05-22-2018  2:49 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Ejected for Trump-quoting shirt, student sues school

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon student suspended for wearing a "Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co." T-shirt has sued his school, claiming the punishment violated his right to free speech.According to a complaint filed May 18 in Oregon District Court, Addison Barnes wore the shirt to...

Police: 1 killed, 1 injured in Oregon shooting

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Authorities have made an arrest in a shooting that left one person dead and another wounded in a rural community west of Corvallis.Benton County Undersheriff Greg Ridler says deputies responded Monday night to a shooting in progress at a home on Tum Tum Road in...

Police identify driver in Oregon crash that killed 4

YONCALLA, Ore. (AP) — Authorities have identified the wrong-way driver in a fiery, quadruple fatal crash in southwestern Oregon.Oregon State Police say a car driven by 65-year-old Gayle Ward of Vancouver, Washington, was southbound on Interstate 5 when it suddenly turned around and began...

Agencies warn of cougars after fatal attack on cyclist

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Local and federal agencies are warning residents in western Washington and central Oregon to be on the lookout for cougars.The Sunriver Police Department and the Bureau of Land Management both issued warnings Saturday after sightings of the animal were reported in Sunriver...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Clinton backing Abrams for Georgia governor

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the gubernatorial primary in Georgia (all times local):5:40 p.m.Hillary Clinton is urging Democrats in Georgia to make sure to vote in support of Stacey Abrams for governor.Clinton recorded a 60-second endorsement used by the Abrams campaign in direct phone calls...

Palestinians ask ICC to investigate alleged crimes by Israel

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Accusing Israel of systematic crimes, including apartheid in the occupied territories, Palestinians on Tuesday urged the International Criminal Court to open an investigation that could ultimately lead to charges against Israeli leaders.Israel immediately...

Man charged with shooting at black teen waives hearing

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — A white suburban Detroit homeowner accused of shooting at a black teenager who came to his door to ask for directions will stand trial.Jeffrey Zeigler was bound over Tuesday to circuit court after waiving his preliminary examination on assault with intent to...

ENTERTAINMENT

Woman accuses R. Kelly of sexual battery, giving her herpes

NEW YORK (AP) — R. Kelly sexually abused and demeaned a woman, locked her in rooms and vehicles for punishment and infected her with herpes, according to a lawsuit that furthers a string of misconduct accusations against the platinum-selling singer.Faith Rodgers said in the suit filed Monday...

A farewell to the road for Paul Simon

NEW YORK (AP) — Farewell tours don't always mean farewell, but are a ripe time for appreciation and appraisal. Paul Simon's concerts and a new biography offer the opportunity for both.Simon's "Homeward Bound" tour began last week in Vancouver and takes him across North America, to Europe and...

Nielsen's top programs for May 14-20

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for May 14-20. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.1. "NCIS," CBS, 12.71 million.2. "Roseanne," ABC, 10.74 million.3. "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 9.44 million.4. NBA Conference Finals: Golden State at Houston, Game 1, TNT, 8.9...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Judge sides with parents, boots adult son from New York home

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — In a real-life case of "Failure to Launch," an upstate New York judge Tuesday ordered...

Trump won't say if he has confidence in Rosenstein

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declined to say Tuesday whether he has confidence in Deputy...

The princes, the president and the fortune seekers

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a year spent carefully cultivating two princes from the Arabian Peninsula, Elliott...

Tear gas, broken windows disrupt Paris labor march

PARIS (AP) — Clashes between police and groups of masked youths erupted Tuesday on the sidelines of a labor...

The Latest: Italy PM pick had 'no official status' at NYU

MILAN (AP) — The Latest on the law professor picked to be Italy's next premier (all times local):9:45...

The princes, the president and the fortune seekers

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a year spent carefully cultivating two princes from the Arabian Peninsula, Elliott...

Daniel Zapiensilicon Valley Debug/ New America Media

Growing up in California, I always wondered how people could afford to have underground pools in their homes. Today, I work for a pool construction company, and as I demolish some pools and dig holes for new pools, I am getting a window into who's swimming and who's drowning in the Silicon Valley economy.

Having done this for over a year, the pattern I see is those who want pools made are new money – young techies on their way up. The ones demolishing are old money – former bosses of companies and industries, some that don't exist anymore. The truth is that regardless of the unemployment rate, or the stock market, in Silicon Valley there are some that are coming up and some whose time has passed.

I see who they are while digging holes in their backyards.

Based on the type of pools I have to dig, and the locations we go to, I can see why I never had one growing up. This business is expensive, the price for renting the tractors, the wood, the steel, the cementer -- it all gets pricey, and I'm only the first step. There are still the landscapers, the steel guys, the permits and more. The average pool will run anywhere from $25 to $50,000.

I go all over Silicon Valley seeing these pools built and demolished. The craziest one I saw was in San Jose. I didn't even know there were huge homes like that on my side of the city. New money in an old part of town.

Most clients who want their pool demolished, first off, have a dog or two, are above 50, and have kids who have moved out of the house. Those who want a pool built, on the other hand, are up and coming. They either already have money or started making lots of it through one of the many jobs now flourishing in Silicon Valley. The differences between the two groups – in age, outlook, prospects -- is pretty clear.

I met one woman after demolishing a pool at her house in Santa Clara. When we finished she cooked up some BBQ and began telling us stories of growing up on a farm. She talked about how living the city life was different than what she was used to. She said she missed talking to people in person, like she did when she was a kid, versus all the online communication that happens now.

I met another guy, an architect, who told me about how he came to his status in life. I was still new on the job, and he came up to show me how to water the mounds of dirt in his yard to keep it from getting dusty. He told me his secret was that he was a leader and not a boss. He helped his workers when times were hard, like digging with them and staying long after shifts were over to make sure the job was done correctly.

My own boss, Jake, treats us pretty fairly. "I won't make you do anything unless I either did it or do it now," he tells us. But when the economy sank and work dried up, even that wasn't enough to keep my co-worker, Alvin, from leaving the company.

Alvin is in his 40's and from Mexico. He's one of the hardest working people I know, one of those guys you can joke around with at the work place but still get the job done. He always sported his hat backwards and was the main driver for the bulldozer. He had a million stories, and told me about his working days before working with our boss, Jake.

Alvin rents an apartment in the east side of San Jose and lives with some of his cousins. While digging pools, he also worked another job at the time putting stucco siding on houses. All of that was to support his daughter, who recently had a baby, his nephew, who is going to college full time to be an accountant, and his cousins, all of who work as hard as he does. But like a lot of immigrant families, Alvin lives check to check, so when the pay began to dip he left to find other work.

I've managed to stay with the company, and business is starting to pick back up. And yes, one day, I do want to own my own pool. I want the life of the people who swim in Silicon Valley.

Daniel Zapien is a contributor to Silicon Valley DeBug, a project of New America Media.

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