Q&A with Shirley Weber, Marty Block, George Plescia

by Ana Ceballos

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   Q&A with Dr. Shirley Weber 

California native Shirley Weber is running for State Assembly this November to represent California’s 79th district. Weber, who currently serves as the Africana Studies department chair, has served 40 years as an advocate for education. Weber was also selected to serve on the National Alliance for Restructuring Schools as the national Vice Chairperson, a multimillion dollar initiative intended to reform schools in Arkansas. She graduated from UCLA, completing her BA, MA and PhD, by the age of 26. Weber says her main motivation to run was to provide Sacramento with a clear voice of what higher education needs.

Daily Aztec: How do you think your experience as a professor will contribute to the state assembly if elected?

Shirley Weber: I think the thing that is important is that people care about education. And it is one thing to care and try to create laws for issues that are sensitive. But, unless you have been there or have done that, you really don’t understand that sometimes you have to tweak it a little bit better to make it applicable to the situation that you are in. I think I bring that experience by having been a faculty member and by having been chair of the Africana Studies department. Fortunately for me, I have the experience and it helps me understand what it takes to bring reform that is not as simple as people say it will be.

DA: If elected, what will your first move be?

SW: When I am elected to the state assembly, I want to carefully look at what we can do to stop the constant increase in fees. There must be options where we can stop the fee increases and begin to expand options for young people. I also want to look into what we can do for the K – 12 …

We know that everyone wants to get into the university, because that is the only way to get a job. But that is not true. We need to start early to get them interested in what they want to do. I want them to understand the choices that they have and guide them through the career paths starting inK-12 so that they know what they want to do and what they need to get there.

  Q&A with Marty Block    

Democrat Marty Block is running for 39th State Senate and is currently representing the 78th State Assembly. Block, who retired after 26 years as a professor, dean and director at San Diego State has been known as a big supporter of Proposition 30. He is also known for prioritizing the creation of jobs and economic development.

Daily Aztec: During the debate, you mentioned a book bill that will benefit students. Can you explain this bill?

Marty Block: The book bill has been passed. I don’t think it has been signed by the governor yet. It was a bill by Darrell Steinberg. It said that the 50 most used textbooks should be available to students online. A faculty committee is going to get together and decide which are the most important books. Some publishers may not permit it, but the state is working to get them to let their books go online. That will save students hundreds of dollars each semester.

DA: As a professor at SDSU, were you already accommodating your classes to decrease book expenses?

MB: The class I mostly taught, I had one paperback textbook which costs, as I recall, about $25-39 and all the other material, we would duplicate at the copy center and students would buy it very inexpensively. So, that has been something I’ve been crusading on for years and years and years.

DA: What do you think about the California State University-wide decision to increase the number of out-of-state students to increase the university’s revenue?

MB: I would only support taking more out-of-state students if they used the revenue to open up more classes and more space for in-state students. If the out-of-state are taking the place of in-state students, I am dead-set against it.

  Q&A with George Plescia    

Republican George Plescia is a candidate for the State Senate to represent California’s 39th District. In 2002, he was elected to the Cali- fornia State Assembly to represent the 75th Assembly District. Plescia graduated from Cal State Sacremen- to. He has helped legislation repair and widen interstates 5, 805 and 15, as well as Highway 56. His platform focuses are to rebuild schools and put people back to work.

Daily Aztec: There is a student perception, whether true or not, that if Proposition 30 does not pass, students should be worried. Since you are against Proposition 30, how do you handle that?

George Plescia: Well, politicians have been threatening you—didn’t they come out last week saying they will increase tuition by $150? The bottom line is the state priorities are all out of whack. This shouldn’t be the case. They needed to cut elsewhere in the budget and only fund education and public safety. They are playing a political game with people’s education because the vot- ers won’t pass tax increases. I know the legislature’s job is to revaluate the budget and re-prioritize. Education and public safety is the top pri- ority and we will fund everything else down the road.

DA: Many students are worried about graduating. How will you help increase jobs in California? GP: One, we need a steady tax environment. More importantly, we need to look at our regulations. Legislation needs to sit back and do cross-benefit analysis of all the regulations we have on the books and see which ones work. Many of the regulations are not worth the cost.

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