The IHL

I was a public servant for most of my working life. Law Enforcement was my line. Still is, as it turns out, even though I'm “retired”. I suffered a couple of financial setbacks, not the least of which was that the County of Sonoma, California, made the retirees retirement medical benefit so expensive that I had to drop out (or quit paying rent. It was actually a choice, you see, at least that was their take). Oh, that's enough of that specific cry-baby shit, I think. Now, thanks to the geniuses who enacted the Affordable Care Act, I still can't afford to buy medical insurance, so we pay out-of-pocket for our medical needs, and then pay a fine to the IRS when we file our taxes because we can't afford to pay the freight for “affordable” care.

So I work. In the industry that I know. In the private sector.

I work for a couple of private companies here in the Pacific Northwest as a security officer. Mostly armed and uniformed, but sometimes not. Doesn't pay much, frankly, but enough to keep me doing it. At the present time, there's plenty of work due to the Portland, Oregon riots over the most recent Presidential Election.

My main job, however, is as a uniformed security officer at Lower Columbia College, a community college located in Longview, Washington. Longview is just about a 10 minute drive on I-5 from my town, Castle Rock, Washington, and that's the primary reason that I work at the IHL (that's my own acronym for the college—it stands for Institution of Higher Learnin'). The security department has a so-called hands-off policy, except in cases of self-defense. We're expected to enforce the IHL's rules, such as they are, but the truth is, we have no actual authority to enforce anything.

As a side note, in my lifetime, I've observed that the concept of having responsibility without authority is generally a recipe for disaster.

We're trained and re-trained and trained again in the valuable IHL needs. Such as…..Diversity, Inclusion, the Violence Against Women Act, Title IX, Gender Identity, Micro-Aggressions, Etcetras…..You get the idea.

Back to the Affordable Care Act and it's effect on me. I took this job here on the Left Coast because it was a guraranteed half time assignment. In other words, I am, once again, working for a government agency. The State of Washington. How about that? But….This job is limited to 75 hours per month because if they allow me to work in excess of that magic number of hours, the IHL must offer me medical benefits. And, despite the fact that the IHL is a standard-bearer for the Affordable Care Act and all things “Inclusive”, and all things Left, the IHL is not about to make that offer to the likes of me.

And I told you that so I could tell you this:

When I took this job, I understood that it was part-time without benefits. I knew it was part-time without benefits. I was attracted to it because of it's location. I signed a document, and re-sign it annually, that says I agree that the job is part-time, limited to 75 hours per month, and that I am an at-will, temporary employee without benefits. What they didn't tell me (at least directly) was that I would be required to pay 1.5% of my income to a public employee's union—the AFSCME. So, as a practical matter, if I make noise over any sort of mal-treatment directed towards me to the union, I just don't get scheduled for work again. And, in the interim, AFSCME can use my lousy 20 bucks (or so) American per month to further the cause of Left-Wing politics. But not medical coverage for me.

Of all the revolting developments, I tell you.

Maybe you guessed by now that I'm a white Republican voter. If you didn't already guess that, you just haven't been paying attention. While he wasn't my first choice, I'm a Donald Trump voter. And the longer he's sticking around, the better I'm liking this boy.

At the IHL, we haven't had any direct student protests yet—Longview is back-water. It's situated on I-5 between the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington mess and the Olympia/Seattle Washington mess. Castle Rock, where I reside, has a population of 2100 (give or take), Longview is in the 35,000 range. The people who live here have historically worked in lumber, fishing, and related trades. They wear camo, go hunting, and work hard for a living. At the IHL, we have as many students learning trades like welding and diesel mechanics as we do in the so-called academic areas. We also have a contingent of High School oriented students—GED candidates and such. It's a mostly caucasion population in these parts. My point is this: Most of the students attend the IHL for reasons that have NOTHING to do with protesting the most recent Presidential election where Donald Trump and the Republicans overwhelmed the nonsense of the past 8 years.

As an aside, I have seen people on campus wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts, but have observed no Confederate flags nor mounted horsemen wearing hooded robes. Nope, the only things I've seen on the campus of the IHL that could even remotely be considered racist are the Black Lives Matter shirts.


During my average day working at the IHL, I make a foot tour of every building on the campus more than once. It's a small campus. I get around. The buildings here have names—The library is called the Library, and so forth. The actual address of the IHL is 1600 Maple, and the building that is emblazoned with that number is called the Main Building. It houses, among other things, the Art Department. If you were to walk into the Main building under the number 1600 on Maple in Longview, Washington, and walk straight, you would be walking down the Main hall in the Main building. That's where the Art Department displays the recent artwork that has been sanctioned by the Art Department (and, by implication, the entire IHL). And that's where these fabulous pieces of Art are displayed, to the joy and pride of the Art Department and Lower Columbia College in general. The IHL has spoken.







Comments

  1. I usually read your blog to get a good laugh. However, this little morsel has some real meat to it. Being a fellow employee of this "esteemed" institution of higher learning I could not agree with you more.

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