By Brian Villalba
The Occupy East Los Angeles College movement has drawn elected officials to visit “tent city” after an early struggle.
California State Senator Ed Hernandez of Senate District 24, was the first elected official to set foot in “tent city.” There was some confusion, as a scheduling conflict prevented him from his first scheduled visit.
Pedro Salcido from the Field Office of Hernandez said, “The senator was excited to see the students working with the administration, and he appreciated the students expressing their constitutional rights.” Occupy ELAC students are concerned that in order to overturn some of the current budget cuts, there would need to be a two-thirds vote in favor of repealing them in the Senate.
When Salcido was asked what was the senators position on the two-thirds vote to repeal budget cuts he said, “This is the first time that someone has asked me that, and I am not sure where he (Hernandez) would come down on that.”
As with all of the elected officials, the standard operating procedure is to send a “field representative” to scout the location and gather information, said the Occupy ELAC students.
State Assemblyman Ricardo Lara of District 50, was supposed to visit “tent city” on Nov. 11, but postponed his visit to yesterday. Lara once again could not make his visit, postponing it, this time indefinitely. Lara could not be reached for comment on both Nov. 11 and Nov. 22 on his level of commitment in support of the Occupy ELAC movement.
Senator Ron Calderon of Senate District 20 and Anthony Portantino of District 44 have also committed to visit “tent city” through field representatives. Portantino’s office could not be reached for comment. Ron Calderon’s office was not able to confirm or deny any commitment to visit “tent city.”
The Occupy ELAC movement is well organized and is working with the expressed permission of ELAC and its administration. They had a sheriff’s representative at their last meeting, since they seek to work with the school and not against it.
The Occupy ELAC movement is actively recruiting and motivating movements on other campuses such as Santa Monica College and Pasadena City College. The movements on those campuses are new or not as established as the one at ELAC.
According to Occupy ELAC, they are the first community college student movement to have tents up on campus and to be supported by the institution of which they attend.