Print stories of Election Day 2012.

Prop 30 passes, tuition refund on the way

Proposition 30 passed Tuesday, sparing the state’s schools and universities billions of dollars in “trigger cuts.”

Sean McMinn

Proposition 30 was approved by California voters in a close election Tuesday, sparing the state’s schools and universities billions of dollars in “trigger cuts” Gov. Jerry Brown had threatened to enact if his tax proposal failed.

The contest for Brown’s tax increase was a close one, with no clear victor Tuesday evening. It was not until early Wednesday morning that enough votes were counted to ensure Proposition 30 would pass.

The proposition, which Mustang Daily endorsed this past week, will increase the state income tax for seven years on those making more than $250,000 and will also increase the state sales tax by one-quarter of a percent for four years. The money is to be spent on K-12 and community colleges, but California State University (CSU) officials, such as Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong, are hopeful it will free up other resources that can be allocated to higher education.

For now, $125 million will be allocated to the CSU. This will help pay for a one-time tuition refund on the $500 annual tuition increase that began this fall, which has been cancelled following the passage of Proposition 30. The refund is estimated to cost the university system $132 million.

Brown had threatened $250 million in cuts to the already-struggling CSU if Proposition 30 failed, prompting several leaders in California education to endorse the proposition. In anticipation of the possible budget cuts, the CSU Board of Trustees decided to discuss additional tuition increases, including raising fees on those taking more than 16 units, those who repeat classes and “super seniors,” or students who have already taken 225 units.

The Board of Trustees will still discuss those tuition increases at its November meeting, CSU spokesperson Liz Chapin said. Armstrong said he will be at the meeting and will support these new fees.

“I think it’s an issue of fairness,” he said. “I think it just makes good, common sense.”

With Proposition 30’s new taxes set to take effect , Brown said he hopes the state’s general fund will be able to sustain growth for California’s education. In a press conference this past week, he said the tax will tackle the state’s temporary economic crisis “one bite at a time.”

“California’s general fund is at the level in relationship to our state income to where it was under Reagan,” Brown said. “We’ve cut, we’ve trimmed, we’ve squeezed. At this point, we do need revenue.”

Armstrong, who was closely watching the numbers Tuesday night, said during a September interview that the proposition’s passage would lead to “some stability” in the CSU. In a joint-opinion piece published by The Tribune, Armstrong wrote that Proposition 30 might lead to higher enrollment at Cal Poly, which could result in a better local and statewide economy.

“Good public schools strengthen our democracy,” Armstrong wrote in the piece. “Good public schools produce productive citizens who can solve society’s challenges and help create a better future for all of us.”

Four more: Obama reelected for second term

President Barack Obama has been reelected for a second term, beating opponent Governor Mitt Romney with 303 electoral votes over Romney’s 206.

Laura Pezzini

President Barack Obama has been reelected for the 2012-16 term, beating opponent Governor Mitt Romney by 97 electoral votes.

Obama, the Democratic candidate, received 303 electoral votes as opposed to Romney’s 206 as the Republican candidate. At press time, Florida’s electoral votes were not accounted for, though the state was expected to go in favor of Obama.

Though the popular vote favored Romney for most of the night, it ultimately showed a very slight preference toward Obama, who gained 50 percent of the nation’s votes while Romney received 49 percent.

CNN and NBC declared a projected result of Obama’s win at 8:20 p.m. after projected results showed Obama ahead with 274 electoral votes.

Swing states, a toss-up until election results came in, eventually favored Obama. He gained 18 electoral votes from the formerly undecided Ohio to achieve his final lead. The state of California contributed to Obama’s success, giving him 55 electoral votes based on the 56.8 percent of California voters who supported Obama as of press time.

Obama was supported in this election by young voters, receiving 60 percent of the popular vote in the 18-29 age group.

Critical issues for college students in the election were educational policies and job creation. Obama’s official stance on education sets a goal of cutting tuition and increasing public financial aid. His plan for job creation is to invest government money into small businesses and clean energy, and to offer tax cuts to companies that provide domestic jobs.

The reaction from San Luis Obispo County is mixed.

“Of course, we’re upset with the overall results,” San Luis Obispo County Republican Party chairman John Peschong said. “I think it had to do with the incumbency; he is the president of the United States.”

County democrats, however, celebrated the results as soon as the predictions came in.

“We are absolutely ecstatic, we’re down here at The Grad with all of the county democrats. It’s absolutely amazing, especially to have it called at 8:15,” Cal Poly Democrats President Kayla Clark said. “We kind of knew as soon as Mitt Romney lost Pennsylvania that he was going to lose it because that was a serious swing state.”

The San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party, which held a viewing party tonight at The Graduate along with Cal Poly Democrats, echoed this excitement over the election’s results.

“We’ve had hundreds of people here all day making thousands of phone calls to the North County, and then to hear that the president has won despite a grueling campaign has made everybody ecstatic,” Paso Robles volunteer and former Chair of the Democratic Committee Larry Houlgate said.

“The Graduate is all-ages so we have little kids, we have college students, we have families and a bunch of the local candidates are here too,” Clark said of the viewing party.

The road to the election was not smooth for either candidate — it was a close race until the polls closed. The swing states of Ohio, Florida and Virginia were courted by both Obama and Romney as the race neared Election Day. As it turns out, Ohio and Colorado went to Obama with a combined 27 electoral votes.

Obama’s platform relied on his original principles for fiscal policy and human rights issues. Other main issues in this election were deficit reduction and tax plans. Obama has said he plans to reduce the deficit using job creation tactics and tax cuts in order to address these issues.

Obama supports traditionally liberal social policies as an advocate for equal marriage rights, pro-choice policies and lenient immigration policies.

“Different issues matter to different people,” Clark said. “Social issues I think were a big deal. I think the hugest issue was the economy and I guess a lot of people liked what they’ve seen with Obama in the last four years.”

Romney chose to address the nation’s main issues with a “five-point plan” intended to cut the deficit and create jobs. The points included using domestic energy resources, improving education nationally and strengthening the nation’s trade climate.

“I think that he had ability to look very presidential during the hurricane and the tragedies in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania,” Peschong said. “I think everyone was focused on the president, and his ability to relieve some of the misery of the storm victims shifted a lot of the momentum of the campaign.”

The reelection of Obama also means vice president Joe Biden will return to office for another term, beating Republican vice presidential candidate and U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan. Biden, who has a background in foreign relations and advises Obama on foreign and domestic policy initiatives.


SLOw election results ahead as votes counted

San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx won her bid for reelection, with 62.87 percent of the vote against contenders Steve Barasch and Donald Hedrick.

Victoria Billings

Residents in the 24th congressional district (San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County and a sliver of Ventura County) were prepared for a long wait to learn the final tally of the highly-contested district seat, but were surprised when Republican contender Abel Maldonado conceded defeat to Democratic representative Lois Capps shortly after midnight this morning.

Maldonado, whose campaign communications director earlier in the night said Maldonado would decline to comment until results were more clear, tweeted: “A short while ago, I spoke with @RepLoisCapps, and offered her my congratulations on her victory tonight” at approximately 12:09 a.m.

The concession came as a surprise to many who were prepared for a lengthy wait to learn election results, due to a delay in tallying votes.

Though voting ended yesterday when polls closed, it will take until at least Friday to tally votes, hand-delivered mail-in ballots and provisional ballots, San Luis Obispo assistant county clerk-recorder Tommy Gong said before Maldonado conceded.

The county anticipated receiving more than 20,000 votes yesterday that will need to be counted before winners for other local, state and national races can be named, Gong said.

“It could be 20,000; it could be more,” Gong said. “We don’t know until it actually comes back in.”

Once polls closed, the different forms of votes had to be processed.

Provisional ballots are cast when a voter’s eligibility cannot be verified. In the case of provisional ballots, a judge must decide their legitimacy before the vote can be counted, Gong said.

Most San Luis Obispo County votes will be counted by Friday, however, which will help indicate tentative winners of local and national races.

“The vast majority are going to be in Friday’s update. It’s really a whole process,” Gong said.

This delay was expected to affect the highly-publicized district race between Maldonado and Capps — who for the first time in more than a decade ran in a district where she did not have a double-digit lead.

California district lines were redrawn this year, and though there are more Democrats in the new district than Republicans, that number is not enough to make up for the registered undeclared voters, who had to make the decision between Capps and Maldonado.

Throughout the night of Nov. 6, Capps and Maldonado switched off for the lead, with Capps ultimately succeeding.

Locally, incumbent mayor Jan Marx faced off against architect and businessman Steve Barasch, who claimed the city has been squandering money on unnecessary projects, and frequent mayoral candidate Don Hedrick, who was running against what he sees as corruption in the San Luis Obispo City Council.

By 11:20 p.m. last night, Marx was leading with 62.87 percent of the vote, with 100 percent of San Luis Obispo city ballots counted, according to the San Luis Obispo County clerk’s office. Barasch followed with 29.5 percent, while Hedrick trailed with 7.15 percent of the vote.

Incumbent council members John Ashbaugh and Dan Carpenter, who were both running for reelection, also won their races and will remain on San Luis Obispo City Council.