The Summer of Suffering in Killafornia

Joseph Glatzer

“Until California changes its priorities . . .we only have bad choices”

Board of Trustees Chairman, Jeffrey Bleich

On May 13, 2009, the California State University trustees approved a 10% increase in student fees (  Bleich, along with 16 others, voted for the increase with only 2 board members voting no.

The working poor (and let’s not kid ourselves, most of us at CSUN fit into this category) struggling to afford a college education will now have to pay an average of $306 more each year.  It’s the sixth increase in basic student fees in the last seven years for the California University System.

One of the only two no votes was Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, calling the tax raise:

“a foolish and stupid tax”

His motion died for lack of a second.

Garamendi instead advocated support of AB 656.  It would levy a 9.9% severance tax on oil and gas companies extracting oil and natural gas from California, and its territorial waters.

Alaska and Texas are card carrying Bolsheviks compared to California when it comes to funding colleges and taxing oil companies.  California is the only oil-producing state without such a tax on energy companies (

Paying the people for taking their resources is a radical socialist concept to California Republicans.

Sarah Palin’s battle cry of “Drill Baby Drill” could be more accurately changed to “Socialize Baby Socialize” according to this logic, because in 2007, she championed and signed into law an oil and gas severance tax of 25%.

Before she resigned this week, it was widely held that she was the most popular governor in the country.  In fact, for much of her term, her approval rating hovered in the 80’s and 90’s (,2933,288722,00.html).

Socialism is popular.

Texas, another right wing wet dream,  funds their higher education with a reliable endowment, funded by an oil severance tax.

If passed, AB 656 would give the CSU system $270 million it otherwise wouldn’t have, saving teachers from layoffs and classes from being canceled.

“Everything is on the table”

CSU spokeswoman, Clara Potes-Fellow

CSU officials haven’t supported the bill so far.

What is actually on the table for the CSU?

California State University faculty could face furloughs under one proposal to help ward off a projected $584 million systemwide drop in state funding.


CSU officials claim forcing teachers to take off 2 days a month without pay will save:

“$275 million and preserve about 22,000 course sections”

If AB656 would give the CSU $270 million, then why would we even consider taking teachers off the job and closing 22,000 classes?

Oil company profits decreasing by 9.9% or countless teachers off the job and 22,000 classes closed?

The fact that it’s a no-brainer to protect oil company profits over teachers jobs really shows what kind of society we live in.

The oil companies have warned they would leave the state if this law passed, because it would become too expensive for them to do business here.

You can’t outsource oil to where the costs are lower.  It’s here whether they like it or not, and at the end of the day, since they need our oil more than we need them, they’ll pay whatever we tell them to.

The California Independent Petroleum Association, a lobbying group for oil companies, paid scientists to conduct a study which concluded that passage of AB 656 would result in the loss of over 10,000 jobs.

“Those are 10,000 families who want to send their kids to school too”

CIPA CEO, Rock Zierman

These poor victims have their courageous defender vowing opposition to the bill:

“The governor has been crystal clear that he will not support tax increases,” said Governor Schwarzenegger’s spokeswoman, Lisa Page.

But isn’t raising tuition “fees” on students a cute way of saying you’re raising taxes on students?

A Fee = A Tax.

The ultimate logic of California government goes something like this…

New tax on hated industry=bad

New tax on struggling students=good

A type of tax that in Sarah Palin’s Alaska is almost triple as high…

…is a “tax increase” “Californians” just can’t handle.

The working poor attending college are the poor saps who bought into the American Dream.

If you work hard you can get ahead…maybe this Dream needs to be shattered once and for all anyway.

In the summer of suffering in Killafornia, for everyone besides the privaleged few, the American Dream is quickly becoming an American Nightmare.