Category Archives: Public Transportation

Language learning, local education, and lots of ideas

Spanish has always been my favorite language, especially after moving to the bilingual South West. Technically, I was hired for my experience in Unix which led to my MAT in mathematics, but on the ground, my love of learning languages proved to be more important in the classroom. As an adult education instructor at the Continuing Education division of the San Diego Community College District, my fluency proved helpful for many of my students, and also, of course, the ESL classes help our students from many nations contribute in the USA.

Every local educational institution has room for improvement, particularly when seen from both faculty and student perspectives. I posed some questions recently about ideas for implementing low-cost projects that would have been helpful to our students when I taught in North campus involving

1.) a small library or study area,
2.) workshops by CA Promise Program graduates, 
3.) an on-site nurse paid for by medi-Cal, and
4.) access to public transportation:

1.) Many of my students told me they didn’t have a quiet place to study.  While I know that space is in very short supply on the North campus, I wonder if a small area, possibly in the multipurpose room when it’s not being used, could be set aside with cubicles or movable small desks and a small movable lending library like the tiny libraries?

  2.)   I wonder, on the assumption of course that having graduated and started a new career as a professional with a bachelor’s degree anyone can be found who will have time, if any students having graduated with a bachelor’s degree after getting their first two years of community college paid for through the California promise program or with the San Diego promise program, could be persuaded to come back either as tutors, mentors, or even just to give workshops in the areas in which they got their educations?  Particularly accounting majors or paralegal/pre-law majors who could give small workshops on dealing with debt in California including, California statutes of limitations, or financial planning workshops or how to do your own taxes if you only need to do the 1040EZ, etc?  One-on-one tutoring, and also mentoring,  that supportive help, especially for our high school equivalency students, could be both useful and inspiring.  Seeing successfully graduated professionals with a bachelor’s degree who came through the community college system and are willing to spend individual time with them, even if only a couple of hours a week, could make a difference.  Could interns or SCORE volunteers put a program like this together?  Do we track or stay in touch with students who finish the California or San Diego promise program once they finish their bachelor’s degrees?

3.) Many of my students worked two jobs or for other reasons never had time to see a doctor even when they were ill. I wonder if it is possible to pay, through the Medi-Cal system, for a nurse to be on-site, perhaps based out of the office  of each campus, a couple of days/evenings a week?

4.)  One of the biggest problem areas that I saw for my car-free students was that neither the Continuing Education division, nor the CE faculty Union was able to get the transit authority to enforce acceptance of CE student IDs for the monthly bus and rail pass discount.  In planning for post-#Covid-19 classes, will we have any resources to address public transportation discount and access issues?

I imagine that some of these ideas may be a little overwhelming, because I understand that time and resources are extremely limited, but once in a while, as Dr. Rivera-Lacey noted: we do have to dream.

Please share your ideas for improving local education, or for supporting any other parts of our critical Public Domain Social Infrastructure!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19

May, 12020 HE

Learn a language, lose yourself in someone’s love, like little Çilek

A lack of affection in our lives can be both an emotional and physical health risk, especially for people who come from traumatic families of origin. But, until that adoptive family or “intentional family” comes along, maybe even a bit of imaginary parental love can help. Watching shows that show love from characters who become family, like the love of Betüş for little orphan Çilek when they adopt her, can help.

The love and safe affection of close friends can also help heal the wounds left by childhood abuse. Family can be created. You don’t even have to be a Fairy to navigate the landmines: real love is enough (although public transportation also helps for navigating the roadways!).

If you know someone without family, please try to show some love and affection: it could make a big difference.

For all of us.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19

April, 12020 HE

Review of Riding the A-Train With Einstein

Riding the A-Train With Einstein: Notes of a Heretic JanitorRiding the A-Train With Einstein: Notes of a Heretic Janitor by John H. Sibley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, let me say that this book is not, and should not be, an easy read. But it is a crucial read, in my opinion. Other reviewers have taken pains to point out that the title seemed a bit confusing, to them. I did not find it confusing, probably due to the fact that my father was called “The Professor” by his cultural cohort: fellow Black men of the Vietnam generation. So, I felt right at home with the idea of homelessness, which pervades this important work, when I started the book. I think that my Dad and the author would have gotten along very well, and I wish my father were alive now to meet him.

While the book itself was important, if a bit earthy, I personally found the interview and list of references most interesting, after the book itself. That is likely in part due to the many similar gut-wrenching memories triggered for me while reading the experiences of a man similar in many ways to my own father, a light-skinned Black man in DC, experiencing alarmingly similar events in roughly the same historical period.

The author is clearly well-read and working to raise points that are not only ignored but also feared by our system. The facts the author presents relating the slave trade and 1860’s market prices to current structural components of our American capitalist system are both taboo and inconvenient for those who benefit from our current economic arrangement. These are highly important things for all of us to look at squarely in the face, and to begin to shovel our own shit, as so much of the book does in metaphoric and literal terms.

Let’s #EndHomelessness, #EndPoverty, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our Public Domain Social Infrastructure:
#PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

This post also discusses some of the background issues I experienced while reading the book and writing the review.


March, 12019 HE

View all my reviews

Review of a book worth buying: Separate and Unequal

Separate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American LiberalismSeparate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American Liberalism by Steven M. Gillon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How sad that the contents and conclusions of this report are still relevant, and still ignored, today, 50 years after it was released in response to the riots in Newark and Detroit of the “long hot” summer of 1967. I found this book after seeing Dr. King’s response to the question, during the Memphis garbage workers’ strike, of what it would take to prevent or call off his Poor People’s March on Washington: the answer was to implement the recommendations in this report.

The report was commissioned to find out what caused the rioting, not how to prevent further riots. The clearest distinctions between those who actively participated in the rioting and their neighbors who did not, at least at the start of each riot, was the trigger of having witnessed or experienced police brutality. But what primed that trigger for action was the underlying anger, poverty, constant discrimination, and despair to which the Black community in particular was subjected over a very long period of time.

The report called for various measures to be taken which would have improved the lives not only of members of the Black community, but also everyone else in the nation. Measures like the elimination of sub-standard housing in inner-cities, building new schools, health centers, and community facilities, and introducing a guaranteed minimum income would help all citizens, not only those bereft of resources and hope when they were freed with only the clothing on their backs, unable to melt into White American society. From the disrespect by police, to the lack of garbage collection in inner-city neighborhoods, Black Americans were fed up with White America’s deliberate disregard for “the realities of life for many poor blacks” in the United States. This anger, combined with the criminalization of poverty (which was just beginning to kick off the era of Mass Incarceration), the lack of Black faces in [the media, police, highly paid professions and other areas of potential] power, led to a sense of hopelessness and fear that non-violent resistance would never break down a system which was inherently designed to break down the Black community. Ideas like the War on Drugs, brought back by Reagan after the Carter years, and Law and Order, parroted by both right and left, muddied the discourse around solving the problems that led to the riots, instead creating a cloud of convenient reasons to blame inner-city Black communities for their problems while ignoring the structural issues that had created and perpetuated the problems since the slavery era.

The conclusion drawn by the report, above all, was that the entire nation needed education and “a richer portrait of life in urban areas” and to hire many many more Black police officers.

I think that many of the issues of perspective mentioned in the book by the author in his analysis of the report and its time are now beginning to be looked at again, as the discussion around White Privilege becomes louder and more mainstream. That discussion is a necessary but insufficient part of the solution to our current problems, which go back to pre-existing problems pointed out by the report. Please read this book on the Commission report (and also see Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin), and then, write your reps!

Pages I found especially relevant included:

P. 6: 1966 result of creation of ghettos by the 1930s-50s urban renewal aka Negro Removal all across the USA
** P. 12: What a contrast: only 1/100 white people thought that blacks were poorly treated in the USA…
***Ribicoff P. 37: recos…
P. 100: “in the ghetto” last garbage collection (if at all), police disrespectful, school & housing dilapidated
P. 228 (and the answer to that boot-straps baloney:) discrimination and segregation prevented many blacks from following the same patterns which had been followed by immigrant groups, and limited blacks to all but the lowest … jobs

Let’s #EndPoverty & #EndMoneyBail by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting for ALL!!!!, Walk !


March, 12019 HE

View all my reviews

My life mission… to be edited…

the aim: Fully Inclusive Equality.

The Goals (allowing each person to contribute fully):

1. Each person, as a child, must learn to swim (or at least float).
2. Each child must learn emotional/psychological self-defense and physical self-defense to the greatest extent possible, in a Gandhian context.
(1 and 2 are part of the pre-Adulthood criteria: …)

3. Each child, at birth, receives half a hectare of land, non-alienable. He or she may rent, lend or swap the land, but always remains the owner. Where ever the location, it should have a well and be arable.
4. Fresh water for ever person (free!)
5. Each family should have a book in the local public library, containing the autobiography of every adult in the family (which means that each person needs free time and the means to write his or her autobiography).

(the same Goals in Spanish:)
Un programa de Igualdad y Salud para Todos

Las Metas (para que todos pueden contribuir lo mejor):

1. Cada quien, de niño, debe aprender nadar
2. Que cada quien de niño aprende defenderse
3. Que cada bebe, al nacer, recibe .5 hectarios de terreno, que nunca se puede desprender. Se lo puede alquilar o prestar, pero siempre sigue esta persona como dueño o dueña del terreno. Que sea donde sea, será con un poso de agua y capaz de agricolar.
4. Agua potable para cada persona
5. Que cada familia tenga un libro en la biblioteca publica, con resumen del autobiografía de cada persona de la familia (eso quiere decir que cada quien tenga el tiempo libre y los recursos para escribir su autobiografia)


Gregorian Date: Tuesday, 9 September 2014
MEOW Date : Saturday, 9 September, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)

Ir en Metro, o en Deuda? Take the Metro, or Take the Debt?

Click here for English…

“ -Fuera lo espera un chófer con un coche oficial.

Prefiero ir en metro. ”

Como el subsecretario Salvador Martí del Ministerio del Tiempo, ojala que habîan màs funcionarios que nos darîan el buen ejemplo de usar los transportes publicos. A menudo, la falta de transporte publico llega hasta faltar las citas medicas y legales, con consequencia de perder los procesos judiciales que no han de perder, si la persona endeudada hubiera podido llegar a la corte para defender sus derechos.

A corto plazo, otros estados de los EEUU podrîan seguir el ejemplo del estado de Maryland, que ha prohibido las acciónes civiles por parte de colectores de deudas ya pasado la fecha limite segûn el tipo de deuda. Mientras tanto, a largo plazo, reconstruimos nuestra estructura economica para crear la igualdad en vez de crear la pobreza. Los dos puntos de vista, corto y largo plazo, nos urge.

“ -An official car and choffeur are waiting for you outside
-Thank you.
I prefer to take the Metro.”

Would that more of our public officials, like subsecretary Salvador Marti of The Ministry of Time, set the example of using public transportation. Lack of transportation often leads to default judgement on an expired debt which could have been avoided, had the debtor been able to defend in court.

Over the short-term, states could follow the example of Maryland, and prohibit lawsuits on all expired debts, while also rebuilding our economic structures to create equity rather than poverty, over the long-term. Both short-term and long-term approaches are needed, urgently.

Let’s start to #EndPoverty by improving these four parts of our Public Domain Social Infrastructure, the #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (1. #libraries, 2. #ProBono legal aid and Education, 3. #UniversalHealthCare , and 4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Dream, Walk !


May 7th, 12018 HE

Why work and walk, when being who you were born still hurts

This is an off-the-cuff post, as I need to get this off my chest in order to concentrate on the book (A-Train…) I am reviewing and the one I am writing, but this cuts into both like a hot rusty knife. The jagged edges left from the taunts of the kids in kindergarten and 1st grade of how I must be white because my mother is dating a White man, and my skin is so light, I look like a little wild indian.
Of dark-skinned girls saying how I had “that good hair” while not letting my play double dutch with them, and of feeling grateful to the one girl who “took up for me” in school for a short while.

And for another short while there was my mother’s Jewish roommate Susanna, the 18 year old who took me everywhere, while my mother was out with her White boyfriend every weekend, and often weekdays as well. The one adult who never said “stop asking so many questions!” Yet the one adult who really showed the fear I lived with: a NY police officer pulled us over and she looked at me

-don’t say anything smart alecy, because this cop is going to think you are my daughter, so he is going to think I’m dating a Black guy.

A that moment, I knew. There really was no place for me in this world, and there never would be.

Through all of the moves to different projects and evictions, through sleeping in cars, begging to be let back into the school program I’d been in before … then even while staying in a Black professor’s apartment as she traveled to Africa, grateful to have a place to stay that week before my internship, I knew I had no place in this world. And I knew that it would always be that way: too light-skinned to be included by most of my fellow Black people, even within my own family (“you know M. only tolerated your mother because she was so light-skinned” -thanks, Uncle…), but always reminded by the white folks, like my first day of school in VA, that I am a “nigger,” and nothing will change that constant outsider-ness. Not even fleeing to another religion.

But I can try to help make this world a place where skin color and connections matter less. A world where no one ever sleeps on the street or fears for his or her safety, and thus a world where who you were born only means who your friends might (or might not) be, but doesn’t mean you are out on the street or fear for your safety.

So I work and I walk: I work for the Universal Basic Income that Dr. Martin Luther King called for, so that no child, black or white, ever has to fear the police just because of skin color, and no person ever has to sleep on the street for any reason, or go hungry, or come with hat in hand to ask anyone else for food, clothing, shelter or money for basic needs (and yes, a basic phone is also a basic need, as is free decent Public Transpo and Universal Health Care).

And I walk because a car (which I will admit to having fears of driving due to my PTSD, but I could usually keep that under control enough to pull over, back when I used to drive) also divides us economically, and any car takes money from public transportation. Yes, I am also lucky to be able to walk. And grateful. Ok, back to reading and writing…
Destinie (Shira… ? really?)
yes: Shira

Back-posting this so it shows only to my Readers… Written on Monday, March 11th, 12019 HE…

linking to posts from Istanbul, late 2004, and Izmir, early 2005, Chanon’s bus Lymeric post & link

posted in 2020 during global pandemic:

“cultural note:

Kurds, Turks, and Jewish (Sephardic) familys all kiss the hand and touch the forehead of the eldest person/host as a greeting. I was quite surprised to see this as a universal custom (ok, at least one Kurdish family and extended friend group, only one Jewish family that I got to spend alot of time with around their extended family, and I’ve only seen Turkish family greetings on TV here in the commercials and shows. The Turkish family I lived with did not do this, but they are quite wealthy, and Americanized).

My Kurdish friends love to sing! They do not however consider me Jewish, because my father and mother are not Jewish. That seems to be the same sentiment I got from the Turkish and Jewish people I spoke with here in Istanbul as well.

Most people use propane gas for cooking. Natural gas is only in rich areas, so far.

Here, the doorway is not the place to hide during an earthquake. Under a table is what my roommate tells me…
2004-11-09 17:34:00”

…and just the other year, in 2016, cousin Monica expressed the similar belief that I’d been destroyed, writing me off as hopelessly depressed, yet treating me like a pariah and leaving me alone constantly, denying that there were any family get-togethers, dinners or bbqs for the holidays. Just as Dad was abandoned, except that I have never drank nor used drugs. With family like that, who needs enemies?

“karamsar, dark or negative thinking, really?

A person in Izmir accused me of being thus, for refusing to bring a new life into this world. I beg to differ…
…nor am I a raving suicidal lunatic who is emotionally ruined, I am an adventurer exploring places that most people would not try to explore, both physically and emotionally in a time in my life that seems late to most, but is a stage that I missed earlier on and need to push myself through. But it is so hard, most of the time, to keep all of this in mind. May HaShem grant me an all people who wander peace of mind and complete total Shalom. ”


and lastly but most poignent of all:
The conversation before the lymeric (ok, or maybe after the Lymeric…) !!

“At Ersan Pansyon, just off of Kibris Sehitler caddesi, near my apartment, there is a nice young man who works there, who yesterday offered us breakfast and the opportunity to talk. My guest Chanan does not speak Turkish, so I served as both translator and breakfast guest with him. This has been wonderful. I have forgotten the young man’s name, but he asked many questions about the US, which I translated for Chanon from a Boston/NY perspective, and occasionally threw in my own prespective on growing up in the south. One thing that particularly struck me, which I have hear from religious Turks before, is that they are anxious for Americans and Europeans to know that Turkey is different from the other muslim countries, and *is not Arab* -and also is not a bed for fanatical Islam. The current president, as our friend told us, comes from a religious background, as does the family that runs this pansyon, and none of them are fanatics. All do however believe strongly in hospitality and friendship. He told us that all of the people in the world are relatives, all descending from Adam and Eve. This was a wonderful conversation.
2005-03-24 12:52:00”

“2005-03-23 15:10:00
Group Limerick -on the bus!!
Here is a limerick İ composed with the help of several fellow passengers (!)on the bus as we travelled to meet some SERVAS friends (the SERVAS coordinator here in İzmir, as it turned out) here in İzmir:

Izmir’de çok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa döndük?!”
Mutfak çok pislik
Zor temizledik
Efes’i gördük, mutluyduk

the link to all of his travel limericks is also available from this link, i think…

Here is my original in a more readable form…
Izmir’de cok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa donduk?!”
Mutfak cok pislik
Zor temizledik
Efes’i gorduk, mutluyduk

…sorry, thought I’d posted the translation with it:
In Izmir we were lost all the time
“Which way did we turn?!”
The kitchen was really dirty
We had a hard time cleaning it
We say Ephesus, we were happy


2005-03-25 14:15:00
Los EE y el emperio Romano; ABD ve Roma emperyum; US and the Roman Empire…
Estoy trabajando para amigos en leer sus documentos en ingles, escuchando a Nuevo Flamenco muy bonito (me sorpresa que Slash puede tocar la gitarra tan bueno asi!), y preocupando por me permiso de trabajar, y yo estaba pensando en los EE y Roma, que similar; En los ultimos años, la culta del emperor y los valores familiares fue mucho hablado (me temo que he olvidè a esta idioma, y nunca fue tan bueno, asi que me perdoneran, ustedes queridos leeredores…). Una buen amiga me decia que los EE y Roma tienen muchas cosas en comun…

*cringe* now for the Turkish attempt -I’m still trying to translate the last line of silmaril’s comment…
*ahora en Turquesa, aunque estoy tratando de traducir a la ultima linea de la respuesta de Silmaril…

Çalışıyorum ve düşünüyorüm -çalışma vizem nerede? Düşündüm ki ABD ve Roma Emperyum çok beğenziyor.
As I shuttle back and forth between trying not to worry about where the bleepety bleep bleep bleep my bleeping work visa is (lost in Ankara bueracracy…), work on reviewing the English documentation for some friends, and reading this paper on Global Civil Society (I confess that i would like to see more documentation for some of their points…) I am reminded of a comment by a close friend about two years ago that mirrored my own thoughts -the US really is looking more and more like the Roman Empire did, in it’s final centuries (say, around the time of Domitian as he tried to prop up the prestige of the empirial cult, get back to family values, etc)…
castellano, ngo, economic justice”

From (zlB) Craig/Chanon’s visits while I lived in Izmir: