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Monday, February 28, 2011

2011-02-28 "L.A. Unified set to renew charter contract despite evidence of cheating; The director of Crescendo charters, which operates six campuses south of downtown L.A., directed principals and teachers to let students study the actual exam questions on important standardized tests" by Howard Blume from "Los Angeles Times" daily newspaper
The performance of Crescendo charter schools was nothing short of remarkable — annual gains on state tests that were sometimes 10 times what other schools would consider strong progress.
Too good, perhaps, to be true.
Last year, administrators and teachers at the six schools south of downtown Los Angeles were caught cheating: using the actual test questions to prepare students for the state exams by which schools are measured.
Nonetheless, on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Board of Education is scheduled to act on a staff recommendation to reauthorize Crescendo's charter, giving the organization another five years to operate. Senior L.A. Unified officials said they are satisfied that Crescendo's governing board took appropriate steps after the cheating was uncovered.
"We did feel when we raised the issues … that the board did respond appropriately and took some swift action," said Jose Cole-Gutierrez, the district's director of charter schools.
In the end, no one was fired, not even John Allen, the founder and executive director who orchestrated the cheating, then denied it had taken place until confronted with overwhelming evidence, according to district documents and officials.
Allen did not return phone calls or e-mails Friday, nor did members of Crescendo's board of directors or other top administrators.
The case underscores a periodic dilemma: What kind of transgression is egregious enough to shut down a charter school? Last June, the co-founders of Ivy Academia in the west San Fernando Valley were indicted on charges of stealing $200,000. They have denied wrongdoing. In December, the founding principal of NEW Academy Canoga Park pleaded guilty to embezzling at least $1.3 million and was sentenced to five years in state prison. Both schools remain open because of their apparent academic success and popularity.
Charters, which are publicly funded, are independently run and exempt from many state regulations. But they must take part in high-stakes state standardized testing.
"I understand the pressure regarding test results," said Joan Herman, director of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards & Student Testing at UCLA. "But to advise your entire enterprise to cheat, that would be a serious, serious ethical breach."
At Crescendo, according to L.A. Unified's account, Allen ordered principals to have teachers break the seal on the state tests and let students practice with the actual test questions.
The principals complied. One later told the district that she had no intention of carrying out this order, but some teachers at the school insisted that this principal had relayed the directive.
"Several principals later told us they had asked Allen if this is OK for us to do," said t.r. Porter, the district's coordinator for Crescendo and about a dozen other charters. "None of them said they put forth valiant resistance."
Several teachers blew the whistle, contacting the district while also expressing fear of retaliation.
Allen, a much-lauded veteran educator, had directed employees to deny any wrongdoing if confronted, according to a district investigation outlined in correspondence to Crescendo.
"We received the first call from a teacher on May 3 and by May 5 we were asking John Allen about it, and he was denying it," Porter said. "When we put this to the school's board of directors for its own investigation, Allen initially denied it to them also."
In correspondence obtained through a public records request from The Times, Crescendo never challenged the district's findings, but its governing board downplayed the cheating two weeks after its confirmation.
"While such a breach was not authorized or condoned, the fact that regulations exist to address such breaches suggest they do happen," then-board president Leah Bass-Baylis wrote to L.A. Unified.
Allen received a six-month unpaid suspension, then returned to work, demoted to director of facilities. His salary as executive director had been $161,333.
"It is our assessment that Mr. Allen through his actions, has committed a fatal error in judgment," the district wrote in a June 15 letter.
L.A. Unified threatened to revoke the schools' charters immediately but backed down when Crescendo made a series of promises. These included a staff reorganization; a revamped board of directors that added a parent; ethics training for the staff; and additional review of board governance, conflicts of interest and the public records and open meetings act.
The principals were suspended for 10 days.
The school district never disclosed the cheating, but Crescendo parents who attended the charter's board meetings or questioned administrators were informed, officials said.
District officials are uncomfortable with Allen's continued presence but are satisfied with the overall response.
Allen "expressed very, very deep regret and said the cheating was born out of a desire to be better, better, better, best," Porter said.
Two of the six Crescendo charter schools are up for a five-year renewal at Tuesday's meeting: Crescendo Charter Academy in Gardena and Crescendo Conservatory in Hawthorne.
The district's recommendation is based largely on high test scores before 2010. Some teachers told district staff that they'd also heard of cheating in 2009, but the district could not confirm those allegations.
The Gardena campus had gains of 31 and 62 points on the state Academic Performance Index in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, the year of confirmed cheating, its score went up another 55 points, a rate of improvement consistent with the two previous years. The invalidated state index score would have been 867. The state's target score for schools, on a scale of 200 to 1000, is 800.
The Hawthorne campus jumped an astonishing 224 points in 2008 to an API score of 907, rising from one of the state's lowest- to highest-scoring schools in one year. Only 17 students were tested each year, which could account for steep fluctuation. Most students were in kindergarten or first grade, levels that aren't tested. The next year 22 students took the exams and the score dropped 80 points but remained high. No score was calculated for 2010.
Crescendo schools enrolled a total of 1,294 students last year; 44% were in kindergarten or first grade.
The 2010 cheating was discovered in time to prevent additional cheating on the actual testing days, the district said.
Scores for Crescendo Prep South in Manchester Square were never calculated for 2010. And the 2010 scores at three other Crescendo schools, which were later tossed out, showed a decline, calling the successes of prior years into further question.
At Crescendo Preparatory West in Gardena, test scores in 2010 declined 63 points from the prior year. Crescendo Prep Central in Gramercy Park slipped 7 points.
And scores at Crescendo Charter in Vermont Square declined 52 points. This school recently won a state academic achievement award.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011-02-16 "Holocaust survivor: Israel=Nazi Germany"
SACRAMENTO, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Jewish community leaders said they're angry that a Holocaust survivor who equates Israel with Nazi Germany has been invited to speak in a Sacramento mosque.
Auschwitz death camp survivor Hajo Meyer, 86, was scheduled to deliver his "Never Again for Anyone" speech at the Sacramento League of Associated Muslims Islamic Center Wednesday evening, the Sacramento Bee reported.
"Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is repugnant, anti-Semitic and defiles the sacred memory of millions who perished during the Holocaust," Rabbi Reuven H. Taff, president of the 13-member Board of Rabbis of Greater Sacramento, wrote to SALAM's Imam Mohamed Abdul Azeez.
The Board of Rabbis asked Azeez either to boycott the event or prevent it from occurring at his center. Otherwise, Taff wrote," all the good work you are doing to foster relations with the interfaith community will be severely undermined."
Azeez refused to cancel the event, noting his center is not one of the 17 organizations sponsoring the event.
Azeez, however, said he agrees with the rabbis that "any attempt to equate the Holocaust with what is happening in Palestine is an atrocity," adding SALAM's management won't permit the speakers to compare Israel to the Nazis.
Meyer's writings and speeches are "most offensive -- the program promotes hate," Rabbi Nancy Wechsler-Azen of Congregation Beth Shalom said.
Meyer has said Zionism is "an ideology based on a well-defined Arab enemy who must be destroyed."
2011-02-27 "Brown’s Budget Attacks Working People And Our Movement"
New Governor… New Cuts! Where is the change?
As soon as he took office, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed $12.5 billion in cuts to California’s public services. This time $1.4 billion will be carved out from the already starving public higher education system: $500 million from the University of California system (an additional 16.4% cut in state funding from last year), $500 from the California State system (an additional 18% cut in state funding) and $400 million from ourCommunity Colleges. Now the threat is that the cuts will increase – if Brown’s regressive tax reform does not go through at the June election.
What are the concrete consequences of these new cuts? The CSU system will again have to curtail the enrollment of students (40,000 student slots disappeared in 2009) while eliminating and restructuring programs and departments. The 112 Community Colleges statewide are planning to raise tuition $26 to $36 per unit, while cutting enrollment: in 2009 community colleges shrank by 250,000 students, next year 350,000 more will be turned away.
The UC has not announced yet how these cuts will affect education or working conditions on campus. For the moment, the UC continues to lay-off essential staff and has not restored the deep cuts of the last several years. Though our protests succeeded in making President Yudof promise not to raise tuition again, in the coming year UC students will likely see more cuts in classes, programs and student services, while the administration attacks the benefits and wages of UC workers.
As costs have risen for students, the quality and breadth of education and services will continue to decrease, and workers will be asked to do more as their wages and benefits fall.
Even worse: this would mean that all the concrete gains of our movement to defend public education, obtained from the UC and Schwarzenegger administrations (the end of the fee hikes and the restoration of a small part of the cuts in funding) through hard work and collective effort, are now being completely taken away by Gov. Brown.
The “Logic” of Austerity Measures… Whose “Logic” is That?
Both the Democratic and Republican parties seem convinced that the best solution in a period of deep economic crisis is to choose to “balance” State budgets (which bear the biggest financial burden for funding public services) on the backs of working people.
Instead of “balancing” the growing inequalities in our country, or the burden of taxation, they increase the numbers of unemployed (by laying-off thousands of teachers and other public workers), slash the few available public services for the most vulnerable, and eviscerate the public education system, our best investment in future generations.
The California Federation of Teachers asserts that in the past two years $15 billion dollars have been cut from K-12 education, to which we need to add the $4 billion cut from higher education.
The logic of these “austerity measures” defies common sense. Why are we not looking into ways of increasing revenue for public services now that they are most needed – with California families hurting from foreclosures and the job losses of the Great Recession? Why are we not creating more union and public sector jobs to fight the unemployment and the increasing impoverishment of the California population? The answer to these questions is clear: we have an enduring and deep crisis of political leadership and representation.
Our Politics for Expanding Public Education: Organizing in The Workplace and Taking Political Action to Raise Revenue
To combat these “austerity plans,” we need to continue the rank-and-file education and mobilization of the members of our local, in conjunction and in solidarity with the rest of the workers and the students of the UC system and the California education sector at large.
Our movement has made incontestable gains: we sparked a nation-wide debate about the endangering of public education, we have pressured UC administrators and the California legislature with key demands that represent our interests (and the interests of the majority of Californians), and through continued struggle and mass actions, we have made concrete gains including last year’s partial budget restoration. With Gov. Brown’s new budget intervention, we need to ask again for the reversal of the cuts, an end to attacks on workers’ rights and benefits – and an end to layoffs, fee hikes and the repression of student and worker activists.
At the same time, we need to put forward a realistic and fair plan to raise revenue and fight the growing inequalities in our society. The tax increases Gov. Brown is proposing (1% increase in sales tax, 0.5% increase in vehicle licensing fees, 0.25% increase in the state income tax) are not the solution. They are in fact regressive taxes that will be paid disproportionately by us. They function exactly like the fee hikes: they are taxes on working people.
We need to take a serious and courageous approach to reverse the tax inequalities in California: 89.3% of state tax revenue comes from working people (52,4% in income taxes and 30.9% in sales taxes). Only 10.7% of state revenue comes from taxes on corporate profits!
And this is not all. The income tax is not progressive, but regressive: the poorest fifth of the state (average income of $13,200) pay 11% of their wages in taxes, while the richest 1% (average income of $2.2 million) only pay 7.8% of their income in taxes. Our underpaid work is more taxed than the profits the companies make out of it (income tax: 2.8%, tax on corporate profits: 0.6%.)
Knowing also that oil corporations do not pay an oil extraction tax (this is 25% in Alaska and the equivalent in California would pull in around $4 billion a year) and that corporate income between 2001 and 2008 grew 411%, we should not be afraid of putting corporate taxes on the table to finance public services and jobs! Our union should demand a fair taxation system NOW!
Why the Current And Recurrent Political Strategy of Our Union Is Not Working…. And Why We Need to Reform It NOW!
Given Gov. Brown’s latest budget proposal, it is not very difficult to conclude that it was a huge mistake (and revealed a lack of political perspicacity) for our union to invest thousands of dollars in his campaign. The crisis of political leadership begins, unfortunately, at the top of our local.
But the leadership of our local is not the only one that has been funding the same political parties who, once in government, attack our rights. The entire California Federation of Labor continues to pretend Gov. Brown is representing our interests so they do not have to admit that the financial investment in his campaign was a huge political mistake, which is now hurting all its members.
This is why the CFA can publish such statements after the announcement of the new round of cuts, once again giving political support to the Democratic Governor: “The California labor movement looks forward to partnering with the governor to revive our economy and move us forward as a state. While the road ahead is full of potholes, we’re confident that we have an experienced leader in the driver’s seat who can navigate California back to prosperity.”
If the CFA and UAW 2865 leadership wants to be blind to the political and social reality of the state and the country – and deaf to our needs– WE do not have to do the same. We can and must choose to change the current politics and habits of the labor movement in which rank-and-file mobilization is stifled regarding key economic struggles. Our supposed leadership only contacts members when it is time to raise money for a “pre-selected” candidate: this also needs to end.
In October 2010, the Berkeley Head Stewards and Recording Secretary (the vast majority of Berkeley’s campus leadership are members of AWDU) attended our local’s Joint Council meeting. At that time, we questioned the wisdom of supporting Jerry Brown’s campaign with our union’s contributions and with our own volunteer hours when Brown was already on record as saying that he too would cut public education, public services, and that he agreed that public sector unions would need to “share the pain.” What healthy discussion and debate followed our question? For more than an hour members of the Executive Board and their allies threw personal insults at us. There was no way to end the attacks or move on from the discussion because the chair of the meeting, the former President of our local, was participating in the roast.
We maintain that before using any union-paid staff to fundraise for any candidate, we should begin by having an open and democratic political strategy discussion among all members. And we also strongly believe that we should make a critical assessment of what has been happening concretely with the candidates that our union has financed so far.
This sort of open discussion, critical dialogue, and honest assessment, for the moment, does not exist in our local. Under the current leadership – by the Administration Caucus –all political decisions are made without the participation or vote of the membership, and the leadership refuses to recognize or correct past mistakes. The urgency of the situation calls for us to reform our union NOW!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011-02-16 "Audit: Calif. agencies misallocate casino money - Bloomberg"
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Local government agencies misappropriated millions of dollars from California's casino-operating Indian tribes that are supposed to address the negative effects of gambling, according to a state audit released Tuesday.
Three grants, for example, went to projects that had nothing to do with, or were only marginally related to, casino impacts. In 10 other cases, worth $3.2 million, grant recipients could not prove impacts to justify their spending. Yet another grant went to an ineligible entity.
Under compacts with the state, California gambling tribes deposit a percentage of their net wins into a so-called Special Distribution Fund for local governments. The money is supposed to help communities address traffic, crime, firefighting and other issues related to casino operations.
Instead, the audit found many local committees allocated the money improperly or without proving just cause.
"Many of them were saying they were unaware of certain requirements," said Margaret Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the Office of the California State Auditor.
She said there was no evidence the fund was intentionally abused.
For fiscal year 2008-09, auditors investigated 20 grants worth $5.7 million in seven counties, from a total of 185 grants in 25 counties. Of that, the office determined $1.7 million was used properly.
In some cases, use of the money was less clear-cut. In Amador County, home to Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel, sheriff's deputies check a box on their reports indicating whether a crime is connected to the casino even when it occurs offsite. Although auditors concluded that an $88,200 grant to the sheriff's department met requirements, an undersheriff said his reports should not have to explain how the crime and the casino are linked.
"All we're supposed to document in crime reports are the relevant facts," Amador County Undersheriff Jim Wegner told The Association Press.
In most cases where money was deemed misallocated, the local committees could not prove that grants addressed the impacts from casinos.
Auditors recommended legislation that would force counties to surrender future grant money if their committees do not meet reporting requirements.
Fernandez said counties also sometimes misinterpret the law or miscalculate their share. Because of this, five counties missed out on $1.2 million set aside for them.

Friday, February 11, 2011

2011-02-01 "Privatizers Chase Education’s Billions" by Mark Brenner
A little over half that spending—about $291 billion—is for classroom instruction, mainly teacher salaries and benefits, so it’s no wonder teachers have been in the crosshairs during recent budget battles.
It’s also why for-profit charter school operators are salivating at the possibility of taking over a bigger chunk of education. Making a profit is easy if you can give charter school teachers cheap salaries and skimpy pension and health benefits.
But even if they can’t get the whole enchilada, the privatizers want to capture bigger and bigger pieces of our public schools. The chart above illustrates how much money corporations stand to make by privatizing various parts of the nation’s education system.
All numbers are from the 2009 Digest of Education Statistics.
Topping the list is $86 billion spent annually on operations, including $20 billion for transportation and $18 billion for food service.
Corporate honchos are also eyeing the $63 billion spent on student support services, from librarians and multimedia specialists to school nurses and speech pathologists, as well as the $44 billion outlay for administration and back-office functions.
Construction companies are already lined up for the $63 billion school districts are spending on construction projects nationwide. And Wall Streeters are looking for their cut, first and foremost the chance to “manage” $15 billion in debt school districts are shouldering—for hefty fees, of course.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 10, 2011
For Information: Jan B. Tucker 310.618.9596 or cell 818.720.3719
Peace, Freedom Party Candidate Declares for 36th C.D.
Jan B. Tucker, 55, a Torrance resident, has announced his candidacy for the 36th Congressional District seat soon to be vacated by the impending resignation of incumbent Jane Harman (D). Tucker, who says he has run for everything “from assembly to president” on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, is a prominent activist in feminist, labor and civil rights circles. A private investigator by trade, Tucker holds the record as the longest serving Chairman of the Board of the California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI), the world's largest organization of private detectives.
In 1974, Tucker was a litigant in a series of lawsuits that overturned California's filing fees to run for public office as unconstitutional, when he ran for State Senator against later-jailed incumbent Alan Robbins (D-Van Nuys). Currently, Tucker has a tort claim pending with the County of Los Angeles as part of a new effort to have the current filing fee system declared unconstitutional. According to Tucker, “the passage of Proposition 14 has led to so much chaos for election officials that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing even in the same agency.” Tucker charges that even though he and another candidate, Carl Iannalfo (17th Senate District) submitted identical paperwork under the California Tort Claims Act, the California Board of Claims summarily rejected his claim by contending that the Secretary of State's office is not a state agency, while the same board did not summarily reject Iannalfo's claim for damages.
“If the State of California insists, as it did with candidate filings in the 4th Assembly District and 17th and 28th Senate Districts, on forcing minor party candidates to get 20 times as many signatures as the law says that they should have to and in less time than is normally allowed, the State is just setting itself up for a lawsuit it can't win,” said Tucker. “Last time this issue was litigated in 1974, the State and County lost 9-0 in the United States Supreme Court. Apparently the Secretary of State's office has no recollection of the litigation history of this issue and appears to care little about the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the law for working people.”

For I.D. Only:
Formerly 7 Term Chairman of the Board of Directors – California Association of Licensed Investigators
Director at Large CALI
National Commissioner for Civil Rights, LULAC
Chief Investigator, Civil Rights Commission, CA League of United Latin American Citizens
Co-President - SFV/NELA
Chapter NOW
Board Member - Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition
Member Los Angeles County Criminal Defense Investigators Association

P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433 310.618.9596 Fax 1950
California Private Investigator License #PI-10143

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2011-02-06 "CA Governor Brown imposing Draconian budget cuts; Democrats are “Fine Tuning The Amputation” following the Obama Agenda" by Steve Zeltzer, Steering Committee of "UPWA" labor union []
FACED WITH A growing budget deficit in California now at $25.4 billion and growing, the Democratic governor elect Jerry Brown has introduced a budget at his inauguration that he himself said was “draconian”. The budget would increase unit fees to $36 for the community colleges and force out 200,000 students according to Marty Hittleman, president of the California Federation of Teachers CFT. It would also devastate the lives of millions of poor Californians. There would be massive cuts in Cal-Works that provided day care for low paid workers forcing mothers out of the workforce. This budget if passed would lead to a major increase in child poverty and deprivation. It would put increased premiums and fees for millions of indigent workers healthcare meaning that they would no longer be able to afford healthcare and also a time limit for benefits whether or not you need healthcare.
Home care workers would face a cut of their pay by 20% forcing them on welfare as well and forcing their clients either to go into nursing homes or dying at their homes.
Another scheme of Governor Brown is to shift the responsibility of these public services to local and county districts. They were initially local responsibilities before Proposition 13 but then shifted to the state after it passed and prevent local and counties from raising taxes.
Brown’s New “Guru” -
One of the big supporters of this plan to shift public service responsibility to the cities and counties is Brown’s new budget guru Nicolas Berggruen. Berggruen a “new age billionaire wants to “save California”. “He also used $100m of his money to create a think-tank, the Berggruen Institute, which promotes fresh debate about politics and constitutional reform. Then, four months ago, he used $25m to launch a more specific campaign to "save" California, a place where he spends several months each year, usually living at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.
The institute is now promoting radical fiscal measures to tackle the state's ballooning debt burden and to implement longer-term structural reforms, under the rubric of the "Think Long Committee for California". Berggruen has so much clout that his committee is now backed by a formidable array of political and business heavyweights, such as Condoleezza Rice, former US secretary of state, Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google, and Gray Davis, former governor of California.” []
At the same time Brown is attacking state workers demanding that they all continue to take pay cuts. SEIU 1000 and other units have already had 15% pay cuts through furloughs supported by their union leaderships. Many state workers have even lost their homes as a result of this major paycut.
Governor Brown along with former Assembly leader Willie Brown were in part responsible for Proposition 13 decades ago when they allowed a shift in California taxation from the corporations to homeowners. This tax shift was forcing people out of their homes and Jarvis Gann used this economic crisis for working class homeowners to successfully pass Proposition 13. During the past election in fact Brown pledged not to tinker with the 2/3 requirement to raise revenue. “"I'm not going to advocate messing with 13. That's a big fat loser." []
Governor Brown is also refusing to introduce an oil depletion tax despite the fact that California is one of the few states in the US that does not tax the removal of oil from state lands.
In the face of these brutal anti-working attacks, Lenny Goldberg, director of the California Tax Reform Association at a San Francisco Labor Council conference on “progressive taxation” that was held on January 15, 2011 told the audience that Governor Brown did not want to include this tax because the oil companies would spend tens of millions of dollars against any increase in their taxes.
Governor Brown budget has also been attacked by the Republicans in the legislature for having faulty estimates on the state of property assessment and they are right. According to Governor Brown and his advisors, the buget will be balanced because house price assessed values will increase thereby increasing revenue. This however is absolutely not the case in California as home prices continue to decline and therefore income to local, regional and state governments based on the assessed value will continue to decline and not increase.
This means that it is even more likely that the state will be forced into bankruptcy which is what open Republican rightwingers want in order to butcher union contracts and unilaterally re-write the pension plans of California state workers. []
Brown is helping to set up this scenario since he refuses to go after the wealthy directly in California
“Fine Tune The Amputation” -
Democratic East Bay Democrat Loni Hancock agreeing with Governor Brown’s cuts said that their job now was to “fine tune” the “amputation” to save programs and people in California at a Senate hearing with Governor’s Browns Department of Finance. Many of these people are the same people under former governor Schwartzenegger.
In fact, this line is being supported by Art Pulaski, the president of the California AFL-CIO who has told workers of California that “"while Gov. Brown's proposal isn't perfect, it at least strikes a much-needed balance between cuts and revenues." The same line was taken by CA SEIU State Executive Director David Kieffer who said that Brown’s budget was "far from perfect.” but made no demands to force the billionaires and wealthy to pay for the crisis and no plans for mass labor protests or mobilization. []
Labor Supported Democrats And “Draconian Cuts” -
The labor supported Democrats in California are now leading the attack on public services and public pensions and the complicity of virtually the entire California trade union officialdom in going along with these “draconian” cuts is striking. California has 1.5 million public workers yet there has been no united education and mobilization campaign against the 24 hour propaganda political blitz against public workers and their pensions and conditions.
California which is the 8th largest economy in the world and has many of the richest people in the world with 81 billionaires has a labor supported political party which is now proposing a budget that will destroy the right to education of hundreds of thousands of young people and will cause the deaths of tens of thousands of sick and disabled poor workers.
Not surprisingly the New York Times has lauded the $12.5 billion attack on California public services by Governor Brown including major regressive sales tax increases which Brown is now pusing the unions to get behind. []
AFL-CIO Cowers Before Corporateer Obama -
This is not only a California phenomena but is precisely the case with the AFL-CIO leadership and their relationship with President Obama. When Obama pushed a budget deal with the Republicans that attacked social security through a cut in Social Security taxes and continued the Bush tax cuts to billionaires. Trumka reported "We had a good conversation with President Obama about the economic crisis and the importance of the labor movement in rebuilding the economy and the middle class," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said after the meeting.”
This was also after Obama pushed the anti-labor Korea-US KORUS Free Trade Agreement and froze the wages of millions of Federal workers agreement with the agenda of the privatization program of his hand picked Social Security Commission led by privatizer Alan Simpson and Erskine “I also work for Morgan Stanley” Bowles.
This also follows the silence of the AFL-CIO tops about the same bankers like Treasury Secretary Geithner and Summers who were involved in the banking crisis. In fact the appointment of pro-NAFTA operative William Daley as his chief of staff. This of course was greeted by the US chamber of commerce as “a strong appointment”
The complicity of both the national AFL-CIO leadership and the California AFL-CIO leadership in refusing to fight these frontal attacks on public workers and the working class as a whole require a new fightback program and the building of a real working class political alternative to these parties of capitalist America.
The need for a political education campaign and beginning the mobilization of all 1.5 million public workers along with the millions of education students and users of public services is crucial. This is the only way that the present dynamic can be reversed and the lessons of the struggles in Tunia and Egypt is that regime change is overdue.
United Public Workers For Action is an organization which has formed in 2008 to begin this education, political work and also to develop a political mobilization of the public workers.
2011-02-07 "UC, CSU face deep cuts but will avoid fee hikes" by Juliet Williams from "Associated Press" newswire
SACRAMENTO -- The chancellors of the University of California and California State University systems said Monday that they don't plan to seek student fees increases this year, despite a state budget proposal that calls for more than $1.4 billion in combined cuts to higher education.
But UC Chancellor Mark Yudof and CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said their promise won't hold if Californians don't agree to tax extensions that Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing for the June ballot.
"He already told Mark and I straight up: If this doesn't pass we're going to come back and cut you some more. We can't afford to take any more cuts," Reed told reporters Monday. "You have to pay for what you get.
Brown, a Democrat, wants to ask voters in a June special election to extend increases on income, sales and vehicle taxes for five years to help close California's $25.4 billion budget shortfall through June 2012. He is trying to win Republican support in the state Legislature to get a two-thirds majority to place it on the ballot, but GOP lawmakers have steadfastly opposed it.
Brown is proposing a combined $1 billion in cuts to UC and CSU, and $400 million in cuts to community colleges. Community colleges would also raise fees by $10 per unit under Brown's proposed plan.
Reed's comments Monday were the most explicit threat to date of the further deep cuts that are possible
The chancellors of all three systems testified at a budget hearingin Sacramento on Monday, where they said they are prepared to make deep cuts to administration, teaching staff and services for students.
They warned, though, that California's renowned higher education system is being jeopardized and they are likely to continue to turn away hundreds of thousands of students.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott said if the proposed budget is enacted, his system will have to turn away 350,000 students next year because it will not have enough classes to offer.
"We are particularly good at creating those mid-level jobs" such as firefighters, nurses and mechanics, Scott said. "We are, of course, a bargain, even with the suggested increase of $10 per unit in our tuition next year."
Spokespeople for the Republican leaders in the state Assembly and Senate did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press on Monday.
The UC Board of Regents in November approved a plan to raise undergraduate tuition by 8 percent next fall while offering more financial aid. The hike comes after the 10-campus system increased undergraduate fees by more than 30 percent over the past year to offset deep cuts in state funding that led to staff furloughs, fewer course sections and reduced student enrollment.
CSU trustees voted in November to raise tuition for undergraduate and graduate students by 5 percent for the current winter and upcoming spring terms, and by another 10 percent this fall.