September 2007

Taking hits, but not backing downPasadena Star News, Tuesday September 25 2007 Guest View P Opinion 4


I’VE got a book on the market called “They’re Your Kids, Not Your Friends.” The publishers in Mexico who picked up the rights went along with that title, calling the Spanish version, “Son Tus Hijos, No Tus Amigos.”


Just like I never believed my kids should be my friends, I don’t believe readers of this column have to be my friends.


My kids didn’t like the approach I took to life, and that’s putting it mildly in regard to their feelings about the approach I took to their lives.


Just like those I’ve been hearing from in the community who claim I don’t understand and don’t want to listen to reason when it comes to my recent column calling for the ouster of all those associated with Nia Charter School, my kids always said I didn’t understand or want to hear their point of view.


The angry community members who believe I’ve betrayed them, my ancestors and my ethnicity by outing a black pimping institution, know right from wrong just as my kids usually did. Funny, with all the accusations, I didn’t hear anyone claim Nia was doing a good job.


I don’t write because I want people, black or white, to like me. I write because I have a viewpoint, and while most people aren’t willing to say the emperor is not wearing clothes, I don’t know how to pretend he’s fully dressed.


One curt remark thrown my way reminded me that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Another well-wisher called me petty for having stored up my anger regarding my daughter’s experience at Nia not being what I had “dreamed” it would be.


“Some people, and I guess you’re one,” my detractor reminded me, “get (ticked) off when they don’t get special treatment.”


Adequate education, in America, isn’t classified as special treatment – at least it shouldn’t be.


Writing an opinion column reminds me of the saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I plan to stay right next to the hot stove.


Readers often remind me of the joy one finds in raising kids. Mine claimed to hate me on a very regular basis. Well, that was only until they grew up, moved out and learned life was a whole lot tougher than growing up under the “Captain,” as their friends named me.


That’s not to say I expect complaining readers to grow up – I don’t. But I do hope they will recognize that I’m not biting my nails because they hate what I write.


Was my column that pointed out the lack of learning that takes place at Nia an attack on a black educational institution that has and continues to fail the most vulnerable students in our school district?




Do I write by assignment that which the Star-News dictates?


Get real.


I’m an opinion columnist. I write what I think, and the Star-News hasn’t got an idea what I’ll write about next. They certainly don’t know what I’m going to say, because even I don’t know that until I fire-up my iMac.


Oh, and about kids and readers, I love you all. It’s the rocks that get thrown my way and my inability to know how to write what people want to read that keeps my adrenalin pumping.


Shirlee Smith is host and producer of the award-winning cable show “Talk About Parenting with Shirlee Smith” and is a resident of Altadena.

From Monica Hubbard’s Altadena Women’s Network:

Saturday, September 29, Congressman Adam Schiff invites
constituents to meet him at Coffee Gallery, 2029 N Lake Avenue,
between 2-3:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Monica is hosting the October 3 Chamber of Commerce mixer and would love
to see women business members there.  Amy’s Patio Café is
providing the treats.  I’ll have some brochures about my nonprofit
consulting practice on hand.  And it will be a great opportunity to
network.  If you can come, please e-mail me or phone 626-797-5912.

The Altadena Chamber of Commerce is soliciting nominations for its
Citizen of the Year award. This award has been presented since 1945 in
recognition of “faithful, untiring interest and service in community
activities.”  Applications are available at the Community Center and
other community gathering places, or e-mail

Finally, Altadenans all over town are signing on to neighborhood discussion
e-groups, blogs and Web sites to share information and learn what’s
going on in the community. For a list of these blogs and e-groups,
visit a page on Tom Hubbard’s Web site, “Community Building, Part
I.”  (Full disclosure — Monica’s husband is running for a seat on the
Altadena Library Board and this information is posted on his campaign

What a lovely day yesterday. Rainy, cold, and gray. I know, but it’s gorgeous in contrast to the 100+ temps of late, the drought and just plain “ugh” of A“ugh”ust. Listening to rain all night long, falling steadily for the first time in months.


In Feburary USA Today said LA was on track for the driest year ever (6/30/2006-07). It’s been a brute since then. The fires have ravaged the city, Griffith Park especially, and mudslides along Forest Lawn Drive wiped out cars today as a result.


Brings me to the GW problem. That’s Global Warming. I sat in on the 50 Years in Space celebration at Caltech this week, and the information is staggering. Here’s one tidbit. For 400,000 years our cycles of ice/melt have been fairly steady, with C02 levels staying between 180 and 300 ppm. Since 1957, when levels started being recorded at Mauna Loa, C02 has steadiliy increased at such a rapid rate that we are now at 400ppm and rising — rapidly. And even with all the improvements we could make on creating greenhouse gases, the increase will contine for years. But, we can stop a SUDDEN climate shift that would be catastrophic worldwide. How? More to come…






From Elliot Gold: 

Saturday Sept 22 2007


I was contacted by Michele McClowry, the person who reports up to the PUSD Superintendent on Charter school maters.

She assured me that she will have a report back to us, but that it is taking time.

She’s had a lot of experience in these maters, so I’m confident that she is leaving no stone unturned… My guess is that we’ll hear back from her no later than Oct 1.

I’ll keep you posted


Thanks — you are vigilant!

This just in from Monica Hubbard/Altadena Women’s Network:
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Metropolitan Transit Authority recently cut their Immediate Needs Program
by 66%. This program supplies Taxi Coupons to senior citizens.

The Altadena Senior Center will host a public meeting on Tuesday, October
2 at 1 p.m. so that our older residents, those who care for them, and
others who are impacted, will have an opportunity to voice their concerns.

Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s office and the MTA will be represented at
that meeting.

Claudia Curry, director of the Altadena Senior Center, urges all
interested citizens to attend this meeting so their concerns can be
heard.  If you have questions, please direct them to:

Claudia F. Curry, Director, Altadena Senior Center
560 E. Mariposa St., Altadena, Calif.  91001
(626) 798-0505 tel
(626) 794-6742 fax

Please feel free to share this information with your respective e-mail
distribution lists as well.

Best wishes,
Monica Hubbard
Pepper Drive Neighbors Co-Captain
Altadena Women’s Network

1843 Pepper Drive, Altadena, CA 91001-3436
tel 626-797-5912 ~ fax 626-797-0210


Just testing out how to link from Flickr to here! All because of the fabulous Susan Kitchens! This was blooming in my backyard and I’m enjoying the hell out of my new Nikon. I started photography in high school with a Minolta 101, then got a Nikon Fm, a Canon digital and now a Nikon D40 as a birthday gift from my wonderful husband. 

Just read this and want to alert all animal lovers out there. Adopt or buy your pets from legitimate sources to protect the health of children, current pets and wildlife.

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