In this year’s California election, we seem to have focused most of our attention on the Democratic candidate for governor. Whether that is indicative of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stellar job, or lack thereof, is debatable.
In an article titled “Wake Up and Vote,” the LA Weekly did not endorse Phil Angelides, Democratic candidate for governor, in the primary election despite many of the gubernatorial candidate’s progressive ideas for California, especially with regard to education.
Months before the primary, the California Teachers Association, however, joined the California Federation of Teachers in supporting Angelides with his pledges to increase funding for education, among other promises.
LA Weekly claimed to be enthusiastic about Angelides early on in the primary campaign, citing his promises to level with voters while pushing hard for public investment and making taxes “a center piece of his grand scheme for rebuilding” California.
LA Weekly questioned the sincerity of Angelides’ perceived reliance upon $5 billion reaped from a tax increase for those who earn more than $500,000.
While LA Weekly supports the idea, how will Angelides persuade Republican voters to support such a drastic tax increase? What is his backup plan should the GOP block his initiative?
Based on a lack of answers for inquiries like these and a distinct inability to speak to the public clearly and intelligently, LA Weekly endorsed Steve Westly for the primary.
The California Teachers Association is probably quite attracted to Angelides’ promises to strengthen California schools by attracting bright young people to teaching and giving teachers the support and training they need and deserve.
His “Teachers for Our Future” plan claims to take on California’s challenge with teacher recruitment by restoring and restructuring California’s teaching fellowship program, rolling back Gov. Schwarzenegger’s college fee increase on teacher training, identifying the pay and incentives California needs to attract and retain good teachers, restoring funding for teacher support and learning, doubling the number of public school counselors to support teachers in the classroom, and expanding homeownership assistance for teachers.
As part of his “College Opportunity For All” program, Angelides promises as governor to open the doors to college in California.
He plans to admit 20,000 more students to state colleges and universities, expand Cal Grants and raise the income limits to include middle-class families, and create the California Hope Endowment, which would provide approximately $300 million a year, as a permanent funding source to expand the number of young Californians that could attend college and receive degrees.
While Angelides’ programs may sound appealing to students, this attractive information simply is not resonating with the most abundant constituents.
After talking to several students about this year’s election, not one student at the Michael D. Eisner College of Education knew a thing about Angelides’ platform of educational promises. Graduating high school seniors in limbo about whether to go to college or go full-time at their current jobs were completely unaware of the opportunities Angelides promises to afford them if elected governor.
Television campaign ads tell us so much about what each candidate cannot and will not do that many potential voters do not grasp enough of the promises to distrust what our politicians say they will do.
Have we reached a place in California where our representatives are so they will take their places in elected office that they no longer feel compelled to speak to the public and conduct a dialogue with us about their qualifications and intentions as elected officials?
Maybe since there are still five months left in this election year the candidates are just getting off to a slow start. Maybe the Democratic party assumes Californians are so fed up with Gov. Schwarzenegger’s performance that voters will side with Angelides without much intelligent persuasion at all.
As for CSUN and UC students, families, educators and the general public, who have the desire to obtain a college degree, discourage the Angelides campaign folks from making a joke of you and me any longer.