Final JRN 101

Imperial Valley, Calif. – Calexico valley native, twenty-two year old, Luis Flores, is about to embark on the project of his life in August of this year. With Immigration Reform being the upcoming political issue, Flores will have the opportunity to inform immigrants who will receive amnesty and the general public about the economic situations that citizens can still struggle with, besides revealing the Imperial Valley and Mexicali’s economic statuses.

Flores is a political economics and history double major at UC Berkeley, and is one of the applicants who has been awarded the Judith Lee Stronach Prize to fund his proposed project, “El Valle y la Recesion”.

“Every year four to five graduating students receive a $25,000 award to pursue their projects,” said Flores.

The Stronach Prize provides much freedom in research, said Flores, which will be a tremendous help to him.

Starting August 2013 Flores will begin working on his project by returning to the Imperial Valley – particularly his hometown Calexico – to captivate stories through the surrounding cities valley and Mexicali that reveal his proposed purpose for the project.

Flores’ “El Valle y la Recesion” project will be a visual documentary that will focus on revealing the difficulties Imperial Valley residents, mainly immigrants, struggle with even after they are granted amnesty. Besides this, the project will expose how immigrants can easily fall into the valley’s recession once they become United States citizens.

Both of Flores’ parents were employed by the city of Mexicali before they gained amnesty through the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) law, and the recession was felt deeply in Flores’ own intermediate family, extended family, and friends, just like it was felt by many valley residents.

“This project wants to show that the typical explanations of the recession in the region are limited, because they do not look at the history of economic policies in both the Mexicali and Imperial Valleys since the 1980s,” said Flores. “Rather than blaming immigrants for borrowing too much (money), or for not being educated enough, I want to suggest that there were larger forces compelling immigrants to live a life of credit dependency,” said Flores. He also wants to connect the Imperial Valley housing boom to a set of policies that become hidden when the media blames the borrower – particularly immigrants.

The journey to completing Flores’ project will not be necessarily an easy one and he won’t be able to do it alone, but it is something worthwhile to him.

“I think the best scholarly work is situated in personal experience. Good research is usually nuanced, it is difficult to do this without the instincts shared by personal experience,” said Flores.

Flores is planning on getting students from Imperial Valley College, San Diego State University Imperial Valley campus, and Universidad Autonoma de Baja California to participate and assist him in conducting interviews, organizing an art exhibit, running an interactive project website, and generating and distributing credit resources to showcase the different aspects of his “El Valle y la Recesion” project.

He said this project is fundamentally about collective knowledge production, and that this goal is only enriched by different perspectives.

Prior to attending UC Berkeley, Flores attended Imperial Valley College (IVC) where he was enrolled in both journalism courses taught there, various studio art classes, and even assisted in organizing an art gallery at IVC.

Flores believes the skills he acquired at IVC will translate well for his upcoming project by clearly reflecting what he will be working on in telling a story about the Mexicali and Imperial Valley residents – mostly Hispanics participants – on transnational history of credit-dependence.


Courtesy Photo: Luis Flores

Courtesy Photo: Luis Flores

A foreclosure home sits on Silverwood Street in Imperial, CA on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. This is one of many homes in the Imperial Valley that have been foreclosed because of the harsh economic conditions some individuals still struggle with.

A foreclosure home sits on Silverwood Street in Imperial, CA on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. This is one of many homes in the Imperial Valley that has been foreclosed because of the harsh economic conditions that still exist today and create a burden for some individuals. –Photo by Iliana Felix

A small commercial area located at W 2nd Street in Calexico, CA is secluded due to its' location and the city's economic status.

A small commercial area located at W 2nd Street in Calexico, CA on Sunday, April 28, 2013, is nearly secluded due to its’ location and the city’s economic status to maintain the buildings. –Photo by Iliana Felix

Midterm JRN 101

IMPERIAL, Calif.- After playing 24 years of professional baseball for nine different teams and 13 major organizations and being a 2008 World Series Champion for the Philadelphia Phillies, Imperial Valley native Rudy Seanez has remained residing in the valley.

“I’ve always lived here. This is home. I grew up in Brawley. My family is here, so that was factor number one,” said Seanez.

Upon returning to the valley after his retirement, Seanez had a mission to expose baseball players to an official “spring training” baseball environment facility by helping them condition and improve their skills. He also had the idea to bring an overall fitness facility to the valley’s athletes and residents of all ages to work out at.

“When I retired I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay home and do nothing,” said Seanez. So Seanez thought if he had a sports academy, a gym, it would provide the optimal idea.

“I love to work out and being part of baseball for that long a time, it’s only natural that I would combine the two. So that’s what I did,” said Seanez.

The academy provides the best of both worlds for Seanez since he’s continuing to do both things he loves – working out and coaching.



Assignment #4 – Audio Slideshow

Imperial, Calif. – “Strings in general, even at schools, aren’t a big thing but we kinda need it if we’re going to have any future in the orchestral music,” said Dr. Matthew Busse, instructor for Beginning Strings Orchestra and Southwest High School Orchestra teacher.

Two years ago Dr. Busse started an orchestra program at Corfman Middle School in El Centro, but recently moving from El Centro to Imperial, he said his wife suggested that he start the program for orchestra lessons in Imperial, after she saw flyers about guitar lessons and other lessons that the City of Imperial has to offer.

Dr. Busse thought about it and decided to expand it to see what happens.

So far the turnout of students is fairly small with two students from Ballington Academy and a few from Imperial, but Dr. Busse wants to invite anyone who hasn’t had any kind of experience in orchestral music and students who don’t have the opportunity to perform in their schools orchestra to join the program.

He hopes the City of Imperial will continue the program in order to open it up to students from all over the Valley to create a Valley wide youth orchestra.


Assignment #2 – Photo Essay

Imperial, Calif. – After months of planning Imperial Valley College’s Associated Student Government (ASG) works alongside their basketball team to coordinate the coronation of IVC’s Miss Sweetheart during one game of the entire season.

IVC started its first Miss Sweetheart coronation in 1968 under the Royalty Act in the Associated Student Government’s Constitution.

“Clubs nominate someone from their club that they feel have exceeded their expectations and deserve to be nominated as IVC’s Sweetheart,” said Lisa Tylenda, ASG President.

For two days voting for nominees takes place, before the official ballots are counted.

The queen is then elected based on the IVC students’ votes and announced during the basketball game’s half-time.

This year marks the second consecutive year the tradition has been followed up on in many years.

The ASG hopes it will continue for the years to come and that in the near future not only nominees for Miss Sweetheart will be accepted, but nominees for a king as well will be incorporated into the ASG Constitution, said Tylenda.

JRN Assignment #2-Photo 1

The marquee on the wall of Imperial Valley College’s Student Affairs’ building alerts and reminds students to see if the nominee they voted for won on Thursday, February 14, 2013. The marquee is monitored by the Associated Student Government publication officer and has been displaying this sign for a week. — Photo by Iliana Felix

JRN Assignment #2-Photo 2

ASG activities officer, Kian Counce, 20, finishes painting a heart on a Miss Sweetheart poster before the ASG planning meeting in the Student Affairs’ conference room on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. The poster will be posted on campus as reminder with additional information for students to come show their support and meet their new queen during this Friday night’s basketball game. — Photo by Iliana Felix

JRN Assignment #2-Photo 3

ASG senators busily work together to tie and form the 400 plus balloons into arch walkways for the Miss Sweetheart coronation in the IVC gym’s dance room, said ASG President Lisa Tylenda. It took about four hours to complete these arch walkways that were only used for less than half the time it took to create them on Friday afternoon, February 15, 2013. — Photo by Iliana Felix

JRN Assignment #2-Photo 4

“Hopefully the turn out (campaigning) was good that may be I won. I don’t know,” said Samantha Garcia, 19, Miss Sweetheart nominee from the Future Leaders Club.
And indeed it was, Garcia was pronounced IVC’s Miss Sweetheart queen and congratulates runner up princess Lydia Celeste Mendez, 21, who was nominated by the Student Support Services Club during the IVC basketball game on Friday, February 15, 2013. — Photo by Iliana Felix

JRN Assignment #2-Photo 5

2013 IVC’s Miss Sweetheart queen, Samantha Garcia, pauses for a photo after being congratulated by 2012 former queen Lupe Lopez, 21, before Garcia headed to her reserved seating on stage for the remainder of the basketball game.
Lopez said she felt honored that the ASG asked her to crown this year’s queen. “It was very nice of them to ask me to come back. It was like a walk down memory lane,” said Lopez. — Photo by Iliana Felix






Assignment #1-Audio

With this being the last week of January, Immigration Reform is the featured news item throughout the United States because President Barack Obama is hoping the proposed reform will reach a compromise within the next day – January 31, 2013.

In the past Immigration Reforms have been pushed twice; the Control Act of 1986 under former President Ronald Reagan and the establishment of the “Big Fence” in 2005 under former President George W. Bush and Congress.

Both of the past reforms attempts to resolve immigration into the United States were not completely successful, since illegal residents still resided in the country.

So, what makes this immigration reform of 2013 more amiable?

During a speech in the East Wing of the White House President Obama stated that it shouldn’t make it harder for Latinos or any immigrant ethnicity to work here; it should try to encourage them to contribute to society.

Michael Navarro, a twenty-one year old computer science and welding major at Imperial Valley College, has an optimistic outlook the reform will get passed.

David Arevalo, a twenty year old music major at IVC, also thinks the reform will get passed but he has varying thoughts when it comes to the long term reality of it.

“I think the people, who took advantage of living in the U.S., will continue to the same. They might just abuse the Welfare system,” said Arevalo.

Besides that negative thought, Arevalos agrees with President Obama’s assurance that young people, who were brought here under no fault of their own, shouldn’t be deported and have an opportunity to earn citizenship, if they’re striving to become productive members of society.

Immigration Reform is the Democrats’ top priority because during this past election they received most of the Latino votes.

So, the Democratic Party believes there are better odds for the completion of this reform, but it has to be achieved with the cooperation of the Republicans.





Inauguration Exercise

Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States, who was recently sworn into office for his second term on Monday, January 21, 2013, his inauguration ceremonies lasted over a course of three eventful days from January 19 to 21 in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

The estimated costs for this 57th inauguration varied from private donations of about $45-50 million spent for parties, balls, and concerts, while taxpayers paid the rest of the expenses for the parade, transportation, swearing-in, and security.

Presidential inaugurations are a part of American history, but with the national debt accumulating to approximately $16.5 trillion dollars, was it really necessary for President Obama to have the ceremonial inauguration events, as he did?

Anarosa Olmos, a communications major at Imperial Valley College, said she heard a lot of people talking about President Barack Obama’s inauguration, even thought she didn’t see it.

“I never paid attention to it at all. I don’t think it’s that interesting,” said Olmos.

Although the inauguration doesn’t appeal to Olmos, she has one simple thought when it comes to the sum of expenses.″>

Ahmad Aasiya-Bey, a psychology major at Imperial Valley College, said he doesn’t agree that the national debt was as high as it was.″>

In all, the total estimated costs for President Obama’s inauguration summed up to about $170-180 million adding more to the United States’ national debt.