Safety is primary for in-person classes


This fall, nearly all California community college students are pursuing their educational goals online. At the same time, the impact of COVID-19 has increased the need for qualified “essential workers” in fields like health care and automotive technology. This leaves students stymied between course requirements for at least some hands-on training for these professions and closed college campuses.

Serving the greater San Gabriel Valley, Citrus College has recently reopened labs for students in the automotive and diesel technology programs to train essential workers for the transportation and logistics industry. The fact that these qualified professionals are considered “essential” adds an extra sense of urgency to quickly and safely move students through their programs of study, so they can enter the workplace as soon as possible.

In addition to the basic COVID-19 protections, like temperature checks and mandatory mask-wearing, colleges have developed detailed checklists for instructional labs. These include specific protocols for parking, arrival and departure from campus, floor diagrams for standing and walking and classrooms and equipment cleaning.

Training for some essential worker professions, however, requires in-person instruction, and local community colleges are stepping up to provide a safe environment as students complete the requirements for graduation or certification in their chosen fields.

~Dr. Edward C. Ortell is professor emeritus at Pasadena City College and a community college textbook author.

Commentary is full of wishful thinking


I’m a regular reader of Robert Nelson’s opinion pieces at the Weekly. His most recent, “Can Biden ‘float like a butterfly and sting like a bee’ to defeat Trump?” is certainly not the worst election commentary by a Democratic Party activist that I have seen. But that ain’t saying much.

The piece is full of wishful thinking, such as “In 2016, the Democratic establishment sensed the pulse of the voters and incorporated much of Sanders’ vision into its national platform.” If you think that means that they had any intention of actually implementing those policies, you are dreaming. By the same token, I think that you know the answer to the question, “Will Biden make a magnanimous gesture to acknowledge the California reality?” If the DNC actually wanted to defeat Trump, Obama would never have made those phone calls on the eve of Super Tuesday, and Sanders would be the nominee. But the priority is to keep at least one major party under neocon control. If that means losing to Trump, so be it.

Mr. Nelson does not openly claim that the fairy tale about “foreign election interference by the government of Russia” is actually true, but he insinuates it, suggesting that it is a sort of karmic retribution for all the election meddling that the U.S. has done.

As long as decent Democrats like Mr. Nelson keep making these little gestures of submission to their neocon overlords, the Democratic Party will continue to be held hostage. And the voters will keep punishing them for it. How many of those who voted for Trump, and who will vote for him in November, actually like him? My guess is, not many. But lacking a candidate that they can actually support, they will opt for giving the middle finger to the party which has betrayed them.

~Oz Perch


Trump and Biden clash on race and violence issues


A divided nation tuned in to see president Trump debate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at the Western Reserve University in Cleveland. An estimated 100 million U.S. potential voters watched the debate via regular television networks and through various social media outlets. A record-breaking audience, in comparison to any previous U.S. presidential debate.

The moderator, Chris Wallace, lost control of the debate and he sounded like he wanted to cry out of frustration. Trump, Biden and Wallace gave a bad example to the children of America. They all raised their voices, creating a tense, negative confrontational atmosphere. Decorum, cordiality and human warmth was missing, further showcasing divisions and hate.

To make matters worse, Trump sent a message to The Proud Boys, to “stand back and stand by.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has described The Proud Boys as an extremist, white nationalist group and Trump has refused to take a stance against white extremist nationalistic hate groups.

Ultimately, this first presidential debate unveiled that we have become a nation divided by race and hate. Our country is identifying and defining issues mainly based on race and both presidential campaigns are partaking in this divisive approach, especially when courting voters.

The Pew Research Center determined that the universe of 2018 eligible voters defined by race/ethnicity are broken down into the following percentages: 67% white 13% Latino, 13% Black, 4% Asian and 3% is other.

The white vote continues to be dominant, yet minority votes are essential for any candidate to win the presidency. Therefore, a message of healing and unity is necessary in order promote peace during these extremely difficult times due to COVID-19 and climate change-related catastrophes such as fires and hurricanes. COVID-19 has literally plunged the United States into the Great Depression II.

Biden’s working class background and personal relationships that he forged, for many decades, with the black community in Pennsylvania, make him a natural campaigner with black voters. However, he has been criticized for not reaching out enough to Latino and Asian voters. Can Biden overcome these shortcomings of his campaign before the November 3 elections?

Biden has been a strong advocate in denouncing violence and white nationalism. Biden attributes the 2017 murder of a counter-protester in Charlottesville, Virginia to Trump’s hate rhetoric. Trump continues to appeal to his base through conspiracy theories and race-baiting.

President Trump sharpened his race-baiting rhetoric and skills in New York when he actively helped to convict The Central Park Five, black and Latino youth, through his constant media presence and negative attacks on the five young minority men who were wrongly targeted and falsely accused of raping a white female jogger in 1989. Trump learned a lesson, that dividing humans by race can work to his advantage.

Trump continues to take a sensational and irresponsible approach when it comes to race issues. During the Minneapolis George Floyd protests and outrage that led to multiple days of civil disobedience and burning of buildings. Trump’s response was to warn nationwide protestors by stating “when the looting starts the shooting start.”

The National Guard was deployed to Minneapolis, Los Angeles and other cities throughout the United States. Trump specifically began to attack and denounce the Black Lives Matter movement as being part of an Antifa or terrorist group.

Many of Trump’s supporters have now taken a bolder approach when it comes to race issues. Some of his followers have resorted to violence. Trump has portrayed himself as a law and order president and is using an old strategy of divide and conquer. He is stoking fears among suburban whites by repeating that Democrats are allowing minorities to partake in unfettered violence in major urban cities.

Biden tried to provide a message during the debate that we need a president who is a uniter and a healer of the American people. But he came up short in making a stronger case of his abilities to unite our nation. Of course, he was consistently interrupted by Trump.

Trump bullied Biden and the moderator, Chris Wallace from Fox News. No clear winner emerged.

What was clear is that our nation is deeply divided by race and hate, and that Trump and Biden personally do not like each other. Their body language throughout the debate clearly showcased their distaste for each other. Melania Trump and Jill Biden did not even display any courtesy by acknowledging each other at the end of the debate. Further setting a bad example for our children, our future leaders.

Let me end by quoting Friedrich Nietzsche “sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”

However, we can still dream that a strong leader will emerge to unite and heal our broken country.

~Randy Jurado Ertll