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Barely scraping by: How the Bay Area housing crisis is making it near impossible for students to stay in community college

One in five community-college students don't have stable housing

San Jose City College student Rey Blanco grabs shoes from his car for his gym class on May 2, 2019. He lived out of his car for a time when he couldn't afford a place to live. Photo by Adam Pardee.

By day, Matthew Bodo worked 12-plus hour days as a valet for Tesla in Palo Alto and studied psychology and communications at Foothill College, long fascinated by neurology, human behavior and media. By night, he slept in a shuttle at the high-end electric car company.

Without a stable home of his own, he became adept at finding places to sleep. If a friend's couch or floor wasn't available, there was the small, carpeted meditation room on campus. There was his car, a 2000 red two-door Mustang with windows that weren't fully sealed and a malfunctioning heater. Sometimes he could park overnight undetected at Foothill. Other times he would be asked to leave, heading into the night to find somewhere out of sight to park, on a quiet street or behind a supermarket.

Bodo, 21, who grew up in Los Altos, felt isolated and ashamed about his living situation. But he was far from alone. A 2018 survey found that 11 percent of Foothill students who responded to the survey are homeless and 41 percent are housing insecure. (About 800 of the community college's 15,000 students took the survey.) Statewide, nearly one in five community college students are either homeless or do not have a stable place to live, according to a recent survey conducted by the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office and The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. More than half of the 40,000 students from 57 community colleges who took the survey said they worry about running out of food before they have the money to buy more. The report found the highest rates of homelessness and housing and food insecurity among students in Northern California.

Many of these students, like Bodo, are pursuing education to break a cycle of difficult life circumstances — homelessness, poverty, abuse, addiction, family conflict — but face barrier after barrier due to the high cost of living, especially in the Bay Area.

These students have learned resiliency through hardship and are not accustomed to asking for help or talking about an experience — being without a home — that is often relegated to the shadows. But many have found their voices through advocacy and are pushing their community colleges and elected officials to address an emerging crisis: the untenability of being a full-time student in one of the country's most expensive real estate markets.

"You can have education and it's (still) hard to overcome these circumstances," said Jimii Lewis, a 26-year-old Foothill student who has experienced homelessness. "Trying to get an education and overcome these circumstances is near impossible."

Matthew Bodo: 'The help is there'

When Bodo was a teenager, he attended Mountain View High School. After he went to rehab in Texas, he returned to Los Altos to live with his father. They fought often, and bitterly, sometimes ending in Bodo getting kicked out of the house for short stints. He was 19 years old the last time he says he was asked to leave, for good.

Bodo piled his belongings into his car, where he slept until a friend let him sleep on his bedroom floor. He was working long days at Tesla three days a week and in class from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. two days a week. What little free time he had was spent studying or doing homework. He had a hard time navigating the academic structure of school, having started during the middle of the school year. He didn't know where to turn for help.

"I was super embarrassed," he said. "When you hear homeless, you think (of a) hobo. I'm sure that brings slightly different things to people's minds but that's never a positive connotation. I was reluctant to talk about it because I didn't want to be judged for it."

Then, someone he met at the campus food pantry, which Foothill opened in 2013, encouraged him to get involved in student government. A friend connected him to Foothill's Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), a state-funded program that supports financially needy and educationally disadvantaged students, in which advisers walked him through financial aid and provided academic tutoring.

Knowing — or not knowing — whether you can afford a permanent home or your next meal can make or break a student's success at school, the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office and Hope Center's #RealCollege survey found. Students who had experienced housing and food insecurities had grades at C or below at higher rates than those who did not. Basic needs insecurity is also linked with poor physical health, depression and higher perceived stress, the report states.

"California's community colleges are the primary driver of upward social and economic mobility for millions of residents," California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said in a press release for the survey. "This new report should serve as a call to action for fixing the state's outdated financial aid system and expanding need-based assistance for community college students. No student should face hunger or homelessness. California must do better."

While California community college tuition is less expensive than state colleges or private institutions, the report estimated that a community college student living independently must pay more than $20,000 annually to cover housing, transportation, textbooks and personal expenses. The report advocates for the passage of Senate Bill 291, which would create a California Community College Student Financial Aid program that would provide aid based on the total cost of attendance, including housing, transportation and textbooks.

Now an elected senator on the Associated Students of Foothill College Boards of Government, Bodo is using his platform to raise the visibility of student homelessness and housing insecurity.

Knowing there were other struggling students at Foothill who, like him, were reluctant to seek help, Bodo and other student leaders started trying to find them to connect them to resources. They posted flyers throughout campus and got the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services program to send a mass text to students the office works with. They started hearing from students in response and connected them with the help Bodo once needed but didn't know how to access — Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, campus psychological services, local food banks and the campus food pantry, a mobile shower and laundry service in Mountain View, and information about the process to apply for food stamps and low-income housing.

There are community college students who "aren't going to their support services and financial aid because either they're too embarrassed or they think, 'I shouldn't bother because I should figure this out myself. I should be able to solve this,'" Bodo said. "The more stigmatized it is and the more negative people see it, the less students are going to reach out for help, and that's bad. The help is there and it really, really, really is helpful."

Connecting housing-insecure and homeless students with support remains Foothill student government's lowest hanging fruit. They're also working toward two longer-term goals: to find a way to take advantage of potential available housing in the area around Foothill, such as empty rooms in houses owned by older, retired people with no children, and to advocate for the development of more affordable housing more broadly, including the creation of more accessory dwelling units. Other student groups have also taken up the cause, including the Real Estate Research Club, which created a website where local community college students can post and search for available rooms for rent.

Bodo and other students traveled to Sacramento last month to support the passage of state Assembly Bill 302, which would require community colleges with parking facilities to allow overnight parking by homeless students. The bill passed by a 10-0 vote out of the Assembly Higher Education Committee and is next scheduled to go to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

It's admittedly a "Band-Aid solution," said Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, who authored the bill, but an effective one while the state works toward the more complicated goal of building more housing. Berman proposed the legislation after repeated student testimonials in hearings on the Master Plan for Higher Education over the last two years that housing and food insecurity are "the two biggest issues that students were struggling with in California public colleges in the 21st century," he told the Weekly.

"I want to overemphasize: This is not meant to be a long-term solution, but the crisis exists today and we can't pretend like it doesn't. As long as students are sleeping in their cars and being forced into the shadows in dark alleyways or industrial parks where they hope that the police won't bother them ... that is forcing them into areas that are even more dangerous for them," Berman said.

"Let's be honest with ourselves about the fact that we have a housing crisis, we have a homelessness crisis and it's impacting everybody, including our students," he said.

Bodo said the bill would provide relief to students who are living out of their cars.

"People generally aren't very friendly in this area to somebody that is sleeping in their car," he said. "I think it would also help us visualize the problem."

Sean Bogle, Foothill's dean of student affairs and activities, said he'd like the community college to work toward opening its parking lots to needy students overnight. There's already one local example of that: West Valley College in Saratoga, which partnered with the city of Saratoga and the Saratoga Ministerial Association to offer a SafePark Overnight Parking program for students and community members.

The extent to which community colleges are scrambling to respond to student housing instability reflects how acute the problem is. Some schools have allowed students to sleep on cots in campus gyms overnight, Bogle said, while he's working to get financial aid to offer $100 Airbnb gift cards for students who need one night of emergency housing. Since 2016, all California community colleges have been required by law to allow homeless students who are enrolled in coursework, have paid tuition fees, and are in good standing to use campus shower facilities. Another bill, signed into law in 2016, requires California community colleges to designate a staff member as a liaison to support homeless students, which Foothill has yet to formally do.

Bodo is spearheading a June 14 summit on student homelessness at Foothill that will bring together students, faculty, staff, community members, civic and nonprofit leaders from throughout California to work on short- and long-term solutions to address the community college student housing crisis. The day-long event will include testimonials from students across the state and problem-solving sessions that the organizers hope will spur concrete action after the event.

Thanks to a chance encounter with a diner at the Los Altos restaurant Bodo works at, Bodo now has a roof over his head. Since November, he's rented a room in a Los Altos Hills house for $1,000 a month. He has 12 housemates and his room is sparse, but nobody bothers him. His landlord, who didn't impose a standard requirement of earning at least three times the monthly rent, is kind, he said. The house is a 10-minute drive from Foothill, where he still spends most of his time.

Bodo plans to transfer to a four-year college or university this fall. In April, he received acceptance letters from UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego and posted them to his Facebook page.

"What a crazy turnaround," he wrote. "I really never thought I'd go to college, let alone university!"

In the meantime, he's seizing every opportunity he can to talk about what it's like to be a homeless student, a reminder to those who have more power than he does — school administrators, elected officials, civic leaders — of the need to take action.

"I would love to see administration help push toward that goal because it feels impossible for students to do it on our own," he said.

Jimii Lewis: 'Everybody deserves housing'

Some days Jimii Lewis feels like he's barely hanging on. He attends Foothill, works two jobs, worries about a custody battle over his 3-year-old son and is running for a seat on student government. He lives in his family home in East Palo Alto, but how long he'll be able stay is uncertain. His grandmother, who owned the house, died without a will, and his aunt wants to sell. He's trying to convince her not to: He barely makes enough to pay her $300 in monthly rent and wants to fix up the five-bedroom house to rent out rooms to other struggling community college students.

"If it doesn't work I'm going to find a way to make a way," he said in an interview at Foothill last week. "That's all I've known."

Lewis grew up in East Palo Alto but moved to Georgia when he was 10 years old. At 16 years old, he entered the foster care system. By 18 years old, he was on his own, sleeping in slides at parks to stay warm during Georgia winters. He felt self-conscious and unfocused at school. He just hoped nobody noticed that he had slept outside the night before or wasn't able to brush his teeth that morning.

Lewis returned to the Bay Area to play football at Foothill at the urging of his uncle, the school's running back coach. He didn't have anywhere to stay when he arrived, so he lived out of his car. Before moving into the family home in East Palo Alto, he slept in a van parked outside — which was "bittersweet," he said, because it was spacious, but cold.

Sleeping in a car takes its toll on the mind, body and spirit, Lewis said. It's not only physically uncomfortable, "it's belittling," he said. "It's hard to wake up after you sleep in your car knowing you had to sleep in your car."

Lewis worked as a mover to make ends meet, but the situation was untenable: Work interfered with his ability to get to practice and games on time, and football interfered with his ability to make more money. As a young black man, he thought football was his way to advance in the world. Conflict with his football coach, who he felt didn't understand the gravity of his living situation, eventually got him kicked off the team, and all that was left was going to school.

Lewis felt stuck — like in a "dark mud," at odds with the mindset of the world he was brought up in, in which earning a living is prioritized over education.

"Education is obviously a way of bettering yourself, but if you're not bringing money in, in the situations that I come from, it's not helping you. I can learn all I want, but if it's not going to bring me any money it's not going to matter," Lewis said. "That's not my standpoint, but that's the stigma I come from."

Lewis considered dropping out of school "so many times." It was just too hard. He credits Foothill's Umoja program, a tight-knit community group for African-American students, with keeping him there. An Umoja-organized tour of historically black colleges inspired him to switch to a more challenging STEM major. He hopes to eventually get a master's degree in biomechanical engineering and a doctorate in quantum physics — degrees he said he would need to understand how to make prosthetics for his young son, whose feet were amputated.

"If it wasn't for someone who actually, genuinely cared about their students," Lewis said of his Umoja instructor, "I wouldn't have been here."

Not all Foothill teachers and staff he has encountered have been as understanding, he said. Increasing awareness among those who interact most frequently with homeless and housing insecure students is also critical, Lewis said.

"It's not just about the institution," he said. "It's definitely about the teachers."

Foothill should also do more to support programs for minority and low-income students, such as Umoja, Lewis said. While not directly related to housing, the safety net of students who come from similar backgrounds, and understanding teachers, is what kept him moored to school when anxieties about housing and money threatened to pull him away. (Minority students, as well as students who have served in the military, former foster youth, and formerly incarcerated students are all at greater risk of basic needs insecurity, according to the #RealCollege survey.)

"It's hard to focus on (school) when you've got distractions from wants. Just imagine the distractions that happen when they're needs," Lewis said. "It's not like people want to have housing. They need to have housing."

Lewis recently met Bodo, who along with Foothill staff encouraged him to run for student government. His campaign is focused on giving voice to the voiceless at Foothill: minority, older, homeless and housing insecure students like himself. He thinks simply caring more for these groups, through funding programs and acknowledging their unique needs inside and outside of the classroom, would go a long way.

"It needs to be recognized how inhumane it is that we don't consider the fact that everybody deserves housing, especially if you're a student trying to better yourself and get your education," he said.

Rey Blanco: 'There should not be a price on education'

For the first time in his life, at 36 years old, Rey Blanco has found purpose in education.

He enrolled at San Jose City College in January, where he's taking more than a full course load, is running for student body president and produces a podcast for the college radio station called "Turn Your Life Around with Rey Blanco." He interviews formerly incarcerated men, like himself, who have turned their lives around to become mentors and role models. He wants to become a psychiatrist, inspired by his own experiences with mental health as a young boy in the foster care system.

But his grasp on this new life is tenuous. For much of his life, Blanco has been without a permanent, stable home, and it's a history that's hard to shake. He only recently found a room to rent after months of couch surfing, sleeping in Bart stations and living out of his car.

"I've been experiencing homelessness my whole life and I'm really trying to get out of that," Blanco said. A black rubber bracelet with "I WILL SUCCEED!" in white text circles his tattooed wrist. It reminds him that he's found his way at school.

"Before education I was lost," he said. "This has truly helped me find my way."

When you ask Blanco where he's from, he says California. His mother was incarcerated on a drug offense when he was growing up in Bakersfield. His father wasn't in the picture and his grandmother's house was full, so he bounced from foster home to foster home throughout Northern and Southern California: Morgan Hill, Watsonville, Gilroy, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos, Fresno, Long Beach. He experienced abuse, he said, and was put on psychiatric medications that he's now not sure were good for him.

When Blanco turned 18 years old, he "got into trouble" that landed him in jail. When he got out, he worked in construction and cut people's hair for free. He thought he wanted to go to cosmetology school; a more academic path wasn't in the realm of possibility for him, in his mind. He eventually got on the waiting list for San Jose City College's cosmetology program but had a last-minute change of heart and decided to pursue psychiatry.

"For a long time I told myself that I couldn't read; I couldn't do books," Blanco said. "When I went to school I started reading books and started picking up on what the teacher was talking about and putting two and two together with education. That's where I felt happy. I found my passion in education."

Until about a month ago, Blanco was homeless. Before he owned a car, he'd stay with friends. For awhile he slept at a Bart station in San Francisco. He'd go in late at night, plug his cellphone in to charge and sleep on top of his phone. He didn't always have money for food or public transportation, relying on the McDonald's dollar menu and the kindness of Caltrain, VTA and Bart employees. He just kept going, he said.

"I've been trying to make it, make it, make it. Every time I get ahead or I get some type of money, things fall apart. I never have anything or anybody to fall back on, which I don't think I should, but man," he said, "it's a struggle."

On a whim this spring, Blanco posted an online plea: a Craigslist ad with a picture of himself, an explanation of his situation and a hope for an affordable room to rent. Amongst the inevitably strange replies was one real one: a computer programmer with an extra room in San Jose. They met and agreed on a monthly rent, $700, that for now Blanco can afford. He can finally lock his own door, feel safe and focus on school — a feeling he hasn't had for most of his life.

Blanco didn't seek out housing resources or help from San Jose City College but wants to make it easier for other students who are homeless or housing insecure to find the help they need to survive in the Bay Area. In his campaign for student president, he wants to advocate for these students at a regional as well as local level.

"There should not be a price on education," Blanco said.

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Comments

24 people like this
Posted by DT North
a resident of Downtown North
on May 10, 2019 at 10:32 am

Sounds like a high rise dorm would be a simple solution. Mandatory keeping grades up to keep your spot. Much better use of space than having a bunch of poor students legally homeless in their cars. You can’t be a good student sleeping in a car. Community college is a great resource.


30 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2019 at 11:45 am

There are 114 community colleges in California, as well as many more in neighboring states. There is no doubt that this area has a very high cost of living. If students are in fact homeless, why not move to an area where the cost of living is lower? If these people choose to be homeless, why not choose to be homeless in an area where the cost of living is lower, and there is a community college?

Seems that too many people are expecting the government to solve all of their problems and not do much thinking for themselves.


29 people like this
Posted by Hal Plotkin
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2019 at 11:53 am

Hal Plotkin is a registered user.

Kudos to the Palo Alto Weekly and to reporter Elena Kadvany for this excellent article. The first step in fixing a problem is to recognize that the problem exists. We must now ask ourselves what kind of a community we want to be and what we must do to extend opportunity and hope to the next generation. For those in a position to make an immediate difference please consider making a generous donation today to the Foothill-De Anza Foundation, which provides financial support to programs on campus like those mentioned above that help close the opportunity gap. You can learn more at: Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 10, 2019 at 1:09 pm

I suggest a clearly defined group home or hostel with management confirming students are enrolled in the nearby community college. They can contribute to the center with in-kind donations, volunteering to earn credits, plus people in local communities likely would contribute either financially or like other programs to build housing like Jimmy Carter’s. Otherwise a dedicated small dorm may need to be built? I’m not sure how one may prevent anyone from anywhere moving here, though, and demanding free housing or a spot for their vehicle, riding on the shirt-tails of a needed program.


9 people like this
Posted by Bean
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2019 at 1:17 pm

"Another bill, signed into law in 2016, requires California community colleges to designate a staff member as a liaison to support homeless students, which Foothill has yet to formally do."

So...how is Foothill being held accountable for this? Have DeAnza, SJCC, West Valley, Evergreen, and Canada appointed people too? Who is holding them accountable?


19 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

@Joe Perhaps the course of study these young people want to pursue isn't offered at every community college. Perhaps, even though without a fixed home, they have ties to the community, friends; etc. Would YOU like to pull up roots and move somewhere away from everything familiar so that "the government" doesn't have to be bothered with you?


4 people like this
Posted by A Foothill JC Trailer Park Would Suffice
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2019 at 9:12 pm

The Foothill-De Anza College district should consider purchasing a number of mid-sized trailers and parking them somewhere near the campus.

Either that or erect teepee style tents along the open areas.


27 people like this
Posted by Overpopulation Crisis
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 10, 2019 at 10:23 pm

We need to stop referring to the current situation as a housing crisis. This treats demand as uncontrolled and ignores one entire side of the equation. What we have is more accurately characterized as an overpopulation crisis. In addition to the problems described in this article, our overpopulation crisis stresses natural resources and infrastructure while degrading quality of life. If you stop at housing shortage you’ve only asked the first why in studying the problem of housing insecurity. Ask at least two more questions to probe deeper and you’ll quickly arrive at overpopulation. Then keep digging. What we need is a replacement “association of governments” focused on zero population growth at the local, regional, state, national, and international levels. I’d settle for a local/regional strategy.


19 people like this
Posted by Downfall
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 11, 2019 at 12:20 am

@Novelera

Many people who have ties to an area due to family/friends/community have to pick up and move every day to do job movement or reassignment. That is reality, it is not ideal but it happens. I agree with Joe, if you cannot afford housing plus community college in this area why not attend one of the many other ones in more affordable locations?


16 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2019 at 1:33 pm

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> There are 114 community colleges in California, as well as many more in neighboring states. There is no doubt that this area has a very high cost of living. If students are in fact homeless, why not move to an area where the cost of living is lower?

I haven't counted them, but, there certainly are a lot of CCs in more rural areas that -need students- and have much lower housing costs. CCs are mostly commuter schools and with minimal funding, can't afford otherwise. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to turn CCs into full-service state colleges. That is what CSUs are and are for, and, a number of CSUs need more students as well. CSUs have housing and all the other services.

>> Seems that too many people are expecting the government to solve all of their problems and not do much thinking for themselves.

Even if "the government" should support the students in the article, I'm not sure why CCs are appropriate for providing all those services. CCs by nature need to be low-cost.


20 people like this
Posted by Downfall
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 12, 2019 at 11:20 pm

What a ridiculous headline, "...How the Bay Area housing crisis is making it near impossible for students to stay in community college". So he headline's assertion is that it is near impossible for students to stay in community college. Then in subtext immediately under the headline "One in five community-college students don't have stable housing". So this means that 4 in 5 community college students do have stable housing. Having 80% with housing does not sound at all near impossible. So a more appropriate headline would be "Strong majority of community college students have stable housing". But I guess that wouldn't get many clicks.

I honestly cannot understand how this publication wins awards with sensationalist, sloppy writing like this.


2 people like this
Posted by Butch Cassidy
a resident of Midtown
on May 13, 2019 at 8:43 am

So what stood out for me ! Some noble soul in Los Altos is renting space to 13 people at $1000 a month
Holy Bunk bed Batman
Not only do we need housing that’s affordable we need parking garages


20 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 13, 2019 at 9:00 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

My son - who grew up in Palo Alto went to CSU-Chico. He now lives in the Oakland Hills. His comments are he cannot figure out why "homeless' people gravitate to the location that has the has the highest cost of living. And if the area in question is dependent on tech jobs if you do not have a tech skillset to make you employable. If he was "homeless" he would locate in an area that has a lower cost of living.
It is not our job to accommodate every one who gravitates to an area that they cannot live in. Many children of locals go to Foothill for the first two years to get an AA degree then transfer to an out of town college for the BA degree. It is a move for a lot of families that have a lot of children as it reduces cost. And many people are working and get their AA degree at night classes. There are a lot of ways to approach educational training but choosing the highest cost of living area in to do it is for the people that have a support system to make it happen. Throughout the state are community colleges in lower cost areas where people can go. We are not the be all / end all of community colleges. The state is filled with them.


8 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2019 at 4:52 pm

> Would YOU like to pull up roots and move somewhere away from
> everything familiar so that "the government" doesn't have to be
> bothered with you?

Military families deal with this every day. If these students who choose to be homeless were to join the military--they would be relocated to some other part of the US, and in due time, probably some other part of the world. If you think that the homeless students in this article should not have to move to find a less expensive place to live--do you think it's fair that those people in the military should also have to move?

As to your claim that only Bay Area CCs can provide a decent education--do you have any evidence to prove that? If these more rural CCs are as deficient as you suggest--should we think about shutting some of them down?


7 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2019 at 9:40 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I grew up in LA and went to Santa Monica City College - great experience. Large families with lots of kids and getting them going as they move on to graduate from 4 year schools and graduate school. My brother took classes at Los Angeles City College. Many I know took classes at a CC in Santa Barbara with intentions of being accepted at UC Santa Barbara. Also San Luis Obispo. Many in Central Valley and near UC - Davis with satisfaction of AA requirements for their field of study - then on to the state universities. Lots of opportunities out there and people not in dire straits about it. At no point is a Community College required to provide housing for students - though they do have a referral office of local housing opportunities. If we are in the highest cost of living area overall then anyone that wants a AA degree with intentions of going on to a 4 year school needs to set their priorities to that goal. It is not the CC's job to provide housing. Provision of housing just increases the overall cost to the school which gets passed on to the students with a higher cost for classes. It is counterproductive.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 14, 2019 at 1:02 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The goal of a community college is to provide a low-cost opportunity for people to obtain a credential or AA degree so that they can then apply to a 4 year college. Lots of families that have a lot of children take this opportunity to satisfy the AA degree at a very low cost. There are community colleges all over the state. All type of actions to add housing increases the cost to that college which then increases the cost of classes. The goal is to reduce the cost of classes. The school is trying to turn out as many students as possible as their goal. Trying to impose all type of social programs on a school which increases the cost of classes is not the way to go.


6 people like this
Posted by Sense
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2019 at 7:50 am

Why not ask the tech companies who created this cost crisis to pay to fix it? First by paying for some of these downstream consequences (stipends for students) and paying into a government fund to help multiply the number of job centers that would attract their employees. 20 years ago, SF was all lawyers. Then tech companies ruined it (except for pushing out the dominance of lawyers).

This kind of overstressing the infrastructure is not smart. Creating a few more places -- that want the investment the state should make -- that serve as alternatives (with good education, arts, schools, etc) is the ONLY way to solve this problem in the long term.

Community Colleges also need to be supported to offer more classes, right now they are very hamstrung by the legislature.


2 people like this
Posted by shanga
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2019 at 11:45 am

Ewwww how can shallow alto possibly accommodate people who are not wealthy! how disgusting of those students to not be wealthy. They need to LEAVE! But wait, who will mow my lawn?


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 16, 2019 at 1:39 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Shanga - Foothill is in Los Altos. Canada College is in San Mateo. No clue here as to what your educational goals are. However Palo Alto does not have a community college. Suggest that you mosey up to one of the colleges and figure out the requirements and opportunities. I am sure that with some effort on your part you can figure out how to take some classes.


15 people like this
Posted by 3rd Generation Chinese
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2019 at 1:50 pm

As a Chinese person who was born in California, I agree with the many postings which state that there are other CCs in the nation, there is no need to stay in the most expensive area in the nation. Arizona, Nevada, they have low cost of living so I don’t feel sorry for these homeless people. As far as the complaint of having no family and friends if they move elsewhere, that’s pure Snowflake philosophy.

I have never seen a Chinese homeless person. Why? Because my culture does whatever it takes to succeed, no excuses. Dishwashing, janitorial work while attending college, a full-time job plus PT jobs, whatever it takes, not too proud for any menial labor. And on top of this, many arrive in the U.S. speaking no English, no family connections, no knowledge of American culture. This same story has occurred for many generations including currently. So when Americans complain of lack of money, I can only think, “Get off your spoiled butt and get a second job! You were born and raised here and have been presented with the opportunities, you just don’t want them. Quit complaining and waiting for the taxpayers to bail you out. Move to a less expensive location!”


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 16, 2019 at 11:20 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

You can check out a listing of community colleges in the state of California that shows the cost for in-state and out-of-state students. Unfortunately Foothill is one of the most expensive. However we are surrounded by schools on the peninsula and over in the east bay that are more reasonable. There are a lot of community colleges in the vicinity.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2019 at 9:26 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

There are many sites with the listings and costs of community colleges. Those that rank highest in this area are West Valley, Canada - Redwood City, DeAnza, College of San Mateo, Ohlone, Las Positas, SF City College, Evergreen, Chabot, College of Alameda, etc. It shows the costs which varies greatly. Foothill was not on the list of top CC's and the cost is very high relative to other local choices. That tells me that we do not need to turn ourselves inside out here. Any parent or student should be checking out the ranking status and costs of the relative choices in the area. There are CC's next to CSU campuses which indicates where the students would like to transfer up to a 4-year school. Check out the CSU campuses - more than I thought - there is a CC in that vicinity.


4 people like this
Posted by Foothill Alum 79
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 17, 2019 at 3:48 pm

I believe this all began back in 2018, when a student from an affluent Los Altos Hills family was kicked out by his parents for whatever reason. They have a large home with land. He should stop acting so entitled and resolve the issue with his parents.
Town Crier
Web Link

I was under the impression that we were aiming to do something to help house the TEACHERS at Foothill.
If Foothill can't hire and keep their fantastic teachers and staff, we no longer have a top notch community college.

And what do we do with the perpetual students who have been attending for more than 4 years - some leisurely taking courses just because they like the area, or it is better here than in their homeland.
Tax payers are paying for this.

I know of a teacher (PhD) with a toddler, who commuted all the way from Mill Valley
to teach a single upper level course in her field. This is absolutely ridiculous!

Please do not turn the parking lot into an RV lot.
It will cost our community more in the long run.
People will abuse our community college system more than they are currently doing, and make it a life style with entitlement to use all their facilities.
Welfare and entitlement are vicious cycles, and we should create solid boundaries on the length of time at the college, and also to make sure it is not an extension of section 8 housing.
Recall the article of a PA resident who made it his lifestyle to stay in subsidized housing for 47 years without making an effort to go back to college to improve himself?
Let's not go there.


72 people like this
Posted by David Lee/Also Chinese
a resident of Downtown North
on May 18, 2019 at 10:26 am

>> I have never seen a Chinese homeless person. Why? Because my culture does whatever it takes to succeed, no excuses. Dishwashing, janitorial work while attending college, a full-time job plus PT jobs, whatever it takes, not too proud for any menial labor. And on top of this, many arrive in the U.S. speaking no English, no family connections, no knowledge of American culture.

^^^That applies to the Cantonese who have often accepted & humbly accepted any kind of work.

The upscale, wealthy factory owners newly arriving from China (Mandarins and others), no. They will not take those kinds of jobs because they don't have to. Spending large amounts of money shopping at Nieman-Marcus is their preferred pastime. On the other hand, their elder parents who have arrived to live with them can often be seen recycling cans and are usually dressed far more simply.

It should also be noted that the newly wealthy Chinese from overseas are more likely to be involved in the college admission scandal as well. The Cantonese work and/or apply for schoarships.

It is easy to avoid homelessness when your pockets are lined with millions of dollars to pay CASH for a Palo Alto home and a Mercedes-Benz.

There are two types of Chinese now living in America. The older, more established Cantonese (multiple generations having lived in the US) and the more recent immigrants from the People's Republic who arrive here with considerable wealth.

It should also be noted that the Cantonese have retained much more of their Chinese heritage and culture than the Mandarins because religion and native culture were repressed by the Communist regimes.

Though we may look similar in eyes of many, the native Chinese languages are different and due to their time already having been here, the Cantonese are far more assimilated into mainstream American culture. GO DODGERS!


85 people like this
Posted by Harrrison Fong
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 18, 2019 at 12:34 pm

> ...the Cantonese are far more assimilated into mainstream American culture.

^^^ This is true as it was the newly arrived Chinese parents from the mainland who protested the renaming of Terman Midddle School. Had they been established PA residents, they would have realized the proposed renaming was to honor a native-born decorated war hero from Palo Alto and not the admiral from the Imperial Navy during World War II.

> It should also be noted that the newly wealthy Chinese from overseas are more likely to be involved in the college admissions scandal as well. The Cantonese work and/or apply for scholarships.

Correct again. Getting into the UC system (as many students of Cantonese background strive towards) does not warrant this kind of graft.

It is the newcomer parents from China with a 'designer mentality' that tend to get involved with this kind of scandal.

Web Link

> There are two types of Chinese now living in America. The older, more established Cantonese (multiple generations having lived in the US) and the more recent immigrants from the People's Republic who arrive here with considerable wealth.

Yes. And let's not confuse the two!


65 people like this
Posted by David Lee/Also Chinese
a resident of Downtown North
on May 18, 2019 at 5:53 pm

^^^ Agreed. The nouveau riche form the People's Republic are a far cry from the Chinese-Americans whose ancestors worked and pulled themselves up from the bootstraps.

I imagine this is the heritage and practice '3rd Generation Chinese' is referring to...not the 1980s yuppie-inspired contemporary Mandarins buying up most of the SF Bay Area residential properties with CASH, wearing designer clothes & driving fancy cars.

And as you alluded to, they are the ones caught up the recent college admissions scandal because with so much available CASH on hand, there is a general belief that anything of 'designer' image can be purchased.

I personally refuse to be acknowledged or viewed upon in the same boat as them.


75 people like this
Posted by David Lee/Also Chinese
a resident of Downtown North
on May 18, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Lastly...Cantonese = more cultural heritage & perseverance than the 'newbies' from the mainland, many of whom got wealthy exploiting cheap labor.

And we are better drivers having been here for multiple generations.


40 people like this
Posted by David Lee/Also Chinese
a resident of Downtown North
on May 19, 2019 at 10:14 am

It should also be noted that countless Chinese-Americans of Cantonese descent proudly served in the United States armed forces during times of war and peace.

The same cannot be said of the more recent affluent mainland immigrants from China whose ancestors possibly served on the opposing sides during the Korean and Viet Nam War.


45 people like this
Posted by Harrrison Fong
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 20, 2019 at 2:20 pm

"It should also be noted that countless Chinese-Americans of Cantonese descent proudly served in the United States armed forces during times of war and peace.

The same cannot be said of the more recent affluent mainland immigrants from China whose ancestors possibly served on the opposing sides during the Korean and Viet Nam War."

My father & uncles served in the US Army during the Korean conflict as enlistees.
An older cousin got drafted in 1967 and was sent to Viet Nam as a medic.

And yes, they encountered ground forces from the People's Republic of China and from above (in MiGs).

The affluent and recently arrived Mandarins from the mainland have not paid their dues to either American society nor have they fulfilled any significant military responsibilities. To many, America is simply a land to launder their wealth and live like kings off the prosperity they stole from exploiting cheap labor back in China.

There is an inherent cultural pride among the Cantonese that is seemingly lacking in the more recent Chinese arriving to the United States. This also includes pride in the American country as a whole.

And since we all look somewhat similar to some folks *L* one way you can always tell the difference is by our surnames and Americanized first names.


20 people like this
Posted by Noodles VS Rice
a resident of Downtown North
on May 20, 2019 at 6:31 pm

Aside from the modern-day Veblen-oriented perspectives and practices that differentiate many Cantonese from the now pervasive Mandarin immigrants, is it true that the Northern Chinese from the mainland are wheat growers and predominant noodle eaters VS the southern Chinese (Cantonese) who are mostly rice eaters?

I'm always a bit confused as we learned in grammar school that Marco Polo brought back noodles to Italy from his journeys to the China rather than rice. On the other hand, I've noticed that rice and noodle dishes are offered at both styles of Chinese restaurants and the Italians eat risotto.

World travel has a lot to do with the introduction of certain foods and my grandfather once told me that if the Germans had traveled to China instead of the Italians, traditional German cuisine might have incorporated more rice & noodles and the Chinese would be eating more hot dogs.

Back to topic...the housing problem at Foothill can only be partially resolved if students attended JCs in the communities where they actually reside. To drive from SF or beyond to attend Foothill is ludicrous. At one time, only residents of Palo Alto, Los Altos & Mountain View were allowed to attend Foothill College due to district resident guidelines.

My neighbor who is from Hong Kong also confirmed there is a major cultural difference between the various Chinese immigrants from different regions of the country and that he doesn't like to be mistaken for a Mandarin either.


12 people like this
Posted by The Solutions Are In The Problems Themselves
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 22, 2019 at 12:51 pm

> I know of a teacher (PhD) with a toddler, who commuted all the way from Mill Valley
to teach a single upper level course in her field. This is absolutely ridiculous!

That's idiotic. Tell her to teach the class at College of Marin.

> And what do we do with the perpetual students who have been attending for more than 4 years - some leisurely taking courses just because they like the area, or it is better here than in their homeland.

Set a deadline for completion with a waiting period to re-enroll. We don't need professional students (aka escapists) cluttering the Foothill campus.

> the housing problem at Foothill can only be partially resolved if students attended JCs in the communities where they actually reside...At one time, only residents of Palo Alto, Los Altos & Mountain View were allowed to attend Foothill College due to district resident guidelines.

^^^ There's a partial solution. Force students to attend JC where they actually reside.

Lastly,

> There are two types of Chinese now living in America. The older, more established Cantonese (multiple generations having lived in the US) and the more recent immigrants from the People's Republic who arrive here with considerable wealth.
> ...the Cantonese are far more assimilated into mainstream American culture.
> Cantonese = more cultural heritage & perseverance than the 'newbies' from the mainland, many of whom got wealthy exploiting cheap labor.
> The nouveau riche form the People's Republic are a far cry from the Chinese-Americans whose ancestors worked and pulled themselves up from the bootstraps.
> It should also be noted that countless Chinese-Americans of Cantonese descent proudly served in the United States armed forces during times of war and peace.

The same cannot be said of the more recent affluent mainland immigrants from China whose ancestors possibly served on the opposing sides during the Korean and Viet Nam War.
> The affluent and recently arrived Mandarins from the mainland have not paid their dues to either American society nor have they fulfilled any significant military responsibilities. To many, America is simply a land to launder their wealth and live like kings off the prosperity they stole from exploiting cheap labor back in China.

All true & interesting to note that established Chinese-Americans prefer to distance themselves from the newer arrivals from the mainland.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 23, 2019 at 9:41 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The lead in article is following a popular journalistic formula - find someone who is on the edge - a victim of the times - and make the article about that person in a manner that purports wide application. Here applied to Community colleges which are having their own problems. Funding and accreditation are on-going issues. I call it bottoms-up journalism - vs top down journalism. Top down outline the problems that our colleges are having, what their success rate is to move students on to a 4-year college or accreditation for a profession, and how good management of the colleges can then assist guidance and referrals for struggling students. Every story needs two bookends for the story to stand up. Otherwise it is suggesting that "other money" needs to be directed to the topic at hand.

Bottom line is create a successful college program then show how it can provide the momentum to assist students achieve their goals.


2 people like this
Posted by Fruit Salad
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2019 at 3:04 pm

> find someone who is on the edge - a victim of the times - and make the article about that person in a manner that purports wide application.

But isn't this approach similar to blaming bananas for the massive immigration problems emanating out of Central America while also targeting the dynamic impact of pineapples on the global economy at large?


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 23, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The banana / pineapple / sugar cane is the product - the issue is the business model.

In this case international corporate business model which is having a negative effect on the countries that have been stripped down. Impact on citizens is evident.


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 23, 2019 at 3:35 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The banana, pineapple, sugar cane is the product - the issue is the business model.

In this case international corporate business model which is having a negative effect on the countries that have been stripped down. Impact on citizens is evident.


2 people like this
Posted by They Call It Mellow Yellow...Donovan
a resident of Community Center
on May 23, 2019 at 5:48 pm

> the issue is the business model.

Then the same can be said of the 'Nike Model'. Manufacture athletic shoes overseas using cheap labor and then retail them for high prices in the US.

This has become a standard business practice & explains why so many wealthy Chinese factory owners are now resettling in the more exclusive neighborhoods within the SF Bay Area.

The business model for bananas is nothing new.


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 23, 2019 at 11:42 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The business model for bananas started in the late 1800's. United Fruit Company (UFCO) was the original international corporation developing the product in a foreign country. It created the whole scenario in which foreign labor is imported which displaces the citizens. Also corrupted the local government for tax free effort. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Happening on a continual basis with variations on type product. Sounds like a lot of companies in tech world using some elements. Amazon was trying to establish a location in New York on a tax free basis but that got upended. Google is trying to weave a story as to why H1B gig workers are desirable. It is because they do not have to pay any payroll taxes so reduces cost of employment. An agricultural product is very problematical as there are many natural disasters and disease to deal with. It is more disruptive in nature. So disruptive activity is taking place all over the world and people are migrating all over the world. Yes it is a business model and a conceptual approach to endeavors. But migration as an end result is not desirable when so many are displaced in an involuntary manner.


8 people like this
Posted by Foothill Alum 79
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 24, 2019 at 7:09 am

Foothill and other community colleges have now become a way for primarily immigrants from Asia to enter the US on student visas, and transfer on to UC's or Ivies.
There are companies galore on craigslist asking for host families to sponsor these students at a rate from $800-$1200 per month given to the families. They called themselves International Student Exchange programs, but they are really big mult-million dollar businesses capitalizing on helping Asians immigrate here through a loophole in our system.
My child told me that her entire class of calculus was entirely made up of these people who spoke poor english, and would cheat like hell.
She sent me a photo of her class one day to prove it.
These companies are also taking (trafficking people) into our private high schools and local high schools through local sponsors.
The core courses are already packed to the max, and it seems like greed by both the schools and the numerous trafficking companies only care about money.
And then we get the entitled local Los Altos kid complaining about living in his car since his rich parents booted him out.
What can be done?
Should we write to Foothill De-Anza college district, and our state senators?
She also told me that tour buses from with Chinese tourists are touring Foothill.
This is just plain crazy! And we thought is was just Stanford.


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Posted by They Call It Mellow Yellow...Donovan
a resident of Community Center
on May 24, 2019 at 7:22 am

> The business model for bananas started in the late 1800's...foreign labor is imported which displaces the citizens.


Then why is there so much immigration taking place now? As in 130 years later.

I cannot believe that everyone headed for the US border (men, women & children) are mostly disgrunted refugees who couldn't land their ideal job of working on a banana plantation. Seriously.





2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 24, 2019 at 10:08 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Foothill Alum is on target. So if the going in position for this article was to generate sympathy based on one students experience and support legislation to Pack the Parking Lot with sleep-overs and all of the attendant issues related to that - cooking, cleaning, etc. Someone should have first gone into the Foothill President's office and asked what the net effect would be relative to the increased insurance cost, security cost, facility cost, all of which go into the cost per class. So you have selectively blocked out the larger number of students who are trying to graduate on a reduced cost per unit in favor of providing amenities for a smaller number of students which bottom lime will increase that student's cost per unit. Many articles in the paper about San Francisco Community College and their attempts to break even and not go under and shut down.

Bottom line is that this community college is in one of the most expensive residential areas in the state. There are other alternatives in the state in the vicinity of the peninsula which can support more people on a power cost of living.


71 people like this
Posted by Harrison Fong
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 24, 2019 at 12:59 pm

> Foothill and other community colleges have now become a way for primarily immigrants from Asia to enter the US on student visas, and transfer on to UC's or Ivies.
> from $800-$1200 per month given to the families. They called themselves International Student Exchange programs, but they are really big multi-million dollar businesses capitalizing on helping Asians immigrate here through a loophole in our system.
> These companies are also taking (trafficking people) into our private high schools and local high schools through local sponsors.
> ... tour buses from with Chinese tourists are touring Foothill.

The so-called 'foreign exchange student' concept has apparently turned into a lucrative cash cow for the various parties engaged in this unscrupulous practice.

The mainland of China will do anything to get an edge on Americans both militarily & economically. And they have been quite blatant about it...whether in words (e.g. news reportage) or in everyday actions.

> My child told me that her entire class of calculus was entirely made up of these people who spoke poor english, and would cheat like hell.

Cheating in school & stealing trade secrets is standard operating procedure for countless Chinese/Mandarins now residing in the United States. As is bribing upper-tier universities for college admission because they have the money to do so.

For those with poor English language skills, Foothill College provides a viable channel from which to transfer to a highly accredited 4-year university such as those in the UC system. Just follow the money trail.

This is why so many established Chinese-Americans of Cantonese descent refuse to be lumped into the same category as the newly arrived & wealthy Mandarins from the mainland of China. It is quite insulting and misleading as our ancestors & parents HAVE PAID THEIR DUES to this country.


55 people like this
Posted by David Lee/Also Chinese
a resident of Downtown North
on May 24, 2019 at 6:57 pm

> This is why so many established Chinese-Americans of Cantonese descent refuse to be lumped into the same category as the newly arrived & wealthy Mandarins from the mainland of China. It is quite insulting and misleading as our ancestors & parents HAVE PAID THEIR DUES to this country.

^^^ This sentiment is widespread among the Chinese-Americans (Cantonese) whose ancestors have been here for multiple generations. They endured racism, poverty, labor exploitation, Congressional exclusionary acts yet served their country proudly and built their lives and family legacies from SCRATCH.

The same cannot be said for the newly arrived wealthy from China, many of whom accrued their vast wealth from the labor exploitation of their fellow countrymen and women in the manufacturing sectors of their native land.

To be able to pay $5-12M upfront CASH easily for a prime residential property in the San Francisco Bay Area should raise some eyebrows. It most certainly did to my now deceased grandparents who ran a small dry cleaners/laundry service for over 60 years prior to retiring in their 80s.

They also lost their firstborn son in the Korean War and a nephew who served as an Army medic in Viet Nam.

The newly arrived Chinese from mainland China are opportunists who can afford the luxury of high living based on the recent wealth that has accompanied their migration to the United States and it is safe to assume that few have any true allegiances to their new country of residence other than the modern day conveniences & accessibilities it has to offer.

This is a sore subject among the venerable Cantonese as we are often confused with the newly arrived expatriates from China.







10 people like this
Posted by Lemons & Bananas
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 25, 2019 at 1:56 pm

>...interesting to note that established Chinese-Americans prefer to distance themselves from the newer arrivals from the mainland.

It is like comparing a Meyer Lemon to a regular lemon. Both are citrons but the Meyer lemon has more character.

> I cannot believe that everyone headed for the US border (men, women & children) are mostly disgruntled refugees who couldn't land their ideal job of working on a banana plantation.

According to Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, native workers have been replaced by imported labor so in certain instances these migrants have had to forsake their simple Banana Dreams for the more ephemeral American Dream.


32 people like this
Posted by David Lee/Also Chinese
a resident of Downtown North
on May 25, 2019 at 5:52 pm

> Foothill and other community colleges have now become a way for primarily immigrants from Asia to enter the US on student visas, and transfer on to UC's or Ivies.
> She also told me that tour buses with Chinese tourists are touring Foothill.

While aspiring Foothill JC students from mainland China cannot be blamed for the junior college housing problem, the above example just goes to show that there is a big-money racket going on as conveyed by Foothill Alum 79 with these questionable foreign exchange student programs. And the number of these 'foreign exchange students' from MAINLAND China will continue to esacalate.

As a result, it is easy to ascertain that a number of prerequisite JC courses will be harder to get into and 2-year transfer aspirations will often get dragged out due to legitimate American JC students getting shut-out of certain key classes necessary for transfer purposes and intentions.

Again, the blame falls on the shoulders of these enterprising types from MAINLAND China along with the carpetbaggers who accommodate them by blatantly breaking every rule in the book in order to give these immigrants from China an unfair edge over their American/citizen student counterparts.



5 people like this
Posted by Keeping It Real
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
14 hours ago

This thread has convinced me that Xenophobia is predicated on actions and not origins.


20 people like this
Posted by David Lee/Also Chinese
a resident of Downtown North
7 hours ago

> This thread has convinced me that Xenophobia is predicated on actions and not origins.

Good point. I was walking down California Avenue one afternoon when an African-American woman slowed down in her pick-up truck...

She rolled down her window & asked, "Hey, do you speak English?"

I replied that I did and she asked for directions to 280/north.

After I responded, "left on California to ECR & then a right on Page Mill onwards to the 280 entrance", she responded..."Oh, your not one of those."

It was kind of funny at first but then I got to wondering...'is this what some people perceive when they see me in public?'

And then it kind of ticked me off as my family has been in California for over 5 generations & we have ASSIMILATED to American culture.

We also speak English...quite well I may add.


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Posted by Enough already
a resident of Mountain View
3 hours ago

Omg, I’m so tired of this “racist”,PC BS. I’m Caucasian, grew up in the Midwest and in the 70’s was part of desegregation. White girl, got bussed into Hispanic/black majority. Girls twice my size would walk up to me, drop something and say “girl, pick up my pencil”. First boyfriend was Hispanic, girl from “ his side” who liked him called me “chicano b-yotch”. In college I dated a boy from Greece, my grandma questioned him as a “foreigner”. Ten years later I got married, my husband’s Japanese mom (from an empirical family) wondering if I was good enough. I was :)

I’ve never held this against any race or culture. To this day I have friends from every color, country, culture. Are there a lot out there with bias? Of course there are (and quite honestly probably more those who profess to be “open minded/inclusive”). But in the greater scheme of things, most people are just that. People with friends, worries, likes, etc


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