Average joe shmoo with joe shmoo job. old. balding. didn’t look like much happened in his life. Good I thought. I’ m glad your life wasn’t much. But if I’d have seen his profile and learned that this predator was about to sit on a court to sit in judgement about what I can and cannot do with my own body? I’d send a letter to Feinstein too.

#landstuhlBRD82 #stopkavanaugh #13yearsold #stillremember#DearProfessorFord

Categories
Uncategorized

The Choices We Make

Which part is choice? Which part is destiny? 

Which part is inevitable? 

What do we own? What do we deny?

The cock crows three times.

Somewhere right now my sister is blaming me for everything that ever went wrong in her life.

Somewhere my fiancee’s ex is spreading lies.

there are no angels; there are devils in many ways

Take it like a woman. A mother with an almost good as new heart.

Except for the cracks, where she oozes onto the floor.

Categories
latina literary

Nicked Named (a poem)

Two days in

And they give her

A nickname

Two syllables instead

Of three—

Her given name too full

Of beauty, of vowel, of nuance.

High school begins.

Fresh start.

The time we throw on new identities

The time we suppress the old.

I’m not allowed hugs

What makes me think I can have names?

Two syllables–

A name I didn’t chose for her

Something short, ugly

More American. Joking. Fun.

They don’t mean nothing by it.

Easy to remember:

Like knowing one’s place.

I have to be silent on this one.

It’s not my battle.

I spent a lot of time on that name,

Nine months as she turned

And kicked and got ready to be born.

I am reminded of crossings

When one of her grandfathers crossed over

having his Mayan name chopped in half

to make it easier on everyone

but the one erased.