Web Editor:International Daily
Dear President-Elect Trump:In the few weeks since your election I have received many comments from some members of the largest community college student body in America which consists of 225,000 students on 9 campuses at LACCD. But you may not yet have received any communication from them. Some of them are too busy working full time jobs and trying to support a family and attending school to write you. Others are too angry and don't think contacting you will do any good because you will just ignore them and yet (get this) some of them are so fearful that if they speak up they might be super-noticed and singled out (by your Twitter?) for retribution by hate-mongers or even put on a deportation list. So, I have decided to write a letter on their behalf, to you. Please bear in mind that these are the students' thoughts, not necessarily mine - in fact they are far too thoughtful, witty (including some with a tinge of sarcasm?) and eloquent to be from someone like myself. Here is a composite of some of their comments: 1. Deportation is bad business. We know you have threatened to deport millions of undocumented human beings. But think of all the hundreds of thousands of lawyers that will be needed to represent them (they do have the right to a legal counsel unless you declare martial law). So many lawyers would be required to give them their legally required day in court, that you may find a shortage of legal counsel to represent you in the many legal claims filed against you and your many companies (i.e., Trump University, sexual harassment claims, etc.) to say nothing of the lawyers required for all the lawsuits against people you are planning to sue (at least two dozen women have come forth accusing you of misconduct and whom you said you would sue). Oh, and guess what? Many of those undocumented have read the "The Art of the Deal" and will ask if they can negotiate something just like you did with ... Trump University! Maybe in exchange for no deportation, those students could donate their time and expertise to fact check all your speeches (since it appears few on your staff are doing that). 2. One Trillion Dollars’ worth of highways and other infrastructure might be good. That will create a lot of jobs and replace aging infrastructure. But please invest equally in the community colleges which partner with building trades and companies with apprenticeship programs (yep, they used the term "apprentice" long before you did!), which can provide training and career technical education for students who want to qualify for good paying infrastructure jobs. We want students to benefit equally - not just large construction and developers who will no doubt profit immensely by your proposal. And finally, just don't build too many "bridges to nowhere" even though we hear Sarah Palin is joining your team and she does have some experience in that department. 3. Follow through with the idea of letting young adults remain on their parents' health plan until age 26. One in five millennials can’t afford basic healthcare coverage. This is the generation aged 19 to 35 who now number over 75 million and are the largest generation alive (surpassing your generation - the baby boomers). At the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) where I serve as a Trustee, I initiated a weeklong sign up on all nine campus that resulted in thousands of students starting the quest for healthcare coverage there was such a need for access to care. Healthcare coverage although not used by young people as much as older Americans can be a financial drain on students which adds to the overall costs that force many to work full or part-time at community colleges resulting in a six-year stint at what is supposed to be a two-year college. 4. Lose the idea that federal funding will stop if anyone declares that they are a "sanctuary" community. This idea is not well thought-out since it penalizes folks who have no role in deciding this policy and goes against your desire to bring urban renewal to the inner cities of America.Someone You Can Believe In:I served on a local library board of trustees for about a decade and one day I noticed man who seemed to live at the library. His name was Harvey Elparin and he had recently retired as the owner of a furniture store in downtown Los Angeles. One day after spending his entire day watching television, someone challenged him by asking if he would tutor some immigrant family members who wanted to learn English. From 1999 until his death a few years ago, Harvey had tutored over 150 persons to learn English and had volunteered over 8,000 hours to a local literacy program. His contribution was so significant that a State Literacy Award was named after him.Last Saturday, I had the honor of presenting the annual Literacy Tutor of the Year Award named after Harvey, to Lee Zambrana a man who used to sell industrial and commercial paint to pay his way through school earning a Degree in Psychology at Cal State University Fullerton. He became a therapist at St. Jude Medical Center, helping alleviate patients with back pain. His life outlook motto was “When it comes to helping people, animals, or the environment, I’m all for it”.Looking to enhance his resume, he saw an ad in a local community paper requesting volunteers to teach English literacy classes at the local library. He soon became a “one on one” English tutor and then “graduated” to teaching U.S. citizenship classes at that library and then spent his SundayAfternoons contributing over 280 hours of tutoring and citizenship test preparation.