As voters headed to their polling places and mailboxes to cast their votes in the Primary Election on Tuesday, March 3rd, California (along with 13 other states) hosted Super Tuesday, a day in which nearly 1/3 of all delegates are won by candidates. In addition to the 14 states, American Samoa caucuses also took place on that same day, amounting to 1,357 pledged delegates.
With a prize of California’s 415 delegates, our state is a highly sought after golden ticket, and is considered a major player in determining the shape of the November election. In chatting with a few voters (well outside the boundaries of the polling place, as well as online in the days leading up to the election), there was little consensus on candidates and measures.
Measure R (Cabrillo College Technology, Job Training and Classroom Repair Measure) would provide Cabrillo with $17,000,000 annually to invest in updating and modernizing sites, facilities and equipment. While the college is considered a local jewel by many, feedback was mixed. Voter J.G. said she’s not sure that Cabrillo is worthy of the investment. “I know we attract a lot of out-of-town students due to the climate and sports programs at the college,” she said, “but I don’t think my money should go to improving facilities I’ll never use.” Parent K.S. felt otherwise. “Both of my kids plan to go to Cabrillo after high school,” he said. “I think all students should have access to great systems and modern equipment, especially if we’re competing with countries like China who have better stuff for their students than we do. When my kids get into the workforce, I want them to have an edge, and I think this bond measure will help with that,” he said. First-time voter L.P. was excited to cast his ballot for the measure. “For my first time voting, I get to vote on something that will actually help me,” he said. “I’m going to Cabrillo in the fall, and it would be great if they had new computers and technology because of my vote.” The measure needs approval by at least 55% of voters within the school’s “district.” The boundaries of the Cabrillo Community College District include San Benito (population 60,310), Santa Cruz (275,897) and Monterey (437,907) Counties, which means that there are a lot of voters who may weigh in on the measure’s success.
For Measure S (San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District Bond Issue), 55% of all voters in the district would need to vote yes; the result would be an issuance of $75M in bonds, raising $4.3M annually to repair aging infrastructure, construct new Science/Engineering facilities and make health and safety improvement to all schools in the district. Once again, residents were mixed on the potential for raising capital to benefit education. “My kids all went to school there,” said R.L., “and they liked it, but we keep giving the district money, like, every year. First they got a pool, and then they got a turf field, and then the new building outside (the new Performing Arts Center which opened in February, 2015). Enough is enough, man.” J.P. wondered where else the money would go. “They’re always asking for money, and I get that schools aren’t funded like the military,” he said, “but how come they can’t do it all at once? If they budgeted better, we wouldn’t have our taxes raised every few years.” First-time voter L.P. weighed in on this one, too. “I graduated from there, and they’ve got some really cool things like the hydroponics and the PAC (Performing Arts Center). I’m glad they had that stuff when I was there, so I voted yes because that stuff inspires the students.” When asked if he was a homeowner, he admitted he wasn’t, but said his parents are. “They can afford it,” he grinned.
Finally, a few people mentioned their votes for president, but most kept it under wraps. Of the 12 people who agreed to be interviewed, four were for Biden, and three were for Sanders. One was for Warren, and an enthusiastic 4-year old wore a “Bernie or Bust” t-shirt as she drew a heart on a piece of paper. Clutching her “ballot,” she galloped into the afternoon sun, blissfully unaware that her parents had cast votes that could forever determine her future.