Monday, October 15, 2012

Gas Prices

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pace will race, after all

Pace will race, after all

Former top school board candidate changes mind, files for candidacy

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 10:54 am | Updated: 5:00 pm, Fri Aug 10, 2012.
The pool of candidates vying for one of four soon-to-be-vacant seats on the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education grew as of of Thursday. James Pace, Director of Land Development for Pembrook Development in Morgan Hill and father of two children attending GUSD schools, filed for candidacy Thursday with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. He now joins incumbents Mark Good, Fred Tovar and Pat Midtgaard, who will also run in the November election.
Pace, 39, made the final round of interviews alongside then candidate Pat Midtgaard, who was appointed over Pace in December 2011 to fill the vacant seat let by former trustee Francisco Dominguez.
After previously telling the Dispatch in July, “I don’t think the board position would be a good fit for my life right now,” Pace reconsidered his original position after attending an informational candidate session hosted by Board President Tom Bundros.
"I just went there to make sure someone good was running, and there was no one there," he said, referring to the absence of non-incumbent candidates. "So I decided I had to step up."
The former computer programmer has been involved with five school site committees, including the Rucker Elementary School Modernization Committee, serving as treasurer of the Rucker Elementary School Parent Club and chair of the Rucker School Site Council. Pace served for four years on the Measure P Bond Oversight Committee, and two years on the Superintendent Parent Advisory Committee.
Come fall, Pace will have one son attending Rucker and one daughter enrolled at Ascencion Solorsano Middle School.
"I think it's important that citizens take their government seriously," he said. "You gotta participate."
GUSD trustee Dom Payne cast the lone vote for Pace during December 2011 interviews. With a 5-1 vote, the school board appointed Midtgaard – a former GUSD board member who served from 2004 to 2008.
The deadline for non-incumbents to file for candidacy has been extended to next Wednesday, since GUSD trustee and former Board President Rhoda Bress has confirmed she will not be running again.
Four seats occupied by trustees Rhoda Bress, Mark Good, Fred Tovar and Pat Midtgaard will open up in November. Three of those seats are four-year terms; the other is a two-year term occupied by trustee Midtgaard.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gifted and talented students have a wonderful opportunity to check out Rucker’s program

Dear Editor,
Gilroy Unified School District recently sent notification to students who qualify or may qualify for Gifted and Talented Education services next year. One of the options for GATE-certified children is to become part of Rucker Elementary’s self-contained GATE program.
Both my daughter and son transferred to Rucker to be part of this program, and I have been so impressed with the quality of the instruction and the depth of education they have received. I strongly recommend that all eligible families of incoming third through fifth grade students come out to the Rucker GATE Open House Monday evening, May 14, at 6:30PM to learn more about this phenomenal program.  Rucker is located at 325 Santa Clara Ave., near Masten Avenue and U.S. 101.
James Pace, Gilroy

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another reason why I dislike AT&T

It's all my fault really.  Eleven year old don't really need phones, do they?  But, she was starting middle school, and her mother had said something that was interpreted as a promise.  So, she got a phone.  We bought an inexpensive feature phone with a slide out keyboard.  Those crazy kids, they sure do love to text.  We added the unlimited text plan, because we'd heard enough stories about pre-teens' runaway bills.  She did not have a data plan, because that's just dumb.  The phone was nice enough, and she picked out a case that she liked. 

She was very responsible with it. Mostly.  If it is turned on at school, it is taken away.  She never had her phone taken away.  She kept it charged on a makeshift stand.  She answered when we called; she texted us when she needed something.  She went to bed when we told her, and didn't text after lights out.  At least, not very often.

However, for as great as a gymnast as she is, she sure can be clumsy.  So, in hindsight, it seems inevitable.  We had investigated the insurance scam when we purchased it, but the $50 deductible and $5 per month fee seemed to not make any sense for a phone we'd paid $20 for.  Then, it happened.  We heard the distinctive crunch of electronics hitting wood -- hard wood.  Perhaps the "eco" part of the Samsung phone name is code for thin plastic.  The phone didn't survive this drop.  Well, that's not entirely true.  The back half seemed happy and ready to work its magic.  But the front half, the half with the number buttons and the screen -- that half was decidedly not happy.

Tears from the small one and anger from the big ones came.  Hope in the magic of the father with the electrical engineering background rose, then plummeted.  Where does this spring go? The phone was not going to survive.

Two years had not passed. One year had not passed.  A new phone was not going to come cheaply.

We searched for alternatives.  Google Voice on her iPod touch was  re-enabled.  We inventoried our phone collection.  The cheap-o old phone we had was around. Has anyone seen the charger? No? Well, look for it.  The charger couldn't be found. 

We are victims of Moore's Law; we have plenty not-quite-shiny toys around the house, gathering dust, and being used as futuristic props in the land of make believe.  Behold, a pile of old iPhones.  We've been good customers.  That is, we've spent a lot of money to have nice shiny toys for us that we pay a lot of money to use.  We're such good customers that we've learned that in corporate speak, "unlimited" means "has a limit," just as we had learned earlier that "nationwide coverage" means "may sometimes work where you live." 

Our options solidified: we could buy a crappy phone at full price or we could reuse an old phone that we have.  Is that even a choice?

The SIM card slid in with a satisfying click.  The newly charged phone began searching.   Network found.  Days old text messages arrived.  Joy!  Paranoid parents find and disable all settings that use data and 3G.  It's an iPhone when she's home on our wifi network, but when she's out in the wild, it's a phone.

Over the next weeks, she learns some of the reasons we'd upgraded.  The battery wasn't holding a charge well.  Deal with it.

Then, on a rainy spring morning, my email box receives a message from AT&T.  AT&T sends me many messages, most of which I archive.  I happened to read this one. 

A data plan is now enabled on her phone? Are you kidding me?  Yes, AT&T has a policy (everyone loves policies).  They spy on their network, which I suppose makes sense.  They noticed she is using an iPhone.  The policy says if you have a smartphone, you get a data plan.  But we're not using data!  They have a policy.  $30 per month (plus fees?) has been automatically added.

I am pulling the SIM card out of her iPhone.  She'll have to live without until I can find a handset. Oh, pulling the card isn't enough. They need to update the EME or IMI or something.

My father worked for various incarnations of AT&T for over 30 years.  They send him a check every month -- something called a "pension" that you can read about in the history books.  The first stock I ever owned was symbol T.  AT&T created Unix, the computer operating system that inspired me personally and professionally.  The C programming language.  The transistor.  Information theory.  The laser.  Legends Ritchie (I have a playing card signed by Dennis Ritchie, and you don't. I win.), Pike, Cheswick, Shannon and more worked there.   AT&T powered the best phone ever, first.  I really, really want to like AT&T.

But I don't.

Does anyone have an AT&T non-smart cell phone they aren't using?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ASMS Play Photo

A Maiden's Tale rehearsals

From left, Sloane Pace, playing the role of Princilla DeVere, Megan Visnew, playing the role of Grucilla DeVere, and Samantha Phipps, playing the role of Marcella DeVere, perform a musical number during dress rehearsals Friday for the Solorsano Middle School production of A Maidens Tale.