Students, faculty union rally against Nov. 8 election propositions

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Students, faculty and staff showed opposition to several propositions on the Nov. 8 California special election ballot Wednesday at a rally organized by Associated Students Student Productions and Campus Entertainment and the CSUN California Faculty Association chapter.

The CFA set up a table with pamphlets and flyers containing information about the initiatives on the Nov. 8 ballot. The CFA distributed buttons opposing propositions 75 and 76 and provided pledge cards to students encouraging them to vote against the measures.

Proposition 76 would allow for a state spending cap and would change the amount of funding guaranteed for public education. It would also give the governor the option of making midyear budget cuts when the state is in what is judged to be a fiscal crisis.

Proposition 75 would prohibit public employee labor unions from using dues for political contributions without the prior consent of individual employees each year on a written form.

For the most part, the rally centered on public education.

“This event is to specifically celebrate part-time lecturers,” said James David Ballard, president of the CSUN chapter of the CFA.

A group of around 20 students gathered around the CFA table, collecting information and speaking to representatives.

Shortly after noon, Kristyan Kouri, co-vice president for lecturers of the CSUN CFA, approached the stage and began talking about the propositions and how they could affect the CSU system if passed.

“If they pass (Proposition 75 and 76), you can be sure funding will be cut from the CSU,” said Kouri, a sociology and women’s studies professor.

Lecturers will be the first to lose their jobs, student fees will rise, and some students will not be able to attend college if Propositions 75 and 76 pass, Kouri said.

“Our access is already being blocked, and it’s going to get worse if Proposition 75 and 76 pass,” Kouri said.

Supporters of Proposition 76 contend that the state needs spending controls in place to prevent the overspending that some claim kept California in its most recent fiscal crisis.

Supporters of Proposition 75 claim it is unfair for labor unions to use employee dues on political causes that not all of their members personally support.

Dolores Huerta, civil rights activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America along with Cesar Chavez, spoke at the event.

“Everybody in the nation is watching to see if Schwarzenegger is going to win,” Huerta said.

Huerta then asked the attendees, “Is he going to win?” to which they replied, “No!”

She said the governor is trying to get rid of public education so that only the “millionaires” can attend public school.

“We’re at the bottom of the barrel because we don’t spend enough money for students,” Huerta said.

Huerta emphasized the phrase, “Nix on the first six, and yes on the last two,” meaning, vote no on Propositions 73 through 78, and vote in favor of Propositions 79 and 80.

Huerta also discussed Proposition 73, which would amend the state constitution, prohibiting abortion for minors until 48 hours after a physician notifies the minor’s parent or legal guardian, except in medical emergency or with waiver.

The proposition would also change the constitution to define abortion as causing the “death of the unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born.”

Huerta called Proposition 73 a “little sneaky time bomb,” adding that if a woman has an abortion, she can be charged for murder.

“This proposition goes too far,” Huerta said.

Huerta asked for people’s support by holding up signs against the propositions and to pass out fliers.

“Can we defeat all of the propositions? Yes we can. Sí se puede,” Huerta said.

Assemblymember Cindy Montañez, D–39th District, also spoke at the event.

“Not a single one of the propositions does a damn thing to put money in education,” Montañez said.

Montañez said the propositions were created because of nurses that stood up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this year in regards to his ballots to reform California.

Montañez also spoke about Proposition 74, which would increase the length of time it would take for a California teacher to gain permanent status in their jobs.

“(They are) trying to scare you as young teachers,” Montañez said. “(The governor) wants to make sure that you don’t get tenured.”

Montañez also urged students to vote no on Proposition 76, which would also give the governor additional powers to make midyear budget reductions during a fiscal crisis.

“This is about you, about your rights,” Montañez said.

Elias Serna, professor of Chicano/a Studies at CSUN, also spoke out against the propositions. Serna called the military “death machines” that are raking in big profits for the government by killing innocent civilians.

Karina Villatoro, junior engineering major, listened to the speakers.

“It was exciting to see the speakers, especially Dolores,” Villatoro said.

Villatoro said she agreed with voting no on the first six propositions, including 73.

She said one day she went to Wal-Mart and someone outside the store approached her, asking if she would sign a petition in favor of Proposition 73.

“I got in an argument with him. I told him, ‘What if your daughter got pregnant?’ and he said that she knew she could tell him (that she was),” Villatoro said. “I don’t have the luxury of having parents that would listen to me if that happened. I’d get kicked out (of my home).”

Villatoro said the $2 billion in funding the governor borrowed from education during a recent budget crunch could have been taken from someone else in the California budget.

“Who in their right mind gives someone infinite power? Why is that even in question?” Villatoro said in regards to Proposition 76.

Jessica Salazar, a field representative for State Senator Richard Alarcon, D–20th District, was also at the rally.

“The propositions are so important because they can change California in such a drastic way, and they don’t change for California’s best interest,” Salazar said, who added that the advertising on television is confusing voters.

CFA member Kouri said she thought the rally was a success.

“I think everyone taken together will induce students to get out and vote,” Kouri said. “CSUN students are very intelligent.”

Kouri said that if there are people who oppose the rally, they could also organize a rally if they wanted to.

“We’re presenting one side of the debate, and anybody can contact the university if they want to present their side of the debate,” Kouri said.

Carlos Moran, president of CSUN Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan, helped out at the event by giving out free pizza and drinks.

“I think the speakers were definitely influential and they served a purpose,” Moran said.

Latin band Locos Por Juana ended the event with 10-minute live concert.

Cynthia Ramos can be reached at city@csun.edu.