December 21, 2006
"For it is in giving that we receive."
-St. Francis of Assisi
In This Issue
1. Announcements for
2. If It’s Broke, We
Need to Fix It
3. I Don’t Want to Grow
Up, Part 3
4. About E-News
Behold what they sow
and reap! The Montebello Kiwanis Club, helped by its youth affiliate, the
Key Club, sponsored and served Thanksgiving dinner this year to four hundred
people at the Montebello Senior Center. Our other service clubs did
outstanding service, too for Thanksgiving. This Saturday, the fifteenth
annual “Christmas at the Cannon” will take place at the Quiet Cannon
restaurant in Montebello, where a dinner and food baskets will be given to
3,000 pre-registered families, with youth up to age fourteen receiving
toys. This is a huge event with many sponsors and volunteers—a real
team effort! A list of sponsors and volunteering organizations will appear
Montebello-Commerce YMCA. Karate lessons for ages 5 through 17, swimming
lessons for ages 6 months through adult, and tumbling lessons for ages 5
through 7. Sign up by walk-in only, 2000 West Beverly. Children must be
accompanied by parent or legal guardian. M – F, 5:30 AM
– 10 PM; Saturday, 7
AM – 5 PM; Sunday, 9 AM – 2 PM. 323.887.9622
Take the 60-day
challenge for a healthy lifestyle. Become a member at the YMCA and a
counselor will help you set up a customized lifestyle program. Look good
and feel good as you make good on your new year’s resolution!
Did you know? By
telephone, with your library card handy, you may reserve a computer at the
main Montebello library, up to three days in advance. You may reserve once
per day for up to an hour, and may use the computer an additional hour if
there is nobody waiting. Each computer has Internet access. M – Tue, 10 AM
– 8 PM; W – Thu, 10 AM – 6 PM; F – Sat, 10 AM – 5 PM. 323.722.6551
Online Community Lesson
If It’s Broke, We Need
to Fix It
Teacher-authored with student research
Some important facts do
not make the evening news. For example, have any of us heard that Congress
receives more than two hundred million (200,000,000) e-mail every
year? Let’s do the math: that comes to an average of three hundred
seventy-one thousand (371,000) e-mail per member of Congress, if we
include the three non-voting members. That is an average of more than
one thousand four hundred e-mail per working day. If a member’s staff
worked nonstop for eight hours a day (yes, such would be inhuman and
inhumane), answering each constituent e-mail in one minute, the member
would have to dedicate three staff people to this task—and probably would
have a high “burn out” and turnover among staff.
So, what is to be
done? Congress has implemented a solution:
congressional offices have added authentication measures to their Web forms,
restricting the flow of constituent communications to members.
Curtails Constituent E-mail”, Susie Gordon, Capital Advantage, as reprinted
in Philanthropy Journal, July 31, 2006.
that this is a legitimate solution (there are those who say “no”), could any
member’s staff possibly answer all communications timely and adequately,
even if half the communications were blocked by this solution? Obviously,
A member of
E-News team 8 asked city hall, the county supervisor’s district office,
and the congressional member’s district office about their preferred means
of communication. Here are the results:
Type of Communication
Supervisor Molina’s Office
Congressional Member Napolitano’s Office
Visit district office
Attend event where there is a field representative
If you answer the
multiple-choice questions below and e-mail to
“E-News answers” in the subject field, you will be credited toward a
“certificate of recognition in community affairs” to be awarded in 2007 by a
local nonprofit organization.
1. What is the root
cause of a member of Congress receiving too many communications?
(a) the ease with which
constituents use e-mail.
(b) too few
to answer communications.
(c) too many
constituents depending on the member for solutions.
2. What would be most
helpful to an elected official trying to answer constituent communications?
(a) A bigger budget
with which to hire more staff.
organizing semimonthly meetings to which a large number of constituents
would be invited, where there could be questions and answers.
setting up a nonpartisan survey organization and continually communicating
survey results to the elected official.
3. What is the best way
in which you could help to solve this problem?
(a) Volunteer time at
the district office of an elected official.
(b) With others, set up
and run a nonpartisan survey organization as a business.
(c) Contact elected officials and volunteer to sit on
a constituent committee which would organize and run semimonthly meetings.
CAN HELP OURSELVES AND THE COMMUNITY
I Don’t Want
to Grow Up, Part 3
“The solution to adult
problems tomorrow depends on
measure upon how our
children grow up today.”
-Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist,
In part 1 we looked at how
the use of the word “kid” could affect our expectation and treatment of
youth. There is the belief that youth have potential to help adults meet
the great challenges of our times, but because we treat youth as “kids”, we
fail to tap that potential. In part 2 we considered the possibility of
implementing a serious, yet entertaining game, in order to persuade adults
to refrain from using “kid” to refer to youth, as the first step toward
changing the expectation and treatment of youth. We left off wondering
whether youth would support a campaign to elevate their status.
Knowing that in Latin
culture we have the quinceañera and the “sweet sixteen” party in
English culture, I ask whether we could have a somewhat formal, somewhat
enjoyable program to indicate maturity, regardless of the age of the youth,
not too different from the process used by Boy Scouts of America to evaluate
a candidate for the rank of Eagle.
course, this leads to questions. Which youth have the time away from
studies and school activities to pursue a program of maturity? Which adults
have the time to mentor the youth in such a program, more so if we wish to
give the opportunity to a very large number of youth? And what privileges
could be accorded which would be meaningful, without creating costs and
without being vulnerable to crippling abuse?
answer to these questions might lie in reverse order. First, if we had a
set of inexpensive, if not cost-free, privileges for youth and accorded
those privileges based on their exhibition of maturity, we would expect to
attract a large number of youth. If the youth were evaluated on their
exhibition of maturity, then they would strive to exhibit maturity, which
means that they would not be “high maintenance”, that is, they would not
take excessively of the time of adult mentors. So we would have adult
mentors. Also, if the privileges were very desirable, the youth would
reprioritize studies and school activities.
vehicle for a program of maturity might be through existing school clubs.
We would ask more of youth and give them more in return. Hopefully, the
clubs would grow in size and the level of maturity exhibited would be such
that adult mentoring, as by a teacher-adviser, would need to be only
ask that, for a program of maturity, our service organizations work
together, to maximize the scarce resources of time and money.
Ajemian, December 21, 2006, Montebello, California 90640
(For the full text, go
to www.mymontebello.com and click on “Life’s Problems and Solutions”.)
all! We are Montebello E-News, a newsletter operated by students from
Montebello High School eager to help make a difference in Montebello. This
newsletter is designed to
inform those who "labor, learn, and live" in Montebello;
assist the community in decision-making that benefits the community as a
to encourage the improvement of the quality of life in the community;
to create community communication and cooperation;
teach “self-reliance, selflessness, and sustainable solutions.”
hope is that this newsletter reaches as many people in Montebello.
Montebello E-News is a nonpartisan newsletter that not only offers
solutions but also welcomes the recipients to give us suggestions on how to
make the newsletter more useful to them.
newsletter will include one or more of :
fun facts and games;
an important fact, solution, and activity;
public advisory vote;
online community lesson,
how residents can help themselves and their community.
By team 6, which lays
out and publishes E-News.
American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner:
"Inside of me
there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is
good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time."
which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, "The one I feed the