POLITICS: The Political Action Coalition hosts “Restoring Our Education” event for Valley Students
by Alton Pitre, Staff Writer
About 150 students congregated in Monarch Hall last Tuesday for “Restoring our Education,” an event hosted by the Political Action Coalition, along with the help of student interns from the American Federation of Teachers.
Fred Glass, communications director for the California Federation of Teachers, conducted the event and informed students on the history of our education system and its current status. Students also learned ways to become more involved in the restoration of public education in California.
“The purpose of this event was to empower students,” said Alexia Johnson, Valley’s student body president. “We are voters. We have the power to spread the word and advocate for legislation that affects us.”
Glass brought awareness to the students on many solutions that would bring money back to higher education. One of the solutions he spoke of specifically was Proposition 13 reform.
Proposition 13 is a law that was passed in 1978 which protected homeowners from tax exploitation. This allowed property owners to finally be able to estimate the amount of future property taxes and determine the maximum amount in taxes one could increase as long as they retained ownership of the property. The law also created a loophole for big corporations to seep through.
Corporations like Disney, Westfield, Dell Computers and Brookfield Office Properties, for example, are paying a property tax value set in the 70s, while recent homeowners are paying today’s tax market price. Under Proposition 13, the properties are reassessed for tax purposes only when they change ownership.
According to Glass, these corporations are evading this law by setting up deals so that none of their shareholders own a majority.
This allows them a loophole, pretending that no true change of ownership has taken place, consequently enabling them to avoid the property being reassessed at the current rate.
Glass further explained that if these corporations were to pay their fair share in taxes, an estimated $4 million dollars could be accounted toward students’ higher education and other necessary resources, possibly restoring our education systems.
“It’s crazy how bad our education system is,” said broadcasting major James Neal. “It hurts us as students when it should instead benefit us. We as students have got to do more.”
Valley students can become more involved by joining the Political Action Coalition on campus. They meet every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in room 220 of the Campus Center. Students can also do their part by self-educating themselves on the present politics and staying in tune with all legislation issues that students are affected by.
A week of action from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 will allow all UC, CSU, and CC schools to participate in the matter. The Day of Action for Valley will be on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m. at the Northridge Fashion Center—which is actually owned by Brookfield. The culmination of the weeklong action will be Friday, Nov. 1, and will take place in Downtown Los Angeles at either Brookfield or Westfield properties.
For more information, students can contact the Student Services Center or call (818) 947-2701.