Dear Congressman Denham

February 24, 2017

Dear Mr. Denham,

I wanted to write to you as the mother of a 15 year old developmentally disabled child about my concerns over HR 610 and how it will eliminate ESSA which provides among other things access to the general education curriculum, access to accommodations on assessments, provisions that require local education agencies to provide evidence-based interventions in schools for children with disabilities.

That’s what I wanted to write to you about until I was shown a letter you wrote to Karina about her request for a face to face town hall. Sir, I am well aware of your February 6 tele-town hall but was sorely disappointed that I could not get through…don’t tell my boss that I was trying to connect while I was on duty please. I am also aware of your Mobile District Offices and was fortunate enough to attend your Manteca MDO with my husband. We were a little disappointed with the less than warm reception we received from the Manteca Chamber of Commerce receptionist as she expressed concerns that we might be there to be rowdy. I do hope that she was relieved to discover that we, as well as the other two constituents of yours, were not as rowdy as she imagined us to be. Yes, I am aware that the MDO in Ceres later that day proved to be perhaps more lively as was the assembly in Modesto on Wednesday, February 15. The thing is Mr. Denham, people are a little bit fired up for good reasons and are frustrated with the feeling that we do not have your ear. I’m sorry but your brief little video mailbags, rare tele-town halls, MDOs, appearances at parades, schools, and such are not enough and we, the people you are supposed to be working for, are becoming a bit rowdy in our disappointments and frustrations. Many of us are not feeling like you are engaging with us.

I would hope that you do have the interests of the Central Valley at heart…ALL of the Central Valley. 52.4% of District 10 did vote for you; but you also are called upon to represent the interests of the other 47.6%. That is your job as a public servant. I’m not too sure what you are implying when you wrote that the Central Valley’s voice not be suppressed by the bullying cries of outraged Bay Area residents who want to impose their opinions and way of life on our community. Honestly, that sounds A LOT like the down with BATs (Bay Area Transfers) talk. Are you anti-BATs? My husband and I moved from the Bay Area in 2003 to Manteca to raise our five children. More than half of the people I interact with day to day here in the Central Valley also at some point moved from the Bay Area. So many of the people living in District 10, like my husband and one of my daughters, commutes daily to work in the Bay Area. Perhaps our Bay Area values might not agree with your values but you still must advocate for our voices too. Of course you would have to listen to them and, at least for me personally, I feel like you are not listening.

I do appreciate your meeting the local Mantecan farmers earlier this week after they prevented the levee south of us from being completely breached. That really was something. Thankfully they were so vigilant. Of course they have been for quite some time as it has been public knowledge for years now that levee improvements are desperately needed. Your visit made for a great photo opportunity and several glowing pieces written by Jason Campbell and Dennis Wyatt in the Manteca Bulletin. I do hope that you will follow through on the promises you made with that media opportunity. The farmers and the citizens of Manteca, BATs included, are counting on it.

When I had the opportunity to meet with your man, Pete Butler, at the Manteca MDO, I did not feel like you were listening. Mr. Butler was nice enough but much of our conversation was him telling us that he could not speak for you. He also reminded us a few times that our opinions, questions and concerns expressed at the Manteca MDO are nothing at all like the reception received at a MDO in Patterson or Newman. Perhaps it’s that Bay Area influence you speak of? Regardless, you still represent us and we deserve your attention too. One thing I repeatedly emphasized while talking to Mr. Butler is you and your office need to do a better job at communicating with us. You need to ANSWER BACK. At the very least you or your staffers can send a postcard, an email or, like POTUS, even a tweet acknowledging communications from your constituents – even the ones whose values don’t agree with yours – ESPECIALLY the ones whose values don’t agree with yours.

Thank you for your time. I could hope to hear from you but honestly given your lack of response to all of my previous communications to your office, you will forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.

Respectfully,

Laura A Scarborough

not a paid protester or anarchist but a nurse, wife, mother and grandmother who lives and works in District 10

flower power

My red, itchy eyes and nose are telling me what my eyes can see in and around the 209; the Almond Blossom season is upon us. I do love the almonds! As for their blossoms, well it’s most definitely love-hate kind of regard. I hate how they make my eyes and nose itch in a way that all the Zyrtec in the world will not fix. But there are the almonds to come and, right now, how beautiful the blossoms are blanketing the Central Valley snowy white.

Driving to work this weekend, in the gusty, windy deluge of rains that was Winter Storm Lucifer, I couldn’t help but admire something more about those lovely blossoms. We have been slammed hard in a way that topples trees and causes hills to slide and roads to crumble and holes to swallow up cars. Our reservoirs, lakes, rivers and streams are overflowing with some spillways failing and a glory hole spillway flows for the first time in years – a spillway called the Glory Hole! Heh! Even in our neck of the woods a levee is in danger of failing and flooding parts of my own city for the first time in 20 years. Don’t worry, the new Big Top is high and dry…dryish…actually quite soggy but in no danger of flooding. As for the blossoms, the blossoms continue to blossom and hold fast to the branches on all the fruit and nut trees in all the orchards everywhere in and around the Central Valley. That’s a good thing, a very good thing because I do love almonds.

Almond blossoms sent to teach us That the spring days soon will reach us. – Edwin Arnold

nevertheless persisting

I might be entering the acceptance stage. Of course the stages of grief are fluid and somewhat circular rather than linear so acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean one is done. Consider the reality that one never does get over the loss of a loved one. You don’t. You just don’t ever. I tell you this because while I might be accepting the fact of who is currently  sitting in the White House, and on weekends in his imagined Winter/Southern White House, it doesn’t mean that I am okay with this. Dear god, no! Nor am I okay with the idea of a Winter White House or a Southern White House. It’s like fetch. It’s not a thing and it’s never going to happen so stop trying to make it happen. I do, however, like that I can insert a Mean Girls reference here.

Perhaps I am accepting what is America right now, but I won’t lie, it makes me mad. Acceptance mixed with anger. See? The stages of grief are not stages with defined, hard boundaries even when mourning the loss of America.

So I’m accepting resigned and a little mad. Okay, fine. I am a lot mad. As my darling husband explained to our son as I headed off to meet with like-minded folks here in the 209 to discuss plans and strategies to get our Congressman to have a real town meeting and talk about the issues that are important to us – which don’t even come close to what is important to his political BFF in the White House – they woke the Mama-Bear.

That’s right, Mama-Bear is woke and Mama-Bear is going to fight back hard and, thankfully, Mama Bear is not alone.

 

best made winter break plans

On New Year’s Eve, Christmas left The Big Top; and it packed up and left very quickly thanks to the help from my darling husband and my favorite son. Nothing more motivating than the idea of kicking 2016 to the curb and getting our New Year’s Party on I guess.

Happy New Year Bitches!

Yeah, she hated us for a moment there.

And so onward because with holidays over and one more week of Winter Break before back to school it was time for a little fun. Block out a week off from work. Have that What do you want to do…I don’t know what do you want to do conversation. Make some plans thinking this week is going to be fun.

And…

You will wake up like this. Guaranteed! At least I am still a majestic unicorn. A sick majestic unicorn who can barely get out of bed and squeak I’m sorry son as he brings you tea and cup of noodles.

He really is my favorite son!

And come Friday, just as you are starting to feel a little bit better, except for the coughing up a lung, you learn that atmospheric river is an actual thing. A real thing that has people in Northern Cali who actually remember the 1997 New Year storm and flooding in the Central Valley to stock up some supplies, clear the gutters, maybe get some sand bags, have the candles ready, charge all the tech devices and hunker down

Probably a very good idea since I am still coughing up a lung and a little bit…okay, a lot of snot! And with the NFL Wildcard Games and the Golden Globes on this weekend, well, I’m sorry son. Spring Break will be here soon.

November chill

Currently holding my mug of coffee.

There’s a chill in the air, outside and inside. So, for the first time, the furnace is turned on here under the new Big Top.

It’s finally feeling like Fall y’all and today I will give thanks:
for cozy flannel pajama pants
hot mugs of coffee
the cozy afghan Zoë crocheted for me last Christmas
for hot flashes that might be a little bit more welcome right now
and for my darling husband being able to troubleshoot and repair the furnace because when we turned it on at first it would not turn on.
A very good thing to be thankful for because the friendly neighborhood HVAC guy couldn’t fit us in until Friday or Saturday. I guess most everyone else in our neck of the woods is turning on their heat for the first time and also, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Some retail workers, police, fire and nurses (like me) might be working but HVAC guys are not…the more you know.

Stay warm.