Safeway, gas station proposed for nearby Curtis Park Village

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, Photography

“I’m on the fence. I really just don’t know.” — Leilani Paular, Photography

“I think it’s a good idea. It’d be accessible and cheaper for those on a budget. I mean we can’t all afford Chipotle everyday. But we don’t really need a gas station.” — Nicholas Yee, Biology

“I can’t really say anything constructive because I’m not from the area. It seems most people visit whatever is on Freeport.” — Daniel B., Undeclared

“I’m not opposed to it. Safeway gas is inexpensive and it’d be really convenient, especially on my way out from school.” — Taylor Maurits, Political Science

Los Rios district passes on four-year degrees

Fifteen California community colleges have obtained initial approval to begin four-year programs offering bachelor’s degrees in fields ranging from airframe manufacturing technology to mortuary science.

The programs were submitted for approval by the Community College Board of Governors Jan. 20, and the final decision for the pilot programs is expected to come in March. California will be the 20th state with community colleges offering baccalaureate degrees. These bachelor’s degrees are estimated to cost about $10,000, according to a press release from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s office, and are in majors not offered by the California State University or University of California systems.

Some of the programs that have begun the approval process are in fields in which Los Rios colleges have certificates or degrees available. However, the Los Rios Community College District did not apply for these four-year programs.

“The focus on the baccalaureate degrees was based on immediate regional needs, and we are still evaluating those needs,” said Los Rios Chancellor Brian King.

The district is careful when considering expanding its purview, according to King. “We already do so much,” he said. “From basic skills to certificates to associate’s degrees, we want to be cautious in expanding our mission.”

“The decision to nominate and push forward our programs — to not participate in our case — was made by the district,” said Dr. Damon de la Cruz, the department chair of American River College’s funeral service education program. Cypress College was approved for a four-year program in mortuary science, which is equivalent to ARC’s funeral service education program.

“Our core curriculum is identical. It’s how we teach it that’s the real difference between programs,” said de la Cruz. Though American River will not be getting its own four-year degree program, de la Cruz is happy about the opportunity for his students. “I am completely excited about Cypress’ ability to get this program off the ground,” said de la Cruz. “This gives our students the opportunity to move on and complete a bachelor’s degree.”

City College aeronautics professor Scott Miller says he believes that four year programs at community colleges would be ideal for vocational training.

“I think the career and technical training programs are perfect for that sort of thing,” he said.

One of the pilot programs that received initial approval is Antelope Valley College, which will offer a four-year degree in airframe manufacturing. Availability of bachelor’s degrees at community colleges would also help students advance their careers, according to Miller.

“Getting our students four-year degrees in this day and age would make our students that much more employable in their chosen fields,” Miller said. While the airframe manufacturing program now has an in-state four-year program available, not every Los Rios degree or certificate leads to a bachelor’s degree.

“Los Rios has said its mission is to focus on transfer students,” said Miller, “but many of our students don’t have four year programs to transfer to.”

For now, the pilot programs will be under scrutiny as other California community colleges consider whether or not to expand their degree offerings.

Los Rios has not ruled out the idea of offering four-year degrees, according to the chancellor. “We will continue to observe the pilot programs, and we remain very interested in the topic,” said King.

The following California community colleges have been initially approved for pilot programs to offer bachelor’s degrees in the following fields:
• Antelope Valley College – Airframe Manufacturing Technology
• Bakersfield – Industrial Automation
• Crafton Hills – Emergency Services & Allied Health Systems
• Cypress – Mortuary Science
• Feather River – Equine Industry
• Foothill – Dental Hygiene
• Miracosta – Biomanufacturing
• Modesto – Respiratory Care
• Rio Hondo – Automotive Technology
• San Diego Mesa – Health Information Management
• Santa Ana – Occupational Studies
• Santa Monica – Interaction Design
• Shasta – Health Information
• Skyline – Respiratory Therapy
• West Los Angeles – Dental Hygiene

Defending freedom of speech

Illustration by: Alexander Buell
Illustration by: Alexander Buell

In Copenhagen on Valentine’s Day, a man was shot and killed at a free speech event.

This came just over a month after “Charlie Hebdo,” the French satirical magazine, was attacked, leaving a dozen people dead, including renowned editor Stéphane Charbonnier.

Japanese journalist Kenji Goto was beheaded in January by members of the Islamic State, a jihadist rebel group that controls territory in the Middle East. American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff met similar fates at the hands of the Islamic State in 2014.

On a less deadly, but still very serious scale, there was a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures in November 2014 that was related to “The Interview,” a satirical film about a fi ctional plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

These highly publicized attacks have brought up larger questions about freedom of speech and censorship from both internal and external sources.

There has been a steady decline in worldwide freedom of the press. According to the Freedom of the Press Report, 40.4 percent of nations fi t into the “free” category in 2003. By 2014, that global percentage fell to 32 percent.

More than 200 journalists were jailed in 2014, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. In fact, in the past three years, more than 200 journalists have been jailed annually.

The past three years have been some of the deadliest to journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

There is no other conclusion to be drawn — free speech is under attack.

However, the solution to this is as complex as the problem itself.

How do we ensure freedom of speech for people in other countries? How can we be certain that access to this free expression isn’t restricted? Does freedom of speech include the freedom to offend? In what cases would it be appropriate to put restrictions on freedom of speech, if any?

What do we do in the face of this problem?

Are we supposed to just say or write whatever it is we need to, repercussions be damned? Though that stance is courageous, it can be deadly as evidenced by recent attacks on journalists and satirists.

Should the government step in? Wouldn’t that just amount to censorship? In America, the freedom of speech and press is so crucial to our way of life that it was one of the first things the founders of our country thought to protect.

This idea of freedom of speech is crystallized in the book “The Friends of Voltaire” in the saying “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

But that ideal isn’t the reality we are faced with today.

With potential repercussions in mind, do we censor ourselves? Do we keep quiet about things that matter to us? Or even things that don’t matter?

While there is no easy way to fix this problem, there is a place where we can start. We must find some way to listen.

This is something every person can do. And the more of us who engage in compassionate listening, the more understanding between parties will be found, and — one can hope — fewer instances of senseless violence will occur. And without violent repercussions, perhaps an age of truly free speech could follow.

So, let us start.

Let us all learn to listen with compassion.

Let us seek understanding of the other side of an argument.

Let us find it within ourselves to appreciate other points of view, even if we disagree with them.

We have more in common than we think. We might be able to hear that if we only had the compassion to listen.

Be considerate — register responsibly

At the beginning of every semester students stand in the back of a classroom or sit on the fl oor waiting. After attempting to register for a class that they really wanted — or worse, that class they really needed to fulfi ll a requirement — many students find their course wait listed or closed. If they are lucky, they receive a permission number, and if not, they might try again next semester.

Despite an increase in the number of course off erings, the first week or two of classes is still distracting for professors and disappointing for students. While most professors over-accommodate by trying to take as many students as possible, at some point there are some students who will be turned away. And halfway through the semester many of the desks that were full at the beginning of the term will sit empty.

Often we enroll in a class with the best of intentions; other times we enroll “just in case” a class doses not work out. But what we forget is that when we drop a class after the fi rst two weeks, we have likely taken an opportunity away from someone else.

According to Sacramento City College Vice President of Instruction Mary Turner, a course is often impacted by students who fail to register and withdraw responsibly.

“Students need to remember to be courteous to each other and only register for classes they actually intend to complete,” she says. “And if you are going to withdraw, you should withdraw early to make room for others.”

In addition to being courteous to other students, as responsible students we need to follow an educational plan. With a new cap on the number of units for priority registration and future financial aid restrictions related to the Board of Governor’s Waiver, academic performance and course completion is important.

So when registering for next semester and sitting in that class on the first day, here are some important points to consider:

•Is your class schedule realistic?
Will personal and work schedules fit with the class and lab, study or homework requirements?

•Do you meet all of the prerequisites for the class?
If you do not, you will be dropped anyway.

•Do you meet the suggested co-requisites?
They are suggested for a reason. Failing to meet suggested requirements in math or English often leads to dropping or failing a class.

•Is this the class you thought you were taking?
Did you read the syllabus carefully? Did you listen to the professor’s description?

•And ask yourself, “How will this class benefit me?”
If you are taking the class, you should know why. It might fulfill a general education or major requirement, but also consider classes that intrigue you with their subject matter.
As students, we are all eager to explore the classes that sound interesting. We are also eager to move on and complete our required courses. Above all, as students, we are all here to improve ourselves. However, we should also be considerate of each other and take responsibility for our own educational plans.

Healthcare is a right not a privilege

Before each holiday season begins, the flu season arrives. Depending on how active the season is and how virulent the strain is, in influenza or the flu virus claims between 3,000 and 49,000 lives each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For people who have health insurance, a flu vaccine or access to early treatment often leads to a quick recovery.

However, despite the new health care law, there are still many who do not have access to medical care. Continue reading Healthcare is a right not a privilege

Giving back the Season of Giving

As the season progresses from fall and moves into winter, skeletons and witches hung to spook trick-or-treaters have been replaced with decorative ceramic turkeys and festive table settings. Not long after in some households Thanksgiving cornucopias will immediately give way to Santa Claus. As we labor over the perfect gifts for our friends and family while staying within a budget, we should remember to find time to relax for a minute to take in the spirit of giving. Continue reading Giving back the Season of Giving

Kris’s Korner: Monday night miracles

Sometimes the worst things in fantasy football are also the best. That’s a fairly vague statement, I know. Stick with me though. I’m getting to the point.

In week 7 of this column, I wrote about a fantasy football league that I have been in for six years. The league is a very competitive 12-team PPR league that has been going on since 2008. It’s so competitive that nobody in the league has won back-to-back championships. Continue reading Kris’s Korner: Monday night miracles

Kris’s Korner: Don’t get cute, start your studs

Week 10 is upon us. Only four (or five depending on your league set up) more weeks until playoffs, and there are some pretty good players on bye weeks this week, including the No. 1 quarterback and tight end.

If you’ve made it this far and are still in the hunt for the playoffs then congratulations. However, this is not the week to get cute and try to do something that can ultimately cost Continue reading Kris’s Korner: Don’t get cute, start your studs

Kris’s Korner: Bye week blues

Week 9 is the beginning of the weeks everyone in fantasy football dreads: bye weeks. This week, four top 10 fantasy quarterbacks, nine top 30 wide receivers and five top 25 running backs are on bye weeks.

Here is a list of players that can be useful this week to help with your bye week blues.

As always, start your studs, and good luck this week.

Byes: Green Bay, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit Continue reading Kris’s Korner: Bye week blues

The state of fear in 2014

Photo by Gabrielle Smith |
Photo by Gabrielle Smith |

Halloween gives City College students the opportunity to choose their fears in a celebratory, escapist fashion.

Playing with makeup and fog machines is a refreshing respite from actual fears about post-college employment and student debt.

As a mixture of  fledgling adults and seasoned learners, City College students have replaced the plastic, factory-pressed, rubber-band strapped superhero masks of their youth with a veneer rooted in over-confidence and ambition.

City College students today love to be scared of a bleak reality because it mirrors their own outlook of their projected futures. This dilutes the impact of Halloween and reduces it to the equivalent of an autumn version of non-religious Easter: a reason to have a party and eat candy.

Even though the economic reconstruction has begun in the aftermath of the latest recession, it is still so much easier to revel in the carnal response evoked by zombies, vampires and torture-centric horror movies rather than face the reality of having to survive in a harsher job climate than those of generations before us.

In fact, an entire media culture has been successful in capitalizing on the 18 to 49 age block, the main group of college students today.

With its fall premiere, “The Walking Dead” on AMC broke the record for cable TV ratings with 17 million viewers, the majority of whom are in the under-50 age bracket. Based on a graphic novel, the show is centered on the American populace surviving a post-apocalyptic outbreak of zombies.

This targeted population keeps growing. According to the National Center of Education Statistics, between 2000 and 2011, the enrollment of students under age 25 increased by 35 percent. For students 25 and over, enrollment grew by 41 percent during the same period. From 2011 to 2021, NCES projects a 13 percent hike in enrollments of students under 25, and a rise of 14 percent in enrollments of students 25 and over.

With popular culture tapping into the national apprehension of a dismal future through shows like “The Walking Dead” or HBO’s “The Leftovers,” the premise of which is based on the after-effects of a rapture-like event, media have bled year-round into the realm that Halloween has monopolized since the early 20th century.

In the real world, media have been consumed by a more realistic pandemic: the spread of the Ebola virus. Although the virus’ effects do not have as much entertainment appeal as undead loved ones walking around trying to eat people, the fear of its outbreak domestically has permeated our national consciousness.

According to a poll released by the Harvard School of Public Heath, 39 percent of American adults are concerned about an actual large Ebola outbreak in the U.S. The startling statistic is how many of those concerned are uneducated: 50 percent. Compared to the 36 percent of those who have had some college and the 24 percent who are college graduates, the majority of actual fear belongs to the segment of population that is least likely to learn the facts about Ebola, a real health crisis in other countries.

That’s why fantasy catastrophic entertainment is so popular. Maybe that’s what fear is for City College students in 2014 — not the carnival of unrealistic horrors on which we satisfy our sweet tooth, but the realization that the more we as students learn and grow, the less we have to be truly afraid of. Which makes the truly scary stuff , like job security and career success, so much more potent.

As Halloween approaches, whatever your 2014 fears may be, remember that higher education is the best defense against any concerns rooted in the supernatural or in reality.