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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Assembly Campaigns Tout Education Endorsements

Education is one of the main pillars of the Democratic Party, so it is no surprise to see Democratic candidates jostling for support and endorsements from the education community. What is a shock is how early this is occurring in the 8th Assembly District.

This morning, I attended a rather interesting press conference by the Christopher Cabaldon for Assembly Campaign held at the Sacramento City College Davis Extension Campus in South Davis. Cabaldon was there touting his record on education and receiving an endorsement from State Superintendent of Schools Jack O'Connell.

The event itself was well done and interesting, it was held in a classroom on the Davis Extension Campus, during class time. Actual students were in attendance. One of them told me that they were supposed to take a test today, but that was changed in order to accommodate this event.

What I do not understand is how a press conference of this sort can occur at a taxpayer financed classroom during class time. The administrator and teacher were obvious supporters of Cabaldon, but one must question the usage of state and classroom time for campaign purposes.

I have known Jack O'Connell since he was an Assemblyman down in Santa Barbara and later he moved his family to San Luis Obispo to become State Senator. O'Connell was always a strong advocate for schools and a representative in the state legislature.

The Los Angeles Times "Capital Blog" criticized elected officials including Jack O'Connell for ducking the controversial vote on College fee increases for UC and CSU.
"Lt. Gov. John Garamendi issued a statement today calling the fee hikes at the University of California and Cal State University system "an unfair tax on California's youth, and a dangerously shortsighted move." California, he said, has a "moral obligation to invest in our future generations."

Yet Garamendi skipped a vote yesterday by the UC Board of Regents that raised college fees 7%, and he missed the Cal State University trustee meeting that hiked fees 10%.

In fact, not a single elected official with a vote showed up yesterday at the UC meeting in Westwood and the Cal State meeting in Long Beach. Garamendi and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured together), Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and schools chief Jack O'Connell were elsewhere. All four serve as voting ex officio members of the two boards."
Meanwhile, the Mariko Yamada for Assembly Campaign issued a press release yesterday announcing the endorsement of Davis resident and former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.
"Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin has endorsed Mariko Yamada’s candidacy in the Democratic Primary for the 8th Assembly district. Eastin lives in Davis.

Yamada, current Chair of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, has also earned the endorsement of Cirenio Rodriguez of the Yolo County Board of Education, Jim Provenza, President of the Davis Joint Unified School District and Sheila Allen, PhD member of the Davis Joint Unified School District and Rogelio Villagrana, a Trustee of the Woodland Joint Unified School District."
This is an extremely high level of intensity for March of 2007, nearly 15 months before the primary election. Someone was telling me that in other Assembly Districts, people were announcing that they are strongly thinking about running for Assembly and in this race, there is a furious pace to line up the support of elected officials.

All of which makes for interesting times as someone following this race. Stay tuned.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting