By Samantha Bartholomew
In their first joint public appearance, Jose Alcala and Brian Hawley gathered in the Digital Library Auditorium March 2 to answer questions from the public.
Candidate Ben Johnson was absent due to last minute travel obligations.
Brian Hawley, a local business owner, attended and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UC Riverside.
Hawley is the founder of Luminex software, a 22-year-old Riverside-based technology company that provides data storage products to a broad range of industries.
Jose Alcala, a member of the Moreno Valley Educators Association, is the Board member for the California Teachers Association serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Alcala has taught history for 14 years at March Mountain High School, an alternative education site in the Moreno Valley Unified School District, and has previously taught at two other schools in the district.
“Students who come ready to earn two year degrees should earn them in two years,” Hawley said. “Sometimes students aren’t prepared, but sometimes they are. If it takes students too long to get their degrees, they won’t make it.”
The topic of project labor agreements was a hot topic among the audience, particularly to faculty and staff members.
A project labor agreement is when the government awards contracts for public construction projects exclusively to unionized firms, requiring all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, to subject themselves and their employees to unionization in order to work on a government-funded construction project.
This is done by including a union collective bargaining agreement in a public construction project’s bid specifications. In order to receive a contract, a contractor must sign the agreement and subject their employees to union control.
“I think it would depend on what’s in the contract. It looks like it would effective, but the devil would be in the details,” Hawley said.
Without giving much explanation, Alcala simply stated that he was “unwaveringly supportive” of project labor agreements.
On the subject of prioritizing funding for public education, both candidates were at a loss for how the district could do so without the cooperation at the state and federal levels.
“Unfortunately, this isn’t just an Riverside Community College District problem, until the state and the country begins to value public education, we’re going to continue to bandage the situation,” Alcala said.
“Prop 80 was a bandaid until we got to Prop 55 and Prop 55 is a band aid until we get to whatever comes next. Until we really fix the problem with funding for public education, we’re going to continue to struggle with prioritizing funding. In the meantime, lobbying in places like Sacramento and Washington, DC will help us advocate for public education and for the students we serve.”
“My priorities are going to center around student outcomes and student success,” Hawley said. “You have to understand the importance of quality teachers and how they impact the success of our students.”