Students informed at rally

Students+informed+at+rally

Samuel Gonzales

Gordon Miller (right) helps Diego Salazar fill out a voter registration form.

Charels Powell

The proliferation of political propaganda leaves little doubt election day, Nov. 6, is just around the around the corner. The Los Medanos College Community was given a chance to make sure it could participate in a voter registration drive called “Rock the Vote” — held at the Pittsburg campus quad Oct. 18.

Attendees also had the opportunity to gather information on the upcoming ballot with booths set up to provide literature about candidates running for office, local measures — state propositions ranging from education to law enforcement to changes in how food is labeled — with people on hand to answer questions or to just discuss the issues.

United Faculty President Jeffrey Michaels acted as the master of ceremonies and gave opportunities to individuals staffing booths to address the crowd.

Local candidates Daniel Borsuk and Greg Enholm, who are running for the Ward 5 spot on the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board, took advantage of the forum to make a pitch for why they should be elected. De’Shawn Woolridge, another candidate for Ward 5, said at a debate, held Oct. 23 in the LMC Library that he would have liked to attended but was unable to get off work. (For more information on the candidates see the article by Kellie McCown on page 1 of this edition of the Experience.)

Michaels also opened the mic to anyone from the campus community who wanted to make their voices heard.
LMC Student Ashley Goines gave an impassioned speech about why the passage of Proposition 30 is so vital for LMC students, saying that if it fails to pass students may very well have to say good-bye to the summer session.

Goines’s remarks were met with shouts of approval and applause. They also represented an overarching theme regarding Prop. 30 being part of a last-ditch effort to stave off another round of cuts to an educational system already beleaguered by a continually narrowing funding base since the collapse of the housing market.

Debra van Eckhardt, student trustee for the Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD), built on the momentum Goines created about Prop. 30 to underscore how Measure A could help improve the fiscal health of LMC and allow the college to better serve its students. She also touched on what the measure represents for the district’s colleges and educational centers in general. Eckhardt pointed out if both Measure A and Prop 30 pass the measure could allow the college to offer more classes, programs and lead to new hires, like a new counselor. If Measure A passes and Prop 30 fails then measure funds, generated by an $11 hike to the parcel tax, could help soften the blow.

“I want to make sure everyone has classes. When resources get scarce that is when everyone panics,” said van Eckhardt. “You all have a say. You are all worth $11.”

The event, co-sponsored by the United Faculty (UF) and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC), offered free hot dogs, which drew a consistently long line, many of those waiting clutching information from one booth or another.

Michaels said if Prop. 30 fails the district will lose the ability to serve 2,000 full-time equivalent students due to inability to fund as many course offerings.

“We need to get this message out anyway we can,” said Michaels.

He added that students need to be motivated to vote because if they don’t make their voices heard at the ballot box politicians won’t pay attention to their needs on Capitol Hill.

Van Eckhardt said the district could face 500 fewer course offerings with 100 plus of being lost at LMC.
The atmosphere was checkered by a mix of dire predictions, belief in the ability to change things, and the sense of hope that propositions can be passed to stave off the worst.

“I want to make a change (and) see a change,” said Hall.

LMC President Bob Kratochvil saw how the event could impact the future of the school and that of the country:
“I think it is a great event all about the political process. We just have to make sure people go out and vote on Nov. 6,” he said.

For non-partisan information about the upcoming ballot go to m.smartvoter.org, which can be narrowed down by entering your zip code.