The news about the Los Angeles Community College District’s misuse of bond money is not exactly news to everyone.
When some readers picked up last Sunday’s issue of the Los Angeles Times or logged on to their website, they were likely floored to find out that millions of taxpayer dollars have been mismanaged or misspent.
However, are Elans really that surprised?
Perhaps the dollar amounts involved are startling, but can most people around East Los Angeles College say that they never suspected anything?
When walking around campus, students are bound to hear a friend or classmate talk about how the construction is only taking so long so that the contractors can rake in more money.
People still tell stories about how, before the Associated Student Union parking structure was built, an expansive pile of dirt, nicknamed “The Pit” by some students, sat dormant for years.
Shortly after its refurbishment in 2008, the baseball field was filled with gravel and turned into a parking lot. ELAC now plays its home baseball games at Cal State Los Angeles.
Hundreds of students had Fall 2010 classes scheduled in the P2 and S2 buildings in the fine arts complex only to find that every class had been moved elsewhere because the building was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The new clock tower appears to all as a tribute to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
These observations are only the tip of the iceberg. Elans have very valid questions of the decisions made regarding the construction.
After the Technology Building was built, why was the first construction project finished the new home for ELAC’s administration?
Since the administration building replaced the student center and cafeteria, why have no efforts been made to replace them? Students have nowhere to gather and relax, and the only food options are the Husky Store, the lunch truck and the pizza and churro man.
Why is the library in what used to be the locker room in the men’s gym?
All of these concerns have been public knowledge to ELAC’s administration, faculty and student body. The Campus News has reported on it, but the problems have been plainly obvious to students who have been inconvenienced or amused by the comedy of errors.
One question has yet to be asked, though: why did it take a story in the Los Angeles Times to get people upset about the costly mistakes made in ELAC’s refurbishment?
Elans have become too complacent in their cynicism; as a group, everyone has become too accustomed to making snarky jokes about the construction on campus.
Cynicism needs to turn into activism.
The first step toward taking a stand is making sure questions are asked to the right people. Questions to President Ernest Moreno’s office or to Jacobs Engineering Group will likely be answered.
In addition, if any Elan has a question about what is going on on campus, the Campus News is always willing to investigate.
Beyond questions, though, Elans must make informed decisions at the polls in the upcoming election next Tuesday. No one can expect accountability from the LACCD board of trustees unless they vote for candidates who best represent their needs.
For more information on the candidates, visit www.smartvoter.org.
If Elans get involved, they can establish an open and honest discourse about the millions of taxpayer dollars being spent to develop ELAC instead of passing the time by making fun of the clock tower.