President Welty mentioned it, even Mayor Swearengin stressed it, but Whitman and Brown both seemed to have missed it. I wanted to hear how the next governor of California is going to put money back into education, especially the University of California and California State University systems, at Saturday’s gubernatorial debate. I have to give Brown credit for noting how the state spends more on prisons than education, but I don’t think Whitman understood how higher education ties into the state economy and jobs, or how it is intertwined with this year’s Latino vote.
At the beginning of the debate, Whitman said she needed the Latino vote in order to win the race. As a student who attended the debate, I wondered if Whitman was purposely trying to give the Latino vote to Brown.
We have the highest rate of concentrated poverty in Fresno. Whitman is obsessed with making promises to create jobs, but she cannot create jobs out of thin air, especially if she plans to cut taxes.
If Whitman cuts taxes, she cuts the state’s ability to raise revenue for the state’s general fund. This means less money for schools and other necessary programs that make the state function. Brown was on track when he said that tax cuts, specifically those benefitting billionaires, will increase the budget crisis.
Whitman cannot expect to win the Latino vote if she only plans to fix our broken K-12 schools. Education goes beyond K-12, and it is for that reason the Latino vote is important. Latinos want to be guaranteed a funded college experience, one where they don’t have to work two jobs and attend class exhausted. In order to create a powerful workforce and strong economy, there must be an educated population. There is a need to address funding higher education, which Whitman did not do properly.
Whitman tried to persuade Latinos, yet she turned her back on them by not supporting the California Dream Act. This act would give undocumented students a pathway to citizenship. There are thousands of qualified Latino voters who love, care and support their unqualified-to-vote Latino friends and family. Whitman will not get the Latino vote if she can’t support Latino’s disenfranchised loved ones with the Dream Act.
Whitman said that her day at the U.S. Mexican border lead her to believe La Migra does not have funding for technology to secure the border. What border is she talking about? I spent a week at the U.S. Mexican Border. I saw X-ray-type stuff on flatbed trailers, a military machine-sized watchtower, closed circuit video systems, a two-way radio clock tower and gadgets all over the place. All that technology took a lot of funding.
Finally, Whitman’s story of tax breaks to the small business owner of a pizza shop is misinformation. If she is talking about mom and pop businesses, I can prove her wrong. I have a great friend who owns a pizza shop. He will forever be ineligible for capital gains tax breaks because he owns only one shop with a handful of employees who receive no benefits. He does not make enough to be considered a small business with “capital” and yet he pays his taxes. Most small business owners will always go under with Whitman’s ideas because they have to reach corporate level “capital gains.” Most small businesses owned by Latinos in our valley reflect the same dilemma I just mentioned.
Whitman misled the people, which is why I will not vote for her. If there is such thing as a Latino vote, she lost it here in Fresno.
Hector Cerda is a masters student in social work and an organizer with Students for Quality Education.