EOP&S (Extended Opportunity Programs & Services) is a California-run program which helps community college students with the various elements of student life that one glosses over. EOP&S can arrange for students of meager means to get a free bus pass, a laptop, and numerous other resources that honestly we take for granted. Typically there are around 200 spots per campus--this seems like quite a few, but when one realizes that each community college campus can have anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 students, well, those spots can be precious.
I guess another sign that we are in harsh financial times is that at both of the campuses where I teach, the EOP&S slots are completely taken for the Spring semester (which just started). Unreal...so many people are just barely scraping by, I guess. And since our oh-so-wise Legislature can't get their collective asses in gear, we don't have a budget yet...and will run out of money come Saturday. If you have an income tax refund coming from the state of California, well, you're getting an IOU instead. I'm honestly wondering if I'll get paid next month; I get paid Friday, and I'm cherishing that deposit. I'd love to tell the student loan folks that I can't give them real money this month, but I can give them an IOU from the state...it's just as good as money, or so they say.
And yet...and yet there is quite a bit to be thankful for. It looks like I'm employed for the forseeable future (just wish it was full time...ack...positive thoughts...), my rent isn't going up, and I'm still able to smile and laugh with (and at) the world. It could be worse....
Like, say, the City of Oakland. To ring in 2009, BART (that's the subway system) Police arrested a couple of eejits at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland. And then proceeded to shoot one of the eejits...while he was handcuffed and laying on the ground. This set off protests (agreed) and riots (eh, if you must)...which the Oakland Police botched up royally and didn't even attempt to control except at the very end. One of the major cable companies wanted to shoot a tv show in Oakland, with the main characters being a giggalo and his ho's trying to go straight...the city said that they didn't want to add to their negative reputation, yet in doing so they lost literally millions of dollars per year just from the revinue this show would bring. The Chief of Police has just resigned, saying that the City Council can't be trusted and is thwarting the Force's ability to do its job. And now news comes today that a former intern of the mayor stole the bank account information of two of the mayor's chief administrators, not to mention abused financial information at the law firm where she (until recently) worked. I'd like to say I feel sorry for Mayor Dellums, but I can't. Oakland hasn't gotten the reputation for being nothing but a slum of 1,000,000 people for nothing.