Issue 6 Spring 2017

Page 1




Spring 2017




what is a project labor agreement

pros of a project labor agreement cons of a project labor agreement fresno city college project labor agreement does a project labor agreement affect cost


Upcoming parking structure, math and science building and vocational college projects total $170 million of bond money. Board members remain undecided as to how best outline the terms of contracts for these jobs.

PLAs Increase Inclusion, Protection

Fair and Open Bids Optimize Cost




he board of trustees for the State Center Community College District met with representatives from across the state to discuss the implications of using a project labor agreement for upcoming construction projects within the district. Trustee Miguel Arias said the special meeting on March 17 focused on upcoming construction projects at Fresno City College totaling $170 million, including a new parking structure, a new math and science building as well as a new vocational school.


etween March 8 and March 15, the chancellor’s office in the State Center Community College District conducted a survey of 290 people in the construction industry and found that 54 percent of respondents would not bid on a district job with a project labor agreement. More than 200 or roughly two-thirds of those surveyed said they would be interested in bidding on future construction projects. More than 50 percent reported they had been awarded contracts for the district previously.

See PRO, Page 3

See CON, Page 3







Rams continue undefeated streak

A discussion of the merits and detriments of revisiting Disney's classic animated films






The Portland band talks music, political correctness and the Asian-American experience SEE PAGE |



The Student-run newspaper of Fresno City College


RAMPAGE 4.5.2017


Students Elect permanent Student Trustee BY LARRY VALENZUELA

Broadcast Editor

After almost two semesters without a student trustee representation on the board of trustees, Fresno City College has officially elected a student to represent its student body. Kaura Lopez was sworn in as student trustee on April 4 during the meeting of the board of trustees of the State Center Community College District. Lopez will now officially hold the title after months of debating her legitimacy on the board. Lopez said she hopes to help begin a dialogue to better support the deaf and hard of hearing students at Fresno City College. Lopez said she has been “working with senators and special programs” to start the conversation on getting full time interpreters for the deaf or hard of hearing program. “I would like to see it done by the end of the semester,” she said. The issue of student trustee is still up in the air for next semester as there is no student running for that post in the upcoming general election. Lopez will be running as president pro-tempore in the upcoming general election, leaving no one to

Corrections? Email Any correction needed for an article should be brought to the attention of the staff of The Rampage. The Rampage is committed to accuracy and should be made aware of any mistake in an article that appears in this paper. Views expressed in the opinion pages are those of the individual writer and not of the newspaper. The Rampage is produced by students of the Journalism 11 A, B, C, D class.

RAMPAGE Staff Editorial Board Reporters Editor-in-Chief Ashleigh Panoo News/Copy Editor Edward Smith Sports Editor Michael Mendez Opinion Editor Frank Lopez Photo/Asst. Layout Editor Ram Reyes Arts & Entertainment Editor Samantha Domingo Broadcast Editor Larry Valenzuela

Elias Cardenas Armando Carreno Christopher Del Castillo Corina Duran Julease Graham Javier Hernandez Eric Jaramishian Adrianna Johnson Makinna Malady Ethan McNeely Melody Olivas Terada Phengphong Jorge Rodriguez Marco Rosas Desire Stevenson Cheyenne Tex Lindsey Thornton Noah Villaverde

Layout Editor Lukas Newcomb

Rampage Adviser/Instructor Dympna Ugwu-Oju

Contact Us: Tip Line: 559.442.8262 Letters to the Editor to:

run for student trustee. In addition to no students running for trustee, the candidates for president and president pro-tempore are running unopposed in the upcoming election. Voting will take place from April 25 to April 27 and will be handled through student email. Brandon McLaughlin, ASG legislative vice president and the only candidate for president says that it's pretty upsetting to have no one running against him in the upcoming election. “I'm not happy running unopposed,” McLaughlin says. “ I wish more people would be interested in the position because we want people to participate in this. Because if no one participates then how are we representing the students here?” McLaughlin explained that students can still run in the upcoming election even though the window to accept applications has closed. “There is a special scenario,” he said. “The requirements are that a person gets 150 votes and gets more than the opponent they are running against in the election.”



Rampage editors and staff won several awards at the 62nd annual Journalism Association of Community Colleges State Convention in Sacramento, from March 30 through April 1. The first set of awards, from items mailed in at the end of last semester, were in reporting, layout design, videography, editorial cartooning, photography and magazine journalism. The Rampage placed third for front page layout with work done by layout editor Lukas Newcomb. Cityzine, a publication of the Rampage which debuted in fall 2016, won a general excellence award. Former editor-in-chief Cresencio Rodriguez Delgado won third place for feature writing and an honorable mention for video. “I think it's such a privilege to be awarded for work that I have done for the Rampage even after I am gone,” Rodriguez Delgado said. “It's a reflection on how competitive student journalism is.” The Rampage staff also participated in on-the-spot contests and attended journalism workshops. Cindy McGrath, the newspaper adviser at Los Medanos College and the northern California representative at the convention, said students enjoyed the three dozen workshops offered. “The hands-on

podcasting workshop was especially popular,” she said. Current editor-in-chief Ashleigh Panoo won a $250 scholarship and received honorable mention awards for the on-the-spot copy editing and feature writing contests. She also placed fourth for profile feature writing. Opinion editor Frank Lopez placed first for his editorial cartoon and took fourth place in the on-the-spot critical review contest. Lopez said he enjoyed networking with future journalists and he was surprised to take home awards. “It was surreal,” said Lopez. “I didn’t expect to win first place.” Broadcast Editor Larry Valenzuela won first place for his sports action photo taken at the Fight For Water boxing match in December 2016. Valenzuela, along with A&E editor Samantha Domingo and reporter Julease Graham also earned honorable mentions for their onthe-spot video story. Photo Editor Ram Reyes won an honorable mention award for the on-the-spot news photo contest. “Attending this conference opens students’ eyes to all the possibilities,” Dympna Ugwu-Oju, adviser to the Rampage, said. “They come back reinvigorated and more dedicated to their work.”



RAMPAGE 4.5.2017


Project Labor Agreement Project Labor Agreement (PLA), an explicit agreement between a labor organization and a client that mandates the terms by which a construction project will be done. It often includes collective bargaining agreement standards and/or hiring restrictions.



FROM PAGE 1 While these construction projects are still a year away, the board must decide what the terms of the contract language would be before contracts are awarded or work can begin. PLAs would require that SCCCD hire a still undetermined percentage of workers from the area. The board may look to the first PLA done in Fresno County, the Transformative Climate Communities Projects. The TCCP, which invests cap-andtrade money into three communities, including Fresno, explicitly outlines the rules by which construction firms have to hire. The agreement outlines a maximum of five core employees from the bidding construction firm, hired in a staggered order between workers from a union hiring hall and a referral system, according to Section 3.10 of the Fresno City Council’s information packet on the project labor agreement. “One way a PLA is used is a local hire requirement,” Chuck Riojas, union representative from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 100, said. “For local tax bonds, most school districts want that money to stay local. One way they accomplish that is through a PLA.” Other large projects in Fresno, such as the high speed rail and the Transformative Climate Communities in Fresno, have used PLAs to define how construction workers do their jobs. PLAs offer more control over a construction project, Riojas said. “You don’t want to prevent a contractor from LA or Texas from bidding; you want them to bid,” Riojas said. “The only control is how they hire -- whether a local contractor or a contractor from Texas gets it, it’s still five people. It all falls back to the local hire piece.” At the March board meeting, trustees voted 4-3 to build solar panels on the FCC campus. The contract was awarded to Forefront Power LLC, a company recently acquired by Mitsui & Co. Ltd. which is based in Tokyo. No restrictions were placed on the company regarding the composition of the workforce for that project. PLAs also control where contractors hire their apprentices in order to provide on-the-job training to younger, inexperienced workers.

FROM PAGE 1 California labor code, section 1777.5, requires that for every five hours of a journeyman laborer, a contractor must use one hour from an apprentice. Those apprentices must be recruited from viable apprentice programs and are members of certain demographics, according to Riojas. Many agreements define viable apprenticeships as programs that have graduated at least one person every year for the past five years. “If you don’t have a history of graduating apprentices, basically these young men and women come into the program thinking there’s an end to it, but they don’t get there,” Riojas said. “The advantage of a viable apprenticeship is you start turning out journeymen who are staunchly in the middle class with a living wage and a pension.” Additionally, PLAs seek to employ certain demographics who, according to the contract, are deemed as underrepresented in many construction jobs. According to Riojas, the language of the high speed rail PLA mandated that 30 percent of apprenticeship opportunities go to veterans, single parents, emancipated foster youth, homeless and the chronically underemployed. In the case of SCCCD, a number of apprenticeship positions could be set aside for those in construction programs. “Our students should benefit in terms of being able to do the jobs that we are funding,” Arias said. FCC offers certification programs in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical systems and welding. “It makes no sense,” Arias said, “for a student to leave Fresno CIty College with $10,000 in debt to get passed up for a job they are qualified to do by someone in San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco.”

Prior to the discussion, current practice had been to use fair and open bidding practices, awarding contracts to the lowest bidder, according to Nicole Goehring, the community relations director of the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. “Under fair and open competition,” Goehring said, “you have all of your contractors in your community able to participate, whether they are a union or a non-union contractor.” The premise behind fair and open bidding is that the more bidders participating, the lower the cost of the project. Members of the building trades and carpenters’ unions presented a case study of modernization projects for College of Marin. In the study of seven construction rojects, -Miguel Arias pfour nonTrustee PLA and three PLA, there were a total of 38 bidders and 22 bidders, respectively. “All of the case studies I have show that bidding goes down,” Goehring said. “It decreases competition and increases cost.” Not only are the number of bidders often restricted, but who can work on the project is limited as well. The PLA for Fresno County outlines a maximum number of core workers a construction firm can use. The order of hiring for a construction allows for the first employee to be from the construction firm, then a member from a union, then another core worker and then a worker from a referral system. The process continues until the firm has hired no more than five core workers and after that, all workers must come from their respective

It makes no sense for a student to leave Fresno City College with $10,000 in debt to get passed up for a job they are qualified to do by someone in San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco.”

craft hiring halls, according to the PLA outline of the Transformative Climate Communities agreement. This fact seems to be well known. Sixty-four percent of respondents in the SCCCD survey claimed they were “well aware of the pros and cons of PLAs and [community benefits agreements] CBAs,” and 72 percent said that PLAs add cost to projects. Many PLAs also add collective bargaining agreements to projects to standardize workers benefits. According to Chuck Riojas, union representative from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 100, this includes working dues, union dues, healthcare and pensions. While working under PLAs with collective bargaining stipulations, workers must adhere to union rules, and at the same time, they get access to most of the benefits. After 90 days on the job, workers become vested and get access to union healthcare for them and their families, if the job lasts that long. Likewise, it takes five years before someone paying into a union pension gets that benefit. “The language under a PLA that is absolutely required is for all health and welfare payments are to be paid into the master union trust fund,” Goehring said. “If there is a nonunion worker who is working on the project, all of their pension benefits are required to be paid into the union trust fund.” The other argument opponents of PLAs cite is that a local hiring requirement is not reserved to PLAs. “Lowest bidder contracts have provisions they hire local but the district has never exercised that authority,” Miguel Arias, trustee for the State Center Community College District, said. The difference is that the bidding specifications outline a goal for bidders to meet. Additionally, hourly pay is determined by prevailing wage rates in counties as required by state law. “What State Center needs to do is put something in the bid specifications that says to hire state center students for construction projects,” Goehring said. “You can just put it in the bid specs; you don’t need a PLA.” Editors Frank Lopez and Ashleigh Panoo contributed to these stories.





History class Remembers horrors of Japanese Internment BY MAKINNA MALADY


Marion Masada was 9 years old, and Sab Masada was a young teenager when their families, like other Japanese throughout the United States, were rounded up and taken to internment camps. The Masadas spoke about their experiences in internment camps during World War II. Their speech in Professor Paul Gilmore’s history class in Forum Hall 101 on Tuesday was a part of the Asian American Month activities at Fresno City College. The Masadas were two of the 20,000 Japanese Americans who were robbed of their rights, homes, jobs, friends and schools and confined in “relocation” and incarceration camps. “The only crime was our face -we looked like those who bombed Pearl Harbor,” Mr. Masada said. The U.S. government's reason for creating the incarceration camps was for “national security and military necessity,”

Professor Gilmore started the event by welcoming Sab Masada who shared the government's reasoning behind the Japanese American internment camps and the hardships he and his family endured during and after the ordeal. When Mrs. Masada took the stage, she shared her compelling story of being shipped around from camp to camp, beginning at the Salinas Rodeo Grounds to Arizona where the weather was an unbearable 120 degrees Fahrenheit. She recalled how they were known by numbers, rather than their names. Their families lived in a 20 feet by 25 feet shack that had only one light bulb. The showers and toilets were lined up side by side and provided no privacy at all. She talked about the exposure and humiliation and how awful it was. “I felt being Japanese was bad,” she said. “And that I was the reason for the war.” At the end of the event during a question and answer period, some-

Sab Masada recalls his Japanese internment experience during his speech in FH-101 on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Photo/Makinna Malady

one asked if the people responsible for these internment camps were punished. “The government's propaganda did raise the question of guilt,” Sab Masada said. “However, General [John L.] DeWitt [who was instrumental in the development of Executive Order 9066, which directed the internment

of all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast] was promoted and was honored later in his career.” This is the 10th year the Masadas have come to tell their stories at FCC. Mr. Masada said he intends to keep this tradition going in hopes that history never repeats itself.

Asian-American Month Showcases Diversity Among Asian Cultures BY SAMANTHA DOMINGO

Entertainment Editor

Fresno City College will celebrate its annual Asian-American month this April. The month-long celebration kicks off with the two hour long Celebration Night Show on March 31, which features drum group Clovis Heiwa Taiko, guitarist Kevin Fox, dancer He Guaping, and other cultural groups. Proceeds from the show help fund Asians In the City (AITC) events held later in the month. The skit “How Do I End?” will be performed by FCC staff to end the Celebration Night Show. This skit is the end of a trilogy that has been performed for the last two years and tells the story of redemption for the “evil Asian dean” played by John Cho. John Cho, an Asian-American Studies instructor at Fresno City College, has been an organizer for Asian-American Month for nearly 14 years. “We started out with Asian-American week and gradually added more events until it became a full month,” said Cho. This month the campus can expect 15 separate events, including a performance from The Slants, AITC Student Film Festival, AITC Booklet Reception and Asian Fest. The Slants, an all-Asian dancerock group, are to perform on April 3. Before the performance, the band’s founder Simon Tam will speak on the band’s journey to the U.S. Supreme court. Both the AITC Student Film Festival on April 22 and the Booklet Reception on April 28 will showcase

artistic work from students. The Student Film Festival, a new addition to Asian-American month organized by Cho and Michael Takeda, encourages students to try their hand at making short films and offers cash prizes to its winners. The

For the people of Asian background, we want them to be proud of their cultural and ethnic heritage.” -John Cho Asian-American studies instructor

festival also features guest speaker Tyler Wong. Wong is an assistant editor to A&E Network’s original TV series “Born This Way,” which is a documentary series featuring adults who live with Down Syndrome. The Book Reception shows students’ work in poetry, art, photography, fiction and nonfiction writing in a single booklet. Attendees can receive a free copy of the booklet and meet the writers and artists involved in making the piece. “This booklet is Asian themed, but the contributors don’t have to be Asian,” said Cho. “We’re also trying to branch out so that it’s not just FCC students contributing; so far we

have a few submissions from Fresno State students and one from a high school as well.” Asian-American Month celebrations will wrap up with Asian Fest on April 29. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will feature a variety of live cultural performances, a vendor’s fair, anime alley and much more. “Asian Fest is like a combination of Asian-American month in a sense

that it’s our chance to give back to the community,” said Cho. “It’s a free event and we usually get over 2,000 people that show up; it’s a great way to end the month.” “For the people of Asian background, we want them to be proud of their cultural and ethnic heritage. We also want to engage and welcome non-Asians, so that everybody fits in. It’s important for everyone to work together.”

APRIL's Asian-American Month Events




6 Martial Arts Workshop 24 INter-Club Volleyball 9:00 AM | G-107

12:00 PM|Free Speech Area

Lee, 18 Minority Images 26Bruce A Cultural Icon

12:30 PM | OAB-251

2:00 PM | OAB-251

Month 19 Cambodian Culture 27 Asian 3-DAy Vendor Fair

1:00 PM | OAB-251

Campus MALL

in the CITY 20Comparative Analysis 28 Asians Booklet Dedication

11:00 AM | OAB-251

2:00 PM | OAB-251

21 INTER-CLUB SHOWDOWN 29ASIAN FEST 2017 12:00 AM | Free Speech Area

9:00 AM-5:00 PM | CAMPUS WIDE


RAMPAGE 4.5.2017

Softball Lights Up Scoreboard at Home




Amanda Mets waits for her pitch against Cuesta College at home on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Photo/Marco Rosas

All Eyes On the Draft BY MICHAEL MENDEZ

Sports Editor

With the NFL in the midst of its offseason and each team grabbing any available free agents, team management and coaching staff are looking toward the future of their franchises. All 32 teams are looking to pick up the top available athletes coming out of college in the 2017 NFL Draft, scheduled to begin on April 27. This year’s draft class is one of the most talented yet, with Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, Louisiana State running back Leonard Fournette and Texas A&M defensive-end Myles Garrett being standouts in this year’s class. The question is where will they end up? The draft order from first to fifth is Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago, Jacksonville and Tennessee. The question is, what path will they take? Each team must draft the right athlete to fill their needs while building a championship team around them. According to CBS Sports analyst Dane Brugler, the top five draft picks will be Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett by Cleveland, North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky by San Francisco, Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer by Chicago, Alabama DL Jonathan Allen by Jacksonville and Louisiana State safety Jamal Adams by Tennessee. Despite what the experts predict, when it comes to the draft, nothing is set in stone on the team’s selections, even on the actual day. History has shown that things change at a moment’s notice. In 2006, Heisman trophy-winning running back, Reggie Bush, was expected to be taken first by the Houston Texans, but Houston shocked everyone by drafting DE Mario Williams. The pick sent Bush to the New Orleans Saints, and their second overall free agent pick, Drew Brees, went on to win a Super Bowl title for the team four years later. The draft is just as dramatic and unpredictable as the game of football itself. When a team is seconds away from making their draft pick announcement, they will pull an audible and come out with a surprise

play. Teams often trade down to get more draft picks or trade up to get the best available prospects they wanted at the moment in exchange for higher second and third round draft picks in future drafts. Just because athletes are taken in the later rounds doesn’t mean they are not as talented as the higher draft picks. History has shown that some of the greatest player in NFL history have come from the lower end of the draft board. Take five-time Super bowl cham-

pion, Tom Brady, who was the 199 overall pick signed with the New England Patriots in the 2000 draft. Brady’s successful career outshines the six quarterbacks taken before him in that year’s draft. The draft is unpredictable, and no sports fan should miss. The draft is an opportunity to see future stars in the making and how far their careers will go. Get out your draft boards because the future of the NFL is just a draft pick away.

Fresno City College’s softball team beat Cuesta College by one point in a closely contested game 4-1 on April 1, The softball team was off to a good start on Saturday, scoring four runs at the bottom of the second inning, including a home run by pitcher, Anisah Navarro. “It felt good to get a hold of the ball because I’ve been having trouble with my bat,” Navarro said. Navarro’s impressive home run was followed by three more runs by infielder Jackie Mendez, shortstop Alyssa Caballero and outfielder Kourtnee Dillard. But Cuesta was not ready to call it quits and retaliated with their own series of runs when center fielder Dayna Manser delivered her own home run at the top of the fourth inning. Cuesta’s home run lea to FCC’s Navarro being called in to pitch in place of Mayra Mendez. Rhonda Williams, head coach, said, “If the starting pitcher gets into any trouble, we’re always ready with the next one.” The strategy proved to be useful as Cuesta failed to score again until the top of the sixth inning when they scored two consecutive runs. However, FCC’s defense proved to be stiff resistance to any further offense by Cuesta. “Our defense came through, made good plays and got us out of it,” Williams said. The game ended at the top of the seventh inning with the Rams up by one. Williams said she was happy with the victory against Cuesta. “We’ll take a win against anybody. We’re always out here to do our best, regardless of what the other team’s record is,” she said. “We know there’s always going to be a constant battle and our girls came out on top.” The records of Cuesta and FCC’s softball teams are very close this season, and this victory for the Rams has helped moved them up a bit higher.

Baseball Plays April Fool's Joke on Rival Reedley BY JORGE RODRIGUEZ


In an attempt to get out of a three game losing streak, the Fresno City College Rams needed a win to gather some momentum for the second half of conference play, and a win against Reedley College would mean just that. On April 1, the Rams defeated the Tigers with a walk-off double, leading to a 5-4 victory at home. This game was more than just a win for FCC, it meant the winner would take second place in conference. The Ram’s starting pitcher Noah Parsons struggled in the first inning, letting the first two batters he faced get on base. With help from the defense, he managed to get out of the inning, but not before letting Reedley pitcher Alec Akins score an RBI single from infielder Grant Farris. FCC answered with a tying run in the bottom of the first, when infielder Sal Esparza scored a single to center field from outfielder Nick Sheehan. The bats went quiet after the first inning and the game became a pitch-

ing duel for the next two innings, with Parsons for the Rams and Akins for the Tigers not allowing any runs. In the fourth inning, Parsons got into trouble when Reedley’s outfielder Chris Koutsoubos hit a single to left field allowing Farris, who was in third base, to score. Even though the Rams found hits in the bottom of the fourth, they weren’t able to come up with any runs, and the game was 2-1 in favor of the Tigers. Parsons left the game in the fifth inning after allowing another run by Reedley and was replaced by Kobe Portillo who also allowed one run to be scored before the inning was over bringing the score to 4-1 in favor of the Tigers. It wasn’t until the bottom of the ninth when Akins when replaced at the mound by Joe Riley that FCC finally found themselves in position to score. Riley began the inning getting the first batter out, but then he allowed a single to center field by infielder RJ Hartmann, walking designated hitter Nick Zamora, who was replaced at first base by base runner Bobby Clark. infielder Adam Munoz singled to center field loading the bases and putting

FCC in great position to score. After a wild pitch, Hartmann was able to score and next at-bat infielder Noah Padilla was able to hit the ball past the third baseman, allowing Clark to score. With only one run to tie the game and two to win it, infielder Michael Beltran hit a double to center field that allowed Munoz and Padilla to score, winning the game for the Rams in a dramatic fashion. “It sucks that we waited until the last minute to win it, but we’ll take it,” said Paradine. He also talked about Beltran’s game winning hit: “Good things happen to good people, he came up in the most clutch situation of the game and it paid off.” “We hung in there for eight innings” said coach Ron Scott, adding, “Portillo came in and did a great job pitching, then we were able put some great atbats together in the ninth.” Beltran said the game was a turning point for the team and the momentum from the win will carry over for the rest of the year. “I was ready, I just followed my routine and got a pitch I liked, and well, you know, the rest is history,” said Beltran on his game winning hit


RAMPAGE 4.5.2017


Women's Tennis Falls Short of Conference Title BY ERIC JARAMISHIAN


The Women’s tennis team took second place in its conference after losing to Modesto in the last league match on March 31. After a long rally between the two teams, the match ended up with Modesto taking a 5-4 win. The match started off with three doubles matches, with two tennis players playing for each team. All matches were close at the beginning, with the Ram’s at a slight advantage in the score. After an hour, the Ram’s earned two wins out of three doubles matches. The first court was a defeat for the Rams, with the final score of 3-7. The Rams secured wins in courts two and three, with a score of 8-2 in court two and 8-4 in the third court. The singles matches were met with less success for the Rams. FCC players could only take one win in the singles matches, giving them only one point for the final score for the

entire match. The Rams’ score ended up with three final points out of eight, missing out a chance to win the overall conference. “Modesto has been our rivals since I started coaching here at FCC,” said Chantel Wiggins, head coach for the women’s tennis team. Modesto won against FCC two years ago, also taking first place in conference. FCC won last year against Modesto, giving the Rams the win for the conference. The coach hopes to take first place next year and beat Modesto again. The women’s tennis team will move on to play in the the playoffs tournament, held in Modesto. “We hope to do well against Modesto in their hometown,” Wiggins said. Wiggins said she loves coaching the players and looks forward to continuing coaching at the collegiate level. “I love how focused the players are for the game,” said Wiggins. “It is much more competitive at this level.”

Kristin Clore sets up her serve against Modesto April 4, 2017. Photo/ Eric Jaramishian

Can the Raiders Make it in Sin City? BY ARMANDO CARRENO


Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t want to hear about loyalty. I don’t want to hear that the Raiders owe their fans in Oakland for sticking by the team through a decade of bad football. The NFL and the Raiders are a business, which, at the end of the day, must do what is best for business. You follow the money -- and the money is in Las Vegas, not Oakland. The most common thing I hear when I talk to Raider fans about the Raiders movie to Las Vegas is that AL Davis would be turning in his grave right about now. Have we forgotten that we’re talking about the same man who moved the

Raiders to Los Angeles because the city would not fund stadium renovations? He then moved the team back from LA to Oakland when the team had a losing record seven times in nine seasons. Stadium attendance dipped and they could not get a stadium deal done in LA either. Last year, we saw it with the St. Louis Rams when they left and moved to Los Angeles. Owner Stan Kroenke wanted a new stadium but didn’t want one in St. Louis; he saw dollar signs in LA, the number two TV market in the US. Dean Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers, was in a similar situation to Mark Davis, Raiders’ owner in Oakland he too did not have money to finance a stadium in San Diego and his stadium proposals were not passed on the voting ballot, therefore he decided to

join the Rams and share their stadium in LA. Mark Davis was not capable of getting a stadium built in Oakland when all three of the other major sports teams in the Bay Area were able to get a stadium built. The San Francisco Giants got a privately funded stadium built in San Francisco, and the 49ers opened a stadium in Santa Clara three years ago. This year, the Golden State Warriors broke ground on their new privately funded $1 billion stadium only a few blocks down from the Giants AT&T Park. Yet for some reason, in the thriving Silicon Valley there is no money or investors/partners to get a stadium done in Oakland or to at least keep the team in the Bay like other sports teams have.

Illustration/Lukas Newcomb

Even when Hall of Fame safety put together a group of investors to fund the stadium, Mark Davis was not willing to work with them to help keep the team in Oakland. The most telling part is that the Raiders could not get a stadium proposal done with the city of Oakland. Since their 2015 failed attempt to move back to Los Angeles, Davis has been dead set on moving the team away from Oakland, instead of trying to find a solution or a new home in the bay area. Mark Davis had to rely on billionaire mogul Sheldon Adelson to help finance the $1.9 billion 65,000 seat domed stadium in Vegas with Adelson pledging $650 million which he later withdrew when negotiations fell apart. Davis was able to secure a new partner in Bank of America to help finance the stadium. There is no loyalty in professional sports -- not to players, not to coaches and certainly not to the cities the teams reside in. The move to Las Vegas is all about the money. Players don’t have guaranteed contracts and can be released at a moment’s notice. Coaches get fired the moment the team starts to spiral down, no matter how much success they’ve had in the past. The NFL and the Raiders see all the potential money that can be made in Las Vegas. Raiders see a city eager to have a team that their taxpayers voted to give $750 million to publicly fund a Stadium; they were able to find a partner to finance their stadium. Vegas is after all the entertainment capital of the world, offering high risk and high reward. The NFL and Raiders are banking on a high reward. With the stadium opening in 2020, one can already see the money being raked in with a Super Bowl and countless events at the stadium. The fans in Oakland have seen the true colors of their sports team for the second time. The Raider Nation will stay loyal, just like they did the first time they left. That’s the one thing I am sure of. Hopefully the Raiders can provide one last parade to the city of Oakland before breaking its heart and bolting to Sin City.



RAMPAGE 4.5.2017

Rams Remain Undefeated Over CCSF BY ERIC JARAMISHIAN


Fresno City College defeated City College of San Fransisco in a 19-2 victory at home on April 4. FCC had six singles players in the first round of competition and by the first rounds of singles and doubles, the score was a devastating 9-2 in the Ram’s favor. Erin Vang, first year badminton player, was a force to be reckoned with in her singles match. V a n g scored 21-15 in the first round and 21-10 in the second round. Panhia Vang performed well in her matches, also scoring high in her single match and winning her doubles match. Panhia Vang went up against Bin Cheng of CCSF, scoring 21-5 in the first round and 20-18 in the second round. She was one of many FCC players to win the singles and doubles in her match. Panhia Vang and Lucy Lor teamed up in a doubles match to defeat Cheng and Rainie Dang of CCSF. The FCC doubles team scored 21-12 in the first round and 21-13 in the second round. To determine a team win, play-

ers play four alternating rounds of singles and doubles and winning a match gives the respective school one point. Players competed in individual and doubles matches to accumulate points for an overall team score. Singles matches are worth one point and doubles are two points. “I can use more practice, and I hope the team keeps improving as well,” said Erin Vang. “I believe you can play well, but you can also play better.” “I am confident that we will win our conference, individually and as a team,” said Panhia Vang. Other players include five freshmen players and only two returning - Panhia Vang players who went Athlete to state last year. The women’s badminton team is currently undefeated in their conference. This is the second time that FCC faced and won against San Francisco’s badminton team. In 2016, the women’s badminton team won The State Championships, and hope to continue their success this season. “All of the players competed very well today,” said Carol Kadingo, badminton coach. “The athletes are all improving very well, and we are looking to win another conference and state title.”

I am confident

that we will win our conference, individually and as a team.”

Erin Vang keeps her birdie in play against CCSF on April 4, 2017 Photo/ Ram Reyes


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RAMPAGE 4.5.2017



Fact or Foolishness?


Illustration/Frank Lopez

Marquel Miller Culinary Arts

“My plans for break are to sleep, sleep, not work and more sleep.”



Some people read their horoscopes religiously, living by their words, believing the stars can truly predict their future, while other just read horoscopes for fun. Some people believe that their horoscope can tell their current mood, preferences, personality traits and even their future. Whatever

Vera Johnson

Child Development/Nursing

“I’m going to Pismo with my mom and her sister, I’m going to L.A with my cousin to spend the weekend with her and then I’m going to San Francisco with my uncle.”

Geovanna Ramirez

Vocal Music/Liberal Studies

“I hope to maybe go to the beach [to] try to see nature.”

Ritcharde Cisneros Construction

“I want to go with my mom, go to Riverside and spend time with my family down there and get my military ID so I can get into the bases.”


the reason, horoscopes are a popular trend that are here to stay. For me, when the road ahead looks cloudy and answers are hard to come by, horoscopes can provide guidance. This ends up leading me to this method more often. Marisa Ham, a former-Fresno City College student and current ent r e p r e n e u r, is a Virgo and regularly reads her horoscope, believing she truly embodies the characteristics of a Virgo. “I read my horoscope when I am down and need advice or an optimistic perspective on a tough decision or situation, ” Ham says. Ham explained her trust and admiration for horoscopes and how hers centers her emotions the majority of the time. Ham believes astronomy plays a huge role in one’s life, relating personalities and tendencies. “I will immedi-

Community College is Best Option for Most BY JULEASE GRAHAM


Most students do not dream about attending a community college one day, but sometimes, it is just the route a lot of us must take. Why is it that the community college alternative is portrayed to be the lesser of the two options? Why do some many buy into the stigma that community college isn’t real college? Despite what most people think, the professors are just as qualified, the workload is just as hard, and the parking is just as bad. As students, we should not feel ashamed for taking an alternative route. There are many reasons why the shame surrounding community college should be ignored. For many people, it is the better option. Based on material from National Profile of Community Colleges, community colleges educate more than half the nation’s undergraduates. No other segment of higher education is more responsive to its community and workforce needs than the community college.” The community college system is constantly evolving with education so that students can benefit from high education. Money is the main reason a lot of people decide not to go to a four-year right out of high school. Many community colleges charge less than $2,000 a semester, according to information from US News and World Report. Lower tuition gives students time to prepare for the financial demands, while keeping them out of debt. Lower tuition also allows students to try different classes without the financial pressure students at 4-year colleges would experience. Sixty percent of community col-

lege students attend school part time. According to, community colleges have more scheduling options and offer more night classes compared to most four-year universities. Scheduling flexibility is beneficial in maintaining a school-life balance. There are also a wide variety of tools available to students, which can help ease the transition. Tutoring, study skills workshops, academic advising, counseling, and career planning are just some of the few of many supportive services available on campus. A 4-year degree doesn’t appeal to

ately look up a person I am interested in to see if our signs are compatible and it will influence my decision process in the relationship,” said Ham. Ham takes advice from her horoscope, living her life by what she reads. Horoscope brings her joy and clarity, and helps her understand life, moods, relationships and makes her career easier. On the other hand, some people read horoscopes purely for entertainment, not giving any validity to the prediction of future love or emotion proclaimed by their daily horoscope. Bryce Johnson, a soccer player and kinesiology major at FCC does not believe in horoscopes explaining they are a waste of time and a generic scam, “I know my horoscope, I’m a Taurus, but horoscopes are very vague and general, anyone can connect the dots, fitting their lives into any horoscope, says Johnson. “It doesn’t make sense that every person born in May is the same as me.” Johnson sees horoscopes as purely entertainment and pretty much an impossible to task to connect so many people through the coincidence of when they were born. “Reading my horoscope helps me see the forest through the trees, as the saying goes. The guidance I receive from my horoscope is like getting a positive outside perspective without having to share personal details with anyone, hooking me to continue reading.” everyone. Community college offers alternatives for those that may be wanting to enter the workforce immediately. According to, “Community colleges maintain close working relationships with area employers to assist graduates in locating and securing employment after completing their education.” Community college is an attractive alternative for many people. They system is designed to help students succeed. In 2015, the Community College Completion Report Stated that between fall 2013 and the end of summer 2014, 1 million more US citizens had some form of credential attributable to community college experiences. In 2020 student completion rates, students earning community college credentials, is projected to increase by 50 percent.

Cramming Techniques BY DESIRE STEVENSON

Reporter Are you too busy, or simply procrastinate in getting ready for a test? From generation to generation, students have mastered ways to cram successfully before a big exam. It’s Sunday night, you’ve had a long fun weekend. Then you remember, you’ve got a test bright and early Monday morning. Cramming won’t get you an “A” but will definitely save you from an “F”. It may seem as if it’s the end of the world but there’s always that one test we forget to study for. Here are a few pointers to remember to help you stay calm while you’re last minute cramming before your test. Having good notes will definitely be beneficial. Assuming that you attended class on a daily basis, you should have some lecture notes to look over. Typically your class notes are full of knowledge that professors have covered during lectures. Know exactly what you need to study.

For example, if you guys did a review session before the exam, take advantage of the opportunity! Keep a positive attitude. It will be a lot easier to study relaxed. The act of reviewing with help from someone else will help you to memorize information. For those who are better at visual learning, this will definitely help. If you learn better by hearing, recite the words as you look over them. Quiz yourself so that you can set expectations on what of you need to focus on. Since time is limited don’t attempt to study every single thing. Focus on what will get you the most points during the exam. Read the chapter summaries (being that it does a good job of summarizing important facts). Keep in mind you should only cram for an exam as a last resort. It is very hard to soak in so much information in a short period of time. These tips are meant to help you at the last minute, not to give you a reason to put off studying. You must study in order to learn the material and pass that exam!


RAMPAGE 4.5.2017


ARE DISNEY REMAKES WORTH YOUR TIME? and performers in bringing a new interpretation for a new generation of audiences. Thanks to his success on “The Jungle Book”, Favreau will now direct the live-action adaptation of “The Lion King” with Donald Glover, James Earl Jones and potentially Beyonce in the film’s cast. Also, with films such as “Mulan” and “Aladdin”, Disney has the opportunity to cast diverse performers for these stories. An open casting call for Chinese and Middle Eastern actors and actresses was released for both productions respectively. Thanks to this opportunity, the younger and diverse audiences have the chance to look up to more film characters that look just like them. Disney’s animated films are a staple of popular culture that has played a major part of millions of people’s memories that stem back to their early childhood. Come to think of it, it’s fascinating that the company owns cultural phenomenons such as Marvel Comics and the “Star Wars” franchise. Both those intellectual properties have been part of the pop culture consciousness for multiple generations. It’s easy to dismiss live-action adaptations of classic animated films as a pointless cash grab, but as long as the right talent has the passion for these stories to pay reverence to them while also implementing their own sensibilities, then let’s keep them coming. Besides, a remake of a classic does not erase the original from existence. And if the remake turns out to be good, you now have two movies to enjoy.



The Walt Disney Company has an expansive library of classic animated films that has stood the test of time. So much so, that in recent years, live-action adaptations of some of their most beloved titles have graced the silver screen. Some of these adaptations didn’t reach their full potential despite achieving box office success, such as Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” and the “Sleeping Beauty” spin off “Maleficent” starring Angelina Jolie. But interestingly enough, the live-action adaptations of films such as “Cinderella” and “The Jungle Book” have achieved both critical and financial success. In the case for those two films, “Cinderella” took an old-fashioned approach mixed in with the beautiful set design and costumes along with Kenneth Branagh’s gravitas behind the camera. Director Jon Favreau brought “The Jungle Book” to life with some of the most stunning visual effects ever put into film - which led to an Oscar win for the same. After the success of those two films, audiences were given David Lowery’s underappreciated “Pete’s Dragon” remake and of course, Bill Condon’s adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast”. Disney isn’t stopping with these live-action remakes anytime soon. Adaptations of “Mulan”, “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” are currently in development. But given the fact that Hollywood seems to operate on bringing previously established material back to the big screen, are these live action remakes really worthwhile? Given the fact that nostalgia for these timeless stories is at an all-time high with the millennial generation, these adaptations are a no-brainer. Much of the modern moviegoing audiences today were young children when they were first shown these animated movies, and seeing those stories being told to a new generation with new technology is hard to resist. Also, older audiences today get the opportunity to introduce the classic stories to their own children. Sure, they can show them the original movies at home on DVD or Netflix, but having the opportunity to show these larger-thanlife stories on the big screen would be a great introduction. Thankfully, Disney has hired some remarkable filmmakers

It is no secret that the Disney Corp. likes to capitalize on its rich history of characters and stories. In 2003, Disney was able to dominate the box office with “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of Black Pearl”, a film based on a boat ride at the Disneyland theme park. It has since released reboots of many beloved animated films and bought the rights to the “Star Wars” franchise, another familiar set of stories. The Disney reboot of “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010 kicked off the trend for the slew of Disney remakes and reboots. Currently, 22 live action remakes of animated films are planned. Movie audiences have seen the retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” (Maleficent, 2014), “Cinderella” (2015), “The Jungle Book” (2016), and most recently, “Beauty and the Beast”. While some of these films have received more favorable reviews than others, these films are almost guaranteed to be a smash in the box office, and there is always a lot of buzz when they are released. However, just because these movies are financially successful does not mean they are good movies. With the amount of money spent on movies, and the revenue that movies must generate to break even, movie studios and their executives understandably do not like to take risks with new and original ideas. Movie studios have known for a while that people will buy tickets solely on brand and name recognition. Most of the top grossing films from the last 10 years are either reboots, sequels, or based on comic book movies. Besides “Zootopia” and “The Secret Life of Pets”, the top grossing films of 2016 were all either films based on



Opinion Editor

comic books or were reboots or remakes. The reboots of the animated Disney films usually take a darker and grittier tone, and will give some sort of twist to the classic stories. The 2010 “Alice in Wonderland” shows a darker version of Wonderland and a backstory of an evil curse, plus a large, climactic action battle. In Maleficent, the story is told from the point of the view of the villain, who in this version, actually protects Sleeping Beauty. The “Jungle Book” reboot had a dark and shadowed cinematography, decreased the musical sequences and included scenes considered too scary for children. The computer-generated imagery in these movies are impressive, and helps to create these gigantic worlds and rich action and a variety of animated characters. These movies are great spectacles, but not much else. If movie goers keep paying for these reboots and remakes, Disney will keep them coming. The Disney animated classics are available for us to enjoy anytime. What is the point of watching stories we are already familiar? There is not much personality to the characters in these movies, and the action sequences follow typical routes that we have seen before. While these movies may be considered children’s films, the crowd that will be more familiar with these films will be teenagers, adults, and adults with children; people with spending money. People enjoy these films, and that’s fine. No one should feel ashamed or embarrassed by the entertainment they enjoy. The real question is whether the main draw for these films is not just familiarity. Sure, we can give Disney our money for already familiar stories -- that we have seen time and time again, or we can spend our money on smaller, more original films and compel filmmakers to give us a more diverse movie selection at the theatres.

Illustration/Lukas Newcomb


RAMPAGE 4.5.2017


Celebration Night Marks official start of Asian-American month

Clovis Heiwa Taiko performs at Asian Celebration Night Show in the FCC Theater on Friday, March 31, 2017. Photo/Marco Rosas



Asian American month began on April 1, but celebrations at the Fresno City College campus started a day early on March 31, with Celebration Night Show, an event showcasing Asian culture. The event, in its 14th year, was held at the FCC Theater and consisted of 11 performances with a 10-minute inter-

mission in the middle of the show. Celebration Night started with the introduction of Michael Takeda a professor at FCC and Jessica Takeda his wife, emcees for the event by John Cho professor of Asian American studies and event organizer. The Clovis Heiwa Taiko, a drum and percussion group which has performed in the Celebration Night Show for 14 years, opened the night. Other performers for the first half were Kevin Fox, a solo guitarist; Magnetrix Crew, a dance performing crew; Kung-fu Kids, a duo who performed

with Chinese weapons; Halau Hula, a Hawaiian dance team, and Sarah Xiong, who performed with her ukulele. After the intermission, the audience was treated to fortune cookies and water from Panda Express, followed by a performance by John Cho’s Lion Dance Team. The Lion Dance Team was a big hit with the audience, especially after they danced up and down the stairs and in between the rows of seats in the FCC theater. After the Lion Dance Team the next

performers were He Guiping, a Chinese dancer who is deaf; a piano and cello duo called the Chahar Brothers Duet and the United Khmer Cultural Preservation, a Cambodian dance team. The final act was “How Do I End?”, a comedy skit performed by faculty members from Clovis Community College and Fresno City College. “This is kind of like a preview of some of the events that are going to happen throughout the month,” Takeda said. “This type of event also raises awareness for the Asian culture.”

From SIlence, There's Laughter BY ERIC JARAMISHIAN


Peter Cook performs in the Fresno City College theater on Thursday, March 30, 2017. Photo/Marco Rosas

Hearing people can be funny, especially if you are deaf. This is one of many things long-time deaf performer Peter Cook shared during his performance at the Fresno City College theater on March 30. And yet, sometimes it is actions that get the best laughs from an audience, rather than what one would say. Cook demonstrated this talent when he filled the theater with the sound of boisterous laughter from the audience. Cook used American Sign Language to tell stories and had the audience participate in a variety of activities that both deaf and non-deaf people could enjoy. Cook has been putting on these comedic shows for over 30 years. “I have always enjoyed the art of performance and theater,” Cook signed through an interpreter. “I got my start in 1984 in Illinois at a storytelling festival, and I have loved the experience with my career since then.” Cook’s unique ability to communicate comedy routines to not only the deaf audience, but the non-deaf audience who do not understand sign

language, certainly paid off in this performance. Cook used a variety of hand gestures and noises as his only tools to communicate his comedic routines. Cook put on a physically interactive show, which involved the audience walking on stage with him at certain points to act out different situations. Such situations included catching and throwing a ball, pitching a baseball bat and even blowing a bubble from a piece of gum. Around halfway into the show, Cook started telling stories to the audience. Cook had an interpreter tell the non-deaf audience what he was saying, as well as acting his stories out with his movements and facial expressions. These stories were very effectively humorous, as every moment was intriguing to experience. “A big goal for my shows is to teach the literary world that there is a place for deaf people,” Cook signed. This was the second time Cook visited FCC to perform his show. “Both times I have performed at Fresno City College, they have been a lively audience,” signed Cook. “It is a beautiful campus, and I enjoy performing here,” Cook looks forward to one day coming back to perform for FCC.


RAMPAGE 4.5.2017


Let Your Outer Adult Take Your Inner Child To Power Rangers BY MARCO ROSAS


Image courtesy of Lionsgate

high schools win at guitar summit BY ERIC JARAMISHIAN


“It takes a village to raise a guitar summit,” said Kevin Cooper, music instructor and director of summit, as Fresno City College was filled with the elegant sound of guitars on March 30. Local high school and middle school students participated in an all day summit, which consisted of a guitar exhibition from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a quick reception at 6 p.m. and a concert featuring the performers of the AguaClara Flamenco Company. The guitar exhibition consisted of guitar enthusiasts from different schools who played in a variety of different performances using only the guitar. There were ensemble as well as solo players, all showcasing their talents on the guitar. “It is breathtaking to see all this talent and hard work being put to use by these students,” Cooper said. “It is refreshing to see the look on their faces when they do something and get the sense of satisfaction from accomplishing it.” After the pre-concert reception,

the AguaClara Flamenco Company took the stage, where David McLean’s guitar work met the wonders of Flamenco dancing from Clara Rodriguez and Timo Nunez. Both the guitar work and the Flamenco style dancing worked harmoniously in a performance that was sensational. McLean’s methodical guitar playing complemented the passionate visuals of the Flamenco dancers, as they waved and twisted around on stage, and tapped their feet faster than the audience could applaud. Their intense performance was followed by an awards ceremony for the exhibition. Students won awards and prizes for certain categories of the summit, such as solo performances, ensembles, small group and more. One of these winners was Ben Johnson, winner of the Young Educator award, as well as being part of the Outstanding Ensemble award with Jouanaque High School. “We were surprised, but really happy to see that the judges thought that we deserved to win an award for the showcase,” Johnson said. The guitar program at FCC will host the Six-String Showcase on May 4.

The latest installment of the Power Rangers franchise opened in theaters Friday, March 25 and introduced a new cast of Rangers for a new generation of fans. But fans of all ages can expect to enjoy the superhero origin story they didn’t know they needed. Power Rangers is not just one of the best superhero origin stories to hit the big screen in recent years, it’s one of the best period. It’s not often one feels that there are actual consequences for a film’s protagonist, especially in superhero films, but Power Rangers does just that. The film’s protagonists don’t just face off against the forces of evil, but also the struggle of being teenagers, growing up in a small town, bedridden single parents, behavioral disorders, sexuality and identity issues. Audience members can expect to really feel for this group of disenfranchised teens as they get to know each other and fight alongside each other. The young cast of relatively unknown actors also add great group chemistry that really brings out the best in each actor’s performance. Apart from having a good story, the film also is surprisingly witty and funny without compromising the overall tone of the film. Blue Ranger Billy Cranston, played by RJ Cyler, is not what one might call a social butterfly. Cyler’s character is a technology genius and geology geek and he also offers some of the film’s best

High Schools from the Central Valley perform and win prizes in the all-day guitar summit at Fresno City college on Thursday, March 30, 2017. Photo/Marco Rosas

one liners. In one scene Cyler channels his inner Bruce Willis and puts a twist on the classic line from Die Hard, “Yippy-ca-yay mother... mother’s good, yeah mother’s good,” poking fun at the innocent nature of the character and the film’s PG-13 rating. Former Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader also brings laughs to the film playing the android Alpha 5. Yes, the film is a fun story for adults and children alike but it’s not without its flaws. Fans of the series probably couldn’t wait until the rangers started doing unnecessary backflips and karate, but the 2017 adaptation spends very little time on the fight scenes. The film feels less like an action movie and more like a revamping of “The Breakfast Club” with super powers. Audiences will also not enjoy the film if they are not willing to suspend a little bit of disbelief when watching six 20-somethings making decisions typical of high school kids. Also Rita Repulsa may be a classic Power Ranger series villain, but that doesn’t mean she’s not generic and somewhat bland for such an otherwise interesting film. The character of Repulsa, played by Elizabeth Banks, had no real motivation other than a lust for power. How many times has the audience heard that story? Banks’ performance wasn’t bad, but it failed to deliver any tone other than repulsively forgettable. Still, Power Rangers is a must see for fans of the series and a fun time for anyone interested in a new superhero movie with a diverse and young cast. And yes, Ranger fans, there will be a sequel, just stick around after the credits.


RAMPAGE 4.5.2017



Opinion Editor

Portland rock group, The Slants, performed in the OAB auditorium of Fresno City College on April 3. The event was organized by FCC’s Speakers Forum and a speech by bassist Simon Tam about his experiences of being persecuted as an Asian-American. The band’s recent legal battles preceded their performance. The Slants have made news recently for being rejected a copyright mark for their name, which was considered by the Trademark office to be offensive towards Asians, and

winning their case in front the U.S. supreme court. The Slants have been active since 2006 and are the first band to be composed of entirely Asian-American members. The band consists of singer Ken Shima, bassist Simon Tam, guitarist Joe X. Jiang, and drummer Yuya Matsuda. The band, whose style has been dubbed as “Chinatown Dance Rock”, have headlined at music festivals such as SXSW, MusicfestNW, and according to the band’s website, have been featured on BBC, NPR, NBC, MTV, and over 1,000 radio stations, TV shows and magazines. FCC’s Asian-American studies instructor, John Cho, and business instructor Nancy Holland were

contacted by Tam, who told them they would be in the area and he could give a speech and have The Slants perform. This coincided with Asian-American month at FCC. “This is just a really unexpected treat,” says Holland. “It is amazing to have them come and talk about their journey and have them play. Simon Tam has been on all kinds of different networks and shows, spoken at law schools about his case, [and] he has been on TedTalks, so to have him come to FCC is really neat.” After a meet and greet with students, The Rampage sat with the band for a Q&A about music, Asian race relations in the U.S., and political correctness. (LEFT, BOTTOM) The Slants perform in the OAB. (RIGHT) Simon Tam speaks about his experience as an Asian-American and the troubles he had that led to the Supreme Court decision during their visit to FCC on April 4, 2017.

Photo/Ram Reyes

Why do you think there is an 80s revival going on in popular music? Tam: Because it’s awesome (laughter). I think there is something universal about great keyboards that makes the sound bigger. It’s catchy, it’s got really good dance pop hooks; It’s been a big influence in our own music for those reasons. A lot of music also has a familiar sound. So even if they didn’t grow up in the 80s, they hear traces of it and people who are influenced by it now, are influenced by sounds that have stood the test of time. Matsuda: I think music is cyclical. Every genre has its time, but it always comes back around at some point. Nineties rock is starting to really make a swinging comeback too. I think that 80s New-Wave synthpop is really starting to comeback in a big way too.

Shima: Isn’t there a saying that goes “If you’re not evolving, then you're devolving”? So you’d be just going around in circles, and we don’t want to do that.

Are there any current acts that are influencing you as you write your music now? Jiang: I actually got Tidal recently, just to have it for touring, and I’ve been listening to so much hiphop. Even before I got Tidal, I was listening to a lot of hip-hop, so on the next album there’s quite a few songs where I was thinking “hiphop” when I was writing them. It doesn’t sound anything like hip-hop by the end, but I had the feeling, the vibe. Matsuda: We always just start out with the groove first. We always have some sort of foundation with his [Jiang’s] melody, and some sort of groove to go around it, and then we start building on top of that.

Photo/Larry Valenzuela

Photo/Ram Reyes

dreds of shows out there, and you have two or three that actually depict Asian-American characters in any kind of major role. Diversity isn’t just having people in place, it’s having them in place for a meaningful role and meaningful expression. Representation itself is a really powerful thing, and it’s not just something on-screen. We want to see more Asian-American directors, writers, and producers involved as well.

discussion, it’s not just about tearing people apart.

Matsuda: I think it lacks an education of cultures. If you look at it media, it’s pretty whitewashed. Music, TV, radio, it’s all like that, and we [Asians] are trying to get out there, but it’s still too small. There [are] so many Asian-American [and] pacific islanders that are trying to act, that are trying to make music, and they just don’t get the chance.

Tam: Glad wouldn’t be my word. We were put in this position and had an opportunity to help change this country and for that, I’m humbled and grateful. I wouldn’t wish this upon anybody; it’s not been an easy journey. Its expensive, it cost me a lot of my life, but I would say it was worth it because it’s leading to something better.

Jiang: You can get representation, but that representation has to have artistic validity.

Shima: It’s much bigger than just the four of us. It’s all of our parents; that’s who we fight for. We had the chance to stand up, so we stepped up.

After all the trouble you’ve been through with trying to register your trademark and winning in the U.S. Supreme Court, are you glad you were first denied your trademark?

Do you guys actively try to What does political correctness evolve your sound, or do you just So what is next for The Slants? now mean in the age of Trump? write songs and let it happen What is the reaction you get Tam: Editing on the road, recordI think people attack the idea naturally? from students when you play at ofTam: political correctness as a way to ing an album, working on a film, justify their ignorance or the hurtful working on a book and touring. Tam: I think it’s a little bit of both. colleges? things that they have to say. You can With this new release in particular, Tam: I think for a lot of people, say whatever you want to say. You can How do you feel FCC reacted to we talked about what we wanted to do. There was a pretty big shift in line when they see themselves reflected drop all the racial slurs you want, but today’s event? on a stage in a way that they usually if you do, you’ve got to pay the social up and so we said, “what’s the voice of the band now?” We created a playlist and filled it with pop music that we were into and thought about production in terms of these 15 songs. I think that helped shape our song writing as well.

aren’t, it’s pretty powerful.

How do you feel about portrayals of Asian people in the media? Tam: Personally, I think it’s too small. There are hundreds and hun-

price for it. When marginalized communities reappropriate language and want to take on slurs, or things that are offensive, and turn it into forms of empowerment, we know there are consequences to that, but the consequences we are going for lead to social change, and productive

Tam: I think the college reaction was really positive. People seemed into it. They seemed really receptive to both the message as well as the music. It was awesome hanging out with everybody and meeting everybody afterwards. It’s just been a blast.

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