Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Feb 08th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningLast month, you participated in a UC Santa Cruz Legislative Forum on the state budget and higher education. What consensus and actions resulted from that gathering of legislators, local business leaders and UCSC students, faculty and administration?

I value the opportunity to listen first-hand to testimony about the impacts that budget cuts are having at UCSC.  The legislative forum convened by Chancellor George Blumenthal featured participation by a broad cross section of the UCSC community including administrators, faculty, and students.

Speakers focused on the impact of the more than $50 million in budget cuts at UCSC during the past two years. Deans spoke of the challenge of providing students the classes they need to graduate with reduced faculty positions, and a student spoke about graduate students who have been lost as faculty advisors. Many people expressed that the UC system is at a tipping point where its status as a world-class educational institution is in jeopardy, but the overwhelming consensus voiced was that the adequate funding of higher education in California is a key ingredient of future economic growth and development.

It was interesting that not all of the speakers at the forum supported the governor’s proposed constitutional amendment that would ensure higher education funding is equivalent to, or more than, the amount of money the state spends on prisons.  The governor and the legislature have the ability to prioritize higher education funding already but what is lacking is the political will to change the state’s funding priorities.

Now, it is up to the legislature and governor to craft the state’s spending priorities, and, as a member of the Assembly Committee on Budget, I will be working with my colleagues to advance and protect higher education funding. With an almost $19 billion projected budget deficit, we must keep all options on the table, including revenue options, if we are to restore California’s commitment to higher education quality and access.

Can the State of California do anything to assist families who are facing foreclosure?

At the Jan. 24 mortgage foreclosure workshop I co-hosted in Aptos, more than 125 participants heard from banking, legal, and other experts who offered information about strategies and resources that would empower borrowers who face default notices or foreclosure proceedings.

More than 2,500 Santa Cruz County and 8,500 Monterey County residents have faced foreclosure proceedings. Unfortunately, with continued high unemployment, the trend in foreclosures continues.

One positive outcome of the forum is that I will be introducing legislation requiring lending institutions to provide accurate contact information to allow borrowers to speak directly with a loan officer who has authority to discuss loan terms and conditions, even when the mortgage package has been sold to another institution.

At the state level we are continuing our efforts to assist homeowners but the ultimate cure must be at the federal level because a majority of home loan lenders are governed by the federal government. However, until this occurs, I will continue to work to assist those in our community facing the possibility of losing their homes.

In the governor’s State of the State speech he proposed funding state parks by opening up oil drilling off the California coast. Do you support this funding mechanism to keep the state parks open?

No. This is the second attempt by the governor to use the budget process to authorize new offshore oil drilling in California waters. His proposal to rescue the state parks with offshore drilling revenues represents a cynical and Machiavellian scheme.

It is important to note that the proposed PXP drilling deal would generate only $140 million of annual revenue to the state while placing our coastal integrity and habitat at risk. A better, long- term revenue-generating solution is an oil extraction fee on existing drilling operations on land that has the potential to generate $1 to $2 billion a year in new revenue for the state.

Last year, I led the fight to successfully stop the proposed PXP offshore drilling plan and, if necessary, I am prepared to fight to stop offshore drilling again.

We should not place one natural resource against another natural resource in order to resolve the current budget crisis. There are other viable solutions available to our State Parks and I will continue to fight to keep both our coast and our parks viable for future generations of Californians.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits