Entries categorized "Education"

Davis Soroptimists give moms a boost

LYD2019
On June 5, Soroptimists Meredith Sweet, left, and Eda Chen present Terecita Lopez with a $2,500 grant to help her finish her training to become a licensed vocational nurse. Three other women received grants as well.
Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo

Soroptimist International of Davis gave a boost to four local moms on June 5, when it presented $5,000 in Live Your Dream Awards.

(From Press Release)

At a luncheon at Odd Fellows Hall, the service organization presented a $2,500 grant to Terecita Lopez, a $1,000 grant to Brenee Spears, and $500 grants to Samantha Morales and Ngozi Nwoko.

The Live Your Dream Award is a cash grant given to women who are financial heads of their household and pursuing an undergraduate degree or vocational training. The award is a resource for motivated women to improve their education, skills and employment prospects, leading to better lives for themselves and their family.

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Great Tree Search Update

Scarlett-oak
This scarlet oak on Antioch is a car magnet because of the cooling shade it produces all summer.

By Greg McPherson

Nineteen trees were awarded Great Tree status in Tree Davis’s Great Tree Search. Great Trees were designated because of their unusual size, species, form, or history. Awardees ranged from 12 to 380 years old, 11 to 129 feet tall and 1 to 20 feet girth. Fascinating stories on what made each tree special were captured in a series of Davis Enterprise articles this spring and can be found online at the Tree Davis website http://www.treedavis.org/programs/great-tree-search/.

Great-tree-necklace
Each Great Tree has a Necklace with species name, fun fact, and a QR code that points one to more information on the website.

Also on the website is a map with locations and fun facts on each Great Tree. A graphic design class at Sacramento City College produced unique Tree Necklaces that adorn each tree with species name, fun fact, and a QR code that points one to more information on the website.

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City Council needs forward thinking on broadband internet

My understanding is that the major question in front of the Council is whether to continue to pursue a municipally-owned broadband network.  The Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF) says yes; staff says no.  I am here to support the BATF recommendation.

I was astonished to see Dan Carson's editorial in the Davis Enterprise. It would seem that he has already decided, in advance of today's staff presentation and  without hearing comment from the community and fellow Councilmembers that Davis should not control its own broadband network. I hope that he and other Councilmembers have an open mind on this. 

Everyone seems to agree that having municipally owned broadband would bring great benefits to the City, spurring economic development and small business, bringing in needed revenue, and provide fast internet to schools and low income households. Given that, you would think that this would be a no brainer. 

Yet Carson, following the staff report, worries about the costs. This seems to miss the point in multiple ways. To quote a recent article on the topic: 

“Cities invest in many facilities that are not designed to make a profit, from sports stadiums and convention centers to airports and museums. Cities are not indifferent to the economics of such projects, but the bottom line is not strictly enterprise solvency. Especially for infrastructure like broadband, the network effects and spillovers should contribute to the economic and social life of the community.” https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/a3np4a/new-municipal-broadband-map

Furthermore, as things stand now we are at the mercy of a monopoly. As coincidence would have it, Comcast raised its prices just this month. My household is now paying almost $80 for high speed internet. Our only “alternative” is to “pay less by paying more,” that is, by getting our internet bundled with other services we don’t want and wouldn’t use. We live in Central Davis, yet AT&T cannot provide high speed bandwidth to our household. We are at Comcast's mercy. This is not forward thinking. 

Carson compared City owned broadband to the bullet train. A more accurate comparison would be SMUD, a lost opportunity for Davis to control its own electricity. 

Let’s not make that same mistake again. Let’s do what over 750 communities have done <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/06/29/new-report-swings-and-misses-on-communities-and-next-generation-broadband/amp/> and control our own broadband network.  

Let’s be bold and act for the greater good of the community. 

Davisites, please come to City Council this evening and let the Council know that this issue is important to you. 

 


A response to Dan Carson's op-ed opposing a city-owned broadband network

There are significant economic reasons to have a municipal fiber project

Published by Matt Williams in the Davis Enterprise, reprinted with permission of the author

I respectfully disagree with Dan Carson.

As a member of the BATF I would like to share with the public the following list of reasons that explain why BATF came to the official conclusion in writing that “the emotion and passion around the concept of a municipal fiber project could not be any more intensified."

BATF officially chose not to include the detailed list in the current recommendation memo because the focus of the memo was limited to the two additional tasks Council gave the BATF in 2018. These reasons cover what was learned during the whole BATF duration from 2016 to 2019. It is important to note that there are some BATF members who might not personally agree with some of the listed reasons; however ALL of the reasons were actively discussed by the BATF. 

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The need for cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth

Fiber-optics-internetBy Robert Nickerson

Sometimes it seems this town is trying to find its get up and go. If we were taking an auto trip we are getting a lot of constituencies into the car, Ag and Seed, BioTech, New Downtown, Innovation Center, are all getting in and closing the door, putting on our seatbelts, turning the key and not getting anywhere. To our dismay, we look down and see no tires. We are missing an essential element that forms the vehicle that drives our economy to growth, to speed us along our way, that thing is cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth. Businesses and their employees working in these fields that we are trying to bring to town, require access to the fastest and most reliable transport infrastructure available, fiber optic cable. For three years the City of Davis Broadband Advisory Task Force has been evaluating the feasibility of a community-owned fiber optic network. On June 4th they will deliver their recommendation that it is, and that the City should seriously consider pursuing this opportunity. We agree, and hope the City Council takes the next steps the Task Force recommends.

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Community Owned Fiber Optic Ring

DavisGIGGUIDING PRINCIPLES

By DavisGIG

The community owned fiber optic project will meet many specific economic and connectivity objectives of its community partners. More importantly its design is guided by certain principles and community values and brings direct substantial benefits to Davis residents. These benefits are referenced from and included in the Feasibility Study Report (FSR), the phone survey, and the DavisGIG online poll. Some of the current needs that the network is designed to address are:

  1. Digital Inclusion - Currently in the marketplace there are areas where residents have no choice, or poor connectivity. There are three specific areas in Davis1 where only one wireline provider offers any service considered by the FCC to have “Broadband.”2 A community owned network that covers all parcels, and methodically expands to future parcels ensures that all residents, regardless of income level will be connected to the network.3

  2. Digital Divide - The network, which will connect to every parcel in the community, can ensure that all residents regardless of income level have at least minimal level of wireline broadband service without data caps or restrictive transfer allowances that come with cell phone plans. Municipal ownership will ensure, through operational policy or specific vendor lease relationships to the municipal fiber, that a low income plan is available.4 Davis residents strongly believe Internet access on the fiber network should be available to all.5

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UC Temporarily Suspends Glyphosate-based Herbicides

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By Nancy Price

On May 14th, 2019 Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, sent a remarkable letter to the Chancellors of all UC campuses, the Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the CEOs of all  the UC Medical centers announcing the “temporary suspension of the use of glyphosate-based herbicides.”

Napolitano cited “concerns about possible human health and ecological hazards, as well as potential legal and reputational risks associated with this category of herbicides.”

This may be a response to the mounting scientific research linking glyphosate to cancer, or it could just be that the UC system is worried about being named as a defendant in a glyphosate lawsuit like the three Monsanto/Bayer have lost over the last two years. The most recent lawsuit found Bayer responsible for damages of 2 billion dollars.

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AFSCME 3299 and UPTE-CWA 9119 Strike at UC, May 16

May16-strikeBy Connor Gorman

Solidarity forever! The UC still hasn't agreed to provide basic rights and dignity to many of its workers (much less what they truly deserve). On top of this, the UC is continuing to outsource countless jobs to for profit companies whose employees are treated even worse than UC employees. Because of this, AFSCME 3299 (which covers service and patient care workers) will be striking this Thursday (May 16) along with UPTE-CWA 9119 (which covers technical and professional employees). The only picket-line in the region for this strike will be at the UC Davis med center (in Sacramento) since there will not be a picket line on the main UC Davis campus this time but some people are arranging carpools between Davis and the picket line. For more details see:

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Students and Workers Celebrate May Day at UC Davis

UPTE-yds(From Press Release)

WHAT:
UC Davis students, workers, and campus organizations will come together in front of the Memorial Union on Wednesday, May 1st, from 12pm-1pm to celebrate ​May Day​. Live music will be followed by short speeches from various members of labor unions and student groups.

Over a century ago, workers in the U.S. decided that May 1st would be the day for a universal work stoppage. On May 1st, 1886, two hundred thousands workers left their jobs to demand an eight-hour work day. Workers around the world are still fighting for a better life. Here at UC Davis, workers in the union of technical and professional employees in the UC, UPTE, have recently held a strike over pension cuts, stagnating wages, and insufficient career job protections. Members of AFSCME, the union that includes custodians and food service workers on campus, have recently held a strike against unfair labor practices, accusing the UC administration of bribery and violating their right to strike.

WHEN:
May 1st, 2019, 12pm-1pm.

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Broadband Public Comment to City Council

On April 9, 2019 The Davis City Council took public comments on a proposed new contract for City of Davis broadband infrastructure.

The City Council discussion was held in closed session after comments. The City Council did not record or broadcast the public comments. Audio has been provided to the Davisite by Bob Fung of CivEnergy, photos by Roberta Millstein. Approximately 30 people were in attendance.

 

 


UC Workers Strike on April 10: How to Show Your Solidarity

AFSCME3299
By Connor Gorman

Solidarity forever! The UC still hasn't agreed to provide basic rights and dignity to many of its workers (much less what they truly deserve) while simultaneously intimidating, threatening, and retaliating against workers for their participation in labor activities. Because of this, AFSCME 3299 (which covers service and patient care workers) filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the UC and will be striking next Wednesday (April 10) along with UPTE-CWA 9119 (which covers technical and professional employees).

There are a variety of ways that students, workers (who aren't part of AFSCME 3299 or UPTE-CWA 9119), and community members can support the strike and demand an end to the UC's blatant violation of workers' rights along with demanding that the UC provide all of its workers with a living wage while maintaining and expanding essential benefits and protections like good, affordable healthcare; a dignified retirement plan; and job security. The main way that anyone can show their support is by joining the picket line for any period of time that they're able to between 7am and 5pm on the corner of College Park and Russell Blvd., while prioritizing attendance at the 12pm rally if possible (or if you're in Sacramento there will be another picket line at the Medical Center). You can even study or grade at the picket line.

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Students and Workers United Will Never be Defeated!

The following letter was sent by UAW 2865 Davis Unit.  See previous article for more context.

 

Davis

Dear members,

Solidarity forever! On Wednesday, March 20th, thousands of campus workers will go on strike across the UC system to demand a living wage while maintaining and expanding essential benefits and protections like good, affordable healthcare; a dignified retirement plan; and job security. Despite the university’s attempts to trick students and workers into blaming each other for our hardships, we know that our interests are intrinsically connected while the real blame falls on the university’s (and the state’s) priorities.

We recognize that March 20 is the middle of finals week when many students are busy but there are a variety of ways you can support the strike which vary in their level of commitment. First, we’d like to remind you that the contract between UAW 2865 and the UC guarantees Academic Student Employees (ASEs; TAs, AIs, Readers, and Paid Tutors) the right to not cross picket lines. If any ASE chooses to exercise this right and not work on March 20 due to the strike, the UC isn't allowed to impose any consequences on them beyond docking their pay for the hours that they otherwise would have worked. Let us know if you face any sort of retaliation for acting in solidarity with fellow UC workers.

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UC Davis workers on strike, Wednesday, March 20

UpteUPTE will strike on March 20th. Pickets will run at College Park and Russell Blvd (Davis campus) and 2315 Stockton Blvd (Sacramento medical center) from 7 AM to 6 PM on Wednesday March 20th. All UPTE members will be on strike for 24 hours, beginning at 4am on March 20th. UPTE Research and Technical (RX/TX) members are striking for a fair contract and Healthcare (HX) members will be striking in solidarity.

UTPE (University Professional and Technical Employees), CWA 9119, is the union of technical and professional employees at the University of California. It includes Staff Research Associates, Computer Resource Specialists,  Clinical Lab Techs, Editors, Student Affairs Officers, Social Workers, Writers, Museum Scientists, Lab Assistants, and many other titles.

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On Open Access and the UC severing its relationship with the publisher Elsevier

Open-access-no-elsevierThe University of California recently announced that it was terminating its relationship with the publisher Elsevier because Elsevier would not meet its terms for open access.  According to the UCSF library, Elsevier publishes the highest number of peer-reviewed journals worldwide and is the largest publisher of UC-authored journal articles. Thus, UC’s termination of its relationship with Elsevier is a dramatic step that may end up having equally dramatic, and hopefully positive, effects on journal publishing, paving the way for more open access.

But what is open access, and why is the UC’s decision important?  As a 20+ year academic and a co-editor of an open access journal, Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology, I thought I’d give an explanation geared toward the layperson to help provide some context for this decision.

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Young Democratic Socialists Hold Launch Party for "College for All" Campaign in Davis

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 1.28.17 PM“Public college and universities tuition free? Damn right.” Bernie Sanders , most popular politician in the U.S. [1]

WHAT:

State funding for higher education has declined by 65% in the last four decades, part of a broader gutting of the U.S. public education system. In response, tuition and fees have more than quadrupled in California since 2000 [2]. At UC Davis, 49% of students take out loans during their time in school. These students graduate with an average debt of $19,124 [3].

The YDSA at UC Davis is launching Davis’ College For All campaign on Saturday March 2nd , 2019. The YDSA’s nationwide College for All campaign demands tuition-free public higher education through direct federal and state funding to fully cover living wages of all campus workers, student debt cancellation, ending all forms of government subsidies to for-profit institutions, and democratic representation for students, faculty and staff in all higher education budgeting decisions. Davis’ local YDSA chapter will be working to build a broad coalition with student organizations on campus, as well as working with campus workers in their joint fight against austerity.

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College classes taught by TAs? Enterprise columnist misses the mark

TasTeaching
I normally find that Jennifer Borenstein offers excellent college advice in her “College Corner” column in the Davis Enterprise. Unfortunately, however, her most recent column is misleading, both in its use of terms and in the elephant in the room that it leaves out.

First, do TAs teach college classes?  Occasionally, but not in the way that  Borenstein means.

To be (perhaps excessively) clear, a graduate student is a person who is pursuing a degree beyond the undergraduate (BA, BS) level.  Once someone is a graduate student, they might be a teaching assistant, or TA. Or, they might be assigned to be a primary instructor for a class (sometimes with graduate student TAs!).  Or, they might not teach at all.  Thus, in the usual case, it doesn’t make sense to say that a TA is teaching a class.  If a graduate student is hired as a primary instructor for a class, they are not a TA.  They are the primary instructor.

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