Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Republican throws a wedge at California budget woes

Simona Garibay receives a U.S. flag from Maj. Brian Dolan during funeral services for her son, Cpl. Jose Angel Garibay, at Riverside National Cemetery, April 11, 2003.

As California wakes up to its multi-billion dollar projected deficit, Assemblyman Chuck Devore, R-Irvine, has come up with a neat trick (AB 1758) to play politics with the future of thousands of community college students.

Back when California had a Democratic governor and legislature (2001), the state opted to invest in its future. It charges in-state tuition at the community colleges, regardless of immigration status, to students who have spent three years in California high schools, graduated, and who sign an affidavit stating they have applied to become legal residents or will do so if they become eligible. That's quite a break; at California's community colleges, in-state fees run about $78 per course, while out-of-state students pay $500. Devore wants to kill this program which costs $117 million a year and instead redirect $3 million to provide members of the California National Guard with free tuition at state colleges and universities.

National Guard members undoubtedly deserve help going to college if they happen to survive intact being used as cannon fodder by our rulers. But this measure is just xenophobic grandstanding. Most obviously, some of those Guard members are immigrants serving in the military to regularize their status.

Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, has previously sponsored unsuccessful legislation to grant tuition benefits to Guard members and plans to do so again this year.

"This is not as much a budget issue as a political issue," Correa said. ...

But Correa does not support DeVore's effort to repeal AB 540 [the in-state tuition provision.]

"Absolutely not," Correa said. "You know why? Jose Angel Garibay."

The U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal from Orange County was killed in 2003 while fighting in Iraq. Garibay, whose parents entered the country illegally, was granted citizenship posthumously.

Moreover, punishing young people who were children when brought here by their parents and who have proved they are on the way to becoming productive members of society is simply madness. The racists can't make them go away -- in fact they often profit from their labor -- all they can do is make their lives miserable. That's no way to run a great state.

Looking into this story, I was not surprised to discover that Assemblyman Devore makes a practice of trying to start racial fights. Here's a 2007 item from the Los Angeles Times.

Republican plays race card
Assemblyman Chuck DeVore - the China-hating, novel writing, constant blogging, gung-ho Republican National Guard officer from Orange County - is scheming to write legislation that would divide Democrats along racial lines. In the OC Register today, columnist Frank Mickadeit writes about attending a conference of Republican lawyers at Chapman Law School last week:

"Assemblyman Chuck DeVore told the group how even as a member of the minority party in the Legislature, he's trying to be relevant. He's working a bill that would suspend the California Environmental Quality Act for five years for low-income housing, farm-worker housing and urban infill projects.

"The strategy, he said, is to split the Democrats in the Legislature into two factions: the black and Latino caucuses, which favor the bill because it would reduce housing costs 10-20 percent for constituents, and what he called 'the white, urban limousine liberals,' who oppose lowering environmental standards.

" 'I'm purposefully eff-ing with them,' DeVore said."
Not exactly a responsible policy advocate.

H/t to the newsletter of Racewire for pointing out Devore's current wedge bill. AB
1758 will have a hearing on March 4 in the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Passage seems unlikely.

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