By Araceli Diaz / Staff Writer
By Araceli Diaz / Staff Writer
With Sept. 30 long gone, the hope of Proposition 1481 making it in the general election has diminished.
According to Proposition 1481’s official website rescueeducationcalifornia.org, the proposition will place a 15 percent extraction fee on crude oil that is extracted from California.
If it passes it will generate $3 billion for California education.
Approximately $1.5 billion will be specifically designated for California community colleges in hope of lowering fees and restoring any classes that may have been cut.
In order for the proposition to make it on the ballot for the fall election petitioners had to gather 504,760 valid signatures of registered voters in California by Sept. 30.
Associated Students of Riverside City College President Jonathan Flike, ASRCC Vice President Joey Reynoso and Senator Richard Gallon were key players in getting the word out about Proposition 1481.
However, this proved to be a quite a difficult task.
“Our campus did vote to officially endorse it about three weeks ago. We did collect some signatures; unfortunately even with the amount of signatures we collected it’s still not half a million,” Reynoso said.
There were also issues of people being apathetic to the cause.
“I don’t think the people pushing it paid enough attention to it. A lot of people agreed with the idea but not enough people actually signed the petition,” Reynoso said. “A lot of people gained information about it, but no one really said, ‘hey let’s do something about it.’ People want to talk about it, but they don’t want to actively participate in anything.”
There also appeared to be confusion about what the petition actually stood for among RCC students.
“The situation with picketers and other petitioners on campus really disenchants people from actually wanting to give actual signatures to ASRCC students,” Reynoso said. “Most people think that we are trying to create a third party or save the whales in the Bahamas or something like that. They can’t distinguish us from the others.”
Senator Gallon said that Proposition 1481 will not make it to the fall ballot.
“We don’t have an exact number, but from all the ballots that they have collected so far, and the amount that are out, we are way below what we really need,” Gallon said.
Although the proposition did not make it to this upcoming election, ASRCC remains optimistic about the proposition hopefully making it on the next ballot.
“I know from talking to Peter Matthews, who is the author of this Prop 1481, that after the deadline, we are going to hit the ground running to make sure it’s on the spring ballot.” Gallon said.
All three parties felt that this Proposition was a long time coming and possibly should have been thought of sooner.
“I think it’s because the oil companies have had politicians in their pockets for a very long time,” Flike said. “It wasn’t until we started talking about removing the oil subsidies from the federal government that these kinds of initiatives started to take precedents in politics.”
Reynoso said that the proposition wasn’t a necessity until recent years.
“For the longest time California was number one in education throughout the nation and as we slowly start to slip off that slope of excellence we really looked at the ground and thought, ‘hey we can take oil out here, and charge it.” Reynosa said.
“Until the economy really tanked no one really thought about it because education was basically being properly funded,” Gallon said.
“There weren’t tax hikes for fees in community colleges until that happened. They figured oil companies make the most money in California without any kind of subsidy to their communities and it was a good way of penalizing the oil company and being able to bring in money for community colleges,” Gallon said.
For now though ASRCC seems determined to assist in helping Propostion 1481 make it on the next ballot. Regardless, if this means sticking to a 15 percent extraction fee for the time being.
“Fifteen percent is a small amount. Alaska’s oil extraction fee is 25 percent and Texas’ is 12.5 percent so we are kind of in that middle,” Gallon said.
Flike said that the priority should be on just getting the initiative passed.
“I think it is important just to get the foundation established right now,” Flike said. “Fifteen percent isn’t 25 percent, but if we can get this initiative passed then it sets the groundwork for future generations to either raise it or lower it accordingly to what they feel is appropriate.”
ASRCC simply wants to inform students that this initiative can prove to be beneficial to many.
“I think it’s going to help education across the board. K- 12, community colleges, University of California and California State Universities. Cal States’ are being cut another 16 percent and unless something is done about bringing in money it’s most likely going to be cut every year,” Gallon said. “So having this extra money would basically solve education’s funding problem for the next five years or so.”
ASRCC is asking fellow students to assist them in getting this proposition on the ballot in the next election season.
“Continue educating other students on it,” Reynoso said. “Make sure that everyone knows about this. I know high school teachers who didn’t even know about this proposition. And they were just like ‘oh wow that sounds pretty good.’ It takes more than just agreeing with it. I think that is a major misconception most people have.”
Reynoso said that he wishes they could have taken a more active approach to the petition like other colleges.
“Students at Cypress College cared about this enough to go out into the streets with picket signs and yell at cars,” he said. “Where are our students?”