Dear Assemblywoman Gonzalez,
It was extremely disappointing to see your affirmative vote last week on AB 955 (Williams). As you are well aware, since you helped us lobby Senator Marty Block against this bill prior to your election to the Assembly, this bill would create a two-tier fee system in community colleges. It will authorize six pilot colleges to charge their students exorbitant fees for intersession courses. AB 955 fees will run over $750 for a typical 3-unit community college course. Current community college fees for a typical 3-unit course are $138.
This would make some community college courses more expensive than courses offered by the CSU. By raising student fees so dramatically, AB 955 will effectively deny equal, open access to the working class Californians for whom you profess to be an advocate. Voting in support of a system of haves and have-nots is no way to educate our state.
Furthermore it is certainly not what we would expect from someone who stated just a few days ago that you “…have too much respect for community college teachers and staff in San Diego County…” All statewide community college faculty organizations, most community college District administrations, and even the State Chancellor’s office are on the record in stiff opposition to this bill. Yet, you were the only San Diego Democrat in either house to vote in favor of this bill from the floor.
Anyone can recite nicely packaged sound bites when politically expedient. However, as the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Your actions in recent weeks have been seen by many as a grievous betrayal to working class families, and an affront to community college professionals. They also seriously call into question your commitments and loyalties as an elected official.
Jim Mahler, President
AFT Guild, Local 1931
San Diego & Grossmont-Cuyamaca