Students mix with politics and hot dogs
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 21, 2012 17:10
It can be hard to get students to care about politics, but free food usually helps.
Cal State Long Beach students gathered in the grass before the Speaker’s Platform on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to listen to politicians speak of the importance that November’s ballot carries for higher education this November — and eat some free hot dogs while doing it.
The rally, which was hosted by the California Faculty Association and Associated Students Inc., was held to get people pumped up to vote and register to vote before the deadline, according to Allison Gallagher, ASI secretary of city affairs. Students could register at booths and people spoke about key election issues, like Propositions 30 and 32.
Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-San Pedro) spoke at the event about why students should support Prop. 30 and oppose Prop. 32. He reached out to the students at the rally, saying that if Prop. 30 does not pass, it will not be a matter of fear tactics — the cuts will be a reality.
Prop. 30 would raise income taxes on those who make more than $250,000 and sales tax for schools and public safety. Prop. 32 prevents unions, corporations and government contractors from contributing to any candidate or committee and using payroll-deducted funds for any kind of political purpose.
Furutani urged students to not stop at Prop. 30. He said the proposition should be used as a “springboard” for another initiative to fund higher education.
“Let’s get out there and organize and invest in higher education,” he said.
ASI President John Haberstroh said at the rally that students’ voices are not being heard by politicians and they need to be expressed in a productive way.
“In Sacramento, there’s a war founded by politicians,” Haberstroh said. “Students aren’t fighting back.”
Ojaala Ahmad, an organizer for Students for Quality Education, took the stage and urged students to open their eyes to tuition hikes and new fees. SQE is fighting three additional fees that the CSU Board of Trustees is considering: the graduation incentive fee, the course repeat fee, and the third tier fee, which may go into effect even if Prop. 30 passes.
“Tuition has gone up 300 percent in the last decade,” Ahmad said. “Enough is enough. No more tuition hikes.”
Rex Pritchard, president of the Long Beach Firefighters Association, also spoke at the event and advocated against Prop. 32.
“[Prop. 32 is] absolutely not what it appears to be,” Pritchard said. “In my opinion, it is Un-American. It is to silence everyday working Americans.”
Today is the last day to register to vote.
Courtney Tompkins contributed to this report.