California Special Elections

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California Statewide Special Elections are just a few weeks away, and California Community College students are interested.

Since the presidential elections are over, the special elections are often ignored. Just as young voters did in November, Skyline students hope others will to go to the polls on Tuesday, May 19.

There are six propositions that are to be voted on in this election, and all of them are related to the state budget, directly influencing state education funding and young adults programs.

Students who are working their way through school need to take note, especially if their jobs are at risk, if they haven’t already been laid off.

According to the Employment Department for the State Of California, the state unemployment rate is currently at 11.5 percent. San Mateo County is just under that at 8.3 percent. Last year the unemployment rate was half that amount. Californians are in trouble.

With state money becoming a valuable resource for community college students, this election will determine where that money gets spent and if education spending will be sacrificed.

Many Skyline students are registered to vote and do plan on voting in the Special Election. A few said they didn’t care, mostly because they didn’t have the necessary information.

“Voting really does matter,” Skyline student Jan Salas said. He plans on voting and has done research online and talked to friends about the issues. “I want to make sure I’m voting for the right thing.”

Other students said they don’t vote because the media presents their own biased agenda to sway voters. Student Ashley Mudge said she would vote if the issues mattered to her and the subjects were clear.

“With the media and propaganda you never have a clear idea about what each prop means,” Mudge said. “Education isn’t really a value, and some administrators get paid tons of money, and teachers don’t, and then they raise student tuition.”

One of the most important issues to students is education funding. Others were hoping Prop 8 would be back on the polls. “I was hoping to change the decision on Prop 8,” student Ben Rampley said.

Nearly all students said they would vote if they had the proper information on the propositions.

You can register to vote online at www.sos.ca.gov. You can also go to most post offices, libraries, city and county government offices, and the California Secretary of State’s Office. You can also have a registration form mailed to you by calling your county elections office or the Secretary of State’s toll-free Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683). Any way you do it, it’s free.

Here is a breakdown of the propositions, taken off of The California’s Secretary of State Website (http://www.sos.ca.gov/); this will make it clear what a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote will mean. PROP 1A: Purpose- Increase state tax, Increase size of “Rainy Day” fund.• YES vote- means higher state taxes that will go into “Rainy Day” fund• NO vote- means that state taxes will decrease by 2010PROP 1B: Purpose- State will make supplemental “pay backs” to local schools and community colleges in 2011-2012 if economy improves, will stop current funding for schools till deficit decreases.• YES vote- means state will make supplemental payments to schools by 2011 as economy improves.• NO vote- means state will continue to fund schools as it does currently despite change in economy. PROP 1C: Purpose- State maintains ownership of Lottery, Lottery stops funding education, state allowed $5 billion borrowing from future Lottery profits.• YES vote- means state can borrow $5 billion from future lottery profits, Lottery can increase rates, Lottery profits that go to education funding will stop. • NO vote- means state cannot borrow from Lottery and education funding will continue.PROP 1D: Purpose- Reduce state funding Early Childhood Development Programs• YES vote – means two-time state approved funding of child services is cut.• NO vote- means funding continuesPROP 1E: Purpose- To stop state approved funding to Mental Health Services for children and young adults.• YES vote- means state will stop funding Mental Health Services.• NO vote – means state will continue to fund Mental Health Services.PROP 1F: Purpose- No pay increase for elected officials during economic deficit.• YES vote- means no pay increases allowed for elected members of the legislature and statewide constitutional officers, including the governor.• NO vote- means they could receive pay increases despite economic deficit.