Student Victory

California voters passed five out of 11 ballot measures on Tuesday, including Proposition 30, which will raise taxes on high-income taxpayers and prevent trigger cuts to education. San Diego voters also chose Bob Filner as the city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years and Scott Peters as the projected winner of a close congressional election for the 52nd Congressional District.

Proposition 30 will increase taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years, and increases California sales tax by one-fourth of a cent for four years. Gov. Jerry Brown campaigned for its passage, which prevents planned budget cuts to education in the 2012–13 fiscal year.

At UCSD’s “Election Night 2012: A Political Party,” an event hosted by the political science department, student leaders spoke about the importance of the election and discussed several of the propositions on the ballot. A.S. President Meggie Le emphasized that, without Proposition 30, the university system would face cuts affecting the university and student life, from libraries to student activities.

UCSD played host to eight polling stations, including one in Price Center Ballroom West, one at each college and one in The Village. The off-campus Mesa Apartments also had a polling station.

The opportunity to vote was exciting for some students, and for many it was the first time voting.

“I just turned 18 recently, so it’s my first step to being an adult,” Sixth College freshman Jake Espinueva said. “And I’m so excited. And then my parents want me to vote”.

Espinueva was not the only student who was eager to vote.

“[It is] my civic duty as a citizen to vote, so I went and I studied what I was going to vote for,” Warren College junior Jennifer Protsman said. “We get a lot of rights as citizens, and we have a lot of protected rights, and I feel voting is something that is necessary to uphold what we want. We can’t just sit around and complain about things — if we want change, we have to be the ones to do it.”

Other students were glad to have voted, but acknowledged their lack of information about the different propositions and the different candidates.

“I’ve only paid attention to the presidential campaign — I don’t really know a lot about the other options on the ballot — so I just give a quick glance at the little description, and I just voted based on that,” Marshall College senior Anthony Chan said.

Mark G. Yudof, the president of the UC system, commended the success of Proposition 30.

“The passage of Proposition 30 represents an opportunity for California and its political leadership to put public higher education back on a pathway toward fiscal stability,” Yudof wrote in a press release. “This is an opportunity of great importance, not only to the University of California and other higher education segments, but also to the state as a whole.”

The UC Board of Regents, which planned to raise tuition mid-year by $2,400 if Proposition 30 failed, also expressed its support.

“I am deeply grateful to all who advocated for Proposition 30,” University of California Chairman of the Board of Regents Sherry Lansing wrote in the Nov. 7 statement. “We will remain steadfast in our determination to preserve the quality, access and public service that have made the University of California an indispensable resource for the entire state.”

Other measures passed include Proposition 35, which will raise fines for human trafficking violators; Proposition 36, which will modify California’s three-strikes law, Proposition 39, which will tax multi-state businesses based on their sales in California and Proposition 40, a referendum affirming the state Senate district boundaries drawn by the Citizens’ Redistricting Commission.

Voters defeated Proposition 38, a rival tax bill to Gov. Brown’s Proposition 30 that aimed to increase income taxes across the board.

Other defeated measures included Proposition 37, which required labels for genetically engineered foods; Proposition 34, which intended to abolish the death penalty in California, Proposition33, which would have allowed auto insurance companies to lower their rates for customers with previous coverage, Proposition 32, which would have let corporations and unions contribute to politicians using payroll deductions and Proposition 31, which would have created a two-year budget cycle for the state and reduced annual revenue by $200 million.

San Diego’s congressional election remained contested in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with Port Commissioner Scott Peters maintaining a narrow lead over his opponent, U.S. Representative Brian Bilbray, by just 685 votes. According to NBC San Diego, Bilbray reminded his supporters that the final result could be days away, with 475,000 absentee ballots still to be counted.

In the San Diego mayoral race, Democratic Congressman Bob Filner triumphed over Republican City Councilmember Carl DeMaio to become the 35th mayor of the city. Filner will take office on Dec. 3 and will work with a Democratic majority in the city council.

Additional reporting by Faye Nourollahi.