DECEMBER 8, 2016 Vol. LI No. 13
Robots take server jobs. See story on Page 6
FREMONT, CA OHLONEMONITOR.COM
Midwinter celebration has deep roots
MIRA CHANDRA NEWS EDITOR
Whether you’d like to believe it or not, the roots of Christmas extend far back to pagan times, long before Christianity entered into the mix. There is an ancient history of celebrating midwinter holiday rituals, but not necessarily for religious reasons. In the past, especially in agriculture-based societies experiencing the harsh winter, the winter solstice (Dec. 21) is when the days start getting longer and signify that spring is on its way. It’s the best time for celebrating and naturally feasting—there isn’t any more harvest work to be done, and frankly, people needed some cheering up. Other than feasting, what
OPINION about the tall green tree, and Santa Claus? Well, as earlier mentioned, in areas of Europe where winter brought dark frigid days and sometimes even caused families to starve, people were looking to celebrate anything they could—which included decorating the house to mark the mid winter season— making the evergreen fern tree a perfect holiday decoration, since it stays evergreen all year round-- A.K.A. that big tall green tree in your living room actually symbolized a shining beacon of hope to a starving 7-year-old pagan back in the day, go figure—right? That’s Continued on Page 3
Workmen get ready for next phase of Ohlone’s Academic Core building project.
An end to the clanging
RONNIE LOZANO STAFF WRITER
The drilling operations for the Academic Core Project are completed and the next step will consist of pouring concrete foundations and the coordination of site utilities. Workers drilled deep holes, then lowered “re-bar” into the holes and filled them concrete. This avoided the usual loud pounding of the pile driver during construction, but students still noticed a lot of motor noise and clanging. The process formed the foundation of the Academic Core Project, classroom buildings that will replace the former Buildings 1, 2 and 8, which were demolished during the summer of 2015. Voters passed the $349 million in 2010 and the project began with demolition of Buildings 1, 2, and 8 which
were built in the 1970s. Groundbreaking began in April and since then construction workers have been setting up the footprints for the Academic Core Buildings at the heart of the campus. The process included workers drilling piers for foundation 20 to 40 feet deep, followed by the placement of deep steel cages which are there to eventually be filled up with concrete, which is different from most procedures. “The loud banging noises that had continued for the past few months will no longer be heard,” said Robert Dias, director of Measure G. Dias expects the campus to be relatively quiet for finals as students focus on their classes. In the meantime, workers will continue to make as much progress as they can until Winter Break, when they’ll halt construction on
the project. The complex which is set to open in the Spring of 2019, is set where Buildings 1, 2, and 8 formerly stood. There will be three new buildings to replace the ones that were demolished last year. Building 1 will be for science classes, and will have a large lecture hall on the side of it. The large lecture hall is scheduled to open before the rest of the complex due to the planned tearing down of what is currently Building 3. Building 2 will be for art classes and will have a small lecture hall on the side of it. Finally, Building 3 will be the learning commons and will include the library. “It will essentially be a new campus,” said Dias, who expects the buildings to be easy to navigate through for students once they are finished.
Brake lights and turn signals blended with Christmas decorations on Mission Boulevard below Ohlone College as the fall semester approached its end and the frenzy of the shopping season kicked into high gear Wednesday evening. This is the final Monitor of the semester. Look for us in the New Year. And please drive with respect and be careful out there.
M O N I TO R DECEMBER 8, 2016
NEWS BITES Applied Music The Ohlone College Music Department will present the Applied Music Showcase, conducted by Professor Janet Holmes and Professor Tim Roberts in Campus Recital Hall, Room 3101, Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. It is open to public with no admission fee. Musicians will be covering 400 years of music, including vocals, piano, strings, such as violin and guitar, brass, woodwind, and percussion.
Toy drive During the season of giving Ohlone has placed bins around campus for students to donate toys. Students are encouraged to donate brand new toys in original packaging. Ohlone has been holding the donation for seven years on campus. The process is sponsored by the League of Volunteers with the toys being dispersed throughout the tri-cities. There are two areas to donate on the Newark campus, one in the Student Services room and the other in the lobby. It will be held until Dec. 13 with four more bins on the main campus. Shelby Foster, who is coordinating the drive said, “There are many children in the tri-city community who benefit from this toy drive. When donating a toy, you are helping a child who might not otherwise have gifts this holiday season.” Last year, the League of Volunteers (LOV) was able to distribute 3,824 toys to 18 local agencies. These agencies included the Viola Blythe Center, the East Bay Agency for Children, Abode Services and Fremont Healthy Start.
Geography talk, and rap
ROELLE BALAN STAFF WRITER
The very first thing the speaker played was a song. It wasn’t what one would expect from a geography talk at Ohlone College. The song he played was Tupac’s “California Love.” The reason geography professor Dr. Adam Levy said he played that song was to get his audience to realize what Tupac raps about is geographic “culture forms.” T h e lyrics include common C a l i fornia themes like the “ w i l d w i l d west” or “California dreaming.” Tupac also mentions cities in his rap like Compton and neighborhoods like Watts. Levy then told his students and some faculty members that attended to think of a song they liked about California. He explained that geography is described in these songs. Levy led a one-hour lecture on Tuesday “From Gentrification to Geomorphology:Geography in the Golden State” at the Newark campus in Room NC2100.
He covered geography topics like geomorphology, cartography and gentrification. “Gentrification is absolutely and fundamentally a geographic process of uneven development and, as a geographer, as a human, as a scholar, I’m extraordinarily interested in these very immediate attempts to displace people and thus to disrupt their lives,” Levy said. The talk started right before sunset with an attendance of about 60 students. S t u dents who were in Professor Narinder B a n s a l ’s class received extra credit for going to the lecture. Levy gave his students a chance to make up an absence if they attended the lecture. The outcome was so big, Newark campus’ small classrooms, usually separated by a partition wall, had to be pushed away to make room for all the students. Levy’s slide show presentation included engaging pictures and graphs. Those pictures included ones about “Surf City” and “California Girls.” He said the stereotype others think about
The reason geography professor Dr.Adam Levy said he played that song was to get his audience to realize whatTupac raps about is geographic ‘culture forms’.” -- Roelle Balan
Professor Adam Levy lectures about geography. when they think of people from California looks like the hit show “The OC.” Levy showed a presentation of words, lists and photographs including one of Yosemite in the year 1872. Levy also showed a map of California as an island. “The map is wrong, the map is a myth,” he said.
“A Dutch cartographer misinterpreted the diary or a journal of a Spanish priest and when he misinterpreted California as being surrounded by sea, it was rendered in the map of the Dutchman as an island, and that extended until 1747 when the new Spanish king decreed in fact that California was not an island.”
A day in the park
Speech and Debate Next semester you could consider joining Ohlone’s speech and debate team. Forensics is defined as speaking in the public forum. It is made up of two primary categories: speech and debate. Ohlone College offers a number of competitive speaking platforms to students as well as parliamentary debate. The team is looking to recruit new members eager to learn argumentative strategies and further develop their speech styles and speaking abilities. If you are interested in competing and are looking to receive speech and debate coaching by experts in the field, join the Ohlone forensics team by registering for COMM 191- forensics competition spring semester. – Compiled by Monitor staff
COURTESY OF PSYCHOLOGY CLUB
Last weekend, the Ohlone Psychology Club used some of the proceeds from the club’s speaker series to visit the California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park. Club members were impressed by all manner of scientific factoids, specimens, and interactive displays, teaching everything from evolution, to astrophysics, to biology, to botany, to climate science. The club has more speakers planned for next semester. From left are: Tammy Sung, Aifaa Omar, Adviser Sheldon Helms, Qaasim Ansari (back) , Amelia Angdjaja, Achintya Thakur, Sharon Ng, Laura Jovel.
M O N I TO R DECEMBER 8, 2016,
Happy Holidays from the Monitor staff
News editor: Mira R. Chandra Features editor: Ronnie Lozano Opinion editor: Tomi Boyd Sports editor: Julian Moncaleano Photo editor: Ivan Vargas Online editor: Gabe Gallo Designers: Marcella Casebolt Erik Hernandez Louis Shaw Reporters: Dina DeLeon Alexa Felix Roelle Balan Henry Oches Yumyat Thwe Adviser: Bill Parks Printer: FP Press
California Newspaper Publishers Association
Journalism Association of Community Colleges
General Excellence State NorCal 1987 1984 1991 1988 1994 1994 1998 2000 2002 2003 2003 2004 2014 2005 2013 2014
(Standing from left) Louis Shaw, Adviser Bill Parks, Henry Oches, Marcella Casebolt, Yumyat Thwe, Erik Hernandez, Ivan Vargas. (Seated from left) Julian Moncaleano, Vicente Vera, Ronnie Lozano, Dina DeLeon. (Not pictured) Roelle Balan, Mira Chandra, Tomi Boyd.
Midwinter celebration: deep roots
Continued from Page 1
something to celebrate. As for Santa Claus, he has pagan origins as well. St. Nicholas was known as the Greek bishop of Myra, a Roman town, and inspired the modern personality of Santa Claus. According to historians, St. Nicholas was considered a kind and gentle spirit who roamed the night, caring for children and adults alike. The modern-day perception of Santa Clause was actually brilliant advertising on behalf of the Coco Cola company. Around the 1930’s, a grand marketing scheme was enacted, and the company not only created the image of the jolly
OPINION round white male Santa Claus, but made him more personable and real looking—someone consumers could relate to when buying their Coke. So why is Christmas such a major Christian holiday? Around the fourth century, people began to believe Jesus was never actually real but more of a spiritual entity, a belief the church found heretical. Given the Bible doesn’t directly state when Jesus was born, what better way is there to convince believers of the Christian faith that Jesus was very mortal than
by celebrating his birth through a grand celebration of his very “real” and humble human birth. Even though celebrations during the midwinter were already occurring to rejoice over the end of the winter solstice, Christians didn’t want to align themselves with pagan rituals or holidays. Instead-- church leaders proclaimed Jesus was “born” the day the sun birthed itself again. Talk about marketing. Although the foundation of celebration remains the same, the concept of Christmas is ever changing. From being pagan in nature, to past priests and pastors hijacking the celebrations as their own to humanize Jesus Christ, to the overly
consumerist holiday we know today—Christmas is a time of happiness and togetherness. So the midwinter holiday really is a time to celebrate. It really is a time of renewal, the rebirth of spring, the approaching end of the short, dark cold days. If it’s Christmas, spring is just around the corner. Maybe we won’t starve this winter after all. That’s a real reason to celebrate, and it doesn’t involve religion or buying presents. So Merry Christmas, or whatever you want to call it. If interested in learning more about the origins of Christmas, visit http:// www.humanreligions.info/ christmas.html.
Online: 2005, 2013
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The Monitor is written, edited and produced by students enrolled in the Journalism Program at Ohlone College. Articles and opinions written in the Monitor reflect the thoughts of our students, and they are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content. Articles and opinions that appear in the Monitor do not reflect the views or opinions of Ohlone College.
COUTESY OF OHLONE.EDU
M O N I TO R DECEMBER 8, 2016
Students to show short films RONNIE LOZANO FEATURES EDITOR
Students in Ohlone’s BRDC150 class will get an opportunity to display their talent next week. Four films ranging from horror/comedy to suspense will be shown at a premiere in the NUMMI Theater. All the short movies were written, produced, and edited by Ohlone film students. Members of the class were divided into groups and had the semester to make their respective films. Veronica Eggert, instructor of
the class, was tasked with breaking them into groups. Eggert has experience in the field and she has casted for feature films and commercials in the past. Given her background, casting for the class was easier than what she may have initially thought. The students took pressure off Eggert because of their interest in the subject. “Everyone who comes into the class has some sort of knowledge about film before,” she said. Eggert added that each group was balanced with students who
could perform multiple tasks. Whether it was writing, producing, or editing the class was there to help one another. All of the members had a hand in the creative process for their short films. Their work will be displayed on Dec. 15 in the NUMMI Theatre starting at 7:30 pm. The films are three to six minutes long and viewers will be provided with drinks and snacks. The class that the films were made in will be available again for the Spring semester and will meet from 11-3:15 on Fridays.
direct product of clear thinking.” According to Spratt, the hardest but most important part of effective communication is wrestling; being able to pick out necessary information in order to relay the intended message. In addition to knowing your topic, Spratt emphasized the importance of his second hallmark, limiting your topic. Explanation is important, but when we include details that take away from our main point, that’s where things get cloudy. “We all like to talk and show how bright we are,” Spratt said. “But you have to choose between showing everyone how much you know and getting your message across. The audience’s attention span is limited.” Next on Spratt’s list: pick no more than three points to drive home. Three points to expand on is an ideal amount to keep our audience engaged. Keep it sweet, short, and most importantly, retainable. But are we as speakers limited to only three topics? “I don’t know,” Spratt said. “But the audience’s likelihood of remembering your message is inversely proportional to the number of points you are trying to make.” Moving on to the fourth hallmark of Spratt’s presentation on effective communication, knowing our audience is key in delivering a message that matters. According to Spratt, we shouldn’t make our audience work too hard. If we are going to be effective, then we need to know the people that we’re talking to. “Go to them, don’t make them go to you. Factor in their edu-
cation, skill sets, and culture.” Spratt explains, “It all matters. You do really want to know so you can pick the right language, you can pick the right topic, and you can pick the right tone” Through the presentation, Spratt explained the good news -- the nature of business communication is that it is objective and contains factual topics. The bad news, however, is that it is easy to promote confusion with the sloppy use of vocabulary. “Be precise”, Spratt explained as the fifth hallmark. “Don’t assume that those words are being understood.” We as speakers, must speak to our audience with as much brevity and clarity as possible. We may be experts in what we may know, but at the end of the day, we must remember not everyone knows what we know. Constantly, we are learning different information at different parts of our lives. At tip number six, Spratt advised the audience to “start at the end.” He then pulled up emails that he sent to other companies, making it clear how upfront he was in relaying information by starting with a conclusion in order to reach his point quicker. “I love when I can be blunt” Spratt admitted. Spratt’s final tip was to have fun. Public speaking, as scary as it may seem to some people, can be a “hoot’! The chief financial officer explained that speaking in public and giving your career a boost can be fun, but only if you are prepared. “How many times do we get the legitimate chance to dominate a conversation?” Spratt said.
Jackson Theater at the Gary Soren Smith Center on the Fremont campus. Students from MUS-351 and MUS-352 worked together on this high-energy concert. They all have only one goal throughout this semester that is to successfully perform in this concert. Professor Tim Roberts said the concert will have a mix of all three genres, Jazz, Rock, and Classical Chambers. Jazz/Rock Ensemble has a wide varieties of musicians: vocals, guitars, keyboards, horns, drums, and more. Roberts said the players are
divided into smaller groups according to their ability and experience levels. Including the Classical Chamber Ensembles is an opportunity for students from both classes to experience what it is like to play “in a smaller and more esoteric group than their usual settings,” according to the program. The concert will be directed by Roberts, who has several guitar-based CDs out including, “Acoustic Prog,” “Chinese Malibu,” and “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The CDs are available on iTunes.
Effective communication KIMBERLY QUINTO CONTRIBUTING WRITER
PHOTO COURTESY ANDREW MOGG
The Sugar Plum Fairy and the Asian Tea Dancer performing en pointe.
Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker’ to take stage at Ohlone DINA DELEON STAFF WRITER
Little Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Mouse King will take the Smith Center stage Dec. 17 for the Berkeley City Ballet’s 43rd annual production of The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky’s celebrated holiday ballet will continue Dec. 18. Curtain times are 1 and 5 p.m; Admission is $25 for adults; $20 for seniors, staff and students; and $15 for youths 12 and under. The production features a cast of more than 40 dancers with elegant costumes and sets. It combines Berkeley City Ballet students with local professional dancers from companies such as San Francisco Ballet and Diablo Ballet. “Berkeley City Ballet is thrilled to bring the holiday tradition of the Nutcracker to the Ohlone College Community,” said Elizabeth Godfrey, artistic director of Berkeley City Ballet. “Our production offers audiences the best of both worlds; the beautiful dancing of our students and professional dancers with the accessibility of a program that audience of all ages can enjoy.”
There are people who are equipped with an impressive skill set, yet lack the ability to communicate effectively. On the other hand, people who are equipped with both the skill set and communication are able to utilize both in whatever they hope to pursue. According to Dana Spratt, a certified public accountant and chief financial officer, effective communication is essential in every aspect of life, most critical for those heading down the business path. Addressing 35 attendees at the final Communication Colloquium Series event, Spratt presented “7 Practical Tips for Effective Communication.” The talk, which was sponsored by the ASOC, took place on Nov. 29 at 11 a.m. in Room 7101. Though various people have different perspectives on the interpretation of effective communication, Spratt uses seven hallmarks: • Know your topic • Limit your topic • Pick three points to drive home • Know your audience • Be precise • Start at the end • Have fun On his first hallmark of knowing your topic, Spratt explained, “You need to know what you’re really trying to say. You gotta figure out what the message is to the audience that you’re addressing. Clear communication is the
Jazz/Rock Ensemble to perform on Friday YUMYAT THWE STAFF WRITER
PHOTO COURTESY ANDREW MOGG
For the first time in 15 years, the Classical Chamber Ensemble will join the Jazz/ Rock Ensemble in “Friday Before Finals,” tomorrow night For 15 years, the Ohlone College Department of Music has been holding concerts presented by MUS 352-Jazz/ Rock with the title “Friday before Finals” every last Friday of the semester. This time, the Classical Chamber Ensemble Jazz/Rock Ensemble will join in the fun, starting at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 in the
M O N I TO R DECEMBER 8, 2016
2016 radio year in review
It was a rather interesting year serving as the radio columnist for The Ohlone Monitor. I saw the good, the bad and the ugly side of the radio business this past year and I enjoyed writing about it. Let’s take a look at the 2016 year in radio.
THE GOOD: The highly interactive radio show, Most Requested Live with Romeo, achieved a milestone by adding its 160th affiliate and continued to do what they do best, letting its listeners interact with show cast members, music artists and each other through their various social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Skype and USTREAM. I give this show major props by keeping its listeners entertained with great music and good conversations every Saturday evening. If you haven’t already checked out this show, maybe you should! It’s aired every Saturday night from 4-9 p.m. on various Top 40 radio stations nationwide, including WIOQ(Q102) in Philadelphia, which is available on
the iHeart Radio app. More information about this show is available at their website at http://www.mostrequestedlive.com I received some good news of my own as my Autism Awareness PSA is being nominated for best Public Service Announcement by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. I won’t know if I actually win this award until August.
THE BAD: The Bay Area radio industry was affected by mass layoffs at several radio stations this past year as KGO laid off most of its news staff and rebranded itself as “The Next Generation of KGO.” The layoffs didn’t just affect the once popular talk station, however. Cumulus Adult Alternative KFOG hired a new program director and laid off most of its on-air staff, and has done some rebranding of its own. Over at Entercom, they brought in Elroy Smith as their new operations manager and program director. Within
his first week at the helm, he fired several staffers, including KRBQ Program Director Trevor Simpson, KBLX Program Director Stacy Cunningham, and myself. I’m currently looking for my next radio job and will never give up on my goals.
Entercom Classic Rocker KFOX has named Afternoon Host Tim Jefferies as its new Program Director. He had been the Assistant Program Director at the station for the past several years.
ready done so to check out this wonderful show.
HERE ARE THIS Of course, there is a wide WEEK’S TOP FIVE variety of year-end music Cumulus Media decided HIT RECORDS: countdown shows, but the
not to exercise it’s option to purchase country music station KSJO in March, thus returning the San Jose station to its previous owner, Universal Media Access, which then flipped the station’s format back to a time brokered South Asian format called “Bollywood.” The Golden State Warriors changed flagship radio stations this past summer as ENTERCOM sports talker KGMZ(95.7 The Game) became the radio home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors under a new multi-year deal that includes expanded pre and post-game shows and also expanded content all year long. They have been on KNBR for the past 30 years!
1. “Closer” – The Chinsmokers f/Halsey 2. “Side To Side” – Ariana Grande f/Nicki Minaj 3. “Let Me Love You” by DJ Snake f/Justin Bieber 4. “Starboy” – The Weeknd f/Daft Punk 5. “24K Magic – Bruno Mars
one I would recommend the most is “The iHeart Radio Year End Countdown with Romeo.” This show is aired several times over the holiday break. Please visit http:// www.iheartradiocountdown. com to find out more about this.
FOR YOUR HOLIDAY It’s been lots of fun servLISTENING PLEA- ing as your radio columnist SURE: over the past year and I have Be sure to check out the Top 40 radio show, Most Requested Live every Saturday night during the Holiday season for great music, cool guests and interesting conversation. I’d recommend that you download the iHeart Radio app if you haven’t al-
decided to seriously resume my search for my next job in either radio or print media. I know it will be a tough journey and my buddies in the media business always tell me to stay focused and never give up on my goals. Until then, peace in your hood!
Berkeley City Ballet Presents its 43rd Annual
OhlOne COllege Smith Center December 17 & 18 1pm & 5pm
Adults $25 Seniors, Staff, Students $20 12 & Under $15 10% Discount for Groups of 10 or More
BOX OFFiCe 510-659-6031 SmithCenter.COm
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M O N I TO R DECEMBER 8, 2016
Robots take your job, bring your dinner
Robots are showing up everywhere. In hospitals, in factories and now -- in pizza shops? A 2016 article in Advertising Age details Pizza Hut’s new concept restaurant called ph+ at the Shanghai Tower that has a robot programmed to seat customers, much like a hostess. The robot looks like a mobile trash can with a mouth and facial expressions. The article claims that the robot was introduced to ph+ in order to attract tourists and young customers. It sounds as though the aim of the robot is to arouse curiosity and act as a novelty for the Pizza Hut spinoff. But what happens when the novelty wears off? Seeing a robot in a restaurant might be cute the first few times, but after a while it might get a little distracting, especially if the robot is not functioning properly.
A restaurant in the Chinese city of Guangzhou has discontinued its robot hostess due to the robot’s clumsiness. Another thing to put into consideration are the mixed feelings people have about robots. A study conducted by the Auto Alliance found 42 percent of people think selfdriving cars are a bad idea. If this many don’t want robots on the road, how many don’t want them in their restaurants? It can be assumed that customers would rather have human-to-human interaction with their waiters instead of facing artificial intelligence.
The difference between humans and robots is personality. Would you rather have a waiter you can talk to, or a waiter that is programed to just take your order and bring
in Shanghai Tower, it might lead to even more robots replacing human workers. Many McDonalds restaurants are introducing kisoks where you can place your order manually instead of telling it to a cashier. According to a November article in Fortune, McDonalds is plann i n g digital kiosks and table service in their restaurants. Robots might be a cool novelty, but they take jobs from people. On the other hand, there may be an up-side to all this.
“ 47 percent of the people working for minimum wage work in food-preparation and related jobs.” -- Pew Research Center study your food? Walking into a restaurant with robots replacing every human employee may incite anxiety in some people. With a robot hostess at the Pizza Hut
If robots take over basic service jobs, such as waitress and waiter, it may encourage some people to pursue better options. In a Pew Research Center study, 47 percent of the people working for minimum wage work in food-preparation and related jobs. If robots take those jobs, some people may feel motivated to learn new skills, reach for higher opportunities. Others may just drop out of the job market. Whether you are for or against robots taking over jobs, at this point it seems inevitable. These robots soon may be serving your food and taking your order. Though we know about robots, the restaurant ph+ is smart for taking advantage of this novelty. It definitely captured our interest. It may be one of the smartest moves to attract young people since fast food establishments began posting memes on social media.
M O N I TO R DECEMBER 8, 2016
The suburban drug abuse crisis VICENTE VERA
What is the difference between a street drug dealer and a pharmaceutical company? There are many differences, but there may be more similarities. Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Codeine, these are all variation of opioids. These drugs are marketed as medicine by drug companies and doctors all across America. But what they don’t want you to realize is that despite the fact that opioids can act as medicine, they can also destroy your body, destroy your life and the drug companies could care less. Opioids are substances that act on the opioid receptors in your brain to produce morphinelike effects. Opioids are most often used medically to relieve pain and cough, but they are also used as extremely powerful recreational drugs. Statistics have shown that drug companies have taken advantage of addicts. This should not continue. According to the article,
Regulating Pharmaceuticals by Peter Katel, opioids sold $294 billion worth of medicine worldwide, $177 billion of which was in United States, and that should concern us. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act was passed by Congress in 1992 to speed up the approval process of much needed drugs. This act also made it possible for drug companies to pay “user fees” to the Food and Drug Administration, also known as the FDA, in order to fund this new drug approval process. The more money drug companies pay, the faster the FDA will review the drugs and the faster the drugs can reach the market. The result of the shorter review time led to more harmful or under-reviewed drugs reaching on the market for anyone with a prescription to obtain. Now that most of the FDA’s budget for regulating drugs is funded from user fees, this can mean that the FDA might feel obligated to approve drugs that may not be
safe for consumption. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act may have contributed to the massive prescribing of OxyContin, a synthetic opioid derived from Oxycodone. OxyContin was introduced by Purdue Pharma, a privatelyheld pharmaceutical company based in Stamford, CT. It was introduced in 1996, four years after the Prescription Drug User Fee Act was passed. OxyContin was a huge commercial success for Purdue Pharma. Unfortunately, this drug was extremely addictive. OxyContin was marketed as being less addictive than Oxycodone, even though there was no evidence as the time to support this claim. Surprisingly, this claim turned out to be false. In 2012, the New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study that found 76 percent of heroin addicts seeking help used drugs like OxyContin as a gateway. This is the reason why drug cartels target areas with statistics of high opioid
Where’s our water? VICENTE VERA
Earth is the only planet we know, and it is the place we call home. Just like the houses we live in, we must take care of Earth and make sure it is habitable for everyone on it. With the recent controversy surrounding the North Dakota pipeline, it seems a new conversation has been sparked about harboring our planet’s resources. Fossil fuels, however, are not the only non-renewable resource on the planet. Believe it or not, water is also starting to run out, yet no one seems to be worried about it. One issue with the pipeline has to do with protecting the Missouri River. The pipeline is to run under a reservoir connected to the river, and any oil leaked would be carried downstream, destroying a source of drinking water. When it rains, what happens to all the water that doesn’t go down the storm drain? It gets soaked up by the soil, becoming groundwater, which makes up virtually all of our accessible drinking water. Unfortunately, groundwater is being pumped out of the ground faster than it can be refiled. For example, this problem would be equivalent to withdrawing $100 from your savings every week, even though you are only depositing $50 every week. Groundwater is where most of us get our drinking water, so if it disappears, we will be backed into a corner, with nothing to keep us hydrated. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Re-
sources, groundwater is being overdrawn by two feet a year in their area. Risks associated with overdrawing water include salt water contamination and the disappearance of lakes and streams. Lakes and streams also get most of their water supply from the ground -- this is called a gaining stream. A 2015 New York Times article suggests that excessive irrigation of crops may have led to California’s major drought. Considering California is the agricultural powerhouse of the United States and 80 percent of the water used in the state goes to crops, this theory seems plausible. California farmers have more of an obligation to feed the rest of the nation, than
IVAN VARGAS/PHOTO EDITOR
to protect its groundwater. Thankfully, Gov. Jerry Brown imposed cutbacks on the drawing of groundwater by farmers in the state. “People should realize we are in a new era,” Brown said. “As Californians, we must pull together and save water in any way that we can.” This should be a wake-up call to all of us that drinking water is not going to as accessible in the future as it might be today. Maybe the water shortage won’t affect us greatly right now, but we must think about our future generations, we must save our groundwater. If not, then in due time, water may turn into a disappearing non renewable resource, just like fossil fuels.
addiction to peddle heroin. The Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, is the 16th richest family in the country, with a massive $14 billion fortune. A fortune that was largely built by pushing masses of OxyContin into doctors’ offices and hospitals around the country. Pharmaceutical companies think about making money before they think about the health of their consumers. Which is pretty ironic, considering the fact that they sell medicinal products. Fortunately, Purdue Pharma did not get away with this misleading form of advertisement. In a 2007 lawsuit, Purdue Pharma pled guilty to misleading consumers about the real risk of growing dependent on OxyContin. They paid a $600 million settlement, one of the biggest in pharmaceutical history. Not only is Purdue Pharma at fault for creating so many new cases of opioid addiction, but so are the guidelines laid out by doctors. Opioids went from
only being prescribed to cancer patients and end-of-life care, to being prescribed to patients with chronic pain. But this “chronic pain” category was so vague and open ended, that many patients were prescribed opioids when they may have been better off using a safer alternative. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid prescriptions increased 7 percent from 2007 to 2012. This may seem like a small increase, but considering the equally small time gap, this can grow into a big problem. Which is a good thing for drug companies, but it also means there is more risk for addiction. It is clear at this point that drug companies don’t care if you get addicted to opioids, it just means more money for them. So it is up to the FDA, physicians and journalists to help expose the ongoing greed of drug companies. Hopefully when people become more aware, they will help end this opioid abuse crisis.
M O N I TO R DECEMBER 8, 2016
Will they stay? LOUIS SHAW GRAPHICS
The city of Oakland has now come up with a plan to save their beloved team from leaving. Early estimates for a stadium renovation project in Oakland have emerged, as the city attempts to keep the NFL’s Raiders from leaving for Las Vegas. According to the San FranciscoChronicle,theprojectwould cost an estimated $1.3 billion. That is $600 million cheaper than the stadium deal already in place in Las Vegas. This plan sets aside 90 acres for the stadium and about 8,500 parking spaces. 35 acres for commercial development. The A’s would be expected to build their own stadium at Howard Terminal. Here is the reported breakdown for the city of Oakland’s stadium renovation program: $600 million would come from Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott’s private investment group (Fortress Investment Group), $200 million from public funding, $200 million from the NFL, and $300 million from Raiders owner Mark Davis. If this deal goes through, Davis could be asked to sell some stake in his team to Lott’s investment group. Lott has stated Mark Davis told
him, if he can deliver the land that he could work with that. Davis, who has cut off negotiations with the City of Oakland, has already pledged $500 million to the stadium project in Las Vegas, which was signed into Nevada state law in October. The rest of the funding would come from a hotel-tax hike ($750 million) and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson ($650 million, plus overrun costs). There have been reports of some conflicts between Davis and Adelson when it comes to ownership of a potential Las Vegas Raiders franchise. This factor, along with several others, could have the NFL leaning heavily toward doing business with Lott’s group and keeping the team in Oakland, where it has played its home games since 1995 (and before that from 1960-1981). Although Davis has said he is committed to moving his team to Las Vegas, the NFL will ultimately decide the fate of the Raiders. All relocations must be approved by a three-fourths vote by the league’s owners. If Oakland is able to put forth even a remotely competitive offer for a new/renovated stadium, the league will likely vote for the Raiders to stay put.
Riv alr y ren ew ed
COURTESY OF GETTY IMAGES
QBs Alex Smith and Derek Carr shake hands postgame JULIAN MONCALEANO SPORTS EDITOR
This Thursday night’s football matchup will determine first place for the AFC West. The Oakland Raiders will visit the Kansas City Chiefs for the second, and final, face-off of the season between these two rivals. Earlier this year the Chiefs came out on top in a classic mud bowl at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum and both teams have continued to turn heads around the league. This remains one of the best and oldest rivalries in all of sports. With the Chiefs leading
the overall record 59-51-2, as of 2013 the Chiefs have been an outstanding 6-1. But this year’s Raiders team is much different, with the emergence of MVP candidate, Derek Carr, and the stellar play of All-Pro Defensive Player, Khalil Mack. The Raiders have been tested multiple times this year in the fourth quarter and Carr has yet to fail and show everyone why he’s arguably become the best closing quarterback in football. Carr has never played in a playoff game, while Kansas City Quarterback, Alex Smith, has played in five. Raider fans hope to see Carr continue his
poise into the playoffs, but first things first, win the Division. The Kansas City Chiefs have been underrated for the majority of the season and it’s due mainly to the quiet leadership of Alex Smith. Smith is a former first overall pick back in 2005 and still has much to prove around the league since his fellow draft mate, Aaron Rodgers has already won a Super Bowl. The Chiefs defense, on paper, is not ranked so well, but being led by cornerback Marcus Peters has really helped the rest of the team force big turnovers when needed. They have an NFL-leading 25 takeaways and there are still four games remaining on the season. It will be up to Alex Smith who has made the playoffs four times since 2011 and has an impressive 11 touchdowns to one interception in his five playoff games. Andy Reid and Jack Del Rio are two proven coaches in this league, who are yet to win a Super Bowl. Reid brought the winning culture that he exemplified in Philadelphia and Del Rio has brought passion back to his favorite childhood team. It may not come down to the quarterback play, perhaps it will come down to which coach can outsmart the other.
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