Protests demand more money for education

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Images from yesterday's protests by Charles Russo

Yesterday’s Day of Action to protest deep cuts in public education and other vital services was far larger – and occasionally more militant – than many had expected, sending a strong message to Sacramento that it’s time to pursue new revenue options instead of simply cutting the public sector to the bone.

More than 150 people were arrested (including Guardian intern Jobert Poblete, who is still among at least 80 awaiting booking this morning at the overwhelmed Santa Rita Jail in Dublin) for allegedly climbing onto the freeway at Interstate 880 in Oakland and blocking traffic around 5 p.m., the most confrontational event in an otherwise peaceful yet forceful day of protest.

The biggest Bay Area event was outside San Francisco City Hall, were more than a dozen smaller events and marches converged at 5 p.m. Civic Center Plaza was filled with thousands of people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities, from sign-wielding kindergarteners to United Educators of San Francisco President Dennis Kelly, who served as MC of a program that explicitly excluded elected officials.

“We’re here today because never again should any of us feel helpless,” Kelly boomed, declaring, “The budgets of California will not be built on the backs of our future.”

It was indeed an inspiring, passionate presentation to the largest crowd that has filled the plaza since the start of the Iraq War in 2003. Some speakers even drew on that connection in scoffing at statements by elected officials that the budget cuts – which have results in hundreds of teacher layoffs and steep tuition hikes -- are unavoidable.

“When the government wants to wage war, the money is there. When the government wants trillions of dollars to bail out the banks, the money is there,” Chabot College teacher Kip Waldo said.

Susan Solomon, a San Francisco kindergarten teacher, said the budget decisions being made today are incredibly myopic and unjust. “We are here today to address a crime, the crime of stealing education from our kids,” she said, going on to attack the belittling mantra that educators need to simply live within the budgets they’re given. “We are sick and tired of doing more with less. Let’s try something new. Let’s try doing more with more.”

Then she spelled out what she – and the majority of people who were out there, people who don’t usually take to the streets in protest – are advocating: “We want progressive taxation. The people and the corporation who have all the money should pay their fair share.”

Whether this nascent movement can help bring that about is yet to be determined, but its leaders sounded confident yesterday. As California Faculty Association President Lil Taiz said, “We have here the seeds of a movement that can lead this state to the kind of future we believe in.”

Comments

Someone missed the protest.

From todays the Sacramento Bee.

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Former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass quietly promoted 20 members of her Democratic caucus staff and gave them 10 percent salary increases as she stepped down as Assembly leader.

Bass submitted the pay hikes and they took effect on the same day, last Friday, the Los Angeles Democrat's final working day at the helm of the 80-member lower house.

Bass' successor, Assemblyman John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, was sworn in Monday.

Targeted staff members received different job titles, reflecting a change in duties, said Jon Waldie, Assembly administrator.

Only two of the promotions went to employees earning more than $75,000 per year – 17 of the 20 Democratic caucus aides had annual salaries below $50,000, records show.

But the increases come at a thorny time for lawmakers, with the state facing massive debt and most state workers dealing with pay cuts through furloughs.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 05, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

I think we should all pay more taxes, I would love to see signs like mine asking to be taxed more. Both at the Federal and State level, I think everyone should be paying more. Not just property owners but taxes on salaries are too low. We all pay too little and want too much.

Posted by Chris Pratt on Mar. 05, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

Why don't you just buy the things you want with your overly low taxed salary and leave the rest of us alone?

You can also give all you want to the level of government you want to give to. If you want to help finance SF's foreign policy, give to the city. If you want to finance raises to democrat flunkies hand it over to the state. If you want to finance the war in Iraq, send Obamma a check.

No one is stopping you from paying more. I wish you would.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 05, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

UPDATE: Almost 24 hours after his arrest, jail officials still haven't released Guardian intern Jobert Poblete, who was mistakely arrested while covering the protest for us. Jail officials tell us he'll be released after he's been officially booked, but that might not be until later tonight. I'm sure he'll have an interesting story to tell Guardian readers once he's free.

- Steven T. Jones

Posted by steven on Mar. 05, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

UPDATE: Jobert has just been released from jail. He was covering the march when a faction went onto the freeway and he observed them from the edge,but he says that he was forced to finally join them out of fear of approaching riot police who looked like they meant business. Although he identified himself as a journalist covering the event and offered proof that he worked for the Guardian, he was arrested along with two journalists from Democracy Now and a reporter for the Daily Cal, UC Berkeley's student paper. Once he gets some rest and organizes his notes and thoughts, we'll post his report, probably tomorrow.

Posted by steven on Mar. 05, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

The Guardian wants to be part of the political process with their advocacy journalism and servile fawning over people like Davis Campos and Chris Daly but when shit gets serious they are disinterested observers.

You people crack me the fuck up.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 05, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

His name is David Campos (Dah-veed in Español). I appreciate the work David is doing on the Board of Supervisors, particularly on the Sanctuary City issue.

As for the Guardian "wanting to be part of the political process," they HAVE BEEN part of the political process for years and STILL ARE. (Pls excuse the all caps but some people are thick).

And if you don't like the Guardian why are you on here reading it? There must be something here worth reading otherwise you and others wouldn't come here and read it.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 06, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

The problem was that Jobert identified himself as a BG reporter!

Do you get it???

Should I explain it more????

The BG is not a paper, it is a propaganda rag!

Posted by Tom Jones on Mar. 05, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

Advocacy and part of the political process "journalist"; "But I'm a Bay Guardian 'reporter'"

cop; "ha ha ha ha ha ha ha"

Advocacy and part of the political process "journalist"; "I know it looked like I was part of the riot, with the chanting and blocking traffic thing, but if you arrest me my parents might hear about it and they will stop paying my tuition, and really I do work as a 'reporter' for the Bay Guardian"

cop; "ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, your under arrest"

Advocacy and part of the political process "journalist"; "You can't arrest me, I heard what happened to fellow journalist 'donny the punk' in jail, I'm a journalist for the Bay Guardian!"

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 06, 2010 @ 11:15 am

What a run-on mess. Not a period in that mess.

A period looks like this just so you know (period = . )

And where you wrote, "your under arrest" [sic]

It should read, either "you are under arrest." OR "you're under arrest."

That comment must have been written by some child who hasn't completed elementary school and/or learned good writing skills.

Grade = F

Posted by Sam on Mar. 06, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

Well I see the rabid regressive trolls are pouring onto here. (Are you paid by the word or paragraph?) They must be coming from that SFHate (also known as SFGate) rag and that backwater cesspool "community" over there of hate.

If one considers the Bay Guardian a "propaganda rag," why are you on here reading it? DUH. You don't have anything better to do with your time than to read----what you call---"a propaganda rag?" You're exposing yourselves for the pathetic people that you are.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 06, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

Where were you living for all those years of the Bush presidency?

After all, you think people should leave SF if they don't agree with you so called progressives?

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 06, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

After all, you think people should leave SF if they don't agree with you so called progressives?

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You're misrepresenting (deliberately so?) what I originally said.

What I originally asked was: Why would anyone live in a place that they can't stand, that they hate or dislike? I was referring to the rabid regressives who despise this City and any and all things about it. Just read the constant hate on SFHate (aka SFGate) in the "comments" section---that backwater cesspool of willfully ignorant people---to know what I'm talking about. I'll draw you a verbal picture:

Do you go to restaurants you dislike or can't stand? Do you buy a car you don't like? Do you rent movies you don't like? Would you buy a home you can't stand or rent an apartment you can't stand? Do you buy music you don't like? Get the picture?

For example, if I lived in a place (a city or town) I strongly disliked for whatever reason, I would *MOVE* to another city or town that I liked or thought I would like. That's all I was saying in the original comment (that you twisted around and misrepresented). For my own mental health and sanity, I would personally not live in a place that I felt the need to "hate on" 24/7 like the rabid regressives do on SFHate and some people do on here. It's very unhealthy for one to live in a place one can't stand or strongly dislikes. Now granted, many of the rabid regressives don't live here or anywhere near here. They just pretend to live here so they can spew their bile and hate at the City, at the Board of Supervisors, at immigrants, at bicyclists, at the homeless and at other "bait" topics that SFHate uses to generate hits to their site. How do I know some/many of the rabids don't live here? Because they give themselves away. Some of them still don't know how to spell the mayor's name correctly---and his name can be printed in the same article they are commenting on---and he's in his second term, some of the rabids will refer to the "City council" when it's not called that here, and occasionally they slip and let it be known where they are really from (Alaska, Manhattan, etc). And of course that pathetic site (SFHate) is on the Internet so people from all over the nation and world can be on there and "hate" on San Francisco, because they have nothing better to do with their pathetic lives than to hate on a city where they don't even live, just like that regressive CW Nevius piece of work. Ugh.

As for Bush, what the hell does he have to do with anything? He's only ONE person of millions. He is not the nation. Whoever is sitting in La Casa Blanca is not the nation. The People make up the nation, not one person. Just as The People make up this City. I certainly would not move out of a nation or a city because of ONE person. Your thinking is so extreme and so black and white, with no "gray area." A credible psychologist could help you with that because many things in life are in the "gray area," which you seem blind to.

Now, did you read/comprehend and grasp that? I can't make it any clearer.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 07, 2010 @ 12:52 am

You say I misrepresent you, then you just repeat what I said about you.

Why did you remain in the USA while George Bush was president while thinking people should leave San Francisco if they don't like the progressive idiocy in this town?

Why did you live in a country that had the goofy far right running both houses for some time, had a majority on the supreme court and had a guy who talked to a right wing jesus while he was in the white house.

I suspect you are not old enough or not well informed enough to know about the pro Vietnam war types stupid "love it or leave it" stance in the 60's and 70's. The more things change the more they stay the same, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Posted by glen matlock on Mar. 07, 2010 @ 10:55 am

I do agree with the "new boss the same as the old boss" comment. I didn't vote for Obama (I voted for Nader/Gonzalez). I didn't allow myself to be duped by Obama's simplistic marketing slogans of "hope" and "change we can believe in." It was BS. I didn't vote for him because I looked at Obama's voting record from the senate and I saw that he repeatedly worked for the Bush regime and I expected him to continue doing so as president, as he has. He has continued all of the neocon agenda (and even added to it), minus some minor 'window dressing" stuff to dupe his gullible believers. I was very disappointed to see some "progressive" members of the Board allow themselves to be duped by Obama (Ross M and Chris D, come to mind). I was sorry to see The Bay Guardian endorse Obama over the true progressives: Nader or McKinney. To the Bay Guardian's credit, they endorsed Cindy Sheehan (I also voted for her) over Bush-helper Pelosi.

Posted by Sam on Mar. 07, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

I was at the meeting at Marina Middle School last Thursday and at the City Hall protest on Friday. It is embarassing that California ranks 50th in funding per pupil (51st, if you count Guam, as Leland Yee noted). We need to rework Prop 13 to elimnate looholes for commercial property:

One criticism:

The Teacher's Union was very vocal at the Marina meeting (one teacher gave a rude harangue at the end addressed at Garcia). But the "senority" system for teachers needs to be abolished. It is virtually impossible to get an incompetent teacher fired in San Francisco. And the bad teachers know this. Bad teachers get bounced from school to school (the slang term is "pinged"). So every single parent with a child in public schools here has a horror story about a bad teacher that his/her child had to "learn" under.

When I was PTA president at one school, my biggest task was to get these bad teachers run out of the place. Parents can do this with enough effort. But often the teachers are replaced with another "pinged" teacher. This is the reason the teacher's union has a bad reputation among parents.

Here's an example of what I mean:

My school had a counselor who would come to school maybe three days a week and wept a lot. She was mentally unbalanced. Once a couple of students (both immigrants from China) asked me, "What does a counselor do exactly, Mr. Barton?" They had been observing this weepy creature all year. I said, facetiously, that a "counselor" is someone who comes to school to get counseled, by you, the students. We were successful in getting this counselor "pinged" to another school the following year.

The union needs to get its act together in order for parents and taxpayers to continue voting for propositions and parcel taxes funding education. The "seniority system" has to go.

Posted by Barton on Mar. 07, 2010 @ 11:15 am