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More Pepper Spray, Please

EDUCATION - The only problem with that UC Davis police officer’s pepper spray was his aim.
He should have doused California voters — and the political and media elites who misinform them – not students.

Pepper spray can do serious damage and linger for days. (I say that as someone who got sprayed himself – and also hit with beanbag bullets — by LAPD idiots while covering the 2000 Democratic National Convention for the LA Times). But Californians need something that will shake them up and force them to clear their eyes and recognize that we need to stop repeating the frustration—reform—initiative—more frustration cycle.

If pepper spray seems a bit extreme, consider the fact that voters are doing ongoing damage to the state – and not realizing it.

A new PPIC poll shows the public misbehavior. Big majorities – 74 and 70 percent respectively, say there is not enough state funding for higher education and that higher education should be a high priority of the state.

But 52 percent of voters are unwilling to pay higher taxes to maintain current funding.  Majorities are also opposed to higher students fees – which is how you create more funding for higher education if the taxes don’t cover. And most Californians in the survey don’t like the idea of admitting more out of state students – who pay higher tuition – if it means admitting fewer students from California.

So there you have it. Californians think the cuts in higher education are a terrible problem. But they don’t support any policy that would do something about it. More pepper spray, please.

(Joe Mathews is Journalist and Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It. This column was posted first at –cw

Tags: pepper spray, UC Davis, education, California education, Californians

Vol 9 Issue 95
Pub: Nov 29, 2011