Point of View
What issues are important to you in this election?
BERKELEY – Berkeley is often pigeonholed as being a bastion of bleeding-heart liberalism, but those who work, study, and teach here know that a range of opinions can be found on campus. Usually, all one has to do is ask for them.
But this morning on Election Day 2006, dialogue seemed inhibited in the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. When we asked random passersby what, if anything, was motivating them to go to the polls today, not one of the six or so staff or faculty members approached would go on the record. Many students were also reluctant to speak up. Among those who declined was a conservative staffperson, who said he has already been attacked anonymously for expressing his views.
Here's what the eight students who were willing to share their opinions had to say:
85, the one on abortion [requiring doctors
to notify parents of minors] really concerns
me, because it makes the situation too black
and white, when really it's gray. There
are a variety of reasons why notifying
parents could be a bad idea. Also, my mom
works for the school district back home, so
I care about Measure A [Berkeley Public Schools
Educational Excellence Act of 2006]. The real
reason I switched my registration to here,
though, is because [third-year Berkeley student]
Jason Overman is running for Berkeley city
council. I just think it's so cool that someone
my age is that committed, and I want to support
—Lauren Apter, second-year history major. Hometown: Benicia, CA
|'There are two
that I really care about. Proposition
it's a commonsense measure: if a minor can't
drink or do all the other things minors can't
do in this country, I don't think they should
have surgery without parental oversight. I'm
also very excited about Proposition
90 [a constitutional amendment regulating
government acquisition of private
property]. This will limit
the power of government to take people's property
through eminent domain, which has been abused
by local governments. Poor people are the biggest
victims of eminent domain: a developer gets
a local government to condemn a blighted property
so they can build an office park.'
—James Fullmer, third-year business administration/ political science major. Hometown: Fullerton, CA
|'The governor. We have to get
that guy out of office. I was also very motivated
to vote on Proposition 85, the one
about parental notification for teenagers,
and on Proposition
87 [the Clean Alternative Energy Act].
I really believe it's important to put money
into researching alternate forms of energy.
Anything we can do for cleaner energy gets
me to the polls. We use way too much gas, and
we have to stop going to war over it.'
—Polly Wold, third-year legal studies major. Hometown: Alamo, CA.
|'There wasn't one thing that
got me out. I just voted because I always vote.
I studied the propositions and ballot measures
last night. It's my civic duty.'
—Leo Collins, third-year political science major. Hometown: Indio, CA.
|'I've heard a lot about Measure
A, the one for Berkeley public schools;
people where I work were talking about
why anyone would ever vote against improving
education. I'm also very interested in Proposition
one about abortion. We've had several debates
about it in my public-health classes. I support
informed consent with parents, because I think
it's really hard for minors to make such decisions
on their own, and they're still under the financial
control of their parents. But I think it's
tough to make that judgment in general, because
there are so many issues surrounding this:
you don't know if the girl has been abused,
for example. You really have to consider each
—Frances Kawamoto, fourth-year public health major. Hometown: Davis, CA.
|'Well, something that concerns me a lot is the integrity of elections and the transparency of the voting system. But what's really most important to me is Democratic control of Congress, not that we can do a lot about that here in Berkeley, since Pleasanton has the closest contested election. I'm really excited about the chance that the House could switch hands for the first time in 12 years - I mean, the last time the Democrats had control of Congress, I was 7! Also, the idea that Nancy Pelosi could become the first female Speaker of the House is great.'
—Brian Wantz, second-year political science major. Hometown: Ventura, CA.
|'The main one for me is Proposition
85, the one about teenage pregnancies.
A friend of mine got pregnant and had to
have an abortion; her parents knew and they
were OK with her decision. But that won't
always be true for people in other situations.
You know, they're saying that if safety is
an issue, the girl can go to a judge to get
consent. But that's just not realistic. I
feel like her privacy will be endangered.'
—Arta Zowghi, first-year public health major. Hometown: Los Altos, CA.
85, the abortion one — it's really controversial because
it has to do with the youth. I'm for it, because I think just in
case they get harmed in some way, their parents should know; otherwise
they have no way of getting help. I'm also for Proposition
oil one: I think since the oil companies are making so much profit,
they should be taxed more.'
—Dustin Hang, first-year molecular and cell biology major. Hometown: Palmdale, CA.