While the national elections produced some of the most startling results in recent memory, state and local election victories were also striking, but in very different ways. California voters demonstrated extraordinary support for education, housing for the poor, transportation, and the general social welfare.
Proposition 51 passed by a wide margin to provide community colleges statewide with $2 billion for much needed construction costs. PCC will likely benefit directly as the college should finally be able to build a new Science Building.
Proposition 55 also passed easily and will generate between $2 billion and $4.5 billion annually with about 11% of that money going to community colleges.
Anthony Portantino, whom PCCFA supported, won handily and will be a strong advocate for community college education in the California State Senate. Congratulations Tony!
A number of our neighboring community college districts saw successful passage of bond measures as voters overwhelmingly supported their local schools. Glendale CC will benefit from its $325 million bond; Antelope Valley College will receive $350 million; Santa Monica’s bond measure totaled $345 million; and finally Los Angeles CC district will receive $3,300,000,000 (yes that’s $3.3 billion!). Overall, voters statewide supported local community college bond measures, totaling a whopping $7.3 billion.
Incoming Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley applauded California voters: “Voters made the right choice by continuing to invest in education. These resources will help us offer the classes we need to educate our state’s workforce, improve transfer opportunities and help close achievement gaps.” Thus California voters bucked major national trends.
Brad Shiller claims in his Los Angeles Times article “It was the economy, stupid” (11/10/2016), that sluggish economic growth, outsourcing jobs, stagnant or declining wages, and financial uncertainty played the primary role in the national presidential outcome. Indeed, General Motors announced last week just after the election that it was laying off 2000 workers in two of its Midwest plants.
Also, bank bailouts continue to alarm taxpayers and home owners who either lost their homes or suffered huge depreciations in home equity. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) which granted a $700 billion bailout eight years ago is the gift that keeps on giving. According to the Los Angeles Times (11/8/2016), Wells Fargo is still eligible for $1.5 billion even after its recent fraud scandals, JP Morgan could receive $1.1 billion (while its overall worth is $2 trillion), and Bank of America can collect $964 million. Of the $700 billion TARP funds, only $28 billion were earmarked to help troubled homeowners. We have witnessed a national presidential campaign that utilized vitriolic nativism, ethnic and religious bigotry, scorn of military veterans, and gross misogyny as its prominent rhetorical modes. The real economic issues were merged with gutter prejudices that separate and divide us.
California’s rich diversity and dynamic inclusivity will continue to thrive. PCCFA urges all faculty to support our students. Many are alarmed, frightened, and angry. Will there be pickets and protests? Probably. Can we expect civil disobedience? Most likely.
While it’s too early to tell if the presidential rhetoric will become federally mandated programs that attack immigrant communities and religious diversity, PCCFA urges all faculty to be especially sensitive to the emotional well-being of our students.