By Edward Mahurien / Managing Editor
With signs artfully crafted on poster-board scrawled with catchy slogans written in magic marker and someone always touting the proverbial bullhorn, the protesters make their voices heard. It seems with almost every decision the LBCC administration and Board of Trustees make, protesters will be out in force. I love that LBCC students feel so passionately about an issue to organize and make their voices heard. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right of our nation. We all know students at LBCC have had enough to be angry about over the past two years.
However, when you protest without giving alternative options, it just seems like complaining. The state is in a fiscal crisis and it spends more than it takes in. Health and Human Services is the largest bill for the state followed closely by K-12 education. The programs combined make up 59 percent of California’s fiscal spending. Higher education only comprises 7.8 percent of state spending.
We haven’t even touched unfunded liabilities such as pensions and healthcare, which hovers over the state capitol like the sword of Damocles. LBCC, like every other school in the state, has had its budget cut over the past few years. Couple that with a stagnant economy and more people going back to school and you have our present situation. AB955, the controversial two-tiered tuition bill recently passed by Gov. Jerry Brown, is far from perfect, but it fits a need. The fact that a liberal lion such as Brown and the overwhelmingly liberal state legislatures would pass such a bill truly shows how desperate things have become in Sacramento.
I think everyone knew this wasn’t the best idea, but it was the best idea they had. Like the protests prior to the vote to discontinue programs, we heard impassioned speeches decrying the impending Board vote. What we didn’t hear was an alternative. Personally, I felt it was a shame that the Board was set to gut PCC and the unique opportunities it presented to non-traditional students.
We made it a priority to try and highlight as many programs as we could. I knew the students were passionate. We always thought if we show who these students were, maybe we could make a difference. As a newspaper, our stance is to be impartial in the news section. All the while I’m thinking, “OK, so they don’t have the money, they aren’t going to get the money, the programs will eventually be cut, what plan do you have to save the programs?”
We need to put down the poster-board and bullhorns and pick up a pen and a notebook and come up with real solutions to solve these problems.