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 February 8, 2007 

“Anger is never without Reason, but seldom with a good One.”

     Benjamin Franklin, US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist,
     politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)



In This Issue

1.     Madam, Do You Know, Where Is the Montebello Archipelago?

2.     The Eleventh Commandment, Part 5

3.     Announcements

4.     Fun Fact

5.     About Montebello E-News and “My Montebello”



Online Community Lesson


            Yes, this is a trick question.  The Montebello Archipelago is not geographic, but, rather, sociologic.

            An archipelago is a group of physical islands.  Montebello is a group of sociological islands.  An obvious manifestation of this is the education islands.  Our schools are fenced and guarded, in part because school principals are not permitted to create effective safety zones around the schools, in part because the Federal and state governments dictate what must be taught in a school day which is too short.  Principals must content themselves with creating walled “islands of safety” and following the dictates of the “paymasters”.  There is little, if any, interaction, with the surrounding community.  A school is too busy or unconcerned to care about the surrounding community and vice versa.

            Is this a conjecture, hypothesis or theory?  The last one, unfortunately.  Ask the neighbors around a school if they know the name of the principal.  Ask the students at the school if they know something more than where the police and fire stations are located.  This theory is easily proven.

            A school is an island, and the surrounding community is an island.  But there are other examples.  There are islands of retirees in convalescent homes, senior housing, and the senior center.  There is an island of municipal employees.  There are islands according to culture, religion, and language, sometimes the same as “ethnic enclaves”.  Other islands include institutions and workplaces.

            The Montebello Archipelago is not unique.  There are hundreds in California, thousands across America.  They are worth noting because they impede the formation and functioning of communities.  We Montebelloans are worse off because of our islands.  Symptoms of our archipelago include crime, traffic deaths and injuries, graffiti, litter, an ongoing mistrust between those in government and those outside.  The goals of one island sometimes agree with and sometimes clash with those of another.

            Notably, these islands are not created by nature alone, that is, they are not the product of the environment and human physiology alone.  History, laws, and rules contribute to island formation. 

If you answer the multiple-choice questions below and e-mail to with “Lesson 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. The Montebello Archipelago is

(a) geographic.

(b) sociological. 

2. Another way to characterize the Montebello Archipelago:

(a) a variety of interactive, but not optimally cooperative, groups.

(b) an inevitable and insoluble consequence of influences natural and artificial. 

3. To build bridges among the islands of the archipelago, we must

(a) give greater support to bridge builders, like our service clubs.

(b) accept that Washington, D.C., and Sacramento cannot know everything which would transpire in Montebello and cannot pass laws and regulations which would solve all of Montebello’s problems.

(c) organize and give priority to a “bridge builders” council of residents to take action.



The Eleventh Commandment, Part 5:

Should We Ask Mel Brooks?

 Семь раз отме́рь, оди́н отре́жь.

Translation from Russian: Measure seven times, cut once. 

            We have stated the eleventh commandment, “We shall not pass judgment or take action without confirming the information which has incited or attracted us”, and we have suggested that the best means for most of us to follow this commandment would be if each of us joined a group which came together regularly, enjoyably, to put this commandment into practice.  We have read of examples of why we should adopt the eleventh commandment.  In ending this essay, this writer introduces a poignant example which might not disturb us, but, rather, perturb us. 

"Science a la Joe Camel

At hundreds of screenings this year of "An Inconvenient Truth," the first thing many viewers said after the lights came up was that every student in every school in the United States needed to see this movie. 

The producers of former vice president Al Gore's film about global warming, myself included, certainly agreed. So the company that made the documentary decided to offer 50,000 free DVDs to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for educators to use in their classrooms. It seemed like a no-brainer. 

The teachers had a different idea:  thanks, but no thanks, they said. 

In their e-mail rejection, they expressed concern that other "special interests" might ask to distribute materials, too;  they said they didn't want to offer "political" endorsement of the film; and they saw "little, if any, benefit to NSTA or its members" in accepting the free DVDs. 

Gore, however, is not running for office, and the film's theatrical run is long since over. As for classroom benefits, the movie has been enthusiastically endorsed by leading climate scientists worldwide, and is required viewing for all students in Norway and Sweden. 

Still, maybe the NSTA just being extra cautious. But there was one more curious argument in the e-mail: Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place "unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters." One of those supporters, it turns out, is the Exxon Mobil Corp. … 

By Laurie David, Sunday, November 26, 2006.  Laurie David, a producer of "An Inconvenient Truth," is a Natural Resources Defense Council trustee and founder of 

            If we followed the eleventh commandment, we would ask ourselves how important this matter was?  On a scale of “not important”, “important”, “serious”, and “critical”, I would choose either “serious” or “critical”.  That being the case, I would be slow to pass judgment on Ms. David or Exxon Mobil—but not too slow, as global warming is a modern-day juggernaut that is not going to pause for us to ruminate at our leisure.  I would meet right away with a group to investigate Ms. David’s assertion. 

            If we decided that the problem asserted by Ms. David were true, we would be left with an inescapable conclusion:  if we cared about ourselves, our families, and friends, we must do something, and we must do it now.




FOR RETIREES.  The Montebello Senior Center features a wide variety of programs and activities for adults fifty-five years of age and over, including recreation, social services, and daily nutritional meals.  115 South Taylor Avenue.  Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and on the first, third, and fifth Saturday of each month. 

  • Activities include arts and crafts, exercise classes, cooking classes, country Western line dancing, sewing circle, club meetings, referrals, Indian jewelry making. 
  • Dances every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.;  Friday nights, from 7:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M.;  first, third, and fifth Saturdays, if applicable, from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. 
  • Free blood-pressure screening every other Friday. 

For information about the senior clubs, go to and click on “Community Lists and Services”. 

For more information on these programs, please call the Montebello Senior Center, (323) 887-4575, or stop by and visit us at the center.  As for transportation to and from the center, go to and click on “Community Lists and Services”. 

(Thanks to the Montebello City Web site, the director of the center, Ms. Marie Bagwell, and the Montebello Bus Lines for the information above.) 



Fun Fact

·        If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has
both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.

·        If the horse has one front leg in the air the person
died as a result of wounds received in battle.

·        If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died
of natural causes.



About Montebello E-News and “My Montebello”

To learn about this newsletter, Montebello E-News, and the accompanying, growing Web site, “My Montebello”, visit  Also, you will find instructions and contact information for submitting announcements for publication in this newsletter.





































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