Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fresno's Plan to End Homelessness, Good Plan, Guys

Note: This is an old issue now, but the blog was never posted at the time. However, the homeless are still being targeted for the crime of being homeless. We are electing new councilmembers, and Ms. Sterling is termed out. Good luck in her candidacy for Fresno County Supervisor.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. (Anatole France. The Red Lily)

But in the city of Fresno, anyone can beg in the street-so long as they can afford a permit.

The Fresno City Council voted a disappointing 6-1 on an ordinance that prohibits solicitations on a street median. (Thank you Cynthia Sterling, for your brave vote)

While many Frenans think of this as just an excuse to stop homeless people from begging, City Councilmember, Larry Westerlund supports his proposed ordinance. Said Westerlund, if “somebody wanted to, up to one time every six months, they would be able to come in and there would be a form they would fill out, a one page form. It would be like here is my name, here is the median I would occupy on this date, whatever that date would be.” Sounds simple, right? Also, the applicant would pay a filing fee, provide proof of insurance, and wear a brightly colored vest.

Here is my problem: Clearly this initiative is aimed at the homeless, who are unlikely to be able to provide the required insurance and filing fee, and even less likely to try for the chance to stand on a median from sunrise to sunset once every six months.

Why not just have the courage to admit it, instead of supporting, defending, and making weak arguments such as Westerlund’s comment, “There’s only one intention here, and that is to deal with people’s safety. There’s no discrimination here.”

But don’t worry-The Fresno Bee’s Kid’s Day and the Fresno Firemen are safe. They will be issued permits to solicit on medians.

Some opponents of the ordinance have pointed out that if it’s unsafe for the homeless, it’s unsafe for all.

Let’s try to solve the homeless problem. An initiative of “Housing First” for the homeless was dismissed in Downtown Fresno in favor of more profitable residences. Housing First has proved to be successful where it has been implemented (www.endhomelessness.org).

In reference to Blong Xiong, a TowerExchange Listserv member wrote, “How does anybody feel the Tower District is represented by our current city councilman? Personally I feel he has North Fresno best interest at heart.”

I’m disappointed in Perea, and Xiong. I call Westerlund a coward, and I applaud Sterling for her one lone opposing vote.

District 1-Blong Xiong

District 2-Andreas Borgeas

District 3-Cynthia Sterling

District 4-Larry Westerlund

District 5-Mike Dages

District 6-Lee Brand

District 7-Henry T. Perea

Thursday, April 29, 2010

True Love vs. Settlement Love - by Lisa

What is love?

Love by my definition is not blind; it is blatantly obvious. It smacks you in the face the instant your eyes fixate on the hunk of meat across the room. Love is not learned. Love does not grow with time: it is already there.

Is there true love? Or, is love a figment of the imagination? Something that people create to convince themselves that the person they have settled for is “the one?” Is it settling to “love?”

I believe love exists in certain cases, but in other instances, I believe that love is a replacement for loneliness and fear that sets in as people age, a variable of our societal pressures. For this reason, I will separate true love and settlement love from one another.

True love is not a pro’s and con’s checklist, for if it is, you are practicing settlement love! For all of those who have known love, true love, it is simply right and there are absolutely no causal nor correlational factors to justify this elation. You cannot describe the feelings you have for that other person. Occam’s razor: It just feels right.

In comparison, both parties practicing settlement love will contemplate how much fun they have together, how good they are for one another, and just how great of a person the other one is. But I’m sorry, are you interviewing with a company for a finance position that offers a lifetime contract and full benefits? No! This is not an if/then scenario. Love does not require logical deductions, comprehension, nor comparisons between finances and assets: it simply is.

Love is instant. It does not take three years of dating and getting to know the individual to assess if there is the right "love potential" there to last a lifetime. This is an example of settlement love. People that merely stay together who have been in a relationship for long periods of time (which I define as a duration consistently longer than two and a half years without an engagement proposition) and do not get married within the first three years of dating are suffering from cognitive dissonance. This term, cognitive dissonance, equates to the checklist, the settlement, “the one,” because the parties have invested so much time in one another that the rationale must be that they were meant to be and therefore, I should marry this individual. Want converts to a should or an obsolete scenario leaving both parties feeling obligated.

What do I know about love? I was in love once, or at least I believed I was. I thought about someone on a daily basis before we started dating, had a physical attraction the moment I first laid eyes on him, and still think about him from time to time, deep down knowing it wasn’t right and yet, part of me still wanted it to be right. Why? I do not exactly know why but what I do know is that this was not love and if I had stayed with him, I would have been settling.

Whether or not you believe in true love, do not practice settlement love. Believe that there is someone better for you out there, waiting, hoping that you will find them amongst the masses.

...But what if there’s not? What if this is the best person you could ever possibly meet? What if?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Sexual Revolution: A Triumph for the Men

I am not really a feminist. I hate women’s sports, I prefer that my husband take out the trash and mow the lawn, and I think a woman's talents are best used in the home. These are just opinions, and I don’t judge people who feel differently about these things.

But let’s face it; in the wake of the sexual revolution, men got the long end of the stick. Women now allow their significant others many outrageous wild cards: another partner for one night (Curb Your Enthusiasm) on their anniversary, a threesome on his birthday (last month in Redbook) Men are privy to watch girls take off their tops in front of the masses (Spring Break) - speaking of which, porn is something a man has a right to do, get used to it (Adam Carrolla, every podcast). Oral sex is no longer taboo. Oral sex goes both ways, true, but how many of you women are getting it as much as your partner?

Some of these things may be extreme, but who hasn’t been accused of being unreasonable for withholding sex in a relationship, abhorring porn, or wanting your partner to abstain from masturbation when you are ready and willing to have sex with him or her? Are these things really unreasonable?

How many years ago would something like having a threesome with your partner be considered off the table under no uncertain circumstances? Now it’s common for a couple to discuss it to “spice up” their sex life.

Forget about the revolution. Let’s talk about sexual liberation. What is liberation? I think of Samantha Jones (Sex and the City). She has (we'll assumed protected) sex with near strangers with no apologies, and she sets the terms. Still, there are fierce double standards (see every other entry in www.textsfromlastnight.com ), and we all do it. When your partner says, “Which one is Samantha?” don’t you say, “Oh, she’s the whore?”

No bras, having unprotected sex with multiple partners, and drugs. Is that liberation?

Sex is great, but let’s take control of it. As a friend told his goddaughter, “Don’t think of it as losing your virginity. Think of it as gaining sex.” A valid viewpoint, but that should be her decision.

The point I want to get across is this: ignore the sexual revolution and seize your sexual liberation. Never let a man (or woman) let you think that you are a prude or out of bounds. It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to say yes. It’s okay to try something new, and it’s okay to only try it once. Sexual liberation has no “do’s and do not’s.”

Girls, liberation is not about being coerced into doing something you don’t want to do because “it’s the nineties.” First of all, it’s not the nineties. Second of all, liberation is about gaining equal rights. I have the right to say no. I have the right to not take my shirt off. I have the right to not wear a bra. I have the right to save myself for marriage. I have the right to destroy a rented pornographic film. I have the right to deny my husband a threesome and demand that the never let the idea cross his lips again. I have the right to be with another woman (but, in California, I do not have the right to marry her). I have the right to abandon a strict moral upbringing, or embrace it.

Liberation is about rights. Men do not have any rights where your body is concerned. He can, and will disagree with you about some things. That’s why finding the right partner is so important. Trust me, if you’re not on the same page sexually, you have a long road ahead of you, that can lead you to feeling unreasonable and question your own limits. Never question your own limits sexually. You have a right to feel whatever you’re feeling, and a choice to act on it or not.

Disclaimer: My current partner has never coerced me into doing something I didn’t want to do, and he was appalled when I brought up the subject of a threesome. He does not use pornography. Please do not assume any other statement I made refers to him, myself, or anyone I actually know, with the exception of “Think of it as gaining sex.”