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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

In Search For Votes, Jerry Brown Fires Up Like-Minded Students At UCLA

Paresh Dave, Xueqiao Ma |
October 16, 2012 | 1:05 p.m. PDT


(Xueqiao Ma/Neon Tommy)
(Xueqiao Ma/Neon Tommy)
In between chants of "Yes on 30" from a crowd of about 300 members of the UCLA community, Gov. Jerry Brown said votes from students could be the last push Proposition 30 needs to pass and end immediate threats of more tuition hikes.

"You can avoid that tuition hike by going out…  and talking to people and getting them to register to vote," Brown said under the shade of a large pine tree in the middle of UCLA's campus. "…And then in those last two weeks after the registration deadline, getting them to vote."

The regents of the University of California system and the trustees of the California State University system have said tuition would be raised if Proposition 30 gets less than 50 percent of the vote and the Legislature fails to stop mandatory cuts resulting from the loss at the polls. Students gathered behind him on stage, in front of him in Bruin Plaza, atop the campus center's rooftop terrace and on the steps outside of the gym as Brown explained they could control a part of their own financial destiny.

Brown was initially greeted by a couple of graduate students who were angry at him for vetoing a bill that would have given graduate student researchers the right to collectively bargain their contracts as a union for better pay and benefits.

"It's hurting lots of students! I reject the frame he made," said Mathew Sandovao.

Another group labeled him a "traitor" for vetoing the TRUST Act, which would have barred police from working with the federal government to deport some of the people who are in the country illegally.

"Say no as loud as you can," he said to them from the podium. "Even the naysayers should have a chance."

After they responded to his edict to yell "No!", Brown commented that their cheer was "pathetic."

"Say yes as loud as you can," he added, drawing a cheer that could be heard as far as the soccer fields a thousand meters down the road.

"Proposition 30 is an opportunity for the people themselves not only to fix California but also show the rest of this country that we as a community can fix our schools and the UC system," Brown said. "All it takes now is to make sure we get to the polls. This is a matter that you can actually make a decision."

Some students felt their were other solutions.

"We already have the highest taxes in California and ridiculous income tax," said Jake Kohlhepp. "There are so many other options to solve the problems."

"It's just unfair," said Jake Akers.

Like his campaign for governor in 2010, Brown has waited until the last few weeks of the election to hold events to urge voters to support his measure. Though Proposition 30 is supported by a bare majority of voters, it's under attack from Molly Munger. She's backing Proposition 38, a measure that would raise income taxes for all but the lowest-income California taxpayers. The taxes raised from Munger's measure would go into a separate account that would make it difficult for lawmakers to use for anything but paying for public education.

Proposition 30 raises the sales tax in California, adding 50 cents to the cost of the cheapest iPhone 5. And it also raises the income tax, but only on the highest-income earners.

Brown told reporters after his rally that he's confident Proposition 30 will pass. And he responded to TV ads attacking Prop. 30, saying he helped wrote it and that definitely the "money would go to community colleges and the schools."

"There is a state government," he said though, suggestng if lawmakers really wanted to they could find a way around rules.

The 74-year-old governor showed his age at one point during the rally, telling students, "You can register to vote by email. That's a new law in California."

In fact, users can register to vote online through a website. The deadline to register is Oct. 22.

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