Monday, January 30, 2012

School Bus, or, the missing link.

While most people are reasonable and understanding, some are remarkably small minded and selfish. The recent school bus transportation crisis is a good (bad) example. Some of the small minded and selfish people are saying that Southern Humboldt parents are greedy in wanting their children transported to school at taxpayers expense. Most of these comments are coming from an area that just took the money that was going to be spent to repave Garberville’s Redwood drive. They intend to spend it to make the “safety corridor” between Eureka and Arcata “safer”.

“Stip” money is used to spend on needed road improvements. However, it is more often stolen to help balance the state budget. Mendocino spreads their stip money throughout the county, like Laytonville’s new sidewalks, street lighting, and brick crosswalks. Also Cloverdale, and Fort Brag have had many improvements. The county seat, Ukiah, has not used as much of this funding as the rest of the county. But, Eureka seems to soak up most all of the stip funding. Just recently the board of supes just gave them the money to improve the safety corridor. It seems that they feel justified because Garberville has an “underground economy” that should take care of those things. WRONG! We have no control, nor any vote on how the underground economy spends their money.

Garberville’s only resource is through our elected officials. If they take the money away from road projects and School Bus transportation we simply will not get any. Our elected officials should be taking care of Garberville, and they are NOT. To be fair Garberville pays more than it’s fair share already. Southern Humboldt pays @80% of the Humboldt County Bed tax. Plus the “underground economy” feeds the whole county. Like it or not, if you live in Humboldt you are part of the underground economy. Marijuana is a major supplier of the new money coming into, and feeding our county’s wealth. I don’t use marijuana, never have, never will. I don’t grow marijuana, never have never will. But, the fact remains that we are almost totally dependant upon it. The clear thinking people will realize that fact. Like it or not.

Now, let’s get back to the “unfairness” ditty. How many times have we heard people say that “if you want services, you should live in town?” Isn’t a little two faced to slap the face of the very people that provides the cities with most of their wealth. The timber industry that supported the cities sure didn’t grow their trees in the city. Is it still okay to spend that money in the city? The tourists that come here to see the trees sure don’t see them in the city. They sure as heck don’t catch the fish in the city. The Eel river is a major source of tourism and sport fishing. Does it flow through your city? I mean other than the wealth that it brings into the county.

I know that it is, thankfully, only a small handful people that think that it is unfair to spend any tax money in the rural areas. But, darn, it is hurtful when people say that our roads and school children don’t deserve the tax money that mostly comes from rural industries. Isn’t it a little counter productive to have a Richardson Grove Park Ranger live in Eureka, just so they can send their kids to school? Doesn’t that end up using more road and gas money in the long run? People need to live in rural areas, it is out of the question for everybody to live in town. No offence, because I love Eureka, but I would wither and die if I had to live there. I love the sunshine and can barely make through a Garberville winter let alone continual dreary weather that some people love. How long do you think that those people would like to live in the 100 degree weather that I love?

Now, to get back to more unfairness directed toward rural folks. Just a few short years ago, we had a thriving timber industry, selective cut, sustained yield, and all that. We had small schools in every small town; Ettersburg, Fort Seward, Alderpoint. We even had a Southern Humboldt school in Eel Rock, we called it “The Eel Rock institute of higher learning”. I won’t go into all the reasons for the demise of the timber industry, but it happened through no fault of the people of Southern Humboldt. As the logging and lumber mills closed, it was deemed prudent to close the schools and bus the remaining children to school, thereby saving money in the long run. In fact it was mandated by the state that now doesn’t want to pay for the transportation to school.

Now back to a plea for understanding. We have no problem spending our money in the cities, we just want a little tit-for-tat. I don’t have any children in school, but I can see the wisdom in getting the kids to school so they can learn. They need transportation funding!

I know that some of you don’t know, but about 25% of the kids that come to school in Southern Humboldt come malnourished and under clothed. Tired, hungry, and cold is no way to learn anything. The Rotary club is doing what they can to make sure that the kids get fed. Other groups are helping clothe the kids. But without busing it is likely that they just won’t get to school. Now, you can moralize, point fingers of blame, and talk about all the problems, but when you get to the other side, almost all clear thinking people will realize that it is not the kids fault. And, if it makes you feel any better, I have personally witnessed the success of getting the kids to school. More than one of the kids, that might have given up, have gone on to become award winning students and even more than one have become foreign exchange students. Giving up on a kid, or their education is the worse possible thing to do!

Oh, by the way, don’t let the City’s business people hear you say that marijuana doesn’t bring them any money. I’m sure that they don’t want them to stop shopping in the city.


Anonymous said...

The 25% malnourished figure isn't surprising. Many Title 1 schools in northern Humboldt have more than 50% low income families (meaning families receiving free or reduced meals at school). So, by northern standards, SoHum is looking plush.

SoHum isn't alone in its bus woes, either. I know of two NoHum districts that have $0.00 allocated for transportation come autumn. It's just not publicized yet because school boards haven't finalized next year's budgets. The loss of school buses is less dreadful up here only because shorter distances are involved. The loss is sure to create traffic mess surrounding schools twice a day throughout the county.

Ernie Branscomb said...

The 25% figure is a conservative estimate, more qualify for free lunches, but even some of the poor kids get fed, they are just poor. Sadly, some are also neglected. My concern is to keep them in the education system, until such a time that they can make it on their own. They can't do that without an education. Or... busses.

Ernie Branscomb said...

SoHum had no choice but to cut the school busses. The bus drivers are guarenteed a 45 day notice before being layed-off. The bus budget is so large that it can't be offset by other funding, so they had to terminate the bussing.

Maybe districts with less bussing and a larger budget can get by, but not us.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about the often recited claim that poor kids won't be in school if they aren't bussed to school.

If the kids aren't in school, the parents go before the School Attendance Review Board. Usually, parents fall in line after one or two visits. If not, say hello the district attorney's office for violating Education Code 48293. In a worst case scenario, a warrant could be issued for the parents' arrest.

If the parents are choosing to begin homeschooling, say hello to a whole host of regulations they're probably not prepared for, and the cost of buying a curriculum package (and headaches if you don't educate your kids and they fail the compulsory standardized tests, or fail to show up for the tests)... it's far simpler to work out travel arrangements for public school. Poverty is not an excuse for child neglect.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I wish you would sign your name, or at least give me some indication that you have credentials for giving that kind of advice.

If a kid is getting to school with bussing and everything is okay, isn't that better than finding out that the parents are total rejects and have no intention of functioning in a society? The other choices would indicate that a whole mish-mash of agencies and law enforcement and welfare agencies would get involved. Probably the kid would end up being taken away and put into a foster home. Are you really suggesting that would somehow be better than simply bussing him to school?

Ernie Branscomb said...

“If the kids aren't in school, the parents go before the School Attendance Review Board. Usually, parents fall in line after one or two visits.”

You are joking right? That might work in your town, but If a kid lives a 1 hour bus ride from school and his parents are dysfunctional or poor, what on earth makes you think that they will fall in line and bring their kids to school . Most kids with poor parents usually do a pretty good job of raising themselves. I’ve seen it many times, and in most cases they are better off living with their parents if it is all possible. But, that would require bussing. You have to understand that I, personally, have no stake in the school, no kids no grandkids. Just a concern for the well-being of the Southern Humboldt kids.

I am no expert, so I would bow to your superior knowledge if you could prove that you have some. I don’t see any solution that is better than bussing.

Anonymous said...

Excellent example. Yes, absolutely, if the parents are "total rejects and have no intention of functioning in a society" then the kids ARE better off in fostercare. I hate our fostercare system, but sometimes kids are better off there than with incompetent parents. Yes, if you can't get your child to school one way or another, you should (and I dare guess, will) have your parent rights revoked. Get your act together mighty quick, move if you need to, because you're not fit to be a parent. The state is not here to be a nanny. Rescue those kids from that supposed home.

Anonymous said...

(When I say 'you' I'm not talking about you Ernie, obviously, but the hypothetical parents in your example.)

Ernie Branscomb said...

"I'm not talking about you Ernie"

LOL, yeah, I got that. It's just that I've seen some pretty screwed up families that have a strong bond that shouldn't be broken. The expense of using the legal, system and putting kids in foster care seems to be a lot more expensive in the long run, and I predict that is what is going to happen in more than a few cases. It will be enormously expensive compared to busing. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Ernie you said it yourself, busing in Southern Humboldt is expensive. Per pupil its way more expensive than in a more "urbanized" area like the Humboldt bay region. What is so hard for you to understand? If your "community" actually bothered to pay its income taxes, maybe things might be a little better at the state level. Is it a solution if SoHum paid their fair share? no. But you all would look a whole hell of a lot less hypocritical. But what do you all care? You've thrown the middle finger at tax paying working citizens for most of your lives. You all are the KINGS of hypocrites when you overwhelmingly voted down marijuana legalization when you realized it would hit your pocketbooks. Look at some of the folks who joined you in Sacramento. Some of them recently got back from two week long trips to the Galapagos. One of them just bought a tricked out Toyota Tundra that they will probably wreck in some back roads drunk driving and later claim it was "stolen" so that the rest of tax and insurance paying America can pick up the tab. These are the folks you bring to Sacramento? Now you bark at the rest of working Humboldt county like a junkyard dog. The safety corridor is a highway used regularly by a population of 60,000 people. Redwood drive? Come on Ernie. I thought with age came a little wisdom.

spyrock said...

just so happens that my dad and uncle used to be school bus drivers when they were young. when my mom got married to my dad she lost her teaching job and drove a school bus during ww2. and one of my first jobs was driving handicapped kids home from school in a station wagon for my uncle. that station wagon changed into a van and later a bus company that has over 30 buses most of which are just sitting around now. but they used to do most of the public school busing and city busing which the city recently awarded to an out of state contractor. of course, school busing is classified as an entitlement these days. just like social secuity and medicare. its just another socialist conspiracy robbing our kids of the healthy exercize they could get walking 5 miles to school every day instead of riding at the taxpayers expense. i thought there were more important issues up there like gun control and the war on pot. reality has a habit of sneaking up on you sometimes. i know what it's like to drive a station wagon full of kids to and from school every day. or maybe they will just pass out laptops and your kids can just stay home with you or mom and be public home schooled.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Anon 1/30/12 10:58pm
First, because you don’t identify yourself. I don’t know how many of you are out there. Second, your royal, “It’s all about me”, is the reason that my ancestors left England in 1730. You bitterly complain about rural people (serfs?) needing services. I think the solution in France, about that time, was “let them eat cake”.

While you smugly live in the city, you think that you are the only ones to deserve services. Happily most city people are not like you and are willing to be fair. Third, you criticize me with “I thought with age comes wisdom”. What good is the wisdom that I have gained if you reject it, or worse don’t even listen. Did you get the part where I said that if it weren’t for the rural people to feed your sorry butt that the cities would dry-up and blow away. Your meat, produce, lumber, gravel all come from the rural areas. Parks and forests are maintained in the country for your sorry butt to take a visit when ever you decide to go on a lark. In fact your city doesn’t do a darn thing but soak up resources!

Fourth, the Safety corridor that you claim is much more important than pavement in Garberville has been paved at least FOUR times since Garberville’s Redwood drive has been paved back in the 1980s. You tell us to be “legitimate businesses” and pay taxes. How the heck do I maintain a business in the middle of a chuck-hole mess? The street is a deterrent to the traveling public that stay in Garberville motels. By the way, Sohum pays 80% of the bed tax that is collected in the WHOLE COUNTY! The tax was supposed to be spend promoting tourism. It is stolen from us and put into the general fund to help provide for your sorry ungrateful butt.

Fifth, you hammer me like I was some degenerate dope grower. Accusing me of not paying any taxes. HOW DARE YOU. I have been working a job since I was 8 years old. I set chokers in the woods in hundred degree weather, and dust, 60 hours week. I dropped out of College to go to work in refrigeration and work some 80 hour weeks building restaurants and grocery stores. I went into business for myself and built it to what it is today. I went completely broke two times without going bankrupt because I didn’t like not keeping my word. If you don’t read anything else read this. I have paid taxes on every darn dime that I have ever made! And, every darn dime has been legitimate.

Sixth, I understand the economy a whole lot better than you, you who lecture me. The dope dollar is what is feeding this whole county. Now, if you don’t like that, why don’t YOU do something about it. You suck on the dope tit that feeds you, and whine like a baby that I don’t do something about it. The dope dollar coming into Humboldt is about the only outside money coming in. If you want to know how much money is coming in because of dope. Ask Walmart, Costco, Target, and Winco, they analyze the economy before they move into any area, so it must be very favorable. I don’t like that the grower doesn’t pay taxes. But, they do many things for the community, and they take great risks to make the money that they do, and, they have NO protection from law enforcement.

Now, lets get back to busing. The kids need to get to school. They need more opportunity than to give up and grow dope, because they need more of a life that listening to people like you complain that they don’t pay taxes, while they are feed your sorry butt, and pour money into your sorry “Safety Corridor”.

Anonymous said...

If for some unforeseen reason I ever moved back home I would grow pot. I think it would be a great supplement to my income and I wouldn't pay taxes on it either. I've never had a beef with pot growing, just all the folks that moved here to do it.
Hope Sohum gets its buses back Ernie.


Humpty Dumpty said...

For clarity's sake, I'm the anon who was speaking to you up to Jan. 30th, 6:29 p.m., then another anon spoke up.

In response to your statement, "The expense of using the legal, system and putting kids in foster care seems to be a lot more expensive in the long run..."

I'm not concerned about the expense when a necessary public good is served. Kids from dramatically broken families are better off in fostercare. I dare say it'll be less expensive in the long-run, with kids in fostercare attending school, and not surrounded by destructive behaviors at home, they have a better chance of not ending up in the criminal justice system.

I'd also like to see the fostercare system fixed though, and have placement in fostercare occur much more often at birth when all of the signs of destructive parenting are already present (persistent drug use during pregnancy, etc.). Some of the situations permitted in this county would create dismay elsewhere in this country. Conservatives are bent on dismantling government though, so progress is slow and crime is high. It's a constant fight.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Humpty Dumpty.

"For clarity's sake, I'm the anon who was speaking to you up to Jan. 30th, 6:29 p.m., then another anon spoke up."

I picked up on that. You have a valid point to make, and make it well. Like I say, I will have to bow to your superior knowlege. I agree that "family" in the hills is in jepardy. But, not all of them are bad parents.

The other anon just doesn't want to hear or understand, only wants to be confrontational.

Myself, I would be happy getting kids to school.

Ernie Branscomb said...

If you come back and grow dope, I won't hold it against you, many of my friends do. I just don't want to, personally, have anything to do with it.

Growing dope is not risk free. Let me give you some advice from what I've seen. Don't keep your guns, money, and dope in the same place. When you take your weed to sell don't get stoned and drive 80 mph up a one-way street the wrong way. And, bag your dope so the whole town can't smell it when you cross the city limits. When you get caught, always offer to "pay a big fine" if they will let you go. The police need the money worse than they need you in jail.

The other thing to think about is... there is a reason that they call it "dope."

Anonymous said...

I don't smoke pot Ernie, Wild Turkey and Crown Royal is my drug of choice.
By the way, I sold my Vett so am limited to ever how fast my Duramax will go.


Kym said...

Ernie, you said what I felt. Sometimes I get so angry at people who want kids to suffer.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Yeah, and I did it all without swearing too. Well... I did have to go back and edit a few things.

spyrock said...

this education issue is a battle i've fought since i was a baby listening to my mom tell me what her school kids were up against. i'm totally brainwashed as far as education is concerned.
people think i'm a liberal or socialist for having these views but i was born into it and i'm too old to change now. i did have half a bottle of some good crown royal at a funeral for one of my arkie friends who worked at the cannery with me back before they gave our jobs to the aliens.
a corporate decision. unemployment is so high because our employers outsource our jobs. it's that simple. it's time we deport and tax the employers who are guilty of this and reward and cut taxes for the employers who hire american citizens who pay taxes that pay for buses to take our kids to school.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Kym, could you be more reactionary and insulting by saying we want kids to suffer? By your logic, I could counter that you are torturing kids by intentionally living far from school so that getting them to school will be difficult. Why are you torturing kids, Kym? Why are you evil?

Do you ('you' meaning any SoHum parents living far from schools), at any point, take responsibility for choosing to live a rural lifestyle, knowing full well before having children (or moving to your rural location with kids) where the public schools are located and that there is no future guarantee of a school bus? At best, you take a gamble and now you've lost that gamble.

Let's begin this conversation by recognizing there is no right to a school bus. It is each parent's legal responsibility to get his or her child to school, with or without a bus. A bus in SoHum was a perk all this time... a nice perk that didn't always exist and is now going away again.

One solution to the problem is to shift the expense to parents to pay for this convenience service. Are the parents willing to pay? It appears not. Instead, I hear threats that children won't be sent to school at all. Well then, say hello to foster parents. Why SoHum parents would choose foster care is beyond me. Baffling. If you need to, move to where you can provide your child(ren) an education. It is the basic minimum required of parents. I would do as much.

Anonymous said...

The arrogance and anti-social bent of the Southern Humboldt crowd has never been made more clear. No wonder the rest of the County is leaving you behind. Ernie knows where his bread is buttered, that's for sure. By the way Ernie, a "serf" was a landless class of people. The Southern Humboldt illegal grower crowd certainly is not landless. The saying "let them eat cake" is actually very similar to Kyms bizarre drug fueled ranting about how the propped up property prices the marijuana industry provides are somehow beneficial. "Let them eat my assessed value" Go ahead and be an apologist for the growers Ernie. Go ahead and be an apologist as they sell drugs to children nationwide. Remember that as you hypocritically say you're protecting children with this whole bus issue. Bury your head in the sand and tell yourself that its all for cancer patients and "medical" use. When you realize that youre nothing but a liar and tool for the growers, maybe you'll do something about it. Until then, you will continue to profit off of a system that sells drugs to kids.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I remember that school in Eel Rock. I was there... A great memory!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that isn't what all this is about. Just got excited for a moment about the memory. Carry on..