ELAC tackles ballot initiatives

POWER POINTS—Raquel Beltran, the executive leader of the League of Women Voters, presents on Propositions 30, 32 and 38 at the Ballot Initiative forum that took place at the S2 Lecture Hall last Thursday. CN/Erik Luna

By Lourdes Espinoza

Propositions 30, 32 and 38 were the basis of an educational forum held by the American Federation of Teachers and the Associated Student Union last Thursday night in the S2 Lecture Hall.

This public forum was organized to bring awareness of these propositions as the November ballots draw near. Informational booths and voter registration tables were set up outside the S2 building for those who wanted more information on the propositions and/or wanted to register to vote.

Proposition 30 promises to provide temporary tax dollars to fund state education for the next seven years by creating additional sales and income taxes that will offset an estimated $5 billion cut in funding. Centered on political contributions is Proposition 32, which bans political contributions by payroll deduction and contributions from unions and corporations.

Prop 32 would stop labor groups from collecting or receiving political funds through voluntary payroll deductions. It also exempts many corporate special interests and billionaire business owners from raising unlimited amounts of money and spending it on their political action committees. If enacted, Proposition 38 will increase state income tax rates for most Californians, resulting in increased revenues to the state of about $10 billion a year.

The state income tax increase would end after 12 years, unless voters reauthorize it. Most of the new revenue of $10 billion was earmarked for public school districts and early childhood development programs.

Interim President Farley Herzek introduced the ballot initiative meeting and concluded how learning about these propositions aids the public to make the best choices. Dr. Armida Ornelas, AFT Chapter President, hosted this event as students such as Rebecca Estrada, 2008 student body president, and Raquel Beltran, executive leader of the league of women voters joined the discussion panel.

Professor Teresa Montano, Cal State University, Northridge Chicano/a California Teacher’s Association, emphasized how public education is one of the sectors that has not been bought off but expressed how people who are not in favor of public education funding are trying. Among the crowd, many showed support as Professor Montano explained how the failure of Proposition 30 passing would force East Los Angeles College to cut an approximate 250 classes in the Spring semester, which is equivalent to around 10,000 seats.

ELAC’s Students for Equal Rights president Keylinne Alonso served as part of the panel adding her input as a DREAMer. Alonso said, “Just because I can’t vote doesn’t mean I can’t educate the people. I can still be heard. Their vote is my vote.”

Elan Griselda Guzman, a 22-year-old child development major, said, “Hearing everyone talking about how we’re having all these budget cuts and having to pay more for units is ridiculous.  Our generation is just slacking. They’re not doing anything about it. There’s all these meetings where people expect students who are whining about all these budget cuts to appear and there’s nothing happening. That’s why I’m here.”

CTA union leader, David Goldberg was welcomed as he expressed how young people have led every social movement around the globe. Julie Benavides, an instructor and offsite outreach director and Linda Wilbur, a child development instructor, sparked chants targeted at Yes on 30 and No on 32 during the question and answer portion of the forum. As Goldberg reached out to the younger crowd for political unity, the sounds of “Let’s go, ELAC! Let’s go!” and “You say cut back! We say fight back!” magnified inside the Lecture Hall.

ASU also provided snacks and refreshments paid for through ASU.

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