This week I’m in Modesto, three hours from home, taking an RCFE certification course for would-be administrators of elder care homes. I honestly don’t know where this is going to lead, but it’s the only direction I have at this time, and it seems to have the potential to be a very rewarding profession. Most of the folks in this class are middle age, like myself, embarking on second careers.
RCFE homes are very highly regulated, to the point where I think full compliance is simply impossible. Based upon what I’ve learned in the last couple of days, I’ve observed code violations in every such place I’ve ever visited, even the best of them. I’m not a libertarian by any stretch, and I think regulations are very necessary in this industry, but the state is using a hammer when a flyswatter would suffice. No, let me put it another way: the state is using a hammer when when a flyswatter should suffice, but it doesn’t suffice because too many RCFE operators don’t put their residents first. That doesn’t justify the hammer, which squashes the good along with the bad.
Today we discussed discrimination in hiring. The instructor used the example of an RCFE administrator who hired a homosexual cross-dresser. Incredulous, I asked if it were really illegal to fire a man who came to work dressed like a woman, or at least to require that he adhere to a certain dress code. This isn’t “sexual orientation”, I argued, but public behavior, and not just any public behavior but public behavior on the job! She replied that women wear pants today and employers could not discriminate on this basis. I responded that so far as I knew, restaurant owners could still require their waitresses to wear skirts, even in California. I was advised to contact a state agency on this question to get a definitive answer.
Speaking of moral decay in California, it now seems that the whole state is locked in a ferocious battle. “Yes on Prop 8” and “No on Prop 8” messages are everywhere. When I walked into the hotel lobby on Sunday evening, two employees were arguing about it. As a topic of conversation it is inescapable – in any context.
Last night I took a little walk downtown. I was approached by two panhandlers within a few seconds of each other. Both seemed to be young, white, able-bodied, non-disheveled and non-intoxicated. Today after class I took another walk, and while I was not approached directly, I saw several more of them: panhandlers who looked like 25 to 35 year-old construction workers. Where I live, this is something new, and it isn’t a good sign at all. Not at all …