Prop 30: Intensive Outreach in Latino, Asian Communities

Latest poll by SurveyUSA shows 51% of Californians support Prop. 30.

Students marched in LA's Koreatown Nov. 2 calling for a Yes on Governor Brown's budget measure.

Students marched in LA's Koreatown Nov. 2 calling for a Yes on Governor Brown's budget measure.

“No ifs, no buts, education, no cuts.”

Korean-American youth beating drums and chanting bilingual slogans added their voices Friday to the growing momentum in LA’s ethnic and minority communities for 'Yes on Proposition 30.'

It is these voices, in fact, that is energizing the Governor’s tax initiative and the campaign banking on to take the measure across the finish line when votes are tallied election day.

Prop 30 campaign office wall in Panorma City

Prop 30 campaign office wall in Panorma City

After slumping for several weeks, reports show Prop 30 picking up steam. One of the pollsters quoted (SurveyUSA) said its latest poll had 51 percent of California voters supporting the governor's tax initiative, 42 percent opposing, and 8 percent remaining undecided.

The uptick may well be the result of the campaign’s intensified outreach to minority communities where the governor’s threat of cuts to K-12 schools and tuition hikes at California state universities, should the initiative fail to pass, has greater resonance.

“Education is the most important issue to Asian communities and we are supporting Prop 30 because the funds will go directly to schools,”said Dayne Lee, a recent graduate currently working for the Korean Resource Center which organized Friday’s rally held near its offices on Wilshire Blvd.

Governor Jerry Brown’s initiative would temporarily bump state revenues $6 billion by raising taxes on people who make more than $250,000 a year and imposing a quarter-cent increase in the state sales tax. If the measure fails, the state's failure to generate the additional revenues will be passed on to the eductaion sector, resulting in funding cuts of $5.4billion to K‐14 education and $500 million to public universities.

Bilingual signs at Koreatown youth rally supporting Prop 30

Bilingual signs at Koreatown youth rally supporting Prop 30

The SurveyUSA poll is the best news the campaign has had in several weeks. At least three major polls prior to it showed Prop 30 declining in support since earlier this year. A survey of registered voters conducted from Oct. 15-21 by the LA Times/USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences had only 46% of registered voters supporting Brown's initiative, a 9-point drop over the previous month. That poll too showed a substantive 42% of the 1504 potential voters surveyed opposing the measure.

Rattled by the numbers, the campaign redoubled its efforts in minority communities with Governor Brown himself kicking the campaign into final-stretch high gear when he toured the Southland in the last week of October. His first stop was the Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles where flanked by several Hispanic leaders he called on the Latino community to "Vota si a la 30!"

The campaign has set up offices in Latino neighborhoods in the San Fernando and East LA where wellmanned phone banks have been reaching out to thousands of voters.

Campaign officials say support from the Latino community is pouring in at all levels. A statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California showed support for Prop 30 among Latinos to be to be far higher than among white voters -- 68% vs 40%.

“Prop. 30 has strong support from a broad coalition that includes Latino leaders, as well as education leaders, business leaders and many more across the state who know we can't keep cutting our schools if we want to build a strong economy for the future,” said Nikki Paschal, a spokesperson for the campaign in LA. Paschal pointed to strong support and endorsement from leading Latino organizations such as MALDEF, the Delores Huerta Foundation, and United Farm Workers.

Similar endorsements abound in Asian communities. Prop 30 was among the initiatives endorsed by the first-ever joint Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (NHPI) California voter guide released last week.

“There are very important propositions on the ballot this year – propositions that will have long-term impact on everyone in our communities – and we want to ensure that Asian American and Pacific Islander voters are informed when they submit their ballots,” said Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) Executive Director Stewart Kwoh in a press release that urged support for Prop 30.

In Asian communities, the appeal is getting traction across a broad swath of voters. While Friday’s demonstration was packed with students, several still in high school, an earlier rally had brought out the Korean community’s senior citizens said Lee, adding that the intiative resonates with old and young alike. “Prop 30 invests in education and it provides opportunities for all immigrants and ordinary people to pursue the American Dream,” he said.

Hassina Leelarathna is editor of CivicLA.

Photos by Hassina Leelarathna.

This article originally appeared in CivicLA.

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Section  Election 2012
Categories   Neighborhoods  / Politics  / Race/Ethnic Relations 
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