Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's the end of the semester and 2007

Hello everyone:

I am preparing for my finals today, and before you know it, 2008 will be here. But in short here is what is coming up in the month of December:

My stepfather's birthday coming up on Dec. 22. That same day it is Madonna's wedding anniversary. Can you imagine? But yes, it is true.

And of course, the deadline that I have to meet of Jan. 1, 2008 for the Los Angeles Times summer internship...that is getting closer.

As I prepare for my finals and the end of the semester, I don't know if I will blog until the end of the year or wait until the next semester. If I don't blog please don't worry but I do plan on coming back in January.

Until that time, I will buy myself a new radio for Christmas and I will anticipate the next semester, but here is a rundown of what is going on at the ASCC:

ASCC Cabinet: two positions are open

ASCC Senate: in need of a Party Whip, President Pro-Tem, and a few senate seats...

Well, I best be off...see you all in January if not before. IF there is something that happens between now and and the spring semester I will let you know.

Oh, by the way, I will be helping out during the first three weeks of the spring semester at the Cerritos College bookstore, see you in the aisle.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Norma, the Youtube Girl

"You look familiar. Aren't you on YouTube?" That was a question I faced today buy one of the senators at the end-of-the-semester meeting a few minutes ago. This took a backseat to the Prop. 92 initative and the presentation by Cerritos College Political Science instructor Peter Nguyen on the ASCC and the Education Code.

She said that when she typed in the words "Cerritos College" that the video that was online and created by Oscar Catzin showed up. But I was just wondering why I was in focus. Maybe, because I was there? I think, but there was other to, such as Talon Marks' former production editor, online editor, opinion editor but it would go away.

I have only seen this video twice. I was nervous, and the strongest indication of my love for Madonna (see the shirt). Well, whoever is the editor next semester, I'm thinking that I would want to contribute some way before preparing for the real challenge of the Los Angeles Times...maybe.

Well, next week is finals and after that, I will be on break...
See ya all.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A vote of no confidence in Dr. Noelia Vela?

Cerritos College President Dr. Noelia Vela is facing a no confidence vote from the Faculty Senate. Does this mean, that she will no longer be Cerritos' President? Basically it means that she has no idea in which direction that Cerritos is going.

According to ASCC President Jason Macias, there is building frustration concerning everything from the support for faculty and staff and the continued debate of the Campus Transformation Comittee and its plans for the Health, Physical Science building.

As for the issue of Prop. 92, that stance will come on Dec. 12...
Stay tuned...

My first cell phone at 27

My sister added me to a phone bill and I have my first cell phone at age 27. How weird because I am not use to carrying a phone. Been taking pictures of our chow chow and me. The phone looks something like this (at right). I have to get use to it. I'm not much of a talker, I'm plain...

Monday, November 26, 2007

The beginning of the end for MySpace?

Now that the social web site MySpace is blocked on one of two floor of the computer lab at Cerritos College, is this the beginning of the end of it? Hysteria was the name game with the web site since it was founded in 2003.

The ASCC had been looking for a way to block MySpace...and it took only three years to do it.

It's only been three years...but it is not the end...there will be other sites just as popular. Everyone has a MySpace...I don't...maybe that makes me uncool, unpopular...or an alien...

Board member John Moore set to retire

Nineteen years. Yes, after 19 years of services to Cerritos College John Moore will retired come December. I had the pleasure of meeting Moore on more than one occasion and I have to say that he was too kind, and also helpful when I was part of the student publication Talon Marks. He is photogenic and wore the cleanest suits.

As he told the Public Affairs officer, “Serving on the Board of Trustees these many years has been an extremely rewarding experience for me,” Moore says. “I meet community members all the time who attended classes here and went on to lead very successful lives.”

He has been active in the community, volunteering for and serving on the boards of organizations such as the American Heart Association, Los Cerritos YMCA and Cerritos Optimist Club. He served 9 years as a member of the California Community College Trustees Association.

Cerritos College President Dr. Noelia Vela said, “Mr. Moore has selflessly and consistently given his time and energy and commitment to ensure that our students and community are well served. He has made a significant difference in his 19 years of service and will be missed by all.”

“He is the kind of guy that wants to make things better and he will, no doubt, continue to do that at he continues on the next leg of his journey. We’re better off because of Mr. Moore’s service on the Board.”

The only time that Moore had questioned anything that happened with Talon Marks is when someone on staff had called on numerous occassions and refused to talk to him face-to-face.

Cerritos' Golden Boy Josh Franco

Hold it. Before you say anything, I want to say that the Golden Boy reference a la Oscar De La Hoya is not a knock to Josh Franco or the boxer. But it is of great respect to Franco Cerritos College's former ASCC President and Student Trustee.

In fact, I do believe that Franco could be our nation's leader one day, and that to me is cool. One thing that I like about him is that he communicates to everyone he knew and to those that he will meet along the way.

That is truly inspiring. I, as a journalist, may not have the biggest mouth but I do believe in communication...that is C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N.

I had the opportunity to meet him during UC Merced's spring break and let me say this, intellectual man who is going places. He was the university first student body president, (awesome) and do the college constitution (great!). So, there is people who believe in change.

He believes it through action and I believe that action is best but it is through a different avenue. And he was asked about his plans after graduation this is from the UC Merced web site:

What are your post-graduation plans? This summer, I’ll be part of the UC Sacramento Program, working as an intern for Lt. Gov. John Garamendi Sr.; I’ll continue as the state director of California Students for Barack Obama; and continue to work on Students for the Central Valley.

Where do you want to be in five years? Serving as a public servant, completing my master’s degree in public policy, advocating for systemic change and teaching students about public policy.

How did UC Merced help prepare you for your future? It helped me develop communication, organization, analytical, critical thinking and leadership skills. I also developed relationships with strong-willed, entrepreneurial, adventurous and skilled people, and developed a better understanding of myself, what I care about and why I care about it. UC Merced instilled in me a sense that I can change the world.

What advice would you offer to incoming students? Challenge yourself by getting involved and making a difference. Connect with others and establish life-long friendships. Expect the absolute most and best of yourself. Stand up for what you believe in.

The following is an e-mail he sent out and it reads as follows:

Since May, I graduated from UC Merced with a bachelors in public policy and during the summer I was a UC Center Sacramento Scholar Intern.

The program was an amazing experience because I learned more about California. After completing the program, I was hired by Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi!

I was a bit nervous to take on my first full-time job, but after almost three months (I interned since June and started full-time in September) things are going great; I am learning a lot about our Golden State, diving into various policy issues such as education, health care, and the economy, and better understanding how our state government works (and sometimes doesn't work). I am like a sponge just trying to soak it all up. :-)

You makes others feel inspired, including me...

Will Proposition 92 help or hurt community colleges?

Commissioners on the ASCC Cabinet continue to discuss about whether or not Proposition 92 will benefit Cerritos College in any way. For those who support Prop. 92 IF it is passed it would do the following:

• Lowers fees to $15 a unit
• Limits future fee increases
• Provides stable funding for community colleges for more classes and services
• Guarantees that the community college system is independent from state politics
• Does not hurt K-12 funding or raise taxes

In brief it says that: Proposition 92 - the California Community College Initiative - will enhance this mission by lowering fees to $15 per unit - ensuring that community colleges are affordable. It also limits the rise in future fees to the cost of living. It provides stable funding for California community colleges. In addition, it guarantees that the community college system is independent from state politics.

There is also the opposition of Prop. 92 and it states: Proposition 92 would amend California’s constitution to lock in a huge new state spending mandate – with no way to pay for it. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the increased spending will reach nearly a billion dollars in the first three years. Politicians would be left to decide how to fund the measure. They could raise taxes or they could cut other critical programs like health care, public safety and education funding, including K-12, and state universities.

Proposition 92 expands bureaucracy, but contains no accountability or independent oversight, and requires no public audits. There will be no way to know how the Prop. 92 money is spent.
The Cerritos Board of Trustees will take its position on Dec. 12 when newcomer Tina Cho is sworn it.

However, from the sound of the points of those in the ASCC Cabinet there seems to be no support for this initiative. "This is all a fallacy," ASCC Vice President Michael Barrita said. But there is that point that it would lower student fees to $15 per unit...stay tuned...

Read the opposition to Prop. 92 here

Read the support for Prop. 92 here

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Books, Campus changes and lower fees?

Cerritos College Bookstore manager Paul Flovick was grilled today at the ASCC Senate meeting by senators regarding the book prices and looking for reasons as to why the book prices are so high. He passed out the following handout from the The National Association of College Stores which explains, "WHY Do My Textbooks Cost So Much?"

The handout reads in part the following to the question: "Why is the store gouging me? Textbooks are so high, I know that the stores is making tons of money.

The answer: In reality, the bookstore doesn't make much on textbooks. On average, 65.8 percent of the sticker price on new books goes back to the publisher, mostly to cover development of the book and normal business expenses.

Other information was provided and with the Senate looking into a book exchange program Flovick was asked about his opinion and he said, "I have no feeling toward the program. I have informed the corporation yet, I have no opinion on it." In addition, he said that there is a contract where commission comes into play. And there has been a request to look into what the contract says in regards to the campus books store...stay tuned...

How is Falcon Square, and the campus as a whole going to look like in 10 years? Well, at right is the Cerritos College Campus Transformation Committee Master Plan of what it will look like. One of the things that is noticed is there will be additional parking space and the amphitheatre will cease to exist. All and all, it will not be the campus that is known today...

With there being lower tuition fees in the state of California's community colleges? Well, that depends on who you and the support of Proposition 92 and if there is a yes on it, it will:

-Lowers student fees:

• More than 300,000 students left the California community colleges in 2004 when skyrocketing fees put college beyond their reach. Prop. 92 allows more students access to higher education by lowering student fees to $15 per unit and limiting future increases.

-Helps students become self-supporting citizens:

• Community college students, teen and adult, who earn a vocational degree or certificate see their wages jump from $25,600 to $47,571 in only three years.

• Prop. 92 gives all Californians the opportunity for a better future, and provides many disadvantaged students their only chance for college education.

-Stabilizes campus funding:

• Uncertain funding leads to class cancellations and students often are denied the courses needed for job training or transfer to a four-year university.

• Prop. 92 guarantees adequate funding to meet college student needs yet leaves funding for K–12 students untouched.

This will only happen within the state of California...

For more information on Prop. 92 visit the following web site:

Prop. 92 official web site here

Yes on Prop. 92 here

No on Prop. 92 here

Two months, that was it

I was informed that I will not be returning to Gibson Overseas Inc. as its part-time writer.

But let me assure you that this is not the end of my search for a window of opportunity.

There is much that I took away from being there ONLY two months. The following is an e-mail I sent to those within the company.

I know that what I feel and what I have said is true because like with anything in life one must know that there are endless possibilities.

Hello to those of you who have received this e-mail:

I am writing to you to express and announce that I will not return to Gibson Overseas as your part-time writer. I was informed of the decision yesterday. However, this is not to say that I walked away with knowledge. I did.

Although it was only two months, I enjoyed my time there with everyone I had the opportunity to meet. I had the opportunity to observe dedicated people who are committed to their position. All of you must applaud yourselves for your dedication. I to, must say that learned a great deal about what Gibson has done and I take away this from the experience:

I looked at myself as a struggling actress, waiting for a window of opportunity...and I found an opening. As a student journalist, I have also development workaholic dedication from what I do. This was a long period of discovery not just because I was involved in the Cerritos College journalism program. But more than anything those of you who have this email, like me express my deepest gratitude to you for your kindness, it goes beyond words...I'm speechless.

Each day I took as a learning experience and I always read what that meant. In other words, I know what it means to be dedicated to the work that you were put on this earth to do. I, as a student journalist was put on this earth to inform people in the field. I know that there are and will continue to be opportunities for that open opportunity. I will begin to look for that opportunity. I also have BIG plans in the future for myself and for my continued work from journalism.

My future endeavours include a visit to New York , where if journalism doesn't work out I want to be an artist, a poet, or a lawyer. I have read material about New York that have only increase my desire to go there. In addition, as that artist of journalism if there is nobody out there that wants me as its staff writer, I do plan to create my own magazine. I have a logo in mind but not title yet. Of course with any magazine start up one must also see if the title is not taken. So, in a sense the possibilities for me are endless....

Please let those in the department know I am grateful to all of them and let Norma D know that I thank her for being kind as is good to know that us Normas are out there. Lastly, I don't know if I was the first person to ever send a mass email to everyone and formally introduce myself but if I was, can I just say this. One must never be afraid to who they are...a journalist should be honest, disciplined and open....

Thank you Gibson for that open window of opportunity....because who knows, one day I will be famous!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Breaking News: Spoken Word to be held Dec. 4

I just received an email from the adviser of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and there is news...the Spoken Word event will be held on Dec. 4 at the Cerritos College Student Center. This, ladies and gentleman is one of my favorite events because it is the opportunity for students alike to express themselves through music, poetry and art. I have been fortunate enough to attend this event twice. Once for Cerritos' Talon Marks and the other as a participate.

I love it when I was a participate because I felt free to be myself. I was afraid to express what I felt in regards to what had happened with everything and everyone. Last February when it was held on campus I took advantage of the opportunity and I loved it. I did have a question. I would hope that the reception to the event will be more open to the idea because when it was held on campus last February there was not that excitment that I hoped to see.

I know that something like a spoken word which again is often done with a musical background, but emphasis is kept on the speaker.

One of the most common sorts of spoken word performances is performance poetry, where a poet either reads previously-published poems, or reads poems specifically written to be performed aloud.

Another kind that has gained popularity in recent years is political and social commentary, done in such a way that it is, while still prose, somewhat more artistic than a typical speech.

Spoken word artists are often poets and musicians. Spoken word gained notoriety in the late 1980s and early 1990s through the emergence of "poetry slams," where spoken word artists would square off in cabaret-style duels. I would hope participate in it on Dec. 4...I'd love to do it again because it sets me free.

Monday, November 19, 2007

In the study of human sexuality

Who knew that writing articles would be important. However, that is the case with what we've studied in Human Sexuality class this semester and these three articles from the last semester were shared with the instructor.

She told me that she forgot to bring them back and will have them with her next Wednesday. This last week we studied sexuality transmitted infections...and with the articles on AIDS and breast and cervical cancer why not....

I told her not to worry about it because it is cool...but she said that she will read them on her way to the Bahamas SO...imagine that. TM did do its job.

Who knew?? What article could be of help the next time?

My true shining light

It's my mom's birthday. Happy Birthday to you!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Book exchange program coming to Cerritos?

Two former UC Davis graduates would hope to help out Cerritos College with the implementation of a book exchange program, it was announced at today ASCC Senate meeting. Yet, I question the book exchange program as students try to figure out how to deal with the growing cost of books.

One of the former UC Davis student is Peter Nguyen and the basic is this: that students will be winning. However, I have spoken to the Cerritos College Bookstore manager and said that the bookstore is not to blame for the growing prices. He said that the publisher of the books and its requirement for the books processing are what the bookstore goes by, it's not them.

When the Cerritos College Talon Marks published its story titled, "Books Prices a Burden on Students," at the beginning of the semester Paul Flovick said that they were not the one to blame. I believe him. Why? It is because it is those who are the ones who are after the money. It all boils down to the coroparations. The almighty dollar speaks in America.

Julie Trager, art instructor is right. During the time, I took her humanities class and studied the Holocaust and the world of reality and illusion it all came back to the same thing. Money. Period. So, will this help with Cerritos' book prices? I say no. Students don't know what the reason is.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Six years later: Richard C. Runyon

It is hard to believe that it has been six years ago that Richard C. Runyon died during a airplane accident in Santa Monica. He was 64-years young. Too young. Who was he, you ask. He was someone that my mom knew for 20 years and also one of the first my mom worked for in cleaning his house. When my mom first came to California and didn't speak a word of English, yet, was shown how to house clean my mom met Runyon in the early 1980s. He was something else. One of the first time that my mom met him, she would tell me how he would criticize her for the lack of English she had.

It wasn't my mom's fault that she didn't know English and had been determined to learn the language. There were times that Runyon would say that her body was right, that, "you have too much of this, and too much of that." However, despite his critiques of everything that happened for me, at least he will be remembered as the one person who helped my mom out during one of the most difficult times in her life.

You, see Runyon helped my mom when we, (including me and my sister) were kicked out of the apartment we were living in and had to stay at the hanger he had at the Van Nuys airport. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the three of us stayed for a while at the airport while numerous airplanes lifted off and landing day and night. It wasn't the most comfortable experience but it was the only way we stayed away from the person who was a "toxin" in our relationship.

I will not forget what he did for us. My mom will never forget. From time to time I ask my mom about him and says, "You know I missed him more than I do (his ex-wife)." At the time of his death, Runyon was living in Sherman Oaks and being remarried to a Brit (and her name was Kay), his ex-wife was living down the street. Although he wasn't married to his ex and it having been divorced more than 10 years, he cared about her. He too, would from time to time ask about the former Jean Runyon (now, Jean Richardson) because he gave a damn.

I miss that about him. He saw me grow up, before him. And I was glad that I saw him before he died because I saw how much he meant to me, and yet didn't realize it was going to be the last time. During those Tuesdays and its 20 years Runyon wasn't the type to say "I love you." My mom said, he never did say that until that day on Tuesday. It was strange my mom said. "He and I talked and (he) told me, 'Maria, I love you, I love it when you come and clean my house because I know it is going to be clean'." She was in shock she continued. Speechless.

It was strange even for him, to hug her. The rest of the morning she was only trying to figure out what happened, what came over him. It wasn't until that evening, that my mom realized Runyon had said goodbye. I found out the next morning that he passed away.

Police reports said that Runyon, along with a fellow passenger boarded the plane and were heading back to Van Nuys airport. Next, as Runyon was calling to air traffic control under the name "Romero" he pulled back and was about to lifted off. However, Runyon called to aircraft control and felt something was wrong with the plane and tried to abort the flight. As he was trying to do that the plane lost control and skidded to the end of the runaway, hit a guard rail and burst into flames. Runyon and his passenger burned to death.

All of us who knew him never thought he would die that way, especially my mom. For all the things he said about me, "Watch the car...don't scratch it," to my sister, "I love you, kiddo," to my mom, "Come on, Maria," the four of us miss the hell out of him. The last year of his birthday, I wished him to have a great day. And he said, "Aw, thanks I will." I will never forget him because his birthday was the day before mine. The C stood for Carroll.

Richard C. Runyon

April 26, 1937-Nov. 13, 2001

Friday, November 9, 2007

"To me you're amazing"

The following is e-mail No. 2 from the person. Out of respect her name has been withheld. She has called me "amazing." I could care less. I know what I can do and have no regrets.


You're a great writer and a great talent. If you're happy with the way things are, then I'm happy too.

I'm actually not doing the Assignment Editor duties anymore, but I'm still around. If you need anything, just shout.

Stay just the way you are. To me, you're amazing!

Thank you to her because this only reinforced what I know I can do. I am happy :)


Someone who 'stuck up' for me

The following is a e-mail I received from someone at the Beverly Hills Canyon News. I have respectfully withheld the name, but I do appreciate that she said what she did in this e-mail. I want to let you all know that I believe in myself more so now and I did not plagiarize anything.

Those of you who know SHOULD know that I would never do it. From what I understand this person who sent me the e-mail had an Assignment editor position and no longer has it. I will not ask her why.

Hey Norma,

First, don't think I'm your enemy. I've done nothing but stick up for you. I can't say I know how you feel, but I do empathize.

Second, I want you to tell me what is going on and how you are doing. I do care, Norma, believe it or not.

I'm here. . .when you're ready.

Thank you!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Latest photo of me with another team member

Hello everyone. Here is the latest photo of me from last week's October birthday celebration. Gibson Overseas team members stop at the end of each month to celebrate birthdays as well as give a company update on ongoing projects and lastly introduce new hired team members.

Since I was hired in September, and missed out on the end of September celebration, I was introduced last week. The reason I missed the month before was because I was short changed. Anyhow, this was the photo that was taken. However, if you look closely the focus is behind me and Michael Tang, but I'm there.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Talon Marks article in question

The following is the article written by fall semester's editor-in-chief Steven Martin that appeared in the print edition of Cerritos College's Talon Marks. I have made three minor changes but the rest is the way it appeared on Oct. 31:

In one of the most tightly contested elections for the Cerritos College Board of Trustees in recent years, Nov. 6 will mark the election which could very well change the future of the campus. The candidates that are running are incumbents:

• Robert “Bob” Arthur, current Board vice president
• Ted Edmiston, current board member and
• Tom Jackson,current Board president

• Rosa Barragan, Norwalk resident
• Tom Chavez, music department equipment manager
• Tina Cho, psychiatrist
• Javier Garza, business instructor, and
• Martin Greenidge, volunteer

There are seven elected officials of the Board and four seats available. John Moore, current board member, will be retiring at the end of this term.

Other members currently on the board are Dr. Bob Hughlett, Carmen Avalos and Bob Epple. The election has been clouded in slight controversy, with Cho, Greenidge, Chavez and Barragan choosing to run as political slate and providing opposition to the incumbents and Garza.

They know that many political slates haven’t been successful and that many incumbents win. But they hope that things will be different this time around.

“We chose to run as a slate because we all believe in the same things. We’ve seen good people get elected to the Board, but when there’s only one person, it’s difficult to get things done,” Chavez said.

The incumbents have strong community members such as councilmen from the cities of Norwalk, support from community members such as councilmen from the cities of Norwalk, Lakewood and Cerritos.

Edmiston has served on the Board since 1991 and is one of the advocates for bringing technological advances to Cerritos. “I’ve worked with the Plastics, Auto-Tech and Woodworking departments,” he said.

“The focus that I have is to get the community to work together. (I’ve) put together a chamber of commerce that works with the college and businesses and also worked with LA County schools association.”

Garza serves an instructor in the business department and also an administrator with Northwood University on Cerritos’ campus. He feels that his relationship with the campus is a reason why he should be elected to the Board.

One issue that is important to Garza is ensuring that students have the resources to transfer to a four-year university and are ready to enter the workforce. He would like to see more academic partnerships with the college, such as the one he has with Northwood University.

“I believe the next board members should be people who have a presence on campus. Someone who knows what’s important to the students, faculty and a relationship with the administration. I have all of those things,” he said.

“I’ve known since my college days that public service will be part of my future. I’m a product of the community college system and I see this as an opportunity to give back to the community.”

Jackson is currently the president of the Board and has served on as a member since 2003. He is a former instructor at Cerritos and retired in 2002. He has also served as a member of the G.O. Bond committee.

“He has an exceptional understanding of the campus, both the educational side and business side,” Edmiston said about Jackson.

Arthur has served on the Board since 1995. During his tenure, he has served as president and secretary. Besides his work at Cerritos, he is also the Foothill Transit’s director of special projects. He is also a former mayor and councilman for Norwalk.

“Arthur has a good idea of what the community needs,” Edmiston said about Arthur.

Both Jackson and Arthur declined to give comments.

Chavez has been an employee at Cerritos for 28 years and currently works in the music department. He’s served as a member of the Community Facilities Advisory Committee.
“One thing that people say is that the Board isn’t accessible and doesn’t communicate. I want to find a way to set up regular forms and be accessible,” he said.

Cho’s goals are to help Iraqi war veterans get full benefits under the G.I. Bill. She also wants to increase salary and benefits for part-time faculty.

Greenidge says he has involved in politics for 20 years. “I bring a fresh look and face and a willingness to listen to everyone involved,” he said.

Greenidge says he has involved in politics for 20 years.

There is the entire article. For those in the ASCC Senate when its party whip expressed concern, I can only assume it is the beginning.

"I spoke to Editor-in-chief Steven Martin about the newspaper"

Commissioner of External Affairs Raymond Abudeye told me that he, along with ASCC President Jason Macias and ASCC Vice President Michael Barrita had spoken to Editor-in-Chief Steven Martin about the Board of Trustees elections article that appeared in the Cerritos College Talon Marks on Oct. 31.

Apparently he expressed concern that the article that appeared in the print edition was bias based on the way it was written by Martin. In addition, he said, "I also think that there have been articles in the newspaper that are irrelevant to the campus." He added that, that hasn't happened whatsoever.

Currently Abudeye is writing a "Letter to the Editor" and asked if any of those senators have read the article. There were no show of hands. Did he feel that Martin was timid toward him, Macias and Barrita? Abudeye said yes. He said that senators should pick up the paper.

The only other person that did raise his concern of not only the article but in what the staff is not covering and should be of political importance. Abudeye asked me what he should do.

The only thing that I told him is IF I was in his position I would want to know about what is going on. However, I emphatically said that I wasn't in his position. But I told him that the strongest weapon that we have as students is our voice, otherwise why do we have it.

He thanked me for my input but I said it was up to him what he wanted to do. The issue of the Talon Marks comes as the semester is nearing its closure.

Party Whip Williams asked the other senators for immediate action against the Talon Marks with the formation of the Ad Hoc Committee. Williams said that the way he found out about TM's three General Excellence awards, for Talon Marks print edition,, and Wings magazine, is when he went to the online version of the newspaper.

"As a student, I took offense to that," and added that if there were senators interested in the TM committee that he strongly suggested they join in. Barrita spoke publicly about the newspaper as well. IS there going to be aggressive action against TM for its content and other concerns? Like you, I'm waiting to find out.

Breaking News: "I take offense to the Talon Marks General Excellence Awards"

It seems that the Talon Marks is getting the attention of the ASCC Senate. Today commissioners and senators have expressed disappointment in the quality of the newspaper. More specifically Senate's Party Whip Michael Williams said that he took offense of TM's General Excellence Awards it received on Nov. 3.

"I did a survey of the students here on campus and was quick to learn that there were a number of them who don't read the newspaper."

More to come...

Could you imagine me with this title?

Media Credit: From the Whittier Daily News

Back to that question in a minute. But first, here is a picture of me at the Nov. 6 elections last night! If you look close you will see the watch on my left wrist and a pen in my ear, that's really me! Last night a photographer from the Whittier Daily News showed up to photograph one of the candidates (pictured with me) and took photos and video as well.

However, what is an election with its controversy. Yes, last night precinct coordinators came to the area and said that there was a complaint about the voter recorders. In other news, the three Cerritos College Board of Trustees incumbents Ted Edmiston, Tom Jackson and Bob Arthur and newcomer Tina Cho fill in the seats in the Norwalk elections. Cho will be introduced at tonight's board meeting following a recognition of retiring board member John Moore.

Here is what happened that led up to the controversy...

9 a.m.-There were a small number of elderly voters who were unable to locate the area of the ink-a-vote system and marked on the plastic covering of the recorder. As an inspector for the third time I had made it a point to check the area for voters and to make sure it was clean. In realizing what happened, I had to make sure the other areas that had obtained smear marks were equal and not favorable to a candidate. Instinctively, I did this when it arosed. But to a voter, it didn't matter because when the city clerk and precinct coordinator came to check how everything was going, they told me that person said that I didn't care.

That's a lie. I did care and I do care about what I do. I have always tried to uphold my position within anything I do. How can anyone say that? When she came up to me, she tried to intimate me by asking for my name but I also thought that she was going to ask for my address (but she didn't) and I stood my ground. I wasn't going to let her or anyone try to control the situation. Years ago, I would have let that happen, but I am a journalist. Yes, we press, but we know when to hold our ground. I did, damn it.

Be that as it may, more than 300 voters came out at our precinct, not bad considering that it is not a presidential election; that will come next November. Nonetheless, another election is in the books and February is fast approaching. I am ready. And there will be numerous situations one must handle. I am ready for that too. But one thing that is constant, there is controversy where I go.

That is not the only thing that happened. There was one man who said that his name was Richard Martinez and that he and I had attended Santa Fe High School together. Like the man who said that he remembered me when I went to Pioneer High School during my second year, the other day, I was thinking, "Okay...stalker." Like I told you before, I am bad with names and faces. I never paid attention in high school.

Okay, back to the question, "Could you imagine me with this title?" Try to envision this: ASCC President Norma Palacios. No, really imagine. Can you see it? Could I possibly be thinking of being the student body president at a university? Yes! I have. It would be "So-So" President Norma Palacios but wait, it has only been a thought. As a student of Cerritos College and more of a student in general, I have to admit that I have been disappointed with this year's student president.

I see no attempt by him to create change within the campus, there has only been a slight change. Yet, I want to focus on the words "public service." Does he know what that means? And what is the most powerful weapon that we have? Our voice! Could I possibly do it? Could I possibly want to create change and want to have people who are not afraid to take risks? Do I want to see change? Do I want to do this? Yes, to all of the above. But what is holding me back? Me. Plain and simple.

There is room for improvement on this campus. I am not afraid to use my voice. I speak up, I b---h a lot. I am unafraid, yet I am skeptical of the students on this campus and I always doubt myself. You have to understand that I have witness numerous things in my life and words are a big part of it. WORDS ARE A BIG PART OF IT. I don't want to go into details but if you know what I mean, you understand. There are thoughts in my head all the time about what a difference I could do and that is where writing comes in. For me, that is my difference.

Monday, November 5, 2007

That's why you look familiar

Sometimes I don't know how I can be asked if I have been somewhere. When half my answers are, "I used to go to so-and-so place," and people say that's, why I look familiar to them. I've lived in Santa Fe Springs for more than 16 years. Between the ages of 1 and 5, I moved five times before settling in SFS.

Well, yesterday I went out to eat, and there was someone there who if I remember correctly, name's Fabian. Well, he says, "You went to Pioneer High School, didn't you?" I did in fact go to Pioneer High School in my second year because I was being harassed because I "came out."

I didn't tell him that, but that was the reason. I faced the people that were harassing me and graduated. But can I be honest, about something? I absolutely hated high school because I always had to be someone I wasn't comfortable being and because people can be motherf--kers during that time.

I ended up doing physical harm to myself more than I did physical harm to others...and I was numb to the pain.

I have to admit that I am horrible at names and people faces because my focus was always on just attending classes and not socialize with everyone. So, if I forget your name, forgive me but the people I will not forget, the people at Talon Marks.

But more than anything if there was something that I would hope would happen, it would be that people tolerate others. People I never spoke to in high school have come up to me and have said they know me. I only stand there with a blank stare on my face.

However, as I prepare for the elections tomorrow, I will definitely have material to read...See you at the polls and to the TM staff congraluations on the three General Excellence awards for the print, online, and its Wings Magazine.

Friday, November 2, 2007

What I'll be doing on Nov. 6

Although this photo is from last year's election, this is what I will be doing on Tuesday. I'll just remember to wear the same shirt.

Anyway, as I anticipate the elections, I know that this year's elections will be at the Santa Fe Springs Neighborhood Center, less than a minute from home. I will be there at 6 a.m.

Too bad that I don't have a laptop computer otherwise, I would blog about what's happen every hour. But I will be sure to do that the next day.

I'm all set for next year's presidential elections as well. I was called about three weeks ago and said, "Yes," that I will be available that day. See you at the polls!

The genius of Carl Bernstein

Famed former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein says that celebrity news is to blame for the downfall of journalism he told reporters and college students at Brunswick School on Thursday.

"The problems we have in news and journalism are about us not doing our job well enough," Bernstein said.

"The ideal of providing the best available version of the truth is being affected by the dominance of a journalistic culture that has less and less to do with reality and context."

Bernstein, along with Bob Woodward (pictured at right and below) broke news of the Watergate scandal, On June 17, 1972, Frank Wills, a security guard at the Watergate Complex, noticed tape covering the locks on several doors in the complex. He called the police and within minutes, five men were arrested inside the Democratic National Committee's office.

The five men were Virgilio González, Bernard Barker, James W. McCord, Jr., Eugenio Martínez and Frank Sturgis. The five were charged with attempted burglary and attempted interception of telephone and other communications.

On Sept. 15, a grand jury indicted them and two other men for conspiracy, burglary and violation of federal wiretapping laws. The two others were E. Howard Hunt, Jr. and Gordon Liddy.

In March 1973, James McCord wrote a letter to Judge John J. Sirica charging a massive cover up of the burglary. His letter transformed the affair into a political scandal of unprecedented magnitude. That led to the resignation of the only American president Richard Nixon. He proclaimed his innoence up until the time of his death in 1994.

I do agree with Bernstein. I do think that journalists focus on celebrity has gotten out of hand. Everyday there is news about Britney, Lindsay, Paris.

And Bernstein says that there should be focus on what the realities are. And yet, we are not doing that.

There is more to journalism. I know that I am only one person, and I will never reach the level of a Carl Bernstein but my focus is to being able to focus on the realities of society.

That has always been my focus. And you wonder why the media gets flack for its coverage of its news. But I do think that it should apply to student publications as well. The focus should be on what is happening on campus. And never being afraid to ask the question when it arises.

In addition, in journalism nobody should just assume anything that why our voice is our most powerful weapon like our writing. Every publication should do that because was the genius of both Woodward and Bernstein.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Los Angeles Times over Canyon News any day

What a turn of events. Seems that there is no response between me and those at Canyon News anymore. Actually I don't feel a thing. No anger. No sadness. No regret. No connection. Nothing. No worries though. I have other plans in the future.

One has to move on and look for other opportunities. You can't rely on just one and of course there are no guarantees on anything in this life. There is always a open window of opportunity and it's one that has to find it. Gibson Overseas is different. I have been here for more than a month and everything is going as it can go.

I'm still working on the November newsletter. And I'm still learning more than 200 names. I will get those names. As for an update on the Summer 2008 Los Angeles Times Summer 2008 internship? J5, are you ready? I have one recommendation so far with the other things that I have (cover letter, personal statement/letter of intent, 12 sample of work).

The letter of recommendations was too kind for words and when I read it I was red in the face after. But I left it in the envelope she gave me when I picked it up on Monday. So, in a sense, I would pick the Los Angeles Times over Canyon News any day. I know, I know, what you are going to say. They are a politically-driven, ego sucking newspaper. But I don't care.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wake up ASCC Senate!!

Media Credit: Norma

Today's meeting was a bore! I think that last year's ASCC Senate meetings were more entertaining. It had to do with the fact that ASCC Vice President Alex Armendariz was there. IF those in the ASCC Senate don't wake up, the photo (at right) will be the result. It will be a ghost town again.

I know that if I were to be in that position that there will be more activity going on. But since I am not, what that Cal State Long student told me last Wednesday is true, and that includes Oskar Ruiz, former ASCC Sergent-At-Arms said, those students like the seat warm.

Breaking News: Anna Tapu robbed of Homecoming crown?

That is apparently what one member thinks. With the Homecoming game on Saturday being cancelled during to the poor air quality due to the California wildfires, I would think that this person, who turns out not to be human at all, let out the frustration.

The following is an email from the Pacific Islanders Club and is in response to the 2007-08 Homecoming elections and the election of its Homecoming Queen Adrianna Venegas who was sponsored by the Court Reporting Club:


Are these four Cerritos' next Board of Trustee members?

My focus is on these four candidates running for Cerritos College's Board of Trustees. Like I said before, I could care less about what happens on the Rio Hondo Board. These four could possibility be the next board members. I just happen to walk by a booth that was represented by Ryan Howard, the coordinator of the Nov. 6 election campaign for the four who are running and I told him that I was keeping a close eye on who will be on the board.

The three incumbents are: Robert Arthur, Dr. Ted Edmiston and Tom Jackson. And the four candidates are: Martin Greenidge, Tom Chavez, Rosa Barragan and Tina Cho.

Whether or not any of these four candidates will be elected will be known in just hours from now. However, I do know this, this following statement will generate questions: "The elections has been clouded in slight controversy, with Cho, Greenidge, Chavez and Barragan choosing to run on political slate and providing opposition to the three incumbents and Cerritos' Javier Garza."

I have questions about that myself.

But the way to find out is to see if students really give a damn...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Journalism Assocation of Community Colleges Conference

The Journalism Association of Community Colleges Conference is this weekend and I am nervous for anyone who's going. (J5, Rosali?). I know someone got to go. This event didn't go particularly well for me when I went to Sacramento. I will NOT go into details but at the time I wasn't comfortable at all.

Let see how Cerritos College's own Talon Marks publication will do this time around. During the state conference its student publication was the only one to receive General Excellence in print, online and its Wings Magazine.

All the best...

One out of two incumbents in November

Media Credit: Norma

Bob Arthur (left) and outgoing Cerritos College Board of Trustee John Moore (right) are the seats being sought after for the Nov. 6 elections. I spoke to Mr. Moore two weeks ago at the Board meeting and I knew that he wasn't returning because he forgot to file the paper required.

He didn't have to tell me. I read it in the papers. But although the elections in my area focus on the Rio Hondo College College Board, I could care less. I am more concerned with Cerritos' Board of Trustees members.

Stay tuned...

Staff support and the Nov. 6 elections

I know I have been worked up on this whole plagiarizing thing. But I know what I can do, and that includes without the help of anyone who has written something similar.

This last week I refused to take any stories to write for the Beverly Hills Canyon News because of this whole fiasco with the other publications accusing me of copyright infringement.

One of the two is from the City of West Hollywood publication whose writer said I copied him. Not true. Yet, the staff at Canyon News stand behind me and here is the following e-mail from one of the editors:


Well, hello to you too. Where have you been?

Listen, I know that you have been worried with things that have transpired over the last week, but dealing with it will make it go away faster, I promise.

No one is mad at you. You're an excellent writer and I know that this whole thing is probably just a big misunderstanding that will get figured out. Don't worry. Writers are presented with this kind of thing all the time. It is the nature of the biz and only the strong survive it. It will be something and someone else next week. Keep your head up. You're an amazing talent.

As long as I know I didn't do anything I know I will get through this. In other news: The Nov. 6 elections are coming up next week and I picked up all of the information and election supplies.

I can't wait to start but I will be sure to bring books along so I won't get bored. Not that far from the house only two blocks away. What am I keeping an eye on? Who will be on the Cerritos College Board of Trustees and who will fill in one of the seats that will be vacant. In addition, see if the three other incumbents will stay in. See you at the polls.

Have a great Halloween!

As for anything else? You know to stay tuned...

Monday, October 29, 2007

I don't plagiarized, God damn it!

I don't plagiarized, God damn it! That is exactly how I have been feeling all weekend and it's time for people to know how much it pisses me off that one would think that I would do that.

If I am offending you, I suggest you don't read any further. I know that I take into consideration everything and last week when someone suggested I plagiarized, one of the seven deadly sins, you would have no idea how I felt.

But I found the press release that I got my information from...

There are numerous things that I have learned within the field of journalism is that there is only one way to know whether one has done and that is to prove it. I know that I would NEVER do it because I might as well be fired...

Still a developing story...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

E-mail regarding Public Enemy No. 1: Plagiarism

Both of the inquiries have been combined but the name of the man has been withheld.

The following are the two e-mails that were in my inbox from two people at the Beverly Hills Canyon News:

"We have a frenzied person on the phone that wants to sue us stating that your article was plagiarized and we didn't credit him with quotes. Let me know immediately where this article came from. Norma can you send me the press release I need it to talk to the man that is calling."

When I received the e-mails, I acted quick to say that the article was obtained through a press release. At first, after the phone calls were received the article was initially removed from the web site. However, after I forward the information and stated that it was on other web sites, the article was reloaded.

Threat of a lawsuit

I have been accused of plagiarism. Yes, on Monday I got an e-mail from people at the Beverly Hills Canyon News saying that someone was on the phone threatening to sue the newspaper for plagiarism when its publication came out on Oct. 21.

It was one of the stories I covered and yet, when I went to the office the first and only time back in mid-September, I was told that I was allowed to use quotes from a press release and if any story that was published was all over the Internet it is considered public domain.

Plagiarism, is Public Enemy No. 1 and is something that I would NEVER do because it is like the Seven Deadly Sins. Let me do say this as well. I know that during my time on Talon Marks there were questions raised about what I wrote. If you remember the first was when I wrote that the ASCC had showed support for the Cerritos College Faculty Federation's debate with the Board of Trustees and its staff back in 2006, in the stories, "Senate supports health fee; indecisive on CCFF" and "Senate agrees to support CCFF with revised resolution."

In the resolution, it was stated that the ASCC did support them. However, following the meeting, one of the former Senators told me that I was to eliminate extra words but that was after the fact. I used my judgement and put the words that were to be eliminated and the following meeting she came up to me and said, "You were not suppose to publish this!" But for me, as a journalist, one must know whether something is off-the-record or not beforehand.

You can correct me if I am wrong, but in regards to Canyon News I know that I can write and have my own resources for stories. I know that, that once shy person who you see now, is no longer there. That person was light years ago. It is not the first time that I have ruffled someone's feathers...and it won't be the last time. In fact,I actually like being controversial because it allows you to think.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Disneyland, the Unhappiest Place on Earth?

The following was a comment posted on the Cerritos College Talon Marks about Disneyland's internship:

My son did two of these Disney internships. A year later, Disney still has him working part time for practically nothing, and noone else will hire him. Find something else - this will hurt your career.

Do you know why? It is because your son didn't apply for a job application, he went by for what was heard about it when I am sure a representative was here on campus. Let me tell you that I met the gentleman who has been at Cerritos more than once and I always laugh when I see him because I can only see what a disaster it turns out to be without being in the program. My sister went to the same presentation and I knew exactly what she was in for. However, when she applied earlier this year she applied within the right department, that is what your son didn't do.

As far as Disneyland...well don't get me started...

Boys Don't Cry

In class today we watched the beginning of the Kimberly Peirce's directorial debut "Boys Don't Cry" starring Academy-award winning actress Hilary Swank. This film based on the true life of Teena Brandon (Brandon Teena) put Swank on the map and led to her winning another Oscar for her performance in "Million Dollar Baby." She is the first to be nominated and win both nominations for Best Actress.

How can I forget this film because when I watched this film when it was in theaters, I sat in the audience with people who were more than 55-60-years-old. Yet, when I watched this film in Human Sexuality class and watched in detail this time around, and I realized why I love this film.

During the production, I read that Swank was lost in translation, meaning that it took time for her to realize that she was a woman. As for Chloë Sevigny who played Teena's love interest Lana said that she wasn't aware of the controversy until after the film's release. And that she would not play a real life person again. I would hope that she would one day.

From the first take of Swank cutting her hair to the death of Teena after the revelation of her true identity, this film is graphic in one part but true in the face of humanity. As for Peirce, she is currently working on another film titled, "Stop Loss" to be released in 2008.

As for what this film means, it means that there are still fights for civil rights for those who are transgender. I know that the first time I saw "Boys Don't Cry" I still believe that everyone has a right to be treated fairly, no matter what. It is unfortunate that I had to give up the DVD and its soundtrack. I want them back! If you haven't seen it, you MUST, but if you have you know why Swank won the Oscar.What more can I say, but GET this film!

Rating: 5 out of 5