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UC protestors overplay their hand on I-880

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POSTED March 6, 2010 2:58 a.m.
I shed no tears for the University of California at Davis student showing her “wounds” to a KCRA-TV camera  that she received from police after she and others disobeyed repeated lawful orders to disperse and stop blocking city streets and attempting to advance onto Interstate 80 in a bid to close it down.

Yes, the welt probably hurt but what gives her or any of the more radical student protestors in the “Day of Action to Defend Public Education” the right to make the rights of all others subservient to their desire to attract attention by shutting down busy streets and freeways?

The same is true of the Berkeley student who told KRON TV that it was OK for protestors to walk on Interstate 880 and to shut it down that the action was justified because cuts to education were an important issue.

No kidding. So are cuts to the disabled, cuts to prisons trying to keep violent criminal behind bars, cuts to low-income families struggling to feed their kids, cuts to transportation needs, cuts to health services, and cuts to public safety. You don’t see people impacted by those cuts going out and blocking major thoroughfares and freeways.

What happened in Oakland – and almost happened in Davis – is anything but mature. It is childish, pure and simple.

Students say they are worried about social injustice but what about the poor, the sick, those who live in fear in crime-riddled communities? Why is their education so important that it trumps everything else?

No one is going to argue about the dangers of cutting back on educational opportunities and what it means as a whole for California and the nation. However, very few people who make their way into UC classes do it because they want to become the next Mother Teresa or Albert  Schweitzer. They are doing it on the hope they are going to make more money.

How much more self-centered can you get? Peaceful and lawful protests are one thing but closing down freeways is another.

Too bad some higher education protestors didn’t pay more attention in their California history classes.

The late Gov. Edmund G. Brown was arguably the patron politician saint of the University of California and the California State University system. He lost what was expected to be a sure third term to a political newcomer because student protests at Berkeley  and elsewhere disrupted communities and he was viewed by voters as ineffective in handling them. He also had race riots in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The political newcomer who benefited? Ronald Reagan.

Although Reagan’s record on education has been misconstrued, it is kind of hilarious to think the student protestors may be poisoning the well enough that Meg Whitman could be our next governor if voters believe Brown’s son Jerry will be more tolerant of such protests. While Brown has made it clear that he doesn’t expect tax raises to solve what ails California, rest assured Whitman won’t exactly be leading the charge to jack up taxes on anyone let alone businesses to avoid further education cuts.

Student protestors also should give California taxpayers some credit for not being sheep.

More than a few remember protestors from several months ago where Berkeley students – as well as at other campuses – occupied buildings because the UC system was laying off gardeners and custodial staff.

The argument then was “justice” for the worker.

Well, it costs money to have “justice” for the workers by keeping them employed at the UC system.

You would have to wonder whether the students would take a different view of the opportunity they have and make it work if they had 20 years working and paying taxes under their belt before they went to get a higher degree in what is almost always a bid to increase their earning power.

So just how effective were protestors? They didn’t change my mind that California needs to rethink everything to get thorough the current economic crisis although I’m leaning toward making deeper cuts in education at the higher levels than in public schools.

That is because  of the way more than a few students who are getting what is still one of the best subsidized higher educations in the country are paying back hardworking Californians by their self-centered and irresponsible shutting down of freeway commuter traffic .
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