Tag Archives: University of California

New Economic Policy Institute Report Details Economic Challenges Facing UC Workers

By Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 2010

More than 80 percent of University of California (UC) support staff employees are paid wages too low to provide the basic necessities of life in the areas where they live and work, according to preliminary findings of a study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute.  

As Governor Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano meet to discuss the financial future of the UC, it’s imperative that they recognize the dire financial situation of many UC employees. The UC is the third largest employer in California, employing nearly 200,000 workers, directly creating 1 in 46 jobs in the state, and generating $46.3 billion in economic activity annually. The 14,000 administrative and essential support services workers in the UC system are 81% female and over 50% people of color, and include administrative assistants, collection representatives, childcare assistants, and 911 dispatchers.  

Between 2007 and 2011 these essential support workers received no pay increases, while student tuition skyrocketed. The workers have also fallen behind due to substantial increases in costs for retirement and healthcare, parking fees, and inflation.  During the same period, the state slashed funding to UC, and currently contributes $460 million less per year in funding than it did in 2007. On a per-student basis, state funding for UC has decreased by more than half since 1991.

“Our voices have been silenced for too long, and need to be heard,” said Catherine Cobb, President of Local 2010 and former employee at UC Irvine. “The answer is not more pay-cuts and tuition increases. The time has come for the state to fund the University of California.”

Elise Gould, Senior Economist with EPI explains:

The Economic Policy Institute has calculated basic family budgets for every area of the United States for over a decade now. Our methodology is so respected that the family budget data has been used and cited by groups ranging from living wage advocates to private employers to academics to policymakers. These basic family budgets measure how much it costs various representative family types to have an adequate but modest standard of living in over 600 local areas across the country. Applying the basic family budget data to the reported wages of University of California union workers indicates that 82.5 percent of University of California support employees in the clerical and related classifications would not earn enough from their wages, even if they worked full-time, to exceed the basic family budget for a family with one adult and one child in their respective metropolitan areas.

It’s unfortunate that the University is contributing to the national problem of declining middle-class wages and increased income inequality. The UC is one of the leading economic forces in California, and has a tremendous impact on the economy of our state.  We need UC to be a force for good jobs in our communities and a fair economy. The Legislature and the Governor must renew California’s commitment to adequately fund higher education.

It’s Time to Take Back UC for California

With the passage of Proposition 30 last November, millions of Californians voted to make personal financial sacrifices in support of public education.  As an elected state representative and former UC faculty member, I feel a special responsibility to ensure that these hard earned funds are being utilized to increase access to UC by Californians.

To be sure, Prop. 30 funds have helped to blunt the assault on access and quality that the financial crisis brought to California’s schools, community colleges and our public Universities.  Some have even enacted additional reforms in order to protect students and taxpayers from future contingencies.

But some, like the University of California, have done just the opposite.

Billions have been squandered on risky investments and oversized executive entitlements.  And UC’s administrative staff-the highest paid public employees in California who have almost no contact with patients and students-have become the fastest growing segment of its workforce.

The UC isn’t just a university.  Through its 10 campuses, five medical centers, three national laboratories, and nineteen other facilities, it is one of the leading economic, research and health delivery institutions in America.  It serves 200,000 students and 4 million patients annually, and is responsible for 1 in 46 California jobs.  

In many ways, as the UC goes, so goes California.  And things are not going as well as they should be.

Student tuition has tripled, and out-of-state enrollment has skyrocketed.  Courses have been cut and student services slashed.  Debt has doubled.  Taxpayer-subsidized UC hospitals are shirking their responsibility to provide health care to the poor on public programs like Medi-Cal, and they have been hit with millions of dollars in government fines for patient safety violations and court-ordered whistleblower settlements.

Unfortunately, under our Constitution, UC does not have to play by the same rules as other public agencies-even other public schools in California.  

That’s why the real power to change UC lies with all of us-patients, students, faculty, alumni, donors, staff and California taxpayers.  We write the checks, fill the classrooms and hospitals, and maintain the facilities.  For generations, Californians have made the sacrifices necessary to build the UC into a crown jewel.  

If we are to preserve this legacy and strengthen it for future generations of Californians, we must take action to end the cycle of mismanagement that is putting UC students and patients at risk.  We must be vigilant and equally steadfast advocates for the reforms that are needed to get UC back on track.

In short:  we need to come together and TAKE BACK UC.

TAKE BACK UC is a grassroots coalition of opinion leaders, organizations, students, patients, workers and taxpayers from every corner of the Golden State.  Our cause is to raise awareness about problems in the UC system, and to mobilize the public in support of common sense solutions-like increased access to qualified California students with reduced student expense to earn a UC degree, access to UC hospitals and physicians, safe staffing at UC health facilities and campuses, and fair pension reforms.

Ultimately, the time for reform at UC is now.  Last month, a new President took the reins at UC.   Our coalition will show that not only is there a need for change at UC-but that there is a mandate for it.  This isn’t just about sharing our concerns today— but holding the Regents and top UC administrators accountable for results in the months and years to come.  

There are a few things you can do to help grow this watchdog movement right now.

1. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

2. Learn more and lend your name to our growing list of supporters by signing up at www.TakeBackUC.org.  

3. Sign our Change.org petition on fair pension reform for UC executives and safe staffing levels at UC hospitals – and share them with your friends!

Thank you in advance for your continued support of public education in California, and your commitment to restoring the University of California to its rightful place as the crown jewel of our Golden State.

Dr. Richard Pan

California State Assemblymember (D-9th District)

Wearing Clean Underwear, Going Fossil Free

Underwear--Proof-of-Global-WarmingLast night, I attended a meeting of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party’s Resolutions Committee to speak on behalf of a resolution I wrote. The resolution calls for the University of California and California State University endowments, and institutional investors California Public Employees Retirement Systems and California State Teachers’ Retirement System to divest from fossil fuels within five years.

And I wore clean underwear to the meeting. Just to spite Fox News.

The reasons behind the resolution are simple. Climate change caused by burning of fossil fuels is the greatest challenge facing the next few generations of humanity. Efforts to legislate solutions have often been stalled by fossil-fueled politicians; hence, a movement has sprung up to divest institutional funds from fossil fuel companies, popularized by Bill McKibben in his Rolling Stone piece on global warming’s terrifying new math.

The “warm” argument for divestment points out the morality. It’s not primarily an economic strategy, but a moral and political one. Just like in the struggle for civil rights or the fight to end Apartheid in South Africa, the more we can make climate change a deeply moral issue, the more we will push society towards action. Fossil fuel divestment, explicitly modeled on the successful anti-apartheid movement, has been endorsed by Nelson Mandela. If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, than it’s also wrong to profit from that wreckage. At the same time, divestment builds political power by forcing our nation’s most prominent institutions and individuals (many of whom sit on college boards) to choose a side. Divestment sparks a big discussion and gets prominent media attention, moving the case for action forward.

The “cold” argument for supporting divestment recognizes that smart institutions will get out of the carbon bubble before it bursts. Investors are now beginning the long ugly process of grappling with the fact that the unburnable carbon in fossil fuels will create stranded assets, i.e., assets worth less on the market than on a balance sheet. One estimate has 55% of investors’ portfolios exposed to risk. Standard & Poors warns of oil firms’ credit downgrades. The Motley Fool sees fossil fuels as modern asbestos stocks.

And getting on the fossil fuel divestment bandwagon is smart politics. The Fossil Free website shows over 250 colleges and universities have movements calling for their endowments to divest from fossil fuels. Give them a reason to enthuse about Democratic Party action.

Of course, Fox News doesn’t like the fossil free movement. A Fox News host claimed that those of us who want to divest from fossil fuels don’t want clean underwear. My retort, via Twitter: “hey @FoxNews – I wear clean silk lingerie and I support #fossilfree divestment. But no one who believes the BS you spew will ever see it.”

Since Ventura County became the first Democratic party in the nation to call for fossil fuel divestment last week, we’ve been joined by other Democratic clubs in California. If you’re interested in doing the same, here’s a template resolution:

WHEREAS, almost every government in the world has agreed that any warming above a 2°C (3.6°F) rise would be unsafe. We have already raised the temperature 0.8°C (1.4°F), which has caused far more damage than most scientists expected – a third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, consequences of inaction will result in devastating floods and drought;

WHEREAS, scientists estimate that humans can release roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees, while proven coal, oil, and gas reserves equal about 2,795 gigatons of CO2, or five times the amount we can release to maintain 2 degrees of warming;

and WHEREAS, California’s institutions of higher education and pension funds should encourage only those investments that allow students and retirees to live healthy lives without the impact of a warming planet, and thus campaigns to divest from fossil fuels have begun at campuses within both the University of California and California State University systems;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the (your county) Democratic Party calls upon the University of California and California State University endowments, and CALPERS and CALSTRS institutional funds to immediately stop new investments in fossil fuel companies, to take steps to divest all holdings from the top 200 fossil fuel companies as determined by the Carbon Tracker list within five years, and to release updates available to the public, detailing progress made toward full divestment;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party send a copy of this resolution to the Governor of the State of California, Board of Regents of the University of California, Chancellor of the California State University system, and officials at CalPERS and CalSTRS, asking support for divestment from fossil fuels.

I’m very pleased to report that the Los Angeles County resolutions committee passed my fossil fuel divestment resolution unanimously – one committee member stated “You had me at the first ‘whereas’ clause.” It’ll go on to the full party meeting next week, where I’m told that it’ll probably be approved on a routine basis. And I’ll wear clean underwear in support…but won’t post pix to prove it.

Hundreds of Students Attempting to Shut Down UC Regents Meeting Over Tuition Hikes

UPDATE (11:19 AM PT): After issuing a dispersal order to remove all students from the room, the Regents are voting on the budget now.

Cross-posted from Firedoglake and Dog Park Media:

About 500 students are currently blockading entrances to the University of California Board of Regents meeting at UC San Francisco this morning, where the Regents are scheduled to vote on a budget that presumes a 24 percent across-the-board increase on UC tuitions over four years. Picketing students have pledged to shut the meeting down.

According to Charlie Eaton, one of the organizers of the protest and co-author of a report released this week that charged the Regents with employing exotic financial instruments that doubled the UC system’s debt load over three and a half years, as of 8:45AM PT only a third of the Regents have made it inside the building. About 100 students are inside, according to Eaton.

At Governor Jerry Brown’s prompting, yesterday the trustees of California’s State University system postponed a decision on fee hikes and the Regents backed off a plan to raise fees on UC professional school students. But major tuition hikes for all UC students remain on the table. The Regents have voted to increase tuitions in all but two of the last eleven years, this year being one of the two.

Last week, California voters passed Proposition 30, which raises taxes in part to stem tuition hikes in the state’s UC and CSU systems. Student organizing and activism played a major role in the success of the Prop 30 campaign. Yet in the very first meeting of the UC Regents following the measure’s passage, the battle over tuition hikes is continuing unabated.

“These proposed increases are totally unacceptable, especially given the fact that the Regents leveraged student tuition hikes to enter into reckless interest rate swaps that created a huge part of UC’s financial mess in the first place,” said Eaton. “There will be no business as usual today for the UC Regents.”

Where is UC Sending its Money?

UC System has some highly questionable investments

by Brian Leubitz

During the bubble, many large institutions got a little greedy with their investments. They wanted lots of return, but no risk. And that’s what Wall Street was selling in some of their shadier business “growth areas.” One such shady areas of Wall Street was the interest rate swap market.  And the University of California system got sucked in:

Over the last decade, the UC Board of Regents has engaged in risky deals with Wall Street banks called interest rate swaps. Banks sold swaps to the university and other public institutions as insurance against rising interest rates on variable rate bonds. Under a swap agreement, borrowers such as the university paid a fixed rate to the bank in exchange for the bank paying the university a variable rate based on the markets’ interest rates for borrowing.

Now these swaps have turned out to be losing bets. UC is taking huge losses because interest rates plummeted following the financial crisis of 2008 – allegedly in part because of illegal manipulation by the same banks that sold the swaps – and have stayed at record lows. Swap deals already have cost UC nearly $57 million, with $200 million more in losses anticipated. Of the $250 million UC expects to receive from Prop. 30, some $10 million a year will go to swaps payments unless the deals are ended. (SF Chronicle Open Forum)

And some of the shadiness doesn’t even come from Wall Street on this deal. UC Leadership, including the regents and upper management, are riddled with Wall Street connections. And to this day, this is true. For example, Peter Taylor, UC’s CFO, was at Lehman and helped arrange some of the swaps.

Californians have entrusted UC leadership with both money and the education of California’s future leaders. It is about time they opened up to California about what is really going on in the books.

Vote Yes on Proposition 30: Jerry Brown’™s Budget Plan

This is the first part of a series of posts analyzing California’™s propositions.

California’s Budget Problems

Proposition 30 is the most important proposition on the ballot this year.

More below.


California, as is well known, has a big budget problem. This problem started with the onset of the economic recession and was worsened by a number of factors, ranging from extreme constraints on the legislature’™s power to Arnold Schwarzenegger’™s incompetence.

Things have gotten better lately. Schwarzenegger has been replaced with a governor who knows what he’s doing. The two-thirds supermajority requirement to pass a budget, which was responsible for much of the deadlock, no longer exists.

There are still big problems, however. California has implemented massive spending cuts to balance the budget. Program after program has been cut to the bone. Worse still, the state seems poised to cut far more if this proposition fails to pass.

Take the University of California system:


Since 2008, budget cuts have forced these universities to raise fees by more than 40%, compared with a national average of 15%. If Proposition 30 fails to pass, fees will be raised by 20% more still.

Why is this happening? It’s because the legislature has its hands tied. There are two ways to balance the budget: increase revenue and cut spending. California requires a two-thirds supermajority to do the former, and Republicans have consistently blocked revenue increases. So California has been left to cut, and cut, and cut.

Now, in general you should focus on cutting spending rather than increasing revenue to balance the budget. But California has taken it way too far. We have basically done nothing but cut and cut for nearly half a decade, without any revenue increases. There’™s basically nothing left to cut at this point. But if Proposition 30 doesn’™t pass the state will be looking once again for billions more to cut ($5.951 billion more, to be exact).

What Proposition 30 Does

Proposition 30 comes four years too late, but it’™s still very necessary today.

Yes, Proposition 30 is a temporary tax increase. It falls mainly on families making over $500,000 -“ but the sales tax will increase as well. The sales tax increase lasts for four years; the income tax increase for seven.

But the truth is that in a budget crisis, eventually somebody will get hurt. If it’™s not families making over $500,000 it’™ll be students and teachers and policemen and firefighters. For almost half a decade, budget cuts have again and again shafted these people. If Proposition 30 fails, they’™ll be hit once again. If Proposition 30 passes, the pain will shift to families making over $500,000.

I endorse this proposition knowing that I will sacrifice a bit. Many Californians (perhaps the majority) will vote against this proposition because of this fact. But it’s not as if they’re dodging the pain by voting against Proposition 30. They’™re just shifting it to their children.


California’s Legislators Can Resuscitate the Master Plan

This week’s budget endgame presents leaders in the Senate and Assembly with a rare opportunity to stand up for the California Master Plan for Higher Education by challenging the financial incentive that UC campuses now have to enroll non-resident students in place of Californians.

UC describes this policy as though it were self-evident: each campus gets to “keep” the money it generates from non-resident students. But until 2007, out-of-state tuition revenues went to the UC system as a whole, and before the 1990s they went right back to the state. So, we have here a relatively recent policy change in which UC’s central administration is giving individual campuses the incentive to compete against each other for the non-resident students by giving them the entire revenue difference, which is currently in excess of $20,000 per student -the amount by which out-of-state tuition exceeds the sum of in-state tuition, plus state support. This policy change explains why some mature UC campuses such as UC Berkeley and UCLA for example, now expect to have undergrad enrollments that are over 35% out-of-state at the same time that some younger campuses will struggle to exceed their present 2%. The expected result of this competition for non-resident students will be a growing budgetary disadvantage for those campuses that bear the brunt of UC’s enrollment responsibilities under the Master Plan.

There is no reason for Democrats or Republicans in the California legislature to acquiesce in UC’s decision to provide a lower budgeted quality of education to students on campuses that enroll a higher proportion of California residents. Legislators could easily demand that UC pool the $20,000 in surplus funds it collects from out-of-staters for the purpose of reducing the funding gaps among campuses. This demand could be tied to UC’s annual Memorandum of Understanding with the state about the funding of in-state students.

Why not, for example, get UC to agree that any difference in net enrollment revenue brought in by non-resident students be redistributed to the campuses on an equal per student basis without regard to the proportion of non-resident students on that campus?

Such an approach would treat UC’s surplus revenue from non-residents as the functional equivalent of public revenue collected by the University to replace lost revenue from California taxpayers. If the University says it needs this revenue for this very reason, why shouldn’t California taxpayers take in interest in how such revenue is used to support UC’s public purpose? It is entirely reasonable for legislators to demand, for example, that the tuition surplus generated by out-of state students be used to subsidize the quality of education on all UC campuses, especially in bad budget years, so that California residents do not suffer disproportionately from cuts in state funding on the campuses that still admit them. There would be no unfairness to non-resident students if campuses on which they enrolled were allowed to keep (or get back) the same amount of revenue they would get for enrolling a resident-no more, but no less.

Putting UC’s non-resident tuition on the table alongside state funds is entirely consistent with past practice.

UC’s own recent study of its funding streams points out that:

[h]istorically the State paid greater attention to UC’s non-State sources of revenues. The view of the State was that, to some degree, revenues UC generated from student fee and tuition charges…should reimburse the State for its past investment in UC. …For many years, State funding for UC was offset by any increases in funding from these other non-State sources. (University of California Funding Streams Proposal, 12/21/2010, p. 5)

Only in the 1990s, as a result of annual budget negotiations with the state (including so-called “partnerships” and “compacts”) were these offsets eliminated. There would thus be no legal barrier to reimposing them if UC does not agree to use any surplus revenue from non-resident tuition to offset the systemwide loss of taxpayer funding from the state.

Recapturing this surplus revenue to support instructional quality across the UC system would not cost the state anything, but it would be a large step toward reducing the budgetary disparities among UC campuses reported by the State Auditor in July 2011 (http://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2010-105.pdf ).This report confirmed and extended my own 2009 finding of glaring inequities in UC’s return to the campuses of funds generated by in-state enrollments (http://keepcaliforniaspromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Where-Does-UC-Tuition-Go.pdf ). At that time (when tuition was still around $7,000), UCLA was getting back $7,000 more than each of its in-state students generated in tuition plus state funds and UC Merced was getting about $7,000 less. Since 2009, UC has largely corrected this problem with respect to the tuition component of in-state funding, but it has not yet said how much or how soon it will “rebench” (which might or might not mean “equalize”) its distribution of the $2Billion in state funding that it receives to educate Californians. Just last week, two faculty members of the “Rebenching Implementation Task Force” criticized UC’s administration for delaying action on the Academic Senate’s recommendation of a more equal distribution to campuses of state funding generated by resident students (http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/senate/ITFFinal_080211.pdf ).

They believe it was a fundamental error to delay rebenching while UC is speeding up the process by which richer campuses are allowed to capture the entire surplus revenue generated for the system by its growing proportion of out-of-state students. The result of untethering these two processes, they say, will be to widen the per-student funding gaps among campuses that rebenching was supposed to narrow.

Based on the State Auditor’s report alone, California’s legislators should require that UC’s out-of-state tuition surplus be pooled among campuses until UC can satisfactorily account for its use of funds appropriated to educate Californians.

This year’s budget process gives legislative leaders a chance to say that UC’s increasing reliance on revenues from non-Californians should not be used to accelerate the path toward fragmentation of the UC system by allowing some campuses to privatize their enrollments more than others. Legislators have this opportunity because, for the first time in living memory the Governor’s budget is no longer hostage to the 2/3 requirement. He must now either sign a budget passed by the majority party or negotiate proposed changes with it.

UC is already lobbying for changes that would make it no more publicly accountable for its use of state funds than it currently claims to be for its use of non-resident tuition.  UC is calling this their “Debt Restructuring” proposal when in reality, it should be called “Debt Privatization”.  A fitting legislative response would be to hold UC accountable for all the funds it raises from enrollments. Requiring UC to treat its surplus revenues from out-of-state enrollments as public funds that help support California students could change the dynamics of future discussions between UC and the taxpayers of California.

Governor Brown & the University of California’s Enron Playbook

At the University of California’s request, the Governor’s budget proposes to:

1. Shift $2.5 billion of existing state-supported debt onto the University of California’s books for capital projects paid for through State Lease Revenue Bonds.

2. Let UC take on more debt without legislative oversight in the future.

UC management’s proposal would kill essential state oversight of borrowing and take unnecessary risks that would leave taxpayers and students on the hook.  By rolling $2.5 billion of existing state-supported debt into UC’s budget, UC’s Wall Street management executives claim they could use the University’s superior credit rating to refinance the debt and save money this year.  In fact, UC’s credit rating is only a notch higher than the State of California’s.

Under this proposal, UC would be allowed without Legislative approval or even notification, to use General Fund dollars for any capital projects, not just to pay debt on the restructured bonds.

That hotel UC is pushing for at UCLA? Paid for with your tax dollars!

An additional financial burden of $2.5 billion in outstanding debt would put a squeeze on UC’s budget at a time when programs and jobs are being cut. It would also allow UC to take on even more debt without Legislative oversight. Transferring repayment of state-supported debt currently paid by the State to UC would not shield UC from future market volatility. Higher interest rates could increase debt service costs and divert already limited funds away from normal operating costs and core academic programs.

Runaway Debt Creates Pressure On Budget

Greater debt, future market volatility, and rising interest rates could create pressure on a limited pot of money. Higher education debt service costs in CA have already doubled in a decade, from $516 million in 2000 to $1.1 billion in 2010. Without adequate Legislative oversight, UC would be at risk for runaway debt.

If this is so bad for California’s taxpayers why is this still on the table?

This is a good question for Governor Brown and his staff. His office is the only current entity pushing this privatization bill. Anyone with any policy sense who reads the proposal sees immediate red flags. Anyone who remembers the Enron scandal or who has suffered at the hands of Wall Street over Main Street can see that this is a bad idea for all of California’s taxpayers.

Call the Governor and tell him no to UC’s debt privatization 916-445-2841 Tweet him at @JerryBrownGov #CABudget  

The attack on working families isn’t just in Wisconsin

In Madison, Wisconsin working families are fighting for their most basic right – to be able to bargain together for living wages, safe working conditions and fair benefits.

They are not alone in their struggle.  Here in California, we have seen attack after attack launched against working families and public employees.  Some have even gone so far as to say that California state employees shouldn’t have collective bargaining rights.

That’s why I am leading the effort to block the confirmation of David Crane to the UC Regents.  Can you sign this letter to help?

David Crane is a multi-millionaire investment banker and appointee of Governor Schwarzenegger.  He is a donor to both campaigns of George W. Bush and actively supporter San Francisco’s Proposition B which would have unfairly double health care costs for children of San Francisco city employees.

Mr. Crane recently published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle which questioned the appropriateness of collective bargaining rights for state employees.  

That’s why I am leading the effort to block the confirmation of David Crane to the UC Regents.  Can you sign this letter to help?

300 workers joined the rally last week to protest Crane’s nomination.  That, of course, was ignored by the Chronicle.  But when Mr. Crane called the paper and told them it was all a “Big Lie”, they immediately published a one-sided editorial attacking me and working families.

We can’t let this attack go unanswered.  That’s why I’m asking you to take action.

Can you sign this letter to help?

I know together we can win in Madison and across this country.

The Costs of an Education: Why Students Matter in November

Meg Whitman just spent $100 million in her bid for Governor of California, $91 of which came from her own pocket. It disgusts me that a candidate who claims she can get California on the right track injects into her campaign millions of her own wealth to fuel her own ambitions and propaganda. What could come of that money? Surely, enough to ease some of problems facing hardworking Californians. For students, this money could actually place importance on the value of our education. It made me wonder what this money could do for the student who couldn’t return to college this fall because of a reduction in his financial aid, about the student who couldn’t pay the latest UC fee hikes, and about the student whose family cannot afford to send her to college at all.

Attorney General Jerry Brown, on the other hand, knows the issues facing parents and students, starting two public schools in Oakland in his tenure as Mayor. He understands the value of an education and how to engage students with all interests. Brown whole-heartedly agrees that more attention must be due to California’s public school system in order for it to survive. Similarly, we must also turn to leaders like Mayor Gavin Newsom, whose City and County of San Francisco shines in California as the epitome of innovative ideas and pragmatic solutions put to practice.

As young people become more disenfranchised by California’s political system, it is crucial to change the status quo that is tearing our state apart. Those who place personal ambition over proposing legitimate solutions to fix California must be stopped. As a student who fears the loans awaiting her upon graduation, I highly trust Brown and Newsom’s abilities to help students like myself gain affordable higher education.

One of Mayor Newsom’s main priorities as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor is to get the public education system back on track, by increasing the quality and accessibility of schools within the CSU and UC systems. He understands every student’s desire for a quality education without being penalized by endless fees, finding themselves ineligible for state grants, and carrying a heavy burden of loans upon graduating. Higher education should be accessible to all, regardless of financial background. How else will California move forward with the leaders of tomorrow if they can’t afford the rights to an education?

While shaking up San Francisco, Mayor Newsom made unprecedented progress in promoting an affordable and accessible higher education by launching “SF Promise,” an initiative that guarantees an college education, with financial support provided, at San Francisco State university to all qualified San Francisco State Unified School District students. Projects like this, which benefits hundreds of students, can easily grow at the state level, spurring enrollment in colleges across the state.

The partnership of Brown and Newsom in Sacramento will bring the Golden State out of a depression it suffers on all levels. Our state will thrive once again through job growth, environmental protection, reduced crime rates, clean energy expansion, a strong education system, and so much more that will rebuild California.

Students of California, this is our election to win. We can no longer sit and watch as unqualified persons are elected to office only to serve private interests. By mobilizing by the thousands, we’ll be able to fight for our rights as young people looking towards a brighter future. By electing Gavin Newsom for Lt. Governor, we’ll have our voice heard on the UC Board of Regents and CSU Board of Trustees, strongly fighting for affordable education for everyone. No more will students forego a higher education or be prevented from returning to school. Please join students from across the state as we build the movement to reform California at www.studentsforgavinnewsom.com.

Manisha Goud is the Los Angeles Regional Director for Students for Gavin Newsom. Join Students for Gavin Newsom on Facebook at www.facebook.com/studentsfornewsom.