Love letter to a trailer
By | Journalism Professor
May 20

Editor’s note: The Journalism Department will open in the fall in the new Student Services building and professor Jan Haag reflects on what that move means.

Back near the end of the last century, when the journalism department moved out here, you were called P-26—“P” for “portable”—though you’d been on this spot for a long time by then. That confused Ginny McReynolds and me, who at the time made up the entire journalism department faculty of City College. Did that mean there were 25 other portables on campus? We could maybe find eight or 10 others at that point, including the one next door, which was P-25 then. P-25 and 26 had been used as the campus child care center for I don’t know how long before the kids got their own brick building to the north of the portables.

I will never forget walking inside you for the first time. Ginny and I looked around, amused at the inner doors with the knobs two feet from the tops so little hands couldn’t reach them. And, in the large room on the north end of the building, along the west wall, three small, close-to-the-floor potties sat like flower pots. We…» Read More

Death to the Sodomite Suppression Act
By | Staff Writer
May 13

In the March 19 Sacramento Bee article, “California Proposal to Legalize Killing Gays Hard to Stop,” Christopher Cadelago writes that attorney Matt McLaughlin’s ballot proposal — the Sodomite Suppression Act — is protected under the First Amendment at this point, according to legal experts, and should not be rejected by Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Perhaps I have too much faith in my fellow Californians, but I have no real fears that this measure, which would legalize the murder of gay and lesbian people by “bullets to the head or any other convenient method,” would ever gather enough signatures to make it onto the ballot, let alone get voted into law.

It isn’t that I think homophobia is dead in this state. Proposition 8, which overturned a state Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage and restricted marriage to one man and one woman, is a good example. It passed just seven years ago with a popular vote of more than 52 percent. It took five years and a federal ruling to strike down Proposition 8.

California may have an overall reputation as a very liberal, progressive and open-minded state, but the majority of voters still did not want lesbian, gay and…» Read More

By |
May 6

As everyone in the state should know by now, California is in the middle of one of its most severe droughts in history. Water levels in reservoirs are visibly — and frighteningly — low. Just take a short trip up the road and check out Folsom Lake. The water has receded so much that it has revealed the remains of a settlement called Mormon Island that has emerged only in times of severe drought since Folsom Dam was built in 1955.

The Sierra snowpack is also in dire straits. The Lake Tahoe Basin snowpack was at only 3 percent of normal on April 1, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. Gov. Jerry Brown visited a Sierra meadow for an April 1 press conference. “We’re standing on dry grass,” Brown told the media. “We should be standing on 5 feet of snow.”

This year marks the first time that  California has implemented mandatory water restrictions.

“It’s a different world,” Brown said April 1. “We have to act differently.”

The Los Angeles Times ran an article with a frightening headline, “California has about one year of water stored. Will you ration now?”

With the severity of this situation in mind, it’s time for us to take action. Everyone can take steps to conserve water, and it is crucial that everyone do so. Every drop saved helps.

Here are…» Read More

Breaking the border within
By |
May 6

My boyfriend is studying child psychology and will soon get his associate degree. One day while we were studying together, he tried out something on me that he’d learned in his child psychology class — word association. He asked me to say the first thing that came to mind when I heard the word “support.”

Immediately I said, “Bra.”

He grinned and told me to think of something serious, so I said, “Foundation.” Then he asked why I didn’t say “family.” The truth was because support is not something that comes to mind when I think about my family. They don’t support my choice to attend college.

My parents came from Juarez, Mexico, and Guatemala City, thousands of miles away, and they faced many hardships to get to the United States. They immigrated to live better lives, which they now have, but they still don’t understand the importance of education.

My dad never finished junior high and has been a labor worker since he was 17, though my mom did graduate from high school. It was the furthest she’d got into her education because she got pregnant, first with my brother Roberto when she was 19, then my sister Claudia…» Read More

By |
April 22

Sometimes, coasting through a class seems like no big deal.

• “Oh, this is just for my general education requirements. It’s not really applicable to my major.” • “I’ll pay attention to classes when I transfer out of here.” • “This is just so I can get the job I want — a means to an end.”

Who doesn’t have those thoughts when sitting through a class that’s difficult to follow or hard to stomach for other reasons?

It’s easy enough to dismiss a class as unimportant.

• “When am I going to use psychology in real life?” • “Who really cares this much about proper punctuation?” • “All the math I’m ever going to need is addition and subtraction — maybe multiplication.”

It’s easy enough to take the opportunity for higher education for granted. But students can get so much more out of their educational opportunities if they apply themselves, even just a little bit.

Unless we choose to pursue more prestigious degrees or careers in education, being undergraduates in college is the last time we will have this kind of access to high-level expertise in any field.

Our professors have all studied in their respective fields for years….» Read More

By |
April 22

Monday, April 13, as this issue of the Express is going to press, reports are coming in about a shooting at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

At this time, it is reported that one person has been killed, and that the shooting is an isolated incident.

But even one death on campus is too many.

The moment the radio broadcasts a segment mentioning guns and campuses in the same breath, harrowing memories of previous school shootings come to mind — from Columbine to Sandy Hook to Santa Monica College.

This is not only an issue for the United States. Less than two weeks ago, 147 people were killed in a terror attack on the Garissa University campus in Nairobi, Kenya.

Though incidents have been on the rise (according to research from Harvard University, the rate of mass shootings has increased threefold since 2011), this is not a new issue.

Violence on school property in the United States happened before the colonies had even declared independence from British rule. In Pontiac’s Rebellion on July 26, 1764, three men entered a schoolhouse in present-day Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, then killed 10 children.

These shootings are on a…» Read More

Black and Blue
By | Staff Writer
April 22

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re drowning or treading water. You might be moving forward, or the tide could be sweeping you out to sea. When you’re in these situations — as I have been and most certainly will be for several more months — the only goal is to stay afloat and look like you’re swimming.

Within the past few weeks, I swam nearly unscathed through a range of disasters: my work’s recent round of firings; my best friend’s uncle’s grim diagnosis & the sudden death that followed from stage four brain cancer; and a near-fatal car accident that sent me spinning into a ditch off a freeway. Oh, and taking 11 units of journalism classes.

As a producer for a local television station, stress and high stakes are familiar to me. Each sweeps period comes with a final ratings book, a message from the boss and sometimes a pat on the back. Or sometimes you get fired.

The way it works is that a call is made from management inviting the potential un-employee to lunch several hours before his or her shift. During the course of the meal the employee is told that his or her belongings…» Read More

Look out for each other
By |
March 11

According to “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2014 Survey,” 9.5 percent of incoming college students frequently felt depressed during the past year. This figure has increased 6.1 percent over the past fi ve years. Of the students surveyed, 34.6 percent felt overwhelmed. That is almost one in every three students feeling stressed out and overwhelmed.

College can make or break students when it comes to stress management. This skill isn’t listed on syllabi — it’s a consequence of the condition of the educational system and the way the world works.

When you’re at school, professorswill say, “There is nothing more important than your education.”

At work, you’ll hear about how the job experience you are currently getting will be the foundation for the rest of your life, and how success in your career is equivalent to success in life itself.

And, at home, you’ll hear that family comes first, no matter what.

Balancing school, work and life is something that students try to cope with every day on campuses across the country. And some students are better at it than others.

Feeling depressed and overwhelmed can happen to anybody. Sometimes it’s the class clown who is struggling…» Read More

Good enough is not good enough
By |
Feb. 8

Fifteen California community colleges were initially approved Jan. 20 to begin offering bachelor’s degrees by the Community College Board of Governors.

None of the Los Rios colleges were accepted into the pilot programs.

That’s because the Los Rios Community College District did not apply for a pilot program.

Some of the programs that have been initially approved are in fields in which Los Rios colleges have certificates or degrees available.

For example, American River College offers an associate’s degree in funeral services. Cypress College received approval for an expanded mortuary science program. The programs are identical in core curriculum. If Los Rios had applied, perhaps ARC could be offering a bachelor’s degree in that discipline.

» Read More

Safeway, gas station proposed for nearby Curtis Park Village
By | Staff Writer
Feb. 8

Homes and apartment complexes are under construction in the Curtis Park Village, located behind Hughes Stadium and across the train tracks Decisions are yet to be made and concerns continue to be expressed as SP Petrovich Development finalizes which shops will constitute the new retail shopping center.

The primary candidate for the new shopping center is a Safeway grocery store. However, Safeway will only agree to the terms and conditions of development if the grocery store is accompanied by a Safeway gas station, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The Express asked City College students how they felt about the new installment of a Safeway and Safeway gas station package deal near campus.

“I think it’ll be great, but I’d be a little worried about the Espresso Metro and Sandwich Spot area — I hope it wouldn’t be affected.” — Kyle Brown, Economics

“I think it’s a good idea. We don’t have a lot of gas stations over here that are easy to get to. Like the Shell on the corner is dangerous with that intersection. But I mean, it’s here, so it’d be convenient. I’m not sure how the people living near Curtis Park will feel though.” — Rafael Baez,…» Read More