Gov. candidates address fee hikes

    Of the many candidates in the California recall, there are a few whose main goal in the election is to lower student fees for the UC system. Without aiming or even hoping to win the race for governor, they are instead using the recall to bring attention to issues like student fees and to influence the leading candidates into adopting their creative solutions.

    “”I am running not with any delusion of being next governor, but with the goal of convincing candidates like Bustamante and Arnold of lowering student fees,”” said UCSD junior and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Watts.

    The five leading candidates each claim to be proponents of education.

    “”I am not going to stop until the issue of student fees is the top priority of all the leading candidates,”” Watts said.

    UC student fees have been raised forty percent this fall to help compensate the state’s budget tribulations. Debates surrounding the fee hikes have questioned how candidates can restore funding for higher education, repeal student fee hikes, and still solve California’s budget problems.

    “”I donít care how they do it just as long as they lower student fees,”” Watts said.

    Gubernatorial candidate Lingel Winters argues that education is too important to cut. Winters says that cutting education will lead to worse problems, such as even higher unemployment.

    “”We are selecting students to bear the full grunt of the energy crisis,”” Winters said. “”It should be shared across the population.””

    Winterís solution is increased employment instead of heavy cuts.

    “”If you can get increased tax revenue, it will help cure the deficit, and you donít need to cut education with a meat axe,”” Winters said.

    Gubernatorial candidate Dan Feinstein suggests a guaranteed baseline funding for public higher education, similar to Prop. 98 used in kindergarten through 12th grade.

    “”Cutting back fees is important, but we must also restore funding to colleges,”” Feinstein said. “”Colleges will suffer if they are not getting more funding and at the same time they canít raise fees.””

    In the early 1990s, Feinstein protested in Sacramento with fellow California State University students against the 90’s forty percent fee increases.

    “”Itís important for students to mobilize and become politically active,”” Feinstein said.

    Watts agreed with Feinstein.

    “”Student fees affect more than just students. It is an issue that appeals to a lot of people. Parents are affected as well,”” Watts said.

    Watts, who paid the $1,500 he required as a green party candidate to run in the recall with $11,000 won on the Wheel of Fortune show, also advises students to take an active role in politics.

    “”Most college students donít have an extra eleven thousand. A lot of college students are not in my position and that is why there are not many other college students running,”” Watts said.

    Watts feels that his efforts have been successful.

    “”I know I am making a difference,”” he said. “”Talking to the representative from [Green Party candidate Peter] Camejoís office, I told him about diverting funds from general funds to go into education. I know Arnold and Cruz look at Camejoís campaign, so in a way, I was as able to affect Arnold and Cruz indirectly.””

    The recall election is scheduled for Oct. 7.

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