Author Archives: Enrique Zarate

About Enrique Zarate

My name is Enrique Zarate, I don’t have much experience with journalism. I have only done small interviews and put together a few articles for my high school yearbook during my senior year. This year I am getting some more experience being a Spotter for the San Francisco 49ers Spanish broadcasts on 49ers.com. I am looking forward to learning a lot more now working with a professional sports team and I look forward to covering them for years to come. My goal is to one day become a sports show host or a color commentator for either soccer, football, or basketball.

DMV Improperly Registers Voters

The California Department of Motor Vehicles incorrectly registered 23,000 voter registrations.

As reported by Fox News and The Sacramento Bee, the DMV submitted all these incorrect registrations to the Secretary of State on Wednesday, September 5. The fault as it seems falls on the technicians because while switching between different screens, information of California residents was incorrectly merged.

It doesn’t stop there though as on Monday, October 8, 1,500 more people were found to be improperly registered to vote by the DMV.

The DMV director told the Sacramento Bee, “agency officials have worked quickly with the Department of Technology to correct these errors and have also updated the programming and added additional safeguards to improve this process.”

California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla added that he’s “deeply frustrated and disappointed that persistent errors by the DMV and CDT have undermined public confidence in your basic responsibility to collect and transmit accurate voter registration information, as has been required by federal law for 25 years.”

“You’re setting the state up for a disaster,” Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, told Fox. “They don’t seem to have a process in place to verify that people are who they say they are.”

When asked her opinion on the matter, Rosa, a Hayward resident stated, “it’s definitely a big deal, you’d expect them to know what they’re doing. Then when they go ahead and make these types of mistakes, it’s just shocking.”

When asked if she was one of the improperly registered voters she said no. But she added, “I would definitely not be happy if I was.”

According to Fox News, the program concerned a lot of people right from the start because they feared illegal immigrants would be able to vote. However, that is not a worry anymore as none of the people improperly registered were illegal immigrants.

The Importance of Voting

“It’s incredibly important because elections are determined by the people who show up and vote, it may seem like it doesn’t matter who votes and that the outcomes will be the same but this last election shows how misguided that perception is.” This is the message Political Science teacher Jessica Gallucci, had for students at Chabot College with regards to registering to vote.

Gallucci offered possible reasons for people not voting, “I think that there are many reasons why people don’t vote, they don’t because they feel one vote won’t make a difference, people feel that the system is rigged.”

Gallucci continued, “People are unhappy with candidates, logistical differences in actually going out and voting, but I think that what we don’t understand is that certain populations are more likely to vote than others and those benefit more in the political process because they participate and that can be an eye-opening realization for folks and hopefully that motivates them.”

With the midterm elections coming up Tuesday, November 6. We asked students about the importance of voting and the impact it has.

Voting is important to students at Chabot. Most of the students asked, said they are registered to vote. Those few who aren’t registered said that people who are registered should vote because it impacts everyone in some form even if you might not realize it.

“Even if you don’t think it means anything, just know your vote counted in some way. It was tallied,” said Dee Collins, a student who is registered to vote.

Jessica Gallucci commented on students learning the importance of voting, “There are many places on campus where students are being exposed to the importance of voting in courses and extracurricular activities and hopefully we will continue to do this in the future.”

If you want to vote but didn’t get a chance to register by the deadline, the state of California must provide provisional ballots when asked, even if you didn’t register. Go to the California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla’s website for more information.

Dia de Los Muertos

Chabot College began celebrating Dia de los Muertos on Wednesday, October 17 at noon by placing altars around campus which were available for students to view until Thursday, November 1 at 6 in the afternoon.

These altars were placed in the building 700 lobby, El Centro, building 100 first floor, the library, and the building 400 lobby.

Each of the altars featured different things. The altar in the 400 building lobby was dedicated to Mexican singer Selena Quintanilla. Known by many as simply Selena, she was admired by many people, her music was mostly “cumbias” which is dance music in Spanish, but she also sang some love songs in English. She passed away on March 31, 1995, when she was just 23 years old.

The altar in the 700 building was a traditional Dia de los Muertos altar, with several pictures of different people that have passed away with an image of the Virgin Mary behind them as a traditional altar.

Finally, the altar found in the library was an altar based on the history of Dia de los Muertos.

Officially Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on October 31 and ends on November 2. It’s a day where people honor their loved ones who have passed away. Chabot ended the Dia de los Muertos festivities with a celebration they hold every year on Thursday, November 1, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Event Center.

During this celebration, students had the opportunity to learn the history of Dia de los Muertos as usual. Students also got a chance to participate in a variety of activities like Loteria which is basically like Mexican bingo, face painting, candle making, flower making, and much more. Students were also able to learn about the resources provided at El Centro and on campus.

The organization responsible for the altars and the celebration was the Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Chabot Parking Frustrations

A campus safety car drives through Chabot College's parking lot B.

Chabot parking lot monitored by campus safety

Are you late to class again because you couldn’t find parking? The answer to this question for a lot of students at Chabot is yes. Finding a parking spot is especially difficult at the start of the fall semester when most students register for their classes.

But is there a solution to this problem? Some ideas have been mentioned, but as of now, we don’t have a lot of information as to what has happened to those ideas.

One of these ideas was the possibility that a staff parking lot would be removed to make more space for student parking. The other idea was to add additional parking spaces.

Officer Steve Lowry addressed both of these ideas, “Right now the information we have is that it has been delayed or suspended, as of today there is no change in staff parking. There are no additional parking spaces that have been added to my knowledge.”

Another concern is that parking prices have gone up. Officer Lowry told us, “during the summer semester the board of trustees approved a $1 increase.”

But is $1 really that big of a deal? Well taking into account the income of the average college student it might be. As various students prefer to park across the street rather than purchasing a permit. Others prefer riding their bike or using public transportation. There are also students that haven’t even noticed the $1 increase though.

In previous editions of The Spectator, officer Nate Moore said, “Parking permits do not guarantee a parking space; rather, they authorize parking in available spaces.” With this in mind, a possible solution could be not overselling permits and only selling as many permits as there are parking spaces so that it has more value for students.

Michael, a student at Chabot stated, “It depends on the times, in the mornings it’s obviously going to be more difficult to find a spot. When I come for my afternoon class though it seems to be fine. Mainly it’s the first few weeks where people fight over spots and it’s just always full, sometimes I have to park across the street.”

For now, all we can do is play the waiting game and see what is done about this parking issue. Continue reading

BART Retrofit Shaking It Up

BART is already preparing for a possible earthquake with projects underway at both the Coliseum and Fruitvale stations.

The BART communications department stated, “Stage one began in June and is expected to last through the end of the year. Work is taking place under the south end of the BART alignment located near 73rd Avenue, parallel San Leandro Street, this includes the stairwell off San Leandro Street which connects to the pedestrian bridge. This is all part of BART’s systemwide Earthquake Safety Program.”

“The retrofit work will help the columns better withstand damage from future earthquakes” they added “Construction work is being performed on each column that holds up the BART trackway on the north side of 35th Avenue. Work is also being done to the columns and fixtures located inside the Fruitvale station.”

The good news for BART users is that none of this will change the train schedules in any way. The estimated duration of this project is 4 months and will not affect riders.

“In November of 2004, voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties approved Regional Measure AA, the BART Earthquake Safety Bond. It has been funding most ($980 million) of our $1.2 billion systemwide projects to strengthen the original BART system, protect public safety and ensure that BART service returns quickly to avoid gridlock following a major earthquake.”

BART said this is what inspired them to start this project to improve their structures and prepare for an earthquake. It’s a good decision on their part since experts believe a major earthquake could hit California in the next 30 years.

Jesus, who is a frequent BART rider told us, “That’s very important, especially for people’s safety, that way we feel more comfortable and secure with BART trying to take the necessary precautions to keep people safe. The safety of the riders should be the most important thing.”

When asked about his usage of BART and the impact it has on him that the train schedules won’t be affected he added, “it’s very important because as everybody knows traffic in the bay area is a nightmare for everyone, you try to go anywhere, and there’s always traffic. BART helps with that, so it’s good that we’ll still be able to use the service without worrying about changes in the schedule.”

“I use BART almost daily, I work in the city, so if I use my car it means it will take 2 or more hours to get there, whereas with BART I can just take an hour and I don’t have to deal with finding parking and sitting in traffic, and all that stuff, it’s just less stressful” added Jesus.

Overall it’s a pretty positive response from people to BART’s project to prepare for a major earthquake. Also, it is true that BART helps a lot of people get from point A to point B without having to worry about the daily traffic issues in the Bay Area.

Chabot College Ethnic Studies Indigenous Peoples Week

Guest speaker Dr. LaNada War Jack speaking to a room of students

Guest speaker Dr. LaNada War Jack

On Monday, October 8 Chabot began their Indigenous Peoples week with a speech featuring their keynote speaker Dr. LaNada WarJack. The event was held in the event center by Chabot’s Ethnic studies department.

Dr. LaNada WarJack started off with this strong statement referring to the US history that is taught in our school system. “Get that history, the true history, and learn it. The true history is still never taught.”

The speech largely focused on the recent argument between whether it should be called Columbus day or Indigenous peoples day and Native American culture often being misrepresented. Asking why the US celebrates genocide as a holiday.

Dr. WarJack received a very warm welcome by the crowd as she spoke to applause and cheers. Kelly, a former student of Chabot also spoke at the event and was responsible for introducing Dr. WarJack, before introducing her she stated.

“When I was a student here not long ago, Chabot didn’t offer anything like this so I really appreciate [having Indigenous peoples week now].” I love that Chabot decided not to participate in celebrating the erasure of Native people.”

Dr. WarJack also encouraged students at Chabot to take advantage of this Ethnic Studies program and learn the real history. “Not many colleges have this program so take advantage.”

She continued to encourage people to be aware of their history and always be prepared to be an advocate when need be.

Dr. LaNada WarJack then proceeded to show the inhumane events that Indigenous people had to endure. Having their land stolen, being turned into slaves, being taken away from their families to be put into boarding schools, etc.

When she was done speaking, Dr. WarJack received a positive reaction from the crowd and standing ovation with people cheering and clapping.

The Ethnic studies program offers many degrees and opportunities to students to further expand their knowledge on true history. A testimonial found on their pamphlet given at the speech from former student George J. Benjamin III, “The most important thing about ethnic studies is that it helped me find more of myself and my history, which is information that I can carry with me for life.”

If you are interested in learning more about what the ethnic studies program has to offer students you can contact department chair Kay Fischer, her information can be found on the Chabot college website.

Recognizing Part-Time Faculty

Do part-time faculty get the recognition they deserve? Many think they don’t, whether it is that they are seen as not having enough time to be as involved as full-time faculty or it being dependant on the department they’re in. Whatever the case may be, most agree on giving them more recognition and Chabot is taking suggestions and trying their best to do that.

Chabot College President Dr. Susan Sperling who was also an adjunct before, expressed her opinion on the topic, “From my experience, I felt I didn’t have full benefits and there was a sense I wasn’t completely integrated into the power structure of my department.” President Sperling added that, “We have a great group of teachers who should all get the same recognition as they are all a big part of Chabot College,” she ended by saying “We are planning to change that, I don’t know why it needed to wait that long,” referring to part-time faculty getting equal recognition.

Vice President of Academic Services Dr. Stacy Thompson also understands the situation as she was also a part-time instructor in the past. Dr. Thompson said she “Understands having more full-time instructors that can be more active with students.”

Dr. Thompson stated that she supports “Having as many full-time faculty as the budget allows” however she added, “We could definitely do more as far as part-time faculty appreciation and I’m open to ideas and suggestions for that.”  

English Professor Mr. Darvin Wilson who has been with Chabot College for 35 years told us, “There are certain advantages of being a part-time professor, being an adjunct is a very good situation for me as it allows me to pursue two different careers”. Mr. Wilson ended with, “At the same time I feel I don’t have much time to dedicate to things like committee work and so on, for Chabot, I like that there is a lot of help for adjuncts though.”

For Christie Verarde, adjunct instructor in Academic Services, part-time appreciation depends on the department. When asked about the subject she said, “I think that the level of appreciation depends on the department, in my department, early childhood, I believe that is the case, it’s a strong department and we support each other.”

Eileen Pippins who has taught part-time at Chabot since 2014, told us, “I’ve seen the campus create more opportunities for part-timers.” When asked why she believes part-timers may not get equal recognition, she said, “It might be that we are thought of as always busy, but that isn’t the case for everyone.”

Professor Chad Mark Glen stated, “They’re the unsung heroes, they are deserving of recognition,” when asked about his opinion on adjuncts.

All in all, there is definitely more being done to make adjuncts feel more included at Chabot. Strides are being made to give them the recognition they deserve.