THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY THE OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE SINCE 1893 Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Volume 132, Issue 4
Eagle Rock Residents Flood Colorado for Music Festival
See Page 12
Giovanna Bettoli The Eagle Rock Music Festival returned the evening of October 1st, offering both local concession stands and boasting acts ranging from unknown, local groups to big names like Flying Lotus and Rooney.
Occidental Teacher Credential Program Harsher Punishments For Put On Probation By Outside Committee Marijuana Offenders Margaret Gabuchian & Ryan Strong Occidental’s teacher credential program was put on “probation with stipulations” by a state accreditation committee on June 23, leading the College to discontinue accepting candidates for both this program and the master’s in Teaching program, as well as withdrawing the program from the accreditation system. However, it will continue to instruct the fifteen students already enrolled under probationary rules. “The team brought a lot of points that I am certain, talking with the education department, that we can address, that we can correct,” Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Jorge Gonzalez said at the hearing in front of the Committee on Accreditation (COA) which was recorded on video. “However, it also gave us the opportunity to look at overall what kind of education we should be providing at Occidental and what role Occidental should play in the educational field. At this point, we have made the decision that we would like to withdraw our program from the accreditation system.” Because of the College’s withdrawal, there will be no teacher credentialing program at Occidental College for at least two years due to a mandated waiting period for reapplication.
The decision to place the College on probation was based largely on a multi-day visit to the College, in which state workers concluded that the College did not meet several criteria. The Committee on Accreditation accepted the recomendation. This Thursday, the state will revisit Occidental College to ensure that all 15 remaining students in the program are getting a high-quality education, according to an August update on the Commission on Teaching Credential’s (CTC) website. The report recommending probation states that Occidental’s credential program fails six of the nine “Common Standards” assigned by state law. It only fully met two standards in the areas of “Resources” and “District-Employed Supervisors.” Four overarching concerns noted by the report include, “Operations, Communications and Collaboration, Fieldwork, and Assessment.” The committee also concluded that not all “Program Standards” were met. The report, however, contains inconsistent information regarding how many program standards were not met, stating seven out of 19 in one section of the report but eight in another. “The accreditation team identified serious and pervasive deficiencies in the institution’s implementation of the Common Standards and Multiple and Single Subject Program applicable that substantially impact the preparation of
credential program candidates,” the report states. “The team identified issues that prevent the institution from delivering high quality, effective programs.” Occidental College did not fully agree with the conclusions drawn by the visiting team. “We believe that we have a good program. Obviously, we don’t agree with everything that was said. But, we do understand that there are areas of concern,” Professor Ronald Solorzano said at the June 23 meeting. Professor Solorzano expressed particular puzzlement on how the visiting team reported deficiencies in the College’s teaching of “differentiated instruction techniques.” “The only thing I can say is that differentiated instruction permeates the syllabi in our program. So, how it comes out on the other end, you know, it’s hard to figure out what happened in the interview process,” he said, referring to the state’s visit to the College. After the state finished judging Occidental College’s quality of education, Dean Gonzelez and Solorzano sat through approximately two hours of committee questions. During that time, the committee on accreditation, based in Sacramento, utilized strong adjectives to criticize Occidental College via its teacher credential program. “Massive,” “shambles,” and “appalling,” were just a few of the adjectives thrown out by Education continues on Page 3
NEWS ................................... 3 OPINIONS ............................ 4 LETTERS .............................. 5
FEATURES ............................ 6 SPORTS ................................. 8 A&E ................................. .....10
Haley Gray The Dean of Students Office enacted an unofficial change in the College’s disciplinary approach to marijuana offenses this semester. Students are now more likely than they have been in the past to be placed on probation if caught in the presence of marijuana. This new practice comes without any change to Occidental’s written Drug and Alcohol policy. Residential Advisers (RAs) first made the announcement at hall spreads a few weeks ago, saying that the penalties for marijuana offenses will be harsher than in the past. Many students understood the RA announcement to mean automatic probation for marijuana offenses. However, the administration claims that all violations will still be addressed on a case by case basis. “The range of sanctions still applies: warning, censure, probation, suspension, permanent separation,” Emily Harris, Assistant Dean and Director of Student Advocacy and Accountability, said. However, both Dean Harris and Assistant Director of Residential Education Juls White confirm that the College is more likely to lean toward probation for marijuanarelated offenses. According to Harris, the change
in policy resulted from a meeting of a student focus group, who claimed that the smell of marijuana in residence halls had made them sick. The students expressed concerns about difficulties sleeping and studying. After the new practice was adopted, White and Dean Harris decided that the most effective way to inform students of the change was through RA announcements at hall spreads. However, many students remain confused as to what the policy actually is. “I thought it was ineffective that the only way they told people was through hallspread, so things only spread through word of mouth,” Yasmin Tunador (sophomore) said. After getting official briefings on the new sanction guidelines, some RAs told their residents that all students found responsible for marijuanarelated offenses will automatically receive disciplinary probation under the new protocols, which is not the policy as stated by the administration. One e-mail from an RA to his residents read, “As of last week the upper levels of administration finalized the new policy. What has changed is the sanctions for a violation. If you are found responsible for possession or use of marijuana, you are automatically put on probation. A second offense will almost definitely result in suspension.” Marijuana continues on Page 3
The Occidental Weekly is recyclable.
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
- October 5, 2011
THIS WEEK Women’s Soccer v. Cal Lu Today, 10/5 - 7:00 p.m. Cal Lutheran University
Amped from their recent win against Whittier College, the Tigers face Cal Lu on their home field. INFORMATION Occidental Athletics
Taste of Downtown Burbank Thursday, 10/6 - 5:30 p.m. San Fernando Road
Women’s Volleyball v. Pomona Friday, 10/7 - 7:30 p.m. Rush Gym
$30, or $45 with beer/wine garden.
See your lady Tigers fight for a win after their recent loss to Scripps.
INFORMATION http://tasteofdowntown-burbank. com
INFORMATION Occidental Athletics
The Charles Altura Trio Saturday, 10/8 - 9:00 p.m. Blue Whale
BAM Fest 2011 Sunday, 10/9 - 1:00 p.m. Santa Monica
Acclaimed jazz/fusion musician Charles Altura plays at the Blue Whale in Chinatown.
Beer, art and music festival. Enjoy craft beer, local art and gourmet food trucks. $40 to get in.
IN THE NEWS
Occidental took part in National Sex Education Week this past week, a national event organized by Planned Parenthood. Throughout the week, it was condoms and lube galore as Urban and Environmental Policy major Tyler Berkeley Brewington (junior) urged passerbys to take free samples and learn more about sex education. As part of the week, the students also held a talk in the Center for Gender Equity on Thursday night from 8-9 p.m. to test students’ sexual knowledge as well as to discuss their own sexualities. The group wanted to address the fact that sexual education is not only about sexually transmitted diseases, but also to point out the fact that sexual health covers a broad number of areas including sexual identity, health care, family planning, and body image. You can find more information about sexual health, education, and family planning at various Planned Parenthood Los Angeles clinics: Planned Parenthood Pasadena, the Planned Parenthood Express clinic right on Colorado Blvd, and at the Emmons Health Center. Online information can be found at http://www.pplosangeles.org
With recent policy changes, the cities of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach have started a project aimed towards health improvement for the communities. According to research done by Susan Babey, a scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, hypertension rates are the highest in Los Angeles County and obesity rates are in the middle range for the beach side communities compared to other areas. Many of the healthy changes include more organic school lunches, community gardens, leaner restaurant menus, and bike lanes. In particular, health officials are striving to educate and change the communities’ eating habits as they urge restaurants to serve smaller portions and provide deserts with fewer calories. In addition, they have added programs aimed towards preventing and reducing childhood obesity. Parents in orange vests have volunteered to walk groups of children to school as part of a “walking school bus” system which provides kids with extra exercise. Adult walk groups have also sprouted all throughout these beach side cities.
Millions of acres of forests all across the United States are struggling to stay alive due to a variety of natural causes. Fifteen percent of Colorado’s forests have died because of a lack of water. Wildfires have burned down millions of acres of forest landscape in a mountainous region near the Southwest of Texas. Pines in the Rockies are also a casualty. This mass decrease in trees can be attributed to rising CO2 emissions and warmer temperatures where trees can’t handle the intense amount of CO2 levels. Another effect of the warming has is proliferation of different beetle species which have destroyed forests all across America. “Forests take a century to grow to maturity,” said Werner A. Kurz, a Canadian researcher at Natural Resources Canada. “It takes only a single extreme climate event, a single attack by insects, to interrupt that hundred-year uptake of carbon.” States have increasingly taken more aggressive initiatives to direct funding towards forest preservation. California, for example, will make financial agreements with industries to slow tropical deforestation.
Israel decided to restart peace negations with Palestine on Sunday, but there still remains much ambiguity and disagreement. However, Israel has made an accusation that the Palestinians have strategically decided to acknowledge new borders without negotiation. According to a lead by the San Francisco Chronicle, a senior Palestinian official made a statement that after three intense days of deliberating, the Palestinian leadership had decided not to return to talks unless Israel halted all settlement construction and agreed to clear terms for the negotiations. Much dispute arose over Gilo, home to 40,000 predominantly Jewish residents. Israel publicly announced its plans for housing development in the area. However, Palestine has already claimed the area and wants Israel to halt such plans. The Israeli government, despite reprimands from Palestine and the international community, has continued its development projects in Gilo which may be a strong indication that it is not yet ready to make peace talks.
Written and Compiled By Nick Nam
REPORTS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
1:19 AM Clapp Library Staff reports a suspicious male roaming the 1st floor of the library. Responding officers detained the subject (local) and turned him over to LAPD. Incident Report submitted.
1:50 PM Information Campus Safety made contact with the student and determined she was safe. Pro Staff notified. Chronology of Events submitted.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
11:20 PM Off Campus Student reports that she has missed the Bengal Bus and was stranded at the Glendale Galleria. Officers notified Pro-Staff on duty.
8:10 PM 1432 Armadale Ave. (Phi Psi) Received report of fire at the location. Responding Officers observed LAFD on scene and extinguishing a small structure fire that had been contained to the front porch.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1
7:25 AM Information Received report from concerned student that her roommate did not come home last night and is not answering her phone. Pro Staff notified. Campus Safety & Res Ed commenced efforts to locate student.
12:08 AM Haines Hall Ed commenced efforts to locate student. Observed (3) males acting suspiciously in parking lot. Officers contacted the subjects (locals) who were identified, warned regarding private property and escorted off campus without incident.
The Occidental Weekly
Occidental College 1600 Campus Road M-40 Los Angeles, California 90041 (323) 259-2886
EDITORIAL BOARD Editor in Chief Dean DeChiaro
Managing Editor Aralyn Beaumont Senior Editors Ashly Burch Mitchell J. Cde Baca
EDITORIAL STAFF News Faryn Borella Ryan Strong
Features Sam Ovenshine Kirsten Wright Sports Ryan Graff Juliet Suess Opinions Alexander LaRose Rachel Liesching Arts & Entertainment Cordelia Kenney Ian Mariani Senior Layout Editor Christine Lew Photo Editor Evan Carter
10:50 AM Clapp Library
2:18 AM Stewart Cleland Hall
Student reports a suspicious male roaming the 2nd floor of the kubrary. Responding Officers detained the subject. The subject produced school community ID, and was questioned and released
GHC reports two males (possibly students) breaking cinder block bricks in front of the location. Responding Officers checked the area but were unable to locate any subjects.
6:44 PM Braun Hall Steam from the bathroom on the 2nd floor activated the fire alarm system. Hall evacuated. No smoke or fire. Reset fire alarm panel. Message left on Bruce Steele voice mail.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2 12:09 AM Hazelwood Ave Student reports his bicycle stolen from the front porch, while he was visiting friends. Incident report submitted.
11:42 PM Newcomb Hall The fire alarm system was activated again by a smoke detector on the 2nd floor in front of the women’s restroom. No smoke or fire. Full Hall evacuation observed. Silence and reset fire panel. 9:00 PM Off Campus Observed a large group of students walking towards Eagle Rock Music Festival. 11:00 PM Off Campus Eagle Rock Music Festival has concluded, officers observe large groups of students walking back to campus.
Advertising Manager Tucker Eason Business Manager Andreas Bloomquist Communications Director Arielle Darr
Founded in 1893, the Occidental Weekly is the official newspaper of Occidental College. Published by the Associated Students of Occidental College, the Weekly is distributed to 2,000 faculty, staff, students, parents and community members every Wednesday during the academic year.
RESOURCES If you would like The Occidental Weekly to cover a story, please write to email@example.com, contact a section editor, or call The Occidental Weekly office. If you would like to write a letter to The Occidental Weekly to express an opinion or address a current event, please e-mail weekly@ oxy.edu. Letters are capped at 700 words.
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
College Investigates Apartment Style Living on Colorado Ryan Strong The College is looking into purchasing a set of villas on Colorado Boulevard, two and a half miles away from campus, as student housing. With 80 beds in total, the villas would be a college-sponsored, off-campus living option open to seniors and juniors and would also house two Residential Assistants, two Residential Education Staff Members and faculty. “The owners of the building contacted an administrator,” Barbara Avery, Vice President for Student Affairs, said. The owners were trying to sell the units and pitched the property to several colleges, of which Occidental is the closest and most interested. Administrators are calling it a great transition opportunity for upperclassmen but have not yet committed to the purchase. “We’re investigating it,” Avery said. “We don’t know if there’s going to be student-interest.” Avery said that there is a huge financial question and, therefore, the College has to be positive students will want to live there for years to come. The idea may be brought up at a General Assembly meeting as a way to test student interest. There is also the issue of the distance of these villas and how students would be transported to and from campus. The villas are recently constructed and have not yet been occupied.
“They’re very attractive,” Avery said. All of the units have two or more beds and bathrooms. All have patios and laundry facilities. Underground parking is available and there is a bus stop in front of the building. The villas are located past Target, on Colorado. Ralphs and a Taco Bell are nearby. Some RAs had a chance to tour the facility, and approved. “I think the villas are a really good option for people who want to be a little more independent in their housing situation, yet have the security of knowing its good quality and reliable, since it’s through ResEd,” an RA, who wished to remain anonymous, said. Students have had mixed reactions to the idea. “I think its good as long as the spending does not interfere with spending on education,” Josh Luo (sophomore) said. “I prefer dormitories on campus because of access to the library.” Junior Joseph Dingman thought the idea might be good depending on how much latitude and control Occidental exerted over the property. He also worried about finances and whether the College already has residence options similar to this one. “Does Occidental really have the financial wherewithal to undertake another investment?” Dingman said. “It sounds like Rangeview with a kitchen.” The College will survey many more students before making a decision to either decline or go forward with the purchase.
Students to Send Letter Protesting Policy Changes Marijuana From Front Page Another RA, who wishes to remain anonymous, also understood the new change to mean automatic probation. “RAs heard it from their GHCs [Graduate Hall Coordinators], so some people may have heard it differently than others. The way I interpreted it is that if students get caught smoking weed they will be on probation,” the RA said. The policy as described by the administration differs from that as described by the RAs. If the policy as described by the RAs is accurate, it raises legal questions. Automatically handing down probation for any marijuana offense would violate Section 19 of the student code of conduct, which guarantees that sanctions will be determined only after taking individual circumstances into account. “Significant mitigating or aggravating factors shall be considered when sanctions are imposed, including the present demeanor and past conduct record of the student,” section 19 of the code states. Many courts have ruled that when colleges have students sign a code of conduct they create a contract between student and college. An institution can be held liable when it breaches that contract. For example, in “Fellheimer vs. Middlebury College,” a U.S. District Court ordered Middlebury College to clear the disciplinary record of a student after it convicted him for an offense without ever
notifying the student that he was accused of that violation, contrary to policy contained in the student handbook. Administrators said that the discrepancy stemmed from the message getting distorted as it spread by word of mouth. Many students are concerned with other implications of this new protocol besides those of the legal nature. A group of students, who wish to remain anonymous, are writing a letter to the administration that argues against the new policy. The letter’s main theme is that the punishment outweighs the crime. “These are not minor punishments; these are things that can ruin students’ lives,” it says. The students also argue that this new policy places an unfair burden upon RAs. “Imagine having to decide whether to write someone up, potentially ruining their college life and future, or losing your job and being unable to pay for your education. That is what the new marijuana policy does to RAs,” the letter states. While the administration did listen to students in crafting the policy, the writers summarize the letter by asking for further collaboration. “Please reconsider the new marijuana policy and start an oncampus dialogue. Clearly this is an important issue and one that must be discussed by our robust community,” it says. “Hopefully we, as a community, can make Occidental a greater and more fulfilling experience for everyone,” the letter ends.
October 5, 2011 -
Renovated MLK Lounge Opens its Doors
Giovanna Bettolli On Oct. 27, the renovated MLK Lounge in Pauley was officially unveiled. It was renovated to create another space for clubs to meet, as well as a place for students to study. There is brand new furniture and study desks, and the central mural of Martin Luther King Jr. was improved. The lounge will be accessible to all students via key card access.
Alumni Defend Education Program Education Department From Front Page members on numerous occasions. Committee members also commented on the College’s “hefty price tag,” and openly disagreed with the private decision of the College to withdraw its program rather than adjust it during probation. Solorzano responded to the committee’s adjective-laden commentary many times by talking about the program’s strengths and his belief that the program prepares students well for teaching. He cited the number of successful graduates, the reputation the program had earned among schools in the community, and the students’ love of the program and the experiences it provided. Committee member Nancy Watkins, who professed no intimate knowledge of Occidental College, proceeded to criticize Professor Solorzano’s pride for his students, program, and the College. At the same time, she implied that Occidental may try to mislead current candidates instead of giving them an honest notification of the College’s accreditation status as required by state law. “I certainly hear the pride you have in your students and your institution…but some of the language about students choosing to stay concerns me…and I’m curious about what spin will be put on that [the notification]. I’m a high school teacher and I can give my students an A and they can have a great experience in my class but that does not mean they know a thing about economics,” Watkins said. Member
Watkins failed to produce any evidence on why she thought the College would “spin” the notification. Right now, the College is focusing on making sure that remaining students in the program are able to complete the program successfully. “That is, in my eyes, our number one obligation,” Dean Gonzalez told the committee. The College has written an action plan to provide a program that meets standards for the 15 remaining candidates, per the CTC’s first stipulation. That action plan has been accepted by the state. Soon though, the College will have to make a decision regarding the future of the Education Department. “We see this as an opportunity to start with a blank piece of paper and say okay, we want to redesign a program from the bottom up, what can we do better than anybody else. What can we do really well. And then, perhaps, come back to the accreditation board at the appropriate time and say this is what we’re going to do of the utmost quality,” Dean Gonzalez said in response to questioning on the College’s decision to withdraw. He also noted that the decision to withdraw will likely be controversial among alumni. Occidental’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program has existed for over 20 years. After completing four years of undergraduate study, students have had the opportunity to enroll in the program and receive their Master’s credentials in no more than a year. The loss of the MAT program has left the College with only one current graduate program, in biology. The news of the accreditation
issues came as a surprise to many graduates of the Occidental Education program, who believed that their Occidental education prepared them well for teaching. “Some principals actually asked to interview Oxy grads because we had more experience in student teaching,” upper-level History teacher at Clark Magnet High School in La Cresecenta Kimberli Naka said. “On several occasions as a new teacher, I was approached by more experienced teachers asking about things I did in my classroom, including classroom management and grading, as well as teaching, writing assessments, group work and creative projects,” AP English teacher at Clark Magnet High School in La Crescenta Carol Pettegrew said. “It surprised me that they were in the classroom longer than I was and were yet so under-prepared.” Over half a dozen teachers at Clark Magnet High School are Occidental graduates. Another alumnus of the Occidental education program, Gerald Gruss (‘89), was very concerned, stating that recent events will affect younger generations of Occidental applicants. “I am not only concerned as an alum of the credential program but also as a parent,” Gruss said. “My older daughter, who is a high school junior and plans to become a teacher, was looking at Oxy as her first choice. She wanted to get her undergraduate degree as well as her teaching credential and Masters degree at Oxy. With the current state of the department, it pains me to say that she is looking elsewhere.”
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
- October 5, 2011
Is Obama Gambling Too Much in the Name of Green? Alex Zeldin
Solyndra’s financial woes may soon become the President’s
resident Obama will soon have to defend what may be the first scandal in his administration. Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar energy panels based in Fremont, California, received $535 million of federal loans, only to file for bankruptcy in September of this year. Politics aside, the Obama administration should learn the appropriate lessons from this incident and move forward knowing that any loan involving tax payer dollars should be subject to intense scrutiny, as it appears the Obama administration’s lack of due-diligence allowed the scandal to happen. Some may wonder what the big deal is regarding Solyndra’s fall from grace. This certainly isn’t the first time a company received a loan only to later file for bankruptcy. Banks have experienced this phenomenon for years. $535
million is spent every two days to fund the war in Afghanistan. When compared to other government expenses, losing that much money is not unprecedented or uncommon. But the fact that billionaire George Kaiser, a top Obama fundraiser, had a large stake in the company poses the question whether the loan was a politically motivated move and not subjected to the same scrutiny and fact-checking as it should have been. David Freddoso, of the “Washington Examiner,” reported that in 2008, before the loan was granted and Obama was sworn into office, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) audit showed that Solyndra suffered losses of $558 million in its five years of existence. The audit further revealed that Solyndra “has suffered recurring losses from operations, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders’ deficit that, among other factors, raises substantial doubt about
its ability to continue as a going concern.” Nevertheless, a loan was granted. President Obama made this a part of his Green Jobs Initiative and the company created 1,100 jobs as a result. But fast-forward two years and all 1,100 workers have been laid off and are collectively suing Solyndra for losses. This appears to be the Obama Administration’s fault. In July 2005, The Bush Administration signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 into law. Part of this bi-partisan act created the Department of Energy’s Section 1703 loan guarantee program for green energy companies. Solyndra filed for a federal loan in December of 2006 and was put through the due-diligence process thereafter. During the last days of the Bush Administration in January of 2009, this loan was put on hold. ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross discovered during this time that numerous advisers raised caution
flags and told the president that they needed more time to review Solyndra, as they had numerous concerns. Despite the prior administration’s concerns, when President Obama was sworn into office, the new administration fast-tracked the loan. This certainly smells political in nature. President Obama wanted to assure Americans he was committed to a green economy, and loaning money to a solar company is certainly a way to do so. But given PricewaterhouseCoopers’ audit and the Bush Administration’s hesitation to grant a loan, fast-tracking that loan was certainly a poor idea. In the coming months as the FBI continues to investigate the situation, many things will become clear about what happened at Solyndra. More light will be shed on who is responsible for issuing a loan to Solyndra given its red flags. President Obama will try to deflect, say-
ing this wasn’t him, that it’s the guys below him, and that his responsibility was to find Bin Laden, pass Health Care Reform, and lead a nation through two wars. Whether this will hold water is to be seen. Those who lost the most in this situation were the taxpayers and the workers at Solyndra. Both will decide whether it will impact the coming election next November. The fact that Solyndra received a huge loan where other solar companies did not raises concern that the administration wanted to support one of its top fundraisers. If this is the case, then President Obama will have a very hard time defending his actions unless his administration can provide a good reason for why Solyndra was fit to receive a loan. Until then critics will be right to question him for it. Alex Zeldin is a senior AHVA major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
American T.V. Media Delivers a Junk Food Diet Riley Kimball
“Every news broadcast is censored. It’s just that in China, we’re very aware of it.” So said my host brother in China. Like most who read this, I rejected the idea immediately. After all, American journalists have broken stories that could never withstand the PRC’s infamous manipulation of the press, such as Watergate or the Pentagon Papers. But upon reflection, it seems that lately, the industry is failing its audiences when it comes to the quantity, and quality, of investigative stories in mainstream media sources. In the last few years, the public has increasingly become aware of the lack of transparency permeating many aspects of American life. The banking sector nearly buckled under the weight of dubious, unregulated trading, the Citizens United ruling enabled corporations to make unlimited campaign contributions, and WikiLeaks revealed a surreal volume of previously hidden foreign policy information. And instead of launching investigations of their own into this disarray, most news companies have commercialized and shallowed up their coverage. Now, the lack of depth in a story here is as notable as CCTV’s, a Chinese news program, blatant omissions. In four months of Arab Spring uprisings and revolts, CCTV’s only mention of the events was a discussion of the U.S.’s, not NATO’s—the U.S.’s, intrusive foreign policy in bombing Libya. There was no mention of the reasons for the airstrikes nor any discussion of democratic revolutions. In spite of its headlining story telling people to sell their old iPhones before the iPhone 5 announcement, CNN failed to report
“If you’re not at the table, then you’re on the menu...”
on the Occupy Wall Street protest for 10 days after its inception, even though most other outlets picked the story up within two days. The story only “broke” on CNN when Michael Moore brought up the protests on Piers Morgan’s program. This raises questions of filtering content. During the News of the World scandal, News Corp-owned Fox News famously featured program hosts candidly discussing “the subject we’re not talking about today.” CNN’s parent company Time Warner has a similar interest in not bringing further attention to the Wall Street protests. The first legitimate coverage of the protests, outside of Michael
Moore’s support of the protesters, was entitled, “Protesters unsure how to fix Wall Street.” The article ran the same day that pilots joined the protests and shortly before the 200,000 strong New York Transit Workers Union voted to participate. The real issue at stake is the failure of audiences to realize that news broadcasts are services delivered by companies. These companies exist to satisfy a demand and make money. If the market no longer demands accuracy, thoroughness or investigation into institutions as it once did, the companies need not work toward these goals. Instead, the 24-hour news cycle fills its time with popular issues
stuffed with vapid speculation. News Corporation’s horrific deeds were a firebrand for a short window, but when compared to the attention that the Casey Anthony trial received, the coverage was laughably superficial. Audiences have become accustomed to streaming updates, whether through Twitter, Facebook, blogs or the like. As a result, news companies have sacrificed depth for breadth, touching on every story as it happens, regardless of the relative weight a story deserves. Stories no longer “develop.” They emerge, and then fade into noise. To use a rhetorical crutch, if you’re not part of the solution,
you’re part of the problem. Every time a debt ceiling approaches, CNN airs hours of mindless political punditry discussing the “Possible Imminent Collapse of the U.S.” But this will not happen anytime soon. Ina Garten has some great tips on how to make tasty hors d’oeuvres during lime season. Do not support the growing manufacturing of the news. Whether in your own home or in the gym, change the channel. Demand a return to the caliber of journalism that used to characterize American democracy. Riley Kimball is a senior DWA major. He can be reached at Kimball at oxy.edu.
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
October 5, 2011 -
Undocumented Dreamers Are More Than Just “Illegals” Mario Castillo
The California Dream Act consists of two pieces of legislation that would allow AB 540 students to access public and private educational funds. An AB 540 student is a student who attended a California high school for 3 years, graduated and is enrolled in an institution of higher education. Thereafter, they are granted the opportunity to pay in-state tuition fees but are not allowed to access public educational funds. Assembly Bill 130, which was signed into law on July 25, 2011, will allow AB 540 students to compete for and receive private scholarships administered by public universities. Assembly Bill 131, the second unsigned portion, would allow these students to apply for and participate in all student aid programs administered by public institutions to the full extent permitted by federal law. Undocumented students represent a significant portion of AB 540 students, but not the majority. They should reap the benefits afforded to them by this legislation. It will allow
them to improve their socioeconomic status and give them equal access to higher education. The reason why this proposed legislation is so contentious is that it is perceived to be a public benefit granted to “illegals” at the expense of the larger American society. Such misconceptions give rise to emotional responses that are often not constructed in the rational mind, but nonetheless, lead the discourse on the Dream Act and immigration debate. The California Dream Act is beneficial to the state, but in order to view the Dream Act as such it is essential to also deconstruct perceived notions towards “illegals.” The California Dream Act will provide financial aid to approximately 26,000 graduating undocumented students and to those that are currently enrolled in public universities. They make up less than five percent of the total student population in public higher education institutions. Their presence is negligible and they will not take away funds from citizens. The money set aside for education is determined in advance based on the demand for these funds. Unauthorized immigrants in the state
generate $164.2 billion in economic activity, contribute $72.9 billion to the state’s gross product, and paid $2.7 billion in taxes in 2010, according to the Immigration Policy Center. The $40 million the Dream Act does not compare to the contributions undocumented immigrants make. The Public Policy Institute of California projects that by the year 2025 the state will have a deficit of one million college-educated workers. The Dream Act is an investment towards reducing that future deficit, and it should be passed. However, even if this legislation passes, undocumented students will not be legally allowed to hold a job until the federal government changes current immigration law. For this nation to reach a practical solution on the issue it must first set aside how it perceives undocumented immigrants. No undocumented person can be viewed as “illegal.” There is nothing illegal about being human, having dreams and aspirations, or wanting a college education. By addressing any undocumented person as illegal, it negatively changes the perspective in which we view them
LETTERS Dear Editor, When I checked my email in the middle of May, I was shocked to find that I had been charged for 17 different damages in my room. As I read through the charges I had to admit that I was responsible for many of them. That being said though, the amount of these charges was exorbitant and the seemingly obvious overlap between some of them was puzzling. Additionally the fact that the appeals process reversed many of these charges says a lot about the nickel and dime culture of the Occidental administration. First of all there is no possible way that cleaning a dirty floor costs $150 (3x50). The article in the paper notes that the “employees are unionized” and that the school has to “pay higher wages.” This is fair enough but assuming cleaning supplies cost about $20 that leaves $130 for the person who spent what was likely 15 minutes mopping my floor. If there is that much money in custodial work then I have no idea why I am paying $50,000 a year to go to college. Second of all I’d like to point out that in my case, a charge of “left a lot of personal items in the room” is absolutely valid. An additional charge of “dinosaur next to door” however, is beyond comprehension. First of all I have no idea what this charge could possibly refer to, I did not have a dinosaur (real or toy) in my room and even if I did one would assume that this would be considered a “personal item.” Unless there is a separate rule about dinosaurs I cannot begin to fathom what ResEd was thinking when they made this charge. Apparently they don’t either as I never received a response to my email asking for clarification. Finally I’d like to address the appeals process. I’ll give credit to the fact that “75%” of the overall charges (including about 80% of my own) were repealed; however, I’d like to ask the question: What changed? Why was it suddenly
decided that I didn’t need to be charged $50 for my imaginary leftover dinosaur or $50 for the scuff marks caused by my chair. As far as I can tell ResEd assumed that they could get away with making these charges and when faced with the outcry of the student body tried to save face and return some of their ill-gotten cash. So while I would like to say thank you to ResEd for realizing their mistake, I would also like to draw attention to the fact that ResEd must have known that these charges were both ridiculous and often times without base. Why else would they pull an about face so quickly? I’d like to close by saying that with the amount of money we students pay to attend this institution every year, I don’t think it is too much to ask to be treated fairly. Redd Barua-Norton (junior, politics)
Dear Editor, Not many days pass without a student complaining about something at Oxy, or without a student saying ‘Wouldn’t it be sweet if Oxy...’ What’s frustrating is that most of the time these complaints and ideas go nowhere. On September 22, a group of students met at the first General Assembly meeting of the year to discuss these very ‘would be sweets’ and ‘I hate that Oxy does thats.’ General Assembly is the productive forum for student ideas and grievances. Did you know that Occidental changed its healthcare policy so that many students are now double-paying? General Assembly formed a student committee that is now looking into possible alternatives so that students aren’t forced to buy two separate and expensive insurance plans. Did you know that the Oxy Weekly has two malfunctioning computers which put a crunched staff under that much more pressure
to get quality papers out on time? General Assembly is voting whether or not to fund two new computers. Did you know that CatAList is requesting money for a brand new computer and camera to help get out quality episodes on time? General Assembly is voting on whether or not to fund this equipment. The next General Assembly meeting is October 11 at noon on Thorne patio. Free Spitz will be provided. This is a place to bring your ideas and complaints, and it is the place where you get to vote on student initiatives. Do you think your money should go towards Oxy Weekly’s new computers or CatALists’ new equipment? Come to the General Assembly meeting and vote! Have an idea or grievance, but don’t know where to go with it? Come to the General Assembly meeting on October 11. Alex Stein & Ben Gilmore GA Co-Chairs
Dear Editor, In response to the opinion piece titled “The Melting Pot or Not, Learning English is Imperative”: While I appreciate the fact that you discuss the important role immigrants play in the make-up of this country, I have to disagree with your notion that immigrants are not trying/not making a hard enough effort to learn English, which is preventing them from assimilating into our society. I don’t doubt that English is essential to be successful in this country. In fact, English language proficiency is the most predictive indicator of success among immigrant students, (51 Learning a New Land) for obvious reasons. However, it’s not correct to say that immigrants are not making enough of an effort to learn English in this country. Polls show that a majority of immigrants agree that English is imperative to assimilat-
and hinders the prospects of having a fair and balanced discussion on the issue of immigration. This term fails to acknowledge the underlying economic, political and social problems that brought the majority of undocumented immigrants to this country. It is dehumanizing to brand a person in such a way because it robs from them their individuality, personality, and character, which are unique in all of us. The humanity inherent in all of us can never be illegal whether you are a citizen of the U.S. or a citizen of another nation. There is a prevalent argument that claims that by the mere fact that these individuals crossed a border they have become illegal because they broke the rule of law. The rule of law is not always a reflection of reality and at times it completely fails to acknowledge the actual situation. For example, in the history of the U.S., segregation and racial discrimination were once the rule of law. It was only through the valiant efforts of oppressed individuals and sympathetic allies that these laws were overturned to reflect the reality that no human being deserves to
be treated so inhumanely. Similarly, immigration law splits families apart through deportations, forces individuals to risk their lives crossing the border, and denies them any sort of relief. Immigration law should acknowledge that immigrants have established themselves in this country, that they can be an asset to the state, and that they were driven here by factors beyond anyone’s control. California has tried four times to change the rule of law through the CA Dream Act. The California legislature put this bill on the desk of Governor Schwarzenegger four times and four times he vetoed it claiming that the precarious fiscal condition of the state did not allow for it. California cannot simply invoke the guise of fiscal responsibility to deny undocumented students this opportunity, an opportunity that has already been paid for by the sacrifices, labor, and taxes of undocumented immigrants.
ing into the U.S., and that a majority of them want to learn English— so if these statistics are true, why do so many immigrants not speak English? The answer lies in economic barriers, not the unwillingness to assimilate. For one, English is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn. For school-age children, it’s predicted it takes 7-8 years of a bilingual education for them to become fully proficient in the language. Imagine how long it would take an adult, who is beyond the essential age-range to learn a language and cannot attend daily classes. Nonetheless, many cannot even attend English classes—in some states, there are waitlists up to 7,000 people waiting to take free English courses. It can take up to 3 months, to years to finally get a seat in one of the English classrooms. This demonstrates how there is in fact a high demand among immigrants to learn English. The other option, is to pay for English classes. The problem lies in the fact that the new wave of immigrants (predominantly Asian and Central/South American) are economically disadvantaged when they come into the States, and cannot afford to pay for such classes. You listed too prominent, successful immigrants who achieved the American Dream and beyond: Sergey Brin, and who else,—Oh yeah I recall, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, both of whom are fluent in English. The difference between them and the other immigrants is that Brin came from an affluent, college-educated family background, and Gonzales, well, he’s a 3rd generation American. My parents, both of whom who came into this country from Malaysia and Iran to study for college were fluent in English when they came to this country. People will say that they are the “model immigrants”. However, it’s important to consider the immigrants here in the United States who don’t speak English— they tend to be uneducated, poor, and came from countries because they were displaced. Whether it be
the poverty in that country, drug wars, etc. they never planned from an early age to come to the United States. Many never had the opportunity to learn English in their home countries in the first place. It is an entirely different situation than the terms under which Brin’s, Gonzales’ and my own parents came here. No one is arguing that English is imperative to being successful. However, we cannot solely settle for claiming that individuals are not taking the responsibility to learn English, but rather address the barriers for them to learn English. We need to eliminate racism barriers that make it seem undesirable to be a part of American society. We need to invest more in education for not only children but also adults, who have proven that they do indeed want to learn English. Not to assimilate into a melting pot where their own language and culture is lost in order to adopt American culture and English, but to be a part of this country in a larger context than they are able to now. Lastly, I implore that anyone wanting to learn more about immigration talk to any student from the California Immigration Semester program. We’ve read hundreds, if not thousands of pages worth of research and studies done to unfold the current immigration issue in the United States. All four of our classes are dedicated to immigration, and we do fieldwork in elementary schools and explore the city to further our understanding of the issue at hand. We hope we can have a dialogue with students on the subject, which I believe is one of the most important issues this country needs to address, and better understand.
Mario Castillo is a senior DWA major. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Dina Yazdani (first-year, undeclared) RE: “Melting Pot or Not, English is Still Imperative,” the article argues that the adoption of English is a pragmatic and necessary element of immigration. The article does not state that immigrants are not attempting or making enough of an effort to learn English.
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
- October 5, 2011
TAKING BACK THE BOULEVARD
Community plan aims to give back Eagle Rock its “Main Street, U.S.A.” feel
substantial growth of their communities, Eagle Rock is looking to the future and the latest in urban planning rossing Colorado Boulevard to design a Colorado Boulevard that is can be alarmingly similar to safe and prosperous. playing Frogger. Pedestrians On Sept. 21, the Take Back the hurry across the street to avoid be- Boulevard Steering Committee held ing flattened by cars racing above the a public community meeting for resispeed limit. Bicyclists, without the dents to discuss how to make the street safe confines of bike lanes, navigate a more hospitable place. The first the road with a heightened sense of question raised at the meeting was a vulnerability. given—from what, exactly, is Eagle Colorado Boulevard, particularly Rock taking the Boulevard “back?” around its intersection with Eagle Soon the answer was clear: the cars Rock Boulevard, is characterized by racing through Colorado are the ennarrow sidewalks, a lack of safe pe- emy that the community hopes to destrian crossing locations and sparse eradicate. By defeating this enemy, the trees. Although the community of project will transform the Boulevard Eagle Rock prides itself on its small from a high-traffic artery for zooming town past, the city that has grown up cars to a thriving area for business and around the origa safe gathering inal 1911 settleplace. ment has made Colorado BouColorado less “This is a moment of increas- levard runs all the of a main street ing potential for change. Im- way from western and more of an proving streets, the new bike Glendale to eastexpressway. ern Pasadena, but The hazards plan, traffic calming: we’re it is best known of the street better positioned than ever to to Occidental stuhave prompted dents as the center make these changes.’’ a recent comof Eagle Rock’s munity initiative “downtown.” — Professor Vallianatos that promises Most students to convert the know and enjoy cracked pavethe businesses that ment and speeding traffic into a green- line both sides of Colorado Boulevard, er, pedestrian-friendly main street for but the issues that make Colorado an the citizens of the Eagle Rock com- inadequate main street for Eagle Rock munity. are as glaring as the Vitaminwater billKnown as Take Back the Boule- board that hovers over the Colorado vard, the initiative is spearheaded by and Eagle Rock intersection. community groups, local activists, Avid student cyclist Marah Bragthe office of Councilman Jose Huizar, don (junior) expressed her dissatisfacOccidental’s Urban & Environmental tion with the condition of Colorado Policy Institute (U.E.P.I.), and busi- Boulevard for travelers on two wheels. nesses and property owners on Colo“Biking around Eagle Rock in rado. general and on Colorado Boulevard Like other Los Angeles neighbor- can be a little scary because you either hoods working to accommodate the have to bike on the sidewalk, where
there are people, uneven surfaces and poles, or bike on the road with little extra space between you and the cars,” she said. At the town meeting on Sept. 21, Jeff Jacobberger, a consultant for the real estate development company Civic Enterprise Associates, presented concepts that could make the street more people-friendly, including narrowing the lanes, accommodating bicyclists and increasing green, sustainable practices in the neighborhood. Narrowing the Boulevard As it exists today, Colorado Boulevard consists of three lanes of traffic in both directions, with on-street parking and a traffic-separating median. The speed limit is 35 miles per hour, but it is often ignored as drivers take advantage of the long stretch of road with sparse pedestrians and spreadout stoplights. Noisy and dangerous, the street is hard to navigate without
a car. Being a pedestrian or bicyclist on Colorado Boulevard is a nervewracking experience, and most of the people who visit Eagle Rock do so on four wheels. Adding to the problem is that the road is 100 feet wide, so it can take a long time to cross from one side to the other. It isn’t hard to imagine a careless or impatient driver accidentally striking someone like a child or older person who takes longer to cross. Take Back the Boulevard has proposed a series of changes that would narrow the width of the street and slow down cars driving on Colorado. Chief among these is a plan to create a separate bike lane the same width of the car lanes, the first of its kind in Los Angeles. The portion of the street designated for motor vehicles would be narrower, and bicyclists would receive their own space rather than sharing with cars. This would not require an expensive roadwork project, just road painting and signage.
Other alterations proposed for the Boulevard are bulb-outs and bus-only lanes. Bulb-outs are sections of sidewalk that extend farther into the street, narrowing the road and affording pedestrians a clearer view of oncoming traffic. A bus-only lane that would operate during rush hours would considerably increase the efficiency of bus routes. Bus-only lanes are often used in large cities for this very purpose, the first of which appeared in bustling Chicago in 1939. The Take Back the Boulevard plan could also introduce reverse diagonal parking, which would jut out into the street and induce motorists to park at an angle to the sidewalk. The front of the parked cars would face the street. Reverse diagonal parking sounds like a pain, but Jacobberger assured the attendees of the meeting that it would increase safety for those climbing into their cars by slowing down traffic as people parked and also make
Giovanna Bettoli With six wide lanes of traffic, Colorado Boulevard is often used as an expressway through the city rather than a more desirable community-oriented public space. Improvements such as widening sidewalks and adding bicycle lanes through the Take Back The Boulevard initiative would increase both peace of mind and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists navigating Eagle Rock’s main street.
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
October 5, 2011 -
it easier to leave a parking place. Corey Wilton, who co-owns Four Café on Colorado Boulevard with his wife, Michelle Wilton, said he is enthusiastic about the reconfigured parking setup. “I like the idea of reverse diagonal parking,” he said. Narrowing Colorado would have a pronounced impact on how cars can use the Boulevard, fulfilling the statement in Take Back the Boulevard’s mission to increase safety, increase the support of local businesses and “stimulate economic growth through greater pedestrian activity and reduced automobile speeds.” Business on the Boulevard Business owners along the street are excited about the possibilities of the initiative. Wilton said he hopes the project will help Eagle Rock develop an identity as a unique neighborhood within Los Angeles. “I moved here from Encinitas, and that city really branded itself,” he said. “It’s really amazing now. If Eagle Rock could have a local artist come in and do something that set this place apart, that would make me really happy.” He also hopes the project will raise the maximum allowable time per parking meter on Colorado from one hour to two or three hours. “It would be really be great if the parking meter times were standardized and increased. When you go to a restaurant, you can’t relax and enjoy your meal if you’re worried about the hour you have in the meter,” he said. Wilton admits to being somewhat nervous about the changes to the street but remains hopeful. “I feel like Take Back the Boulevard would help the businesses along Colorado immensely, but the outcome is really unknown. We would like to see a lot more businesses along here, and I think that will happen. I’m happy there’s so much passion for this in the community,” he said. Increased Biking Resources Traveling by bike in Los Angeles can require the fortitude of an extreme sports athlete due to the sheer size of the city and the all-too-accurate stereotype of Los Angeles as a city on four wheels. But biking is finally having its day in L.A. Evidence of this can be seen in the recent success of CicLAvia, a biannual event that takes some of Los Angeles’ most famous thoroughfares and clears them of cars for bicyclists to race down in proprietary glee. The impact of increased interest in biking can observed, locally, on York Boulevard, where a small biking community exists in the form of a bike store, brand new bike lanes and a bike rack with ten slots occupying a parking space in front of Café de Leche at York and Ave. 50. Colorado Boulevard, by contrast, has no bike lanes, but Take Back the Boulevard proposes to make Colorado more bike-friendly by converting one lane of traffic into a bike lane. One vocal subset of Eagle Rock’s biking community attended the meeting and would like to see bike lanes separated by a physical barrier or have the bike lane in the middle of the Boulevard where the median exists today. Accommodating bicyclists would encourage more of them to use Colorado and lessen the current density of automobile traffic. Bragdon said that introducing bike lanes to Eagle Rock thoroughfares would make cycling around the neighborhood easier and less dangerous. “Bike lanes would be extremely useful. While there are currently some bike lanes on Eagle Rock Boulevard, they are very short and located in a portion of the road that cars cross,” she said.
Giovanna Bettoli Local businesses that line Colorado Boulevard are excited about the prospect of increased pedestrian traffic as a result of a safer, more welcoming atmosphere.
At the community meeting it was announced that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation is exploring the possibility of bikes lanes for Colorado Boulevard, but no definite plans are yet in the works. Following the 2010 enactment of the Los Angeles Bicycle Plan, which will add hundreds of miles of bike lanes and increase bike facilities throughout the city over the next five years, this initiative seems very appropriately timed. Greening the Boulevard At the Sept. 21 community meeting, several proposals were suggested by the leaders of the initiative and community members alike. One proposal was to plant more trees to make walking down Colorado more comfortable and inviting. “Trees provide a psychological break between the pedestrian and traffic. Also, they act as a signal to motorists that what they’re driving on is not freeway, so they shouldn’t speed as much,” Jacobberger said. Since narrowing the Boulevard is one of the main goals of the initiative, one cost-effective option is to construct parklets, or lanes of traffic repurposed as space for people to sit or hang out. These parklets would be protected by large planters filled with flowers or greenery to add a more natural feel to the Boulevard. Another part of the proposed plan is a stormwater management project that would take water runoff from the street to clean and recycle it. The Funding “This plan is self-initiated in Eagle Rock by dedicated community activists,” Huizar said at the meeting. Although such community spirit is admirable, it does mean that the Take Back the Boulevard initiative hasn’t been guaranteed funding from any source. Roadwork is very expensive—shifting sidewalks or removing medians are projects that run into the millions of dollars. Paying for Take Back the Boulevard may be difficult, but the community plans on utilizing money that the City of Los Angeles allots for beautification and neighborhood projects to help. The Take Back the Boulevard steering committee does not know how much money the city will give them, but it is certain not to be enough.
Allan Compton, of SALT Land- place for community, if that’s not too Professor Mark Vallianatos said that scape Architects Studio and a member utopian. But what makes Eagle Rock although Eagle Rock Boulevard and of the steering committee, said that special is the idiosyncrasies. I like hav- York Boulevard may be closer to Octhe initiative plans on applying for ing a car repair place on the same street cidental’s campus than Colorado, Take grant money from organizations with as a fancy coffee house and a stained Back the Boulevard is a great opporstreetscaping and green goals, citing glass store. It would be a tragedy if it tunity for Occidental students to get the National Center for Safe Routes to was all replaced with Banana Republic involved in the surrounding neighborSchool and the L.A. Metro as two pos- and GAPs. If this place was gentrified hood. sible providers of funding. to that extent, I would be very sad.” “They’re built-in constituents. Any “We need to figure out the grant changes to the street will affect stucycle first before making any definite Occidental and the Boulevard dents here at Oxy,” Vallianatos said. statements about where our funding With this in mind, the professor will come from,” Compton said. Occidental’s involement in the has enlisted a team of students to assist Emphasis will be placed at first Take Back the Boulevard initiative is with the project. Students enrolled in on relatively inexpensive changes crucial to the project’s success. Vallianatos’s “Transportation and Livlike painting bike lanes and installing “Occidental College is something ing Streets” class will be taking traffic planters. the town of Eagle Rock takes pride counts to measure the flow of traffic Take Back the Boulevard is cer- in,” Ziegler said. “It would be great and the number of bicyclists who use tainly a long term to see more students taking an Colorado. project, with active interest in the fu“This is a moment of increasplans to break ture of these streets. ing potential for change. Improvground in the There are so many ing streets, the new bike plan, traffic distant fucollege towns with calming: we’re better positioned than ture. The great energy, and ever to make these changes,” Vallinext public it’s possible that anatos said. “Janette Sadik-Khan, the planning Eagle Rock could commissioner of the New York City meeting become one Department of Transportation, is now will take of those on the Occidental Board of Trustees. place in too.” Obviously this is something that the early 2012, U.E.P. school is interested in.” and Compton It’s very clear that Take Back the estimates that a Boulevard is a long-term project. definite plan may Standing in the way are financial emerge by the middle constraints and the bureaucraof next year. cy that accompanies “We want to spend a any public project of good deal of time talkthis scale. ing with the community. If the project Our first meeting was to succeeds, it will be begin the conversation a triumph for Eagle in the terms of urban deRock and its dedicatsign language. We are in ed community memthe early stages, and we bers. The work done want to gather preliminary through Take Back the Initiative Goals thoughts,” he said. Boulevard may potenChloe Ziegler, a comtially act as an example — Provide safety for all ages and various modes of munity activist with Colfor other urban neightransportation (pedestrian, bike, bus, auto, etc.) laborative Eagle Rock borhoods dealing with — Stimulate economic growth through greater Beautiful and another traffic-clogged roads and pedestrian activity and reduced automobile member of the Take Back withering main streets. speeds. the Boulevard steering comEagle Rock will never mittee, is cautious about again be the small town it — Increase community health through reducassigning a date to the first originally was in the early ing automobile emission levels and encouraging improvements to Colorado 1900s. Alterations to Coloalternative forms of transportation. Boulevard. “I think it will be rado Boulevard, however, will — Utilize sustainable approach to storm three to four years,” she said. help reaffirm Eagle Rock as a water management and landscaping. “But the important thing is calm oasis distinct from hectic — Encompass Colorado Boulevard as it that it’s done right.” Los Angeles, appreciated by all runs through the Eagle Rock community. Ziegler offered a vision on who inhabit and visit the area. — Strengthen and nurture the relationhow she would like the street ships between businesses and residents to look. “We definitely do not For more information on along Colorado Boulevard. want Old Town Pasadena,” she “Take Back the Boulevard” and said. “We do want to make the upcoming community meetings, visCourtesy of www.takebacktheblvd.org street more pedestrian and a it http://www.takebacktheblvd.org/.
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
8 - October 5, 2011
Widolff Still Among Coaching Elite After Thirty Seasons Mirin Fader
always said if I was here five years, that would be kind of cool,” said football coach Dale Widolff, now in his thirty-first year as head coach of Occidental’s football team. Since arriving at Occidental as a defensive coordinator in 1980 and becoming head coach in 1982, Widolff’s teams have won 11 SCIAC championships. In his 30 years of coaching, Widolff has led the team to a record of 178-96-2, making him the the all-time wins leader in Occidental history and one of the top five winningest active coaches among all Division III institutions. Widolff attributes his lengthy career to the quality of students that Occidental produces. “I just think they are fantastic,” he said. Coach Widolff admires football’s team-oriented emphasis on all players instead of just the most talented individuals. Football requires working together as a single unit regardless of individuals’ playing time or role on the field. “I think it’s the ultimate team game,” he said. “You’ve got guys who don’t ever touch the ball. You’ve got guys who don’t ever get their names in the paper, but they still care passionately about the team. You’ve got all these guys that have all these different roles, and that’s the thing I really love about it.” Widolff especially admires the efforts of those who do not get to play in games. “To see the kind of joy in players’ eyes when the team does well, even if they didn’t play, is very rewarding,” he said. As a graduate of University of Indianapolis in 1975, with a degree in social studies and secondary education, Widolff played center and outside linebacker for the University’s football team. “I loved playing football, and I knew I wasn’t going to continue to play, so the next best thing was coaching,” he said. Coming from a family of older brothers who were coaches, he took his
first job as a United States history teach- his Division I experience, including er at a high school while coaching the how to maximize a player’s abilities school’s football and basketball teams. and offensive and defensive strategy. Though Widolff enjoyed coaching, he However, Widolff has still learned a did not want to be a teacher, ultimately great deal about the value of Division realizing he needed to coach at a higher III, where athletes are primarily playing level. for the love of the game. Widolff then served as an assistant “I realized that Division I is not all coach at several NCAA Division I it’s made out to be,” he said. “It’s cool schools Kansas playing in front of State, University 50,000 people, but of Pennsylva- “It is impossible to come in the game is no difnia and Indiana ferent. What I’ve State University, contact with him and not learned is that the where he earned players at Occirespect him.’’ a master’s degree dental are differin physical eduent.” — Greg Holsworth (senior) cation in 1984, Widolff adprior to coachmires the dedicaing at Division tion of Occidental III Occidental. athletes, who sacUnlike most coaches who begin coach- rifice a great deal of time to play the ing at the Division III level and work sport they love. their way up to coaching at the Division “Their priorities are different. They I level, Coach Widolff began his career are really a lot more fun to work with. differently. Division I guys, a lot of them are play“I was fortunate to get a taste of Di- ing because they think they can play in vision I before I got here,” he said. the NFL, because they’ve got a scholarWidolff learned many lessons from ship and their egos are so much bigger.
They are just not that interesting or that much fun,” he said. Though Widolff and his teams throughout his career have and continue to exude the highest levels of sportsmanship, ethical character and hard work on and off the field, Widolff found himself facing controversy for the first time in 2010 for violations of NCAA rules regarding monetary player benefit. Though the NCAA did not impose sanctions, Widolff was temporarily suspended for six weeks and took full responsibility for his actions. “Certainly I made a couple of mistakes I regret. I take full responsibility for it and don’t deny how the college handled it. It was the right way to handle it,” he said. Despite this adversity, Widolff and the Tigers have continued to build an elite Division III program, where players can still aspire to play professional after they graduate, as Vance Mueller ‘86 did by earning a spot a running back for the Los Angeles Raiders. Widolff credits his players, rather than his own coaching success, as the primary reason Occidental graduates
are able to play at the next level. “It goes more to the players’ abilities. It’s a reflection of the kind of students who come to Occidental. Oxy students are highly motivated and to even consider playing at that level you have to have a lot of self-motivation,” he said. His perspective on coaching has evolved over the course of his time at Occidental. At the beginning of his career, he viewed himself solely as a coach, rather than a teacher of the game. Thirty years later, Widolff feels a sense of pride giving back to a collegiate athletic community. “When I first started, I coached because it gave me happiness and pleasure. But as I’ve gotten older, I definitely value that I can have an impact on young people,” he said. Even in his 31st year of coaching, Widolff continues to learn something new on the field every day. “Even as a coach, you are always constantly learning. I’ve learned more from my assistant coaches than they’ve learned from me,” he said. His current players also appreciate his long-time commitment to the Occidental football program. Linebacker Greg Holsworth (senior) respects Widolff’s concern for ethical behavior. “A big part of Coach Widolff’s success has to do with his emphasis on character,” he said. “He emphasizes doing the right thing all the time and his message really holds meaning because he holds himself to the same standard. It is impossible to come in contact with him and not respect him.” Kicker Joshua Mun (senior) believes Widolff’s coaching style has the perfect balance: he can relate to players, yet simultaneously push them to succeed. “As a coach, Widolff has always been a player’s coach. He’s calm and collected and will always try to put his players into the best position to succeed. He pushes us to strive to get better every practice,” he said. Coach Widolff continues to improve the Occidental football program he continues his 31-year coaching career and draws even closer to the illustrious 200-win milestone.
NCAA Conference Realignment Forges Competitive Rivalries Jack McHenry Widespread desire to enhance their athletic programs has resulted in universities from coast to coast changing from one athletic conference to another. While realignment is one of the biggest buzzwords in college athletics as of late, it will not be found played out on gridirons, hardwoods or the many other sporting venues across the United States. Instead, conference realignment is being determined in board rooms and press conferences between school executives and administrators. The landscape of collegiate athletics is changing rapidly, and with all indications coming out of the Big 12 conference, more drastic moves shifts are on the way. Last year marked the beginning of the most serious realignment college football has seen in decades. The Big 10 conference was one of the major conferences to add a team, as Nebraska
joined from the Big 12. The former Pac 10 conference became the Pac 12 after the additions of the University of Colorado from the Big 12 and the University of Utah from the Mountain West Conference. Both the Big 10 and Pac 12 conferences became large enough to include themselves in the upper echelon of college sports divisions, joining the likes of the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). These larger conferences divide into two divisions and host their own championship games at the end of each season, which can determine a national title contender and are held at high profile, neutral stadiums. The Big 12 is the centerpiece of this year’s realignment chatter. Its two marquee football powers, Texas and Oklahoma, share a bitter rivalry known as the Red River Shootout. In order to not spoil the rivalry, these schools aim to relocate to the same conference should the ever-bickering Big 12 dissolve. To further complicate matters, each of
these powerhouses carry a sort of little brother with them. Texas has Texas Tech while Oklahoma has Oklahoma State. Thus, the general consensus is that these four schools will move as a block and make any conference they join a legitimate super conference. The Big East also comes up in the realignment discussions for the near future. While it is a massive conference consisting of 16 colleges, it has struggled to produce strong teams over the past few seasons. Schools in this conference are now discussing leaving so as to raise their football credibility. Syracuse is currently in the process of transitioning from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), where they feel they will have more opportunities to win. It is this plot, as well as the aforementioned and seemingly eminent breakdown of the Big 12, that have the college sports world anticipating major realignment. As there are with any kind of serious changes, there are some seri-
ous question marks and challenges facing the proposed changes. One is related to academics. The quartet of Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are widely assumed to be in discussions with the Pac 12. While this would make for an unbelievable football conference in terms of competition, university officials question whether or not the newcomers will be able to stay on par with academic standards of a conference that includes Stanford University, University of California Berkeley, UCLA, University of Washington and other academically rigorous institutions. It is feasible that Texas is the only school out of the four potential newcomers that would not mar the conference academically. Another concern is that the debate about realignment has been almost entirely football-centric and has left out other sports. Take the Big East, whose football program has struggled to remain competitive, where basketball is a dif-
ferent story. In both men’s and women’s basketball, the Big East is unmatched in its depth of talent. Their conference is highly competitive and is usually the best represented in March at the NCAA tournament. Some schools are willing to leave the Big East to join other conferences that could increase the school’s football exposure. NCAA officials are questioning whether realignment structured around one sport is worth ruining highly competitive environments for other sports. Along with academic standards, these are the kinds of questions university and conference officials must ask as football season wears on and the hour of realignment draws near. While the impact of realignment is only beginning to be felt this season, it stands to change the face of college sports in the coming years. Universities and their fans could be thrown into new, highly competitive super conferences in the near future.
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
October 5, 2011 - 9
SPORTS IN BRIEF Volleyball (7-2 overall, 0-0 SCIAC)
Football (2-1 overall, 1-0 SCIAC) Fresh off their bye-week, the football team traveled to Whittier College on Oct. 1 for the 68th “Battle of the Shoes.” Led by Wes McDaniel (senior), who rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, the Tigers left Whittier with an impressive 31-17 victory. It was the first SCIAC game of the season for Occidental and marked the ninth time they brought home The Shoes out of the last 10 matchups with Whittier. In addition to McDaniel’s ground attack, quarterback Luke Collis (senior) recorded 250 yards and two touchdowns through the air, completing 24 of 36 attempts. The Tigers will look to continue their winning ways in the SCIAC division as they host the University of LaVerne on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.
Women’s Cross Country The Pomona-Pitzer Invitational was a solid step for the women of Occidental as seven runners set new personal records to bring the team to a fifth place finish. Sierra Walker (junior) finished first for Occidental and 25th overall. National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school Cal State San Marcos won the event and the only SCIAC team to finish ahead of the Tigers was 26-ranked Whittier College.
The Tigers stormed into Texas at the Trinity National Invitational eager to boost their win column and did just that as they knocked off some top-ranked opponents. On Friday, the girls beat the hosts and number 23 ranked Trinity University before sweeping Texas Lutheran 3-0 the very same day. Logan Boyer-Hase (junior) led the team in kills with 28 on that day, 16 against Trinity and 12 against Texas Lutheran. Meanwhile Jesse Altman (sophomore) registered 36 assists. The team took on two more games Saturday, beating 10th ranked Southwestern, then narrowly losing to seventh ranked St. Thomas from Minnesota. They continue their SCIAC play on Friday, Sept. 23 at Pomona-Pitzer and take on Chapman and Caltech on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 1:00 and 6:00, respectively.
Men’s Cross Country Eric Kleinsasser (senior) led the cross country team to a second-place finish at the UC Riverside Invitational. His victory over a field of 139 runners was another great accomplishment for the senior. Colin Smith (first-year) was next for Occidental, finishing 11th overall, followed by Sebi Devlin-Foltz (senior) who finished 23rd and Will Hollingsworth (senior) who finished 26th. For the women, Megan Lang (junior) finished first for Occidental, 38th overall, with a time of 18:46. Anna Dalton (senior) finished not far behind Lang with a time of 18:55. This was Lang’s second race as Occidental’s first-place runner. Both teams will run again at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Oct. 1.
Courtesy of Wendy Hansbrough Running back Wes McDaniel tries to scurry away from Whittier defensive back Travis Driskell’s tackle near their endzone.
Men’s Water Polo (1-10 overall, 0-0 SCIAC)
Women’s Soccer (3-5 overall, 3-2 SCIAC)
Men’s Soccer (2-7 overall, 2-4 SCIAC)
After a long wait, the Tigers recorded their first win of the season at the Lancer Invitational, toppling Riverside College 14-11. Despite losing their previous nine matches and one earlier that day to Fresno Pacific University, the hungry Tigers fought and were determined to come out of the weekend with a victory. Brendan Whitmore (senior) led the way as his game high five goals gave Occidental the offensive boost they needed. Joe Reynolds (junior) chipped in with three goals, as the team held off a fierce comeback in the final quarter. The men play again at the Convergence Tournament Oct. 7.
In a high scoring affair, the women fell at home against Pomona-Pitzer on Sept. 28 . Despite going down 4-1 midway through the second half, the Tigers mounted a furious comeback to bring it to 4-3 with two minutes to go, but failed to find the tying goal in the closing seconds. The girls were undone by a goal less than three minutes into the game, but goals by Elissa Minamishin (sophomore), Whitney Roline (junior), and Alex Nicholson (junior), made for an interesting score line. The loss brought the Tigers to .500 in SCIAC play at 2-2. The girls again took the field on Oct. 1 against Whittier College and made virtually no mistakes. In the highest scoring match of the year, the Tigers routed the Poets 5-0 in front of the home crowd. Alex Nicholson (senior) opened the scoring after 20 minutes, taking a pass from Minamishin and beating the goalkeeper with a low bouncing shot. This seemed to open the floodgates and despite giving Whittier a handful of chances, Occidental went into halftime up 2-0 after Minamishin scored. The Tigers did not let up in the second half. Midfielder Kellee Murayama (senior) added a third before both Nicholson and Minamishin grabbed one more apiece to seal the deal for the Tigers who improve to 3-2 in conference play. The women travel to Cal Lutheran on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.
As the Tigers looked to bounce back from two straight losses, Pomona-Pitzer shocked Occidental with an early goal on Sept. 28. The Sagehens took the lead within the first four minutes of the game, and that goal ultimately proved to be the difference as the final score remained 1-0. The Tigers’ best chance came when Ben Murray (junior) slipped through the Pomona-Pitzer defense, only to see his chip shot sail over the crossbar. Goaltender Andrew Larkin (senior) gave a solid performance, registering seven saves in the contest. The Sagehens out matched the Tigers in the shots department 14-9 and Occidental fell to 2-3 in SCIAC play. On Oct. 1, the men traveled to Whittier College in search of another SCIAC victory. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were not able to match Whittier’s tempo and fell to the poets by a final score of 2-1. The Tigers fell behind 2-0 early in the game before Will Moseley (senior) gave them a glimmer of hope and scored off a cross pass from Murray with just 7 minutes left in the game. Zoe Johnson (first-year) picked up a red card following a scuffle and was ejected from the match. The Tigers did not have enough time to overcome his abscence and were out-shot 12-5 on the day. Occidental will next play on Oct. 5 when they host Cal Lutheran at 4 p.m.
Courtesy of Wendy Hansbrough Running back Wes McDaniel rushed for 167 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Tiger’s victory against Whittier.
(2-5 overall, 2-2 SCIAC)
(11-5 overall, 4-1 SCIAC)
Oct. 1: 37-17 win over Whittier
Sept. 30: 3-1 win over Whittier Oct. 1: 3-1 loss to CMS
Oct. 8: Versus La Verne, 7:00 pm
Oct. 7: Versus Pomona-Pitzer, 7:30 pm Oct. 11: At Chapman, 7:30 pm
(3-5 overall, 3-2 SCIAC)
(2-7 overall, 2-4 SCIAC)
Sept. 28: 4-3 loss to Pomona-Pitzer Oct. 1: 5-0 win over Whittier
Sept. 28: 1-0 loss to Pomona-Pitzer Oct. 1: 2-1 loss to Whittier
Oct. 5: At Cal Lutheran, 7:00 pm
Oct. 5: Versus Cal Lutheran, 4:00 pm Oct. 8: Versus Cal Tech, 11:00 am Oct. 9: Versus Santa Cruz, 1:00 pm
M. Water Polo Cross Country
(1-10 overall, 0-0 SCIAC) Oct. 1: 13-7 loss to Fresno Pacific 14-11 win over Riverside Oct. 2: 11-9 loss to Chapman
Oct. 1: Pomona-Pitzer Invitational Men: 3rd Place Finish Women: 5th Place Finish
Oct. 7-8: Convergence Tournament
Oct. 15: SCIAC Multi-Dual Meet
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
- October 5, 2011
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Eagle Rock Local Says “Nevermind” the Fame
Grunge rock’s first poster child grows up, recognizes Nirvana’s contribution to Generation X Jack Butcher & Evan Pydych
t first glance, Spencer Elden looks like another young art student living in Northeast Los Angeles. The 20 year old Eagle Rock native sports a Led Zeppelin t-shirt, paint stained jeans and multiple tattoos. Nothing about him suggests his relation to a pop culture legend. Most may not
recognize the young man now, but show a photograph of Elden in a swimming pool from 20 years ago, and people the world over will instantly remember him. In 1991, Elden, only a few months old at the time, became the cover baby of “Nevermind,” Nirvana’s breakthrough album that shattered conceptions of pop music and helped define the 90s. Music fans of all ages could say where troubled guitarist and vocalist of Nirvana
Griff CarterDoyle Elden, pictured, began his own artistic pursuits after leaving military school.
Kurt Cobain was in his early 20s, but few could recognize Elden today as easily as they could Cobain. “Did you see that thing on CNN?” he asks, referencing a recent interview he did for the news network. The world knows Spencer Elden as a baby, and now he is ready to reintroduce himself as an artist and forward thinker. Regardless of his relative lack of fame now, the Nirvana baby has grown up and is a part of the evolving art world he helped shape. His “studio rat mentality” of spending all his free time working on his artwork was ingrained from a young age. His father was an art enthusiast, and Elden now works in his former studio. However, it was not until three years ago that Elden began to hone his artistic talents. Upon leaving military school, which he attended to graduate high school early, he worked on a collection of sketches. Within a short time, he began to intern for Sheppard Fairey, founder of clothing and street art company “Obey Giant,” where Elden’s job creates stencils and backgrounds for the artist while he pursues an education at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design. Elden’s relaxed attitude carries over to his artwork. Rather than beginning a piece with a specific idea in mind, he prefers to have the image create itself. The final picture then becomes a spontaneous work of art. Experimenting with a variety of media, including ink, clippings of other pictures and most recently water colors, Elden does not constrain his art to one specific style or theme. In fact, he rarely uses traditional canvases, preferring slats of plywood and paper. He also has done several murals, which can be found at locations in and around the Eagle Rock area. We talked to Elden about his viewpoint on “Nevermind” these days. “It’s starting to fit the situation well,” Eldin suggests. “There’s a lot of people who relate to the album.” To him, a baby swimming towards a dollar bill on a fishhook is a representation of drowning in financial distress, something most young adults encounter in striving
Y Y X L O EK M E O W .C
Griff CarterDoyle Eldin has moved from simple sketches to pursuing an art education at PACCD.
for a decent, if not, basic living nowadays. As to how an album with such a dismal attitude can become one of the most revered of its time, one explanation is the Generation X. Born in the 1970s, the youth of Generation X came to feel lost in the aftermath of their parents’ heyday. Fortunate for the often-labeled “Generation of Slackers,” they were among the first to embrace the blissful venting that Cobain aptly spearheads for them. Two decades later, Nevermind’s potency is as strong as ever to young adults, providing a reminder of the frustrations experienced while growing up. As a 20 year old, Elden continues to listen to Nirvana. He feels that their second album has stayed relevant due to the listener’s ability to identify with the angst and defi-
ance in the music. Plenty of other bands, however, spark his interest. Lately, he has been enjoying bands like The Kills, The Foals and the Dead Weather. For Elden, life may still be full of complications and doubt, but he has his eyes firmly set on tangible goals. Elden wants to start his own environmentally conscious clothing company. His vision extends beyond the world of art, incorporating sustainable architecture and energy solutions as well. He would like to use shipping containers to create houses, utilize solar and steam powered generators and go as far “off the grid” as possible. Check out Elden’s work at vampiresoneday.wordpress.com and osofksyshop.tumblr.com, and look for announcements on upcoming shows. Advertisement
ON THE WEB THROUGHOUT THE WEEK
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
October 5, 2011 -
“Moneyball” Shows Promise, Misses Strike Zone
If “Moneyball” was based on a Major League Baseball team playing in the 2011 season, it would not be the first-place Philadelphia Phillies but rather the mediocre Chicago White Sox. Both the film and the team contained a lot of potential and excellent individual components, but neither came together in a successful fashion. “Moneyball,” based on a book of the same name by Michael Lewis, tells the story of how Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, overcame a limited budget to put together a competitive team during the 2002 Major League Baseball season. Shying away from over 100 years of conventional baseball wisdom, Beane and his assistant Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, use a complicated system of statistics to sign highly productive players who, according to their philosophy, are undervalued by other teams. Although the film’s premise
Courtesy ofWikiCommons Brad Pitt plays revolutionary Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane.
centers on economics and business rather than the technicalities of baseball, the plot of “Moneyball” follows Beane and Brand’s journey of overcoming naysayers and triumphing over the odds. While the film follows this familiar underdog storyline, it does not live up to the potential of what could have been had the script truly focused on the ingenious management method that is “Moneyball.”
Similar to “Milk,” for example, which focuses on a man, Harvey Milk, who changed the world around him while overcoming personal challenges, “Moneyball” is about a man, Beane, who overcomes personal challenges and in the meantime changes the world around him. Unlike “Milk,” however, which focuses on the lasting impact of Harvey Milk’s life and the societal
context of his story, “Moneyball” fails to adequately capture how the protagonist changed the world of baseball. Instead, the film focuses on Beane’s personal struggles with his family and his journey towards a sense of self-worth. The bland, one-dimensional character of Peter Brand also detracts from the film’s appeal. The presence of Brand, an economics major from Yale, is meant to highlight a perspective on baseball that has been ignored by those who are too close to the game. Namely, that examining statistics covering factors such as on-base-percentage are more important than the number home runs or runs batted in by any one player. Brand’s character, however, is never developed. The film does not addresses his interest in baseball, how he discovered the system he and Beane used, or what his life is like outside of baseball. Since none of these ambiguities are ever answered, Brand does not add depth to the story nor does he influence anyone around him in the film. The film also contains repeti-
tive elements. Beane spends what seems like an eternity fighting with manager Art Howe, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, about how he is improperly managing the team. For some unknown reason, however, Beane never explains his system to Howe. The film would have benefited if its focus stepped away from Beane’s character and explored what was happening in the world around him. Beane appears in virtually every scene, however, including three scenes that simply involve him sitting alone in his car thinking. Scenes of Yankee executives shaking their heads or the other members of the Athletics organization trying to understand Beane’s method would interest ardent baseball fans and casual movie-goers alike. For Aaron Sorkin fans out there, there is enough compelling dialogue to make the film enjoyable to watch. The over-simplification and repetitiveness of the film, however, is not worth the $10 at the theater.
Rowdy Crowd Kills the Joy at Nerdcore MC Chris Concert Ashly Burch The words “rap concert” do not usually conjure images of skinny 20-somethings dressed up in medieval armor and grown men sporting Speed Racer costumes, but then Chris Ward, a.k.a. MC Chris, is not the most conventional rapper and does not attract the most conventional crowd. On Tuesday, Sept. 27, the Troubadour in West Hollywood opened its doors to L.A.’s nerdiest citizens - and what seemed like a few lost, drunk cheerleaders - eager to relentlessly shout requests for the same two songs at MC Chris. The Troubadour was Chris’ 24th stop in his “Race Wars” tour, a promotion for his latest album of the same name. One of the leading voices of “nerdcore,” a sub-genre of rap more concerned with references to Star Wars than possession of “hos” or money, MC Chris is best known for his voice work in the Adult Swim series “Sealab 2021” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.” Since his first album, “Life’s a Bitch and I’m Her Pimp,” released in 2001, Chris has acquired a dedicated and incredibly diverse following. Chris’ three opening acts, Adam WarRock, MegaRan and MC Lars, were somewhat hit and miss. I found Adam WarRock generic; his back beats were bland and repetitive, and they did not inspire any real desire to dance or rock with the beat. His best song of the night featured the back beat of Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” and although lyrically the remix was a vast improvement upon the original, it was difficult to give him full credit for a song he only half-produced. However, WarRock exuded an infectious effervescence. He seemed genuinely appreciative of the audience and their participation, and while his music was not particularly engaging, his showmanship made him
enjoyable to watch. its entirety, and between each song, MegaRan, on the other hand, was performed what felt like truncated inarguably the best act of the night. stand-up routines that were surprisA high school teacher turned rapper, ingly really funny. MegaRan acquired his monicker Chris’ set was ultimately disapthrough his wildly popular Mega pointing, but for good reason. A Man remixes. They are so catchy few songs before the end of his set, that developer Capcom recently Chris divulged to the crowd that, caught wind of his operation and de- prior to going on tour, he had said cided to license his music. His sec- goodbye to his dad, who was losing ond song of the night, “Avalanche,” his long-term battle with cancer. As a rap about Barrett Wallace from the a result, Chris was noticeably lowJRPG Final Fantasy 7, blends the energy. His negative mood was only game’s battle music with lightning exacerbated by the crowd, which fast lyrhad beics that come infit efcredibly One of the leading voices of “nerd- u n r u l y. fortlessly with Litercore,” a sub-genre of rap more conthe back mocerned with references to Star Wars ally beat, so ments much so a f t e r than possession of “hos” or money, that it MC Chris is best known for his voice Ca h nr i sis now d i f f i - work in the Adult Swim series “Sealab nounced cult for 2021” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.” t h e me to death hear the of his g a m e ’s father, original a drunk score without mentally inserting audience member ran on stage, alMegaRan’s accompanying rap. most running into him. It was only MC Lars, the final opening act, after the same fan tried a second was a crowd favorite that I person- time that a security guard tackled ally found uninspiring. Lyrically, and restrained him. The show only his raps are interesting and refresh- got worse after that. During his ening – he primarily riffs on histori- core, Chris snapped at a couple for cal figures and famous literature. intensely making out and distractHis most impressive piece of the ing him during his set, and it was night was a translation of Edgar Al- obvious by that point that his heart lan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” into rap. was no longer in the show. However, I found his voice a bit What should have been a careabrasive, and his needlessly loud free, nerdy-reference-filled night accompaniment – a guitarist and ended up being mostly disappointa drummer, which contrasted with ing and unexpectedly depressing. the highly electronic beats of the Regardless, one ill-fated perforpreceding acts – translated more as mance does not a bad artist make. If noise than as music. Chris decides to return to Los AnHaving seen only one really en- geles, I will be there, eager to hear gaging act that night, I was eager him rap the lore of Boba Fett for for MC Chris’ set. I had seen him the third time. Hopefully next time once before in Arizona, and recalled the audience members will behave the show fondly. He gave a tremen- themselves, or, at the very least, the dous amount of energy throughout security will be faster on their feet.
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY
October 5, 2011 -
Good Eats, Good Beats at Colorado Boulevard’s Fest
Miriam Subbiah Boom Bip, one of the acts featured at the KOXY-sponsored Emerging Stage, stands in a performance circle with other musicians at the October 1st event.
Riley Kimball & Rachel Silver Pedestrians rarely occupy the length of Colorado Boulevard more than cars do. But last Saturday, Oct. 1, residents took over the street for the Eagle Rock Music Festival (ERMF) to listen to local music acts for free. Now reaching maturity in its 13th year, the festival spread out across 12 stages packed with everyone from emerging acts with unfamiliar names to the relatively ubiquitous bands, Flying Lotus and Rooney. “How does it feel to know you’re part of the largest outdoor music festival in the city of Los Angeles?” asked Councilman Jose Huizar, mastermind
of the ERMF. Music blared from every direction, enveloping patrons as they wandered from stage to food truck to stage. Kids roamed Colorado with light sabers, devil horns and LED mohawks. The festival featured many up-andcoming acts and showcased local talent. Boom Bip, for example, played on the KOXY-backed Emerging Stage. A self-described “intelligent dance music” producer, Boom Bip, backed by three other musicians, gave an uncharismatic but stimulating performance. The band members stood almost in a circle on the stage, leaving the audience with only the music to enjoy, but this did not detract from the performance. Two simple hand waves
Miriam Subbiah Bloom Blip played an unusually antisocial set, rarely facing the audience.
signaled the end of their set and their farewell to the audience. Other small local acts, like Shadow Shadow Shade, gained exposure by playing before bigger names like Rooney. Slightly less family-friendly acts, like those at the Low End Theory stage, drew in a larger youth audience, spotted with huddles of Occidental students enjoying the music and atmosphere. As the night progressed, that particular stage transitioned from thunderous bass to a more modern house sound. Nosaj Thing and Gaslamp Killer brought some enthusiasm to the stage as the crowd started to swell in anticipation of Flying Lotus, who closed the night with an eclectic set. The Gaslamp Killer provided commentary and voiced the night’s missions of youth involvement and community promotion in his set at the Low End Theory stage. “We’re building this thing year after year to bring people here and show people this motherfucking awesome community,” he said. “We’re doing this for the youth, looking back to the youth and looking forward to the youth.” The Center for the Arts Eagle Rock and Los Angeles City Council member Jose Huizar presented the Eagle Rock Music Festival. Generous sponsors, ranging from local businesses to Occidental College to large corporations, helped keep the festival free, with a suggested five-dollar donation. Local businesses involved in music, whether through radio or other outlets, sponsored the various makeshift stages. Unique set ups included stages at the Welcome Inn Motel and Rantz Auto Center garage. Shadow Shadow Shade, a sextet based in Los Angeles, played a set of psychedelic pop on the Ship Stage. A bigger band than usual, they had more hands to put to good use, playing various percussion and strings. Before they finished their set, however,
THE OCCIDENTAL WEEKLY Occidental College 1600 Campus Road, Box M-40 Los Angeles, CA 90041
the anxious audience began chanting, “Rooney.” The California-sunny indie rock group may be familiar to the Generation Y demographic from their appearance in the 2001 Disney movie “The Princess Diaries.” Lead man Robert Schwartzman still showed the same enthusiasm from a decade ago by dancing around the small stage, but his bandmates seemed apathetic until they
warmed up at the end. Rooney had the audience grooving to a set that ended abruptly. The festival security climbed on stage at 10 minutes past 11 p.m. to end the music that was running over time. Drummer Louie Stephens and guitarist Taylor Locke took that cue to briefly body surf in the crowd. Locke tweeted Sunday, “who caught my @ rooneyandstage dive last night? that was a sick festival.” Aside from the music, food was another highlight of the festival. Crowds gathered at restaurants up and down Colorado, including Dave’s Chillin-n-Grillin, The Oinkster and Colombo’s, which served as a venue opening at five. Food trucks and less conventional tents from small restaurants like Auntie Em’s dotted the boulevard as well. Festival attendees enjoyed everything from barbeque sandwiches from Spring Street Smoke House to Fresh Fries’ classic cut fries with curry ketchup. High customer traffic seemed to surprise this food truck, which ran out of its curly and sweet potato stock by nine o’clock that night. Once again, ERMF combined local food and piles of artists, both known and unknown, to promote both the venue but also the surrounding community. In many way the ERMF is Eagle Rock’s biggest event, and with the success of this past Saturday, the audience can look forward to the Eagle Rock Music Festival growing and attracting more great musicians in years to come.
Miriam Subbiah Robert Schwartzman of rock band Rooney, one of the bigger acts at the festival.