Author: Haibo Huang. Editor: Frank Hu
We had a great meeting with Senator Marty Block at the OceanAir Town Hall meeting on Oct 2nd. SDAAFE mobilized ~30 Asian American parents to show up in the meeting, which is more than 2/3rd of the total who attended. Even though SCA5 was not on his topic list, and the senator got an earful of SCA5, with over 30 minutes of dedicated discussion on this topic, with more than 10 Asian American parents voiced our uniform opposition as well as our reasoning.
Senator Block tried to soft paddle the issue along a few typical but factually incorrect lines which were immediately corrected by the audience (Their responses captured in the brackets).
1. Senator Block said that he does not have anything to do with SCA5 (fact: he was one of the co-sponsors), the legislators heard the Asian American voices and halted SCA5 even though initially every senator voted for it (fact: 100% Democrats voted for, and 100% Republican voted against. This is a subtle hint to him that Asian Americans remember).
2. Senator Block said SCA5 is not for racial preference in college admission (fact: it changes the California constitution specifically to enable that by removing “public education” from the non-discrimitory statement, and by removing “UC/Public School System” from the definition of California state).
3. Senator Block said he is personally against having different college admission standards for different people and he only support outreaching to the underprivileged (Great, SDAAFE and the Asian American community would like to see about that ).
4. Senator Block said Prop 209 reduced diversity (fact: The inverse is true. UC/CSU were forced to work hard without resorting too much to race, leading to a most diverse class with 41% Pell Grant recipients, 42% first in the family to attend college, 27243 more Hispanics than white enrolled in 2013, and African American on-time graduation rates skyrocketing 260% since 1996, all thanks to Prop 209), and that SCA5 only seeks to reach out to minority to mitigate the negative effect by Prop 209 (fact: see earlier).
5. Senator Block said he will not support SCA5 to come back (Great, SDAAFE again would like to see about it) and that he is not aware of any attempt to bring it back (fact: Senator Hernandez, the new President pro tempore of the California State Senate Kevin de Leon, and the Hispanic Caucus have recently and publicly stated they are committed to bring similar bills to a head for the 2016 ballot, as published on major newspapers. For example: http://www.amren.com/news/2014/06/latino-lawmakers-move-to-reverse-decades-of-anti-immigrant-legislation/
This town-hall meeting was effective in fostering positive synergy with Senator Block and offered further opportunity to explore common grounds. It accomplished three objectives:
(1) Senator Block personally witnessed the intensity of our community opposition against SCA5.
(2) SDAAFE has the willingness to work together with Senator Block. Hopefully Senator Block can potentially be a conduit to channel our opinion to other legislators when they try to bring back the SCA5 reincarnation (If we simply blame Senator Hernandez to have misled him in the earlier SCA5 vote. )
(3) Senator Block made a few personal statements that we can take as good faith gesture and thank for his passion in education and we hope to foster our relationship in a mutually beneficial direction.
While we support Senator Block’s own initiatives in granting 4-year college degree in community college, further follow-up will be planed to discuss SCA5 and other education issues in greater depth.