Los Medanos College (LMC) is preparing to host its annual “César Chávez Celebration” on Thursday, March 22, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the college’s Recital Hall [Reception at 6:00 p.m., Awards & Recognition Ceremony at 7:00 p.m.]. LMC is located at 2700 East Leland Road in Pittsburg. The public is welcome to attend the free event.
Los Medanos College hosts this event each year to honor the life of César Chávez and to recognize East Contra Costa County community leaders who continue his great tradition of service and social activism. A true American hero, César Chávez exemplifies service to community and non-violent social change.
The college is now seeking nominations for three recognition awards, which will be presented at the event. The LMC César Chávez Award for Exemplary Community Service, established in 1995, is awarded to local residents who have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to service and who represent the core values established by César Chávez: Service to Others, Sacrifice, Help the Most Needy, Determination, Non-Violence, Acceptance of All People, Respect for Life and the Environment, Celebrating Community, Knowledge, and Innovation. The East County Educator Award honors members of the educational community who demonstrate the above values and a commitment to student success and equity, particularly for low-income students and students of color. The Chávez Spirit Award recognizes emerging/student leaders who are making an impact on East Contra Costa County in the areas of advocacy and social justice.
To submit nominations for the César Chávez awards, visit: www.losmedanos.edu/chavez/nominate. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, February 28, 2018.
For more information, please contact Jennifer Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org or (925) 473-7302.
Los Medanos College (LMC), one of three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College District, has served the East Contra Costa County community since 1974. LMC offers award-winning transfer and career-technical programs, high-quality support services, and diverse academic opportunities in an engaging and inclusive learning environment. With exceptional educators, innovative curriculum, growing degree and certificate offerings, strong regional partnerships, and state-of-the-art facilities, the College prepares students to succeed in their educational pursuits, in the workforce, and beyond. LMC’s Pittsburg Campus is located on 120 acres near the Antioch border, with an additional education center in Brentwood.
Some time ago, I read an article about Diablo Valley College Professor, Albert Ponce. It was obvious from what I read—if the article was accurate—that the man is either a communist or an anarchist; I’m not sure which. I wanted to find out a little bit about the man and after a few minutes I happened unto a webpage in which some of his students expressed their feelings about the professor. Some were complimentary (sycophantic), but many described a man who is an abusive bully. A man who attacks those who do not agree with his beliefs and that intimidates students who simply want the opportunity to express their own opinions and worldviews. It seemed that Dr. Ponce doesn’t like to teach as much as he likes to indoctrinate. (See YouTube video of Ponce’s lecture). (See additional related article.)
After reading all of this information, I wrote Professor Ponce and challenged him to a debate. I simply wanted to see if his beliefs were founded on personal experience. Surely, a man like Dr. Ponce has lived in Cuba, China or at least one of the former Soviet Bloc nations. I’m sure that with all he has to say about the wonders of Socialism and Communism, he must have worked on collective farms and been able to compare socialist production models against those of the capitalist west. In order to support his socialist beliefs, he must have extensive experience as a concentration camp guard, abusing, torturing and perhaps even killing a few inmates. I’m also sure that his students would like to see personal photographs of him rubbing shoulders with Raul Castro, Vladimir Putin or China’s Xi Jinping. Surely, Dr. Ponce’s platitudes are not based on simple vitriolic rhetoric, talking points and baseless revulsion he feels for the United States. Please tell me that his experience abroad can’t be limited to Chiapas, Mexico in 1999 (I was in Cuba conducting research of my own that year) where he blamed the North American Free Trade Agreement for the problems of the indigenous tribes.
Surely, he must know what it’s like to observe grieving relatives being forced to dig the corpses of their rotting relatives from temporary graves, one piece at a time. He must have experience urinating and defecating on graves as the widows of his enemies looked on. He must surely have extensive experience in all of these things or he is just an empty wind bag.
The irony of Professor Albert Ponce is that all that he has gained and earned was achieved in a free society. I heartily congratulate Dr. Ponce for his academic success. Nobody can take that away from the man. He obviously recognizes the hard work it took, the sleepless nights, living without to make his tuition payments, sacrificing to realize his dreams, etc. I’m sure that along the way, he was allowed to express an opinion, a point of view or a long-held conviction. He must have expressed those ideals during some examination, either vocally or in writing. His doctoral dissertation must have expressed some of his personal doctrines and beliefs, and because of that liberty to express those beliefs, he didn’t suffer the indignity of having the dreaded Secret Police come to his door at night to frighten him into silence. And yet, with all of his rich experience, now he wants to shutter the hearts, minds and passions of students, parents or others who don’t agree with him. His weapon at present is intimidation, but by every insinuation of his hateful speech, it is clear to see that his weapon of choice may one day be a rifle or a gun.
The First Amendment doesn’t have to protect the beautiful utterances of historic poetry, classical music or our favorite and profound Bible passages. The First Amendment was fashioned to protect the stupid, the hateful and the obtuse declarations of the vilest among us. That is free speech. That is living in an open and free society. When I first came to this country, the Klu Klux Klan was still allowed to march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. People who stood on the sidewalk witnessing this, yelled at the klansmen and expressed their verbal rejection of them, but they knew that this hate group had as much right to protest in our nation’s capital as any other citizen’s group. To be honest, I felt freer and safer back in those days than I do right now.
The most profound statement that I have found on free speech I heard in a movie called, “The America President.” It says,
“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.”
If Professor Ponce can just get past the visions of his own grandeur, maybe he can stop long enough to listen to what his students want to tell him. Maybe he can actually be a teacher and learn something himself.
Maximo A. Gomez
Los Banos, CA
Gomez is the author of “Beyond This Vale of Tears One Cuban Family’s Story,” a guest writer for the Salinas Californian newspaper, a former senior intelligence analyst with the United States Army, a former associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Los Banos, an evangelist, and recently started his own ministry.
CCC graduate Dr. Chiu L. Tsang appointed interim president
Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) chancellor Fred E. Wood announced Contra Costa College (CCC) president Mojdeh Mehdizadeh will return to the District Office as executive vice chancellor of Education and Technology effective March 15, 2018. The chancellor has also selected retired Santa Monica College president/superintendent Dr. Chui L. Tsang as interim president of Contra Costa College. Formal approval of the appointments will take place at the Governing Board’s February 28, 2018, meeting.
“I asked Mojdeh to consider returning to the District Office because we need her skills and experience to help all three colleges”, says chancellor Wood. “Her unique and extraordinary skill set is needed to guide the District and the three colleges in contributing to the many statewide initiatives like Guided Pathways, the academic and student services innovations needed to respond to state requests and mandates, and the integration of technology with the academic mission all of which will enable us to better track and increase student success. While I know how important she has been to Contra Costa College and how much she has cares about CCC, both of us know that this decision is in the best interest of the entire District.”
Her tenure in the position will last just a little more than two years, as she was appointed president of CCC by the CCCCD Board on March 9, 2016. (See related article).
“This was a very difficult decision for me,” said Mehdizadeh. “Contra Costa College is a special place with talented and caring faculty and staff who are deeply committed to the mission of higher education in support of the incredible students. During my three years at Contra Costa College, we have made great progress in growing our enrollment, completing the bond-funded College Center project, and fully staffing the college with new energetic leaders that are the foundation of the college’s future. I have a deeper appreciation for the excellent work being done at the college and will always be grateful for the wonderful opportunity to serve West County.”
Dr. Tsang Appointed Interim President
This leadership change is coupled with the opportunity to have Dr. Tsang serve as interim president of Contra Costa College. Dr. Tsang, a highly successful community college leader, retired in July 2015 after a 10-year career as president/superintendent of Santa Monica College. He also held other higher education leadership roles including president of City College of San Jose, dean of the School of Applied Science and Technology at City College of San Francisco and taught at Stanford University and in the School of Education at San Francisco State University.
“I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to serve this college and the West County community”, says Dr. Tsang. “I got my higher education start at CCC so I am a “Comet”, and thanks to that experience it gave me the foundation for my career. I understand the challenges and circumstances of our students because I was just like them when I went here. I look forward to working with the Contra Costa College team in making a difference in the lives of our students and becoming the higher education choice for our community.”
A national recruitment will begin for a permanent college president.
Located in San Pablo, Contra Costa College is one of three colleges in the CCCCD currently serves almost 11,000 students (unduplicated head county) annually. Since 1948, CCC has provided exemplary educational services to hundreds of thousands of residents from the greater West County area and is proud of its diverse student body and commitment to individual student success. Excellent programs such as the Center for Science Excellence, The Advocate newspaper, the green Automotive Services program, Middle College High School, the Nursing program, and the Culinary Arts program are known through the state and the nation. A model of excellence, Contra Costa College prides itself on being one of the finest community colleges in the country.
The CCCCD is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The District serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is also home to Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters are located in downtown Martinez. For more information visit www.4cd.edu.
Learn more about U.C. Berkeley Law Professor Yoo, here.
CCCOE to partner with county to expand community access television programming focused on local education
The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) announced Wednesday that the agency will begin to coordinate local education programming for the Contra Costa County Education Channel, EdTV. CCCOE, with support from Contra Costa Television (CCTV), will be providing more access of quality, local pre-K through College educational programming to residents, students, educators and stakeholders in Contra Costa County.
“We are extremely excited to begin promoting education in Contra Costa County through the power of community access television,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “This partnership with the County will enable us to provide a voice and a forum to students, schools, school districts and higher education in our County so they can effectively tell their stories through video.”
EdTV, an Educational Access channel, is a basic cable TV service on Comcast Channel 32 and AT&T U-verse Channel 99, and is available throughout most of Contra Costa County. Currently, EdTV is unavailable to cable subscribers in San Ramon as well as WAVE subscribers. EdTV is one of a handful of PEG (Public, Education and Government) Access Channels that operate in Contra Costa County. All of these channels are carried in Standard Definition. Contra Costa Television (CCTV) currently manages five PEG channels. Online streaming of EdTV and availability of online video on demand will also be explored.
“Contra Costa County is home to nearly 400 K-12 public and private schools, 18 school districts, as well as several institutions of higher education, said Terry Koehne, Chief Communications Officer for the Contra Costa County Office of Education. “Each of these local education agencies would have the ability to publish unique, locally produced content and bulletin board material to EdTV, thus providing direct access to a majority of Contra Costa County residents and businesses; that is our goal.”
The role of the County Office of Education will be to work in collaboration with CCTV to direct the overall content and programming schedule for the channel, approve video and bulletin board content through the development of content submission guidelines, and promote EdTV using all communication tools available.
“It is a natural fit for the County Office of Education to take on this role,” said Chris Verdugo, Interim Director of Communications and Media for Contra Costa County. “We look forward to more quality content that promotes and impacts our local education communities.”
Outside investigation to begin
The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) has contacted CalPERS, the state government employee pension fund, to determine what actions, if any, are required to address a situation impacting some district retirees who are CalPERS members.
The district has identified a long-standing practice of converting unused vacation to sick leave which in some cases led to retirees receiving excess service credit upon retirement. An initial review indicates that corrections may be needed for a small subset of CalPERS retirees who retired after 2000. An external firm will be hired to investigate this matter including the extent of the reporting errors, what corrections are required, and how the corrections should be accomplished.
The CCCCD is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California serving a population of 1,019,640 people. Its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The district is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The district headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.
MARTINEZ, CA – The Contra Costa Community College District (District) has selected Susan Lamb as the next president of Diablo Valley College (DVC).
The announcement was made following a nationwide search that began in May 2017. Potential candidates were reviewed and four finalists were selected to participate in public forums and final interviews last week.
“I was extremely impressed with all four finalists. They are all strong leaders with a unique skillset and experiences” said Chancellor Fred Wood. “In the end, I chose Susan Lamb because of her deep understanding of the California community colleges and her understanding of both DVC and the District, having worked at both Contra Costa College and DVC in progressively complex administrative roles. In addition, we will benefit from her leadership experience as interim chancellor/president at City College of San Francisco where she successfully led that college through financially challenging times, the restoration of accreditation, and developed strong partnerships with the community. Those are major accomplishments, and we welcome her back to DVC and the District.”
The District will begin negotiating the contract with Ms. Lamb with the goal of placing the item on the December 14, 2017, Governing Board meeting agenda for review and approval.
“I am so pleased and humbled to be selected as the next president of Diablo Valley College,” says Ms. Lamb. “My last four years at City College of San Francisco gave me the opportunity to learn and grow as a leader, and I am now better prepared to lead DVC. I have deep respect and look forward to returning to this great college, and joining my colleagues to transform the lives of our students.”
Diablo Valley College (DVC) is one of three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College District. For nearly 70 years, Diablo Valley College has provided quality education to the community it serves. The larger of DVC’s two campuses is located in Pleasant Hill while the newer San Ramon Campus serves the south county in Dougherty Valley. Between its two campuses, DVC serves more than 22,000 students each semester with a wide variety of program options. DVC is not only recognized as one of California’s best community colleges, but it also leads the state in transfer to four-year institutions. For more about DVC, visit www.dvc.edu.
The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.
For work in his position at Saint Mary’s College
Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) Governing Board member Timothy J. Farley has received the national 2017 Edwin Crawford Award for Innovation. Farley is being honored for his advocacy and leadership as director of Community and Government Relations at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga and elevating the college’s profile among California legislators and their staff.
“To be selected for this national honor is humbling,” said Farley. “I have been fortunate to develop a network of elected official contacts during my career both as an elected official and staff member for several state legislators. These relationships and understanding how to work within the legislative process have been the keys to my success.”
Farley’s recognition is one of two 2017 Service Awards in State Government Relations awarded by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. They are the only national awards in higher education/state relations, and he will be honored at a December 7, 2017, luncheon at the 2017 Higher Education Government Relations Conference in San Diego.
“On behalf of the District, we congratulate trustee Farley for being recognized as a national government relations leader,” noted CCCCD chancellor Fred Wood. “He is great asset to our District and proud alumni of one of our colleges, Diablo Valley College. This honor continues our wonderful community college legacy of providing the foundation for tomorrow’s community leaders.”
Elected to the college board in 2014, Farley represents Ward III and currently serves as board vice president. According to his bio on the college’s website, Farley “is responsible for monitoring all federal and state legislation as it pertains to higher education. Additionally, Tim handles concerns with the Town of Moraga and surrounding communities. Tim was part of the team that brought the 2010 United States Senate debate to Saint Mary’s College.”
He is also graduate of U.C. Davis where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. Farley and his wife Eileen have two adult sons.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit association of educational institutions whose mission includes fostering public support of education and marketing their member institutions to prospective students. For more information visit www.case.org.
The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez. For more information visit www.4cd.edu.