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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Portland Tow Truck Set on Fire!

Portland, Oregon--Maxine Bernstein’s story describes how a patrol towing incident escalated rapidly to include an angry crowd, an attempt to set fire to the tow truck, and the vehicle owner under arrest.

This incident underscores the point that patrol towing is hazardous to the health of the general public, the legal foundation for California’s ban on the practice.

Oregon is the only state on the west coast that allows patrol towing.

The 2007 Oregon Legislature, under the leadership of Senator Avel Gordly, imposed regulations on patrol towing that have yet to be fully implemented, particularly by local governments.

The towing bills passed that year were Senate Bill 116 and Senate Bill 431.

I led the SB 431 workgroup, which focused on private property impounds, to deal with situations such as these, and participated in the SB 116 workgroup, which addressed the broad scope of towing in the state of Oregon.

Prior to the passage of these bills, towing practices in Oregon were largely unregulated, with state and local jurisdictions having little explicit authority to put a dent in abusive and predatory towing.

SB 116 laid out the public policy goal: “(a) Statutes that assist members of the public in avoiding involuntary loss of use of motor vehicles and in expediting recovery of motor vehicles and the personal property in the motor vehicles promote the safety and welfare of members of the public.”

SB 116 establishes the authority of the Oregon Attorney General to receive complaints and to adopt and implement rules to promote the safety and welfare of members of the public.

SB 116 also establishes the authority of local governments to regulate patrol towing within their respective jurisdictions, but none seem to have taken any action since the laws were enacted.

SB 431 addresses private property impounds or patrol towing, the cause of the vast majority of towing complaints.

The legislation also gave state and local governments the authority to regulate the prices towers may charge for heisting your vehicle, but there has been little, if any, action taken.

This is where a conflict of interest exists within municipal governments: as much as they may dislike the practice personally, they need the revenue generated by patrol towing operations to fund city and county services.

Placing a cap on the amount of ransom a tower can charge the victim for release of the victim’s vehicle is an obvious next step, but no elected official has stepped up to take that one on: the pushback will come not only from the towing companies; the heaviest political pressure will come from the commercial interests that authorize the patrol towing practices on their properties.

The property owners pay nothing for the patrol towing “services”, and they want to keep it that way.

The tow company owners pay their drivers on bonus or commission schedules, which explains the drivers’ motivation for aggressive behavior and need for speed.

Some of these drivers carry weapons.

As the patrol towers’ costs increase, they will increase their ransom demands at points of contact with the public.

In yesterday’s incident, the driver demanded $150 in cash for release of the vehicle.

How likely is the average apartment dweller to have that much cash on hand without prior notice?

Some are more likely to have a handgun, a rifle or a shotgun at home than a wallet full of cash.

Other states and the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals have recognized the broad range of hazards to the general public and to the drivers themselves that patrol towing creates. Oregon has yet to step up and resolve the main issues.

The towers’ fee demands are often confiscatory in effect. Loss of vehicle is a penalty far beyond what is just for the “offense” that may or may not have been committed by the vehicle owner.

The patrol towers are hired to do one thing: remove a vehicle from the property.

If you are present at the scene, then you can remove the vehicle yourself. No need for a tow truck.

But that leaves the driver with an investment of time and emotion, and no money forthcoming from his employer, so he must get what he can from you, the vehicle owner.

California’s ban on predatory patrol towing is simple and straightforward, requiring the property owner to be present at the time of the tow and to sign the authorization form.

Commercial property interests and the patrol towers, led by the owners of Retreiver and Sergeant’s Towing, were able to prevent the inclusion of this language in the 2007 legislation, over Senator Gordly’s objections.

This is the most important towing reform legislative work yet to be completed, but I am unaware of any legislative office that is working on the issue (Senator Gordly is retiring prior to the 2009 session).

Here are some important links regarding patrol towing:

Link to description of key towing bills (“Towing reform bills moving”):

Link to Senate Bill 116 (2007):

Link to Senate Bill 431 (2007):

Link to Blogolitical Sean:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Urgent Portland Predatory Towing Alert! Sergeant's Towing running tow scam on public property!

Tow scam targets wheelchair users, persons with legal disability placards!
McCall’s Waterfront Park is scene of tow heists!

By Sean Cruz

For the past year or more, Sergeant’s Towing has been running a towing scam in plain sight in front of the former McCall’s Restaurant at Waterfront Park.

The notorious patrol towing company has been taking vehicles from the publicly-owned parking lot with no contract or authority from the City of Portland to do so.

The City of Portland has just determined that a Portland man, whose wheelchair-enabled van was towed from the McCalls lot by a Sergeant’s tow thug, will get his money back.

Sergeant’s driver took the vehicle knowing he was leaving someone in a wheelchair without his vehicle!

That’s what is so egregious about this particular towing scam—it targets people in wheelchairs (but not just in wheelchairs!)!

The McCall’s lot contains several spaces reserved for vehicles marked with disabled placards, and a small forest of Sergeant’s signs that appear to be posted deliberately to confuse the public.

Some of the Sergeant’s signs posted throughout the lot state that a disability placard AND a McCall’s Restaurant permit must both be visible on the vehicle.

But McCall’s Restaurant has been closed for more than a year! There ARE no McCall’s Restaurant permits!

The predatory patrol towing victim parked in the lot on a Sunday afternoon intending to take a brisk wheel around the park. He parked his van in a space where the sign states that both the disability placard AND McCall’s permit must be displayed.

But McCall’s was an empty building! It was a Sunday! He’s been in a wheelchair for more than 15 years! The van has a wheelchair lift!

The reason that none of these facts were a deterrent was because he was precisely the sort of “customer” the scam is designed to snare!

Sergeant’s has no contract or authority to post its signs or tow vehicles from that parking lot.

That is a measure of the arrogance one finds rampant among patrol towers.

Anyone whose vehicle was towed from McCall’s in the past year should contact the City about getting your money back.

One wonders where else Sergeant’s is pulling these scams.

Many thanks to Tim Barrett for bulldogging this case to a successful conclusion.

Oregonians (and visitors to the state) owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Barrett for providing Senator Gordly’s office with his research on patrol towing in other states prior to the 2007 Legislative Session.

That information, which included the 9th U.S. Circuit Court’s ruling upholding California’s ban on patrol towing, gave us the legal foundation for Senate Bill 431 and Senate Bill 116. Both bills passed on unanimous votes.

The Circuit’s Court’s language is now embodied in Oregon Statute as Section 1 of Senate Bill 116 (2007).

As you can see, there remains some legislative work yet to be done regarding predatory patrol towing.

The accompanying photos of the McCall’s parking lot were taken by Sean Cruz the day after the wheelchair-enabled van was towed.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Voter-Owned Democracy, pt 9: "We don't need no stinking debates!"

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--The Oregonian’s recent editorial, “A race run for pols, not for voters”, made several important points about elections in general and about what Oregonians want in particular, points that few would argue with:

1. “Challengers always want more debates; incumbents tend to want fewer.”

2. “Voters benefit from seeing and hearing as much as they can from the people who ask to represent them in (Salem)….”

3. “What Oregonians hunger for is the authentic voice of a person with a passion to serve them. They want their candidates to demonstrate an understanding of the issues and reasonable approaches to addressing them…What Oregonians hope for is some evidence of original thought and real humanity.”

Oregonians also want to have a choice between qualified candidates. They want to know their options so that they can choose among them.

Across the nation, voters are clamoring for CHANGE, in capital letters! Even the Republicans are trying to climb aboard the change wagon.

But across the City, Portland voters will soon mark their ballots in a process that is more an acknowledgement that the system itself trumps the body politic than it is an actual election.

Most of the races were decided back before May 20.

In Oregon, the legislature maintains an approval rating of only 30%, setting the stage for change, for new voices to emerge, but many Portland legislative races were settled as long as a year ago, long before the March filing deadline.

We approach the November election with a host of single-candidate races, just like in the former Soviet Union, like present-day North Korea, not much to be proud of in the democracy department.

Those incumbent candidates that had the power to restrict debate and candidate forum opportunities did so, a strategy built on running out the clock for the May 20 primary. There was little public discussion in legislative races.

The contests for Senate District 23 in NE and SE Portland (and its two House Districts, 45 and 46) offer a prime case in point, with two open seats at stake:

There were no challengers, no contest, no debates and no campaigning at all for the HD 46 spot, a race decided back at the March 15 filing deadline. No prospect of change, or for a new voice to break in there.

However, with well-qualified candidates competing for both its Senate and House open seats, HD 45 offered real opportunity for an exciting public process and a thorough discussion of the issues that matter.

The Oregonian editorial board found that both Senate candidates, Sean Cruz and Jackie Dingfelder, were qualified for the job, yet there were no debates. The first and only time that the two Senate District 23 candidates were on a platform together was on May 3rd, after the ballots were already in the mail, and that event occurred in HD 46, where there were no House candidates, instead of in HD 45, where there were.

The Oregonian editorial board endorsed the marvelously-gifted Cyreena Boston for HD 45, and found much to like about Michael Dembrow, her main challenger, but there were no debates held in the district.

The entire primary season passed without a single opportunity for the voters of House District 45 to see and hear together the candidates who would represent them in the Oregon Senate for the next four years, and in the Oregon House for the next two.

You would think that the voters would be upset about this….

There was no opportunity for the voters of Senate District 23 and House Districts 45 and 46 to hear where either the candidates or the incumbents stood on the issues, standing on a platform at the same time, with an opportunity for audience participation, because those events did not occur.

There was no actual public process in these key races. Instead, the candidates met privately and separately before representatives of a variety of special-interest organizations, focused entirely on their respective, private agendas.

The endorsements and special-interest cash flowed from those private meetings.

The political parties had no interest in providing candidate forums. The incumbents wouldn’t like that.

The normally-conscientious Oregon League of Women Voters overlooked the legislative races entirely, and the new, utterly inept Oregon League of Minority Voters could not locate these two races that actually featured minority candidates and the state’s largest concentrations of minorities (see Voter-Owned Democracy, Portland Style: “The Oregon League of Minority Voters and the Suppression of Opportunity,” coming soon).

A public platform would have forced the House District 46 incumbent, Ben Cannon, out of his house during the runup to the primaries.

Even though he was "running" unopposed, Representative Cannon would have had an important role in participating in the process of providing his constituents with an opportunity to hear all of the candidates for the seat that would represent them in the Senate.

But staging a debate in the district he represents would have worked to level the playing field among the candidates in both Senate District 23 and House District 45 races, where an all-out union-based effort to elect Jackie Dingfelder and Michael Dembrow was underway.

I intend to comment further on these and other issues, after having taken much of the summer off to give my readers a break, and to take some time for myself.

Over the summer, I learned how to install new floor and countertop tiles in my kitchen and bath, worked in my garden, walked my dog a whole bunch, and started playing Texas no-limit Hold-em poker online fairly regularly. I plan to sharpen my game up a bit and take a big bite out of one of those Las Vegas casinos some day.

More to come….

Future Voter-Owned Democracy, Portland-style topics:

1. AFSCME-gate, early insider endorsements, and how the unions locked up
2. The Oregon League of Minority Voters (OLMV) and the Suppression of Opportunity
3. Cruz vs Dingfelder—on Renaming Interstate Avenue and a related topic: The Revenge of the Avenistas
4. Cruz vs Dingfelder—for Barack or Hillary?
5. Cruz vs Dingfelder—on the Legislative pay and Capitol furnishings controversy
6. Cruz vs Dingfelder—on Veterans, the Oregon National Guard, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
7. Cruz vs Dingfelder—on Immigration, race, color and ethnicity in Oregon
8. Predatory Patrol Towing—Portland’s #1 Predatory Patrol Towing Horror Story continues

and more….

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Honoring Cesar Chavez in Oregon? Vote NO on Bill Sizemore's Measure 58!

Portland--Over the next weeks and months, the City of Portland will once again endure a cycle of gratuitous division and bitter debate as the renaming-Interstate debacle metastasizes along three new axes: Sandy, Grand and 39th.

The Committee that Claims to Own the Chavez-Honoring Franchise in Portland has switched its choice of weaponry from last years’ clubbing and bullying to this year’s shotgun approach, firing blindly down three different streets, hoping to hit something out there on the east side of town.

It remains to be seen whether the bullying and stubbornness that characterized last year’s Assault on Interstate will continue, but so far there is no sign that any lessons have been learned by the Committee and its still-anonymous members.

The absurdly poor timing of the Committee’s filing, just a couple of months before the November election, indicates that they remain oblivious to the real-life issues confronting Cesar Chavez’ people in Oregon.

Like last year, there will be a surge of public expressions of anger, resentment and overt bigotry targeted specifically against people of Mexican ancestry.

This will put many Oregonians in a fine mood to support Bill Sizemore’s anti-ESL initiative, which targets the children of Oregon’s largely Mexican agricultural work force, seeks to deny them educational opportunity and to deter others like them from bringing their children to our state.

And we as a City are about to chew over “honoring” Cesar Chavez in the only way that the mysterious Committee-Formerly-Bent-on-Renaming-Interstate-Avenue can accept: a stretch of asphalt and street signs, any direction will do.

Each of these three selections is certain to generate a lot of heat, and heat always costs money. Public heat costs public money.

The City has budgeted money for a consultant and a public process is underway.

A Public Service Moment:

As a public service, and in the interest of saving the City money, I am providing herein some essential resource information that any entity considering ways to honor Cesar Chavez should consider—a list of the ways he has been honored throughout the nation.

That consultant will probably want to charge you five or six thousand dollars for this information (in a nice tidy binder), but you can have it here for free:

1. Library of Congress (America’s Library), Washington, D.C.:

Cesar Chavez
Born: March 31, 1927
Died: April 23, 1993

“Cesar Chavez was a Mexican American labor activist and leader of the United Farm Workers. During the 20th century he was a leading voice for migrant farm workers (people who move from place to place in order to find work). His tireless leadership focused national attention on these laborers' terrible working conditions, which eventually led to improvements.“


2. Wikipedia: See List of places named after Cesar Chavez:

A. Communities named after Cesar Chavez:

César Chávez (unincorporated area in Hidalgo County)

B. Parks named after Cesar Chavez:

César Chávez Square (Phoenix)
César Chávez Park (Laveen)

Plaza de César Chávez (San Jose)
Cesar E. Chavez Plaza (Sacramento)
César E. Chávez Waterfront Park (San Diego)
César E. Chávez Park (Delano)
César Chávez Park (Berkeley)
César E. Chávez Park (Modesto, California)
César E. Chávez Elementary School (Norwalk, California)
UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana & Chicano Studies, (Los Angeles, California)

C. Major streets named after Cesar Chavez:

César Chávez Street (San Luis) (formerly 1st Street)
Cesar Chavez Avenue (Somerton) (formerly Avenue F)

César E. Chávez Avenue (Los Angeles) (formerly Brooklyn Avenue, Macy Street and part of Sunset Boulevard)
César Chávez Street (San Francisco) (formerly Army Street)
Calle César Chávez (Santa Barbara) (formerly South Salsipuedes Street)
César E. Chávez Parkway (San Diego) (formerly Crosby Street)
César Chávez Drive (Oxnard) (newer street planned to commemorate César Chávez)

New Mexico
Avenida César Chávez (Albuquerque) (formerly Stadium Avenue)

César Chávez Drive (Flint) (I-475 Service Drive through Downtown)
César E. Chávez Avenue (Pontiac) (M-24 Business)

Cesar Chavez Avenue (Minneapolis) (formerly 2nd Ave N)
César Chávez Street (Saint Paul) (formerly Concord St)

Avenida César Chávez (Kansas City) (formerly 23rd St)

César Chávez Street (Austin) (formerly 1st Street)
César Chávez Border Highway (El Paso) (formerly Border Highway)

César E. Chávez Drive (Milwaukee) (formerly S. 16th Street)

500 South in Salt Lake City bears the honorary designation César E. Chávez Boulevard

D. Libraries named after Cesar Chavez:

César E. Chávez Regional Branch (Phoenix)

Maywood César Chávez Library (Maywood) [1]
César E. Chávez Branch Library (Oakland) [2]
Cesár Chávez Public Library (Salinas) [3]
César Chávez Central Library (Stockton) [4]
Cesar Chavez Library (Perris, California)

E. K-12 Schools named after Cesar Chavez:

César Chávez Elementary School (San Luis)
César Chávez Community School (Phoenix, Arizona)
César Chávez High School (Laveen, Arizona)

Chávez High School (Delano)
Chávez High School (Santa Ana)
Cesar Chavez High School (Stockton)
César E. Chávez School for Social Change (Santa Cruz)
César Chávez Middle School (San Bernardino)
César Chávez Middle School (Union City)
Cesar Chavez Elementary School (Corona, California)
César Chávez Elementary School (Davis)
César Chávez Elementary School (Oxnard) (formerly Juanita Elementary School)
César Chávez Elementary School (Greenfield, California)
César Chávez Elementary School (Salinas)
César Chávez Elementary School (San Francisco)
César Cházez Elementary School (San Jose, California)
Cesar E. Chavez Academy (East Palo Alto, California)
Cesar Chavez Continuing Center (San Diego, California)
César E. Chávez Branch Library (Oakland, California)
Cesar Chavez High School (Compton, California)

Cesar Chavez Academy (Pueblo, Colorado)

César E. Chávez Multicultural Academic Center (Chicago)

César Chávez Elementary School (Unincorporated Prince George's County - Hyattsville address)

Academia Cesar Chavez Charter School (St. Paul)

César Chávez High School (Detroit)
César Chávez Middle School (Detroit)
César Chávez Academy Elementary School (Detroit)
César E. Chávez Elementary School (Detroit)

New Mexico
César E. Chávez Elementary School (Las Cruces)
César Chávez Elementary School (Santa Fe)

César Chávez Elementary School (Eugene)

Chávez High School (Houston)
César Chávez Middle School (La Joya)
César Chávez Middle School (Waco)
César Chávez Elementary School (Dallas)
César Chávez Elementary School (Fort Worth)
César Chávez Elementary School (Little Elm)
César Chávez Elementary School (Pharr)
César Chávez Academy (El Paso)

Washington, D.C.
César Chávez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy

César Chávez Elementary School (Unincorporated Dane County - Madison address)

F. Post-secondary schools named after Cesar Chavez:

César Chávez Building, (Formerly the Econ Building) University of Arizona (Tucson)

César Chávez Campus of the Fresno Adult School (Fresno)
César Chávez Building (A building), Santa Ana College (Santa Ana)
César Chávez Student Center, San Francisco State University (San Francisco)
César Chávez Student Center, University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley)

César Chávez Cultural Center at the University of Northern Colorado

G. Former places named after Cesar Chavez:

Colegio César Chávez


Categories: Mexican-American history | Lists of places

Note the cross-indexing of Cesar Chavez with Mexican-American history—sc.

4. Selected examples:


1. Located next to a lake in beautiful Cesar Chavez Park, Cesar Chavez Library is a Regional Library serving the communities of Laveen and South Mountain. This Library includes many exciting features, including a computer training lab, a first five years area, an inviting children's story room, a spacious community meeting room, 57 Internet computers, a 1,000 square foot state of the art teen space, and a 150,000 volume collection including newspapers and magazines, books, DVDs and CDs. The building is inspired by both its functional requirements and its special park setting near a lake with views of South Mountain.

Directions: Cesar Chavez is located on Baseline Road just west of 35th Avenue next to Cesar Chavez Park. Please see the Valley Metro website for public transportation routes serving the Cesar Chavez Branch Library.

Size: 25,000 square feet
Opened: January 2007
Total Staff: 25.5 FTE
Total Items in Collection: 111,635
Total # of Public PCs with Internet: 57


The American Institute of Architects on the Cesar Chavez Library:

The Cesar Chavez Library is integrated into a park made of mounded earth adjacent to a large constructed lake—a remnant from mid-20th century water attitudes. Unlike climates that will have rain every week, the desert is a unique circumstance that requires special consideration of water as well as energy conservation. The limitations imposed by the site, and these values, developed the innovations to be discussed in later measures.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2008.

Environmental Aspects: The desert environment presented several challenges that created opportunities for green building strategies. Extensive overhangs protect the building from solar heat gain and glare. Window walls provide daylighting and views to the outdoors. Roof-top rainwater collection provides water for irrigation, and low-flow fixtures indoors limit potable water use. To lessen cooling needs, the building was built into the site and bermed with excavated earth. Owned and occupied by City of Phoenix. Typically occupied by 26 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 6,400 visitors per week, 1 hour per visitor per week


Maywood Cesar Chavez Library:

The library was established in February 1921 and was called Maywood Free Public Library. In September, 1993, the city council rededicated the library in honor of César Chávez.

County of Los Angeles Public Library:

The following collection of resources honor the legacy and name of Cesar E. Chavez. They paint a portrait of his life’s work within the California labor movement, his humanitarian/non-violent philosophies and unique distinction as one of the world’s most respected civil rights advocates.

Community Service Week
Library Events
Prayer of the Farm Workers' Struggle
United Farm Workers Flag
Reading Lists

César Chávez Curriculum Materials (PDF)
Table of Contents
Grandpa's Short Handled Hoe Story
The Pledge of Allegiance Story
Coloring Pages & Activites
Grandpa's Short Handled Hoe Play
De Colores Song
Remembering César E. Chávez Story
Short Handled Hoe Activity
César Chávez Facts

From the County of Los Angeles Public Library Cesar Chavez Collection:

1. At an age when most boys and girls play at school, César worked with his family picking celery, oranges, lettuce, grapes and other fruits and vegetables.
1. Mientras los niños jugaban en las escuelas, César trabajaba con su familia recogiendo apio, naranjas, lechugas, uvas y otras frutas y vegetales.

2. It was hard work. Many said, Sal si puedes (Leave if you can.)
2. El trabajo era muy duro. Muchos decían, Sal si puedes.

3. César saw how families got sick after working in the fields.
3. César vió como las familias se enfermaban trabajando en los campos.

4. Pesticides were sprayed on the plants to stop bugs.
4. Los pesticidas fueron rociados en las plantas para matar a los insectos.

5. César wanted the bugs to be stopped another way.
5. César quiso que los insectos fueran matados de diferente manera.

6. Many owners said, No! Sal si puedes. (Leave if you can.)
6. Muchos granjeros dijeron, No! Sal si puedes.

7. César asked the workers to leave the fields. He asked the families not to buy lettuce and grapes.
7. César pidió a los trabajadores salirse de los campos. El pidió a las familias no comprar lechugas y uvas.

8. Workers marched peacefully with signs and flags, sang and talked. They chanted ¡Sí se puede! Yes we can!
8. Los trabajadores marcharon pacíficamente con letreros y banderas, cantaban y hablaban. Gritaban, ¡Si se puede! ¡Si se puede!

9. César helped the workers win many changes. ¡Sí se puede! (Yes we can!)
9. César ayudó a los trabajadores a ganar algunos cambios. ¡Sí se puede!

10. Before César E. Chávez died, he still asked for changes to help the workers.
10. Antes que César E. Chávez muriera, él continuaba pidiendo los cambios para ayudar a los trabajadores.

11. His family continues to ask that field workers gain deserved respect and work in a safe environment. ¡Sí se puede! (Yes we can!)
11. La familia continúa pidiendo que los trabajadores del campo reciben el respeto merecido, y trabajan en un ambiente seguro. ¡Sí se puede!

12. César helped all of us.
12. César ayudó a todos nosotros.


The Cesar E. Chavez Branch Library, formerly The Latin American Library Branch, was founded in 1966. It was one of the first public libraries in the United States to offer services and materials in Spanish. The branch opened at its current site in the Fruitvale Transit Village in February 2004. The Cesar E. Chavez Branch is fully bilingual offering information services and collections in Spanish and English.

Chavez branch has approximately 56,000 books, compact disks, videos, DVD's, audio books, audiocassettes, and magazines and newspapers for all ages. Our Spanish language collection is the largest of the system, with 11,500 circulating Spanish items. Also, of popular interest is our Chicano reference and circulating collection. Chavez also has a small Vietnamese collection with 750 items. Finally, Chavez offers a popular Children's section and a growing teen collection.


Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library:

Welcome to Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library homepage. Through this site you will find a vast array of information available at and through your public library.

You may access to the Library's on-line catalog of materials as well as to information about the Chavez Central Library, the twelve branch libraries, the Mobile Library and literacy services. You can also use databases, lists of bestsellers, or web guides on specific topics. Links include connections to a variety of Web sites that offer information about Stockton and other San Joaquin County resources, services and events.

The Library also offers access to many reference materials in electronic format - dictionaries, encyclopedias, directories - and to specialized subscription services such as full-text newspapers and magazines, biography resources, etc. The Internet For Kids and Teen Links selections are links to sites especially selected to meet the interests and needs of young people.

Libraries have always been regarded as repositories of knowledge. More recently, libraries have taken a more active role as disseminators of knowledge. The Web site is a tool that helps you reach and access your information needs no matter where you are. To that end, Library cardholders can access from home many of the licensed subscriptions that could be seen previously only in the Library.

A fifth grade student in Stockton once described his library as an "imagination station" that lets him journey near and far to places real or fantastic. We hope that these pages will provide a friendly and helpful guide to another exciting journey of intellectual exploration, whether for information, for education, or for just plain fun. Enjoy!

The Cesar Chavez Central Library maintains large, fully cataloged collections of books, periodicals, music CDs, DVDs, books on tape, books on CD, cassettes and videos in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese and is building book collections in Hmong, Khmer, Lao, and Philippine languages. The Central Library also has a large, cataloged collection of Japanese books.

The Central Children's Section supports book collections in all of the above languages. All nine branch libraries in the system and the Bookmobile have Spanish language collections of varying sizes; the largest are maintained at the Maya Angelou Southeast Library/Biblioteca, the Fair Oaks Branch Library and the Tracy Branch Library. The M. K. Troke Library also has collections of Chinese and Vietnamese language books. The Library catalog has a PowerSearch feature with a language option that focuses a search to materials in any of the above languages.

Sean Cruz writes Blogolitical Sean: