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EDITOR JERRY BERNSTEIN: ‘Wisdom is Cultivated in the Interplay of People and Events’

I have a friend named Roy who is a lawyer. In his opinion everything is black and white as long as it’s the law. Recently I met him and my friend from Fruitcake, Florida for lunch. It only took a few minutes before we were in a discussion concerning public servants and benefits they receive.

My friend from FRUITCAKE, FLORIDA began the conversation. “I read in the Community News that trustees as Cerritos College can collect cash payments intended for medical coverage while in office.

“That’s right.” I answered. “According to the law, if they already have medical coverage when elected to office they can decline the medical coverage offered upon their taking the oath of office and instead accept cash payments.”

“I don’t understand,” he said. “If they don’t need the medical insurance why should they be allowed to take the premium in cash instead?”

“Because,” Roy interjected, “it’s the law and they can do it.” The legislature and other public servants have the same privilege,” he added.

My Friend from FRUITCAKE, FLORIDA looked perplexed. “You know, he said, with the crunch on the economy and the inaction by the legislature doing anything accept to support the governor’s proposed tax measure, I would think instead of accepting the money, the college trustees would donate the medical funds they receive to the college to help relieve the financial crunch on the students.”

Roy interjected by saying, “It’s the law and legally they can accept tie insurance premiums and use it for themselves.”

My Friend from FRUITCAKE, FLORIDA shook his head in disbelief. “You know, when you break down the amount they receive very year it doesn’t look like much, but when you add it up for say five or six years it adds up. When a trustee can pocket $83,982 over 10 years, for $74,376 for a five year period in lieu of medical payments, something is wrong. I would think the money could go into a special fund for students, who need financial help.”

I looked at Roy and my Friend from FRUITCAKE, FLORIDA. “You would think so,” I said, “but humans are just that and the money is being offered to them with no strings attached, whether they need it or not. It’s that simple.”

“He’s right,” Roy interjected. “The legislature needs to review the entire program, even if it affects them, and close these loop holes.”

“Don’t hold your breath,” commented.

At this point Roy excused himself, noting he had to be in court to defend a client.

My friend and I sat silently for a few minutes. “I see the president of the Hawaiian Gardens Employees Union, AFSCME Local 3425 was arrested last week on molestation charges.”

That’s correct, “I answered. He was arrested on Tuesday, Mar. 20 at 8 a.m., booked at 10.53 a.m. and release the next day upon posting bail.” Before he could ask, I continued.” “The alleged victim is the 4 year old daughter of his daughter’s boyfriend.”

“Did he do it?”

“He is pleading not guilty.” I replied. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see. There’s a lot going on in the city behind the scenes.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“We’ll have to wait and see,”I said.

Changing the subject my FREND FROM FRUITCAKE, FLORIDA said, “I understand there was a car accident involving four Artesia High basketball players who were passengers in a car returning from a game, when a second car smashed into them?”

“That’s right. “ I answered. Three of the boys weren’t hurt seriously but the fourth boy is out for the season. It probably ended his opportunity to get a basketball scholarship. All four stayed home four for a week.”

“Doesn’t the school provide transportation to the games for the basketball team?”

“No, I replied. “The principal says the school doesn’t have the money for transportation.”

“That’s a shame. my FRIEND said. “Back in Fruitcake, we’d somehow provide the money for transportation for the games away from home. That goes for basketball, football and baseball.”

“Well, I hope the boy gets his chance.” He said. Saying that he got up to leave. “I have to get going, “he said. It was nice meeting your friend Roy.” With that we both got up and left the restaurant.

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  • Artesia mom says:

    Correction 3 “baseball” players were injured in the accident, all were out of school for a week, though the accident was serious and they are lucky to be alive, all three returned to playing field in time for the regular season. The Artesia HS principal Mr. Garcia immediately resumed transportation for the boys baseball team following this event. Go Artesia! Good luck this season Pioneers!