The Daily Californian Online

Assembly Candidates Speak To Political Science Class

By Emily Grospe
Contributing Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Category: News > University > Academics and Administration

Former Berkeley City Council member Nancy Skinner was one of the four candidates running for the California State Assembly's 14th District who spoke to Political Science 179 yesterday.

The four candidates competing for the seat in the California State Assembly's 14th District had only seven minutes each to promote their platforms to the students of a political science class yesterday.

Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, Richmond City Councilmember Tony Thurmond, Berkeley resident Phil Polakoff and former Berkeley City Councilmember Nancy Skinner presented their experiences and positions to Political Science 179 yesterday, detailing their views on various issues ranging from education to health care.

The four candidates discussed issues related to Berkeley, including the Berkeley City Council's decision to call Marine recruiters "uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

Both Polakoff and Thurmond said the Marine recruiting center, under the First Amendment, had a right to be in Berkeley.

"The First Amendment affords us freedom of speech and it should be done with some degree of civility," Polakoff said. "The City Council should have taken on George Bush and the atrocities of his foreign policy and not take a hit on the Marine Corps."

Worthington stressed his position as the only progressive council member to vote against the decision to send the letter to the Marines.

In addition to their views on the Marine recruiting center, the candidates responded to the proposed 10 percent student fee increase for UC students, as suggested by the state legislative analyst's office in response to California's $16 billion shortfall.

"President Bush has given tax breaks to the wealthiest earners in this country for the last eight years," Thurmond said. "We need in California to ask those same wealthy Californians to pay their fair share in taxes, and together, we need to all tighten our belts."

Skinner believed raising revenues in the state could provide more educational funds for students.

"Fees students have to pay at our UC system is already too high," Skinner said. "I would completely oppose such cuts. We are not in a budget cut crisis. We are in a revenue crisis."

Several students said they would vote for Worthington based on how familiar they already were with his education policies.

"I am leaning towards Kriss Worthington because it sounds like he has the experience and has done his homework and it seems like he is putting education as his first priority," said junior Judith Enerle.

But some students said they were disappointed by the content all the candidates provided.

"I was disappointed with the candidates even though they all said they wanted to make education and health care a priority," said sophomore Jaymes Dunsmore. "I didn't see anyone lay out any ideas about how they were going to do that. It sounds like a lot of rhetoric I've heard before."

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