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Posted on October 12, 2010

A date with the candidates
Forum allows county entrants to reach student voters, discuss societal issues

By Faythe Del Rosario, staff writer

To give faces to the many campaign signs around the area, local candidates spoke at the 2010 Rock the Vote Candidate Forum in the Contra Costa College Recreation Room on Thursday.

The Associated Student Union hosted the event, presenting students with the opportunity to meet and speak with the candidates. The entrants are running for office in San Pablo, Richmond, and other cities around the East Bay, and also included those who are trying to get placed on the West Contra Costa Unified School District Governing Board.

Each candidate had a 10-minute block to give brief background information of themselves and their priorities if elected into office. There was also a short moment after each of their blocks to take a few questions from the audience.

More than 15 candidates were present at the occasion, including the city of Richmond's current mayor, Gayle McLaughlin.

McLaughlin is running for re-election as mayor. She talked about what she has done to help Richmond and what she plans to do.

She said she believes education should be the top priority, not the casino that may be built at Point Molate, insisting that students and the youth in general will help the city strive.

"As youth, you are essential for change. Without you, we will be in a struggle," she said.

Richmond city council candidate Courtland "Corky" Boozé also believes that students make all the difference in a well-rounded community. He said, "The leaders of tomorrow are sitting here today."

ASU Senator Albert Ambris was the project manager for the event. Rock The Vote was put together because students are out of touch with politics these days, he said.

Ambris said that by having the candidates speak, the forum allowed students to realize that there is much going on in the community and that they need to know the people that are making these changes.

"Their (the students) voice matters and these people in office are here to represent them," he said.

Many of the candidates talked about various issues that included budgets, international student housing, unemployment and how they will provide help to the students at CCC.

The speakers had different opinions about where money should be allocated, whether on Point Molate or programs and construction for the community. Public safety was also a concern that they addressed.

"If we do not have a safe city, no one will want to do business here," Richmond city council member Nat Bates said.

WCCUSD district board President Madeline Kronenberg brought to light the problems the school district faces.

"The last four years have been difficult. We lost 28 percent of our budgets," she said.

According to Kronenberg, the students are not being provided the necessary attention that is needed.

"California does not walk its talk. No one has made a commitment to finance education," she said.

Before the event was paused for intermission, there were not many students present. Ambris described the outcome of the first half as "shaky." Classes that provide extra credit for coming will give students more incentive to go, he said.

Students like Cristian Mejia thought the event was very beneficial to those on campus.

"It was a good opportunity for the students at school. You got information straight from the source," he said.

English major Jeanette Alanis found the issue of budget the most important topic the candidates covered.

"It seems like most of the money that we do have is not being given to schools," she said.

There was a wide variety of food and beverages provided to those attending the forum, courtesy of the culinary arts department.

Although the event flier stated that the event would be finished at 4 p.m., the forum ended an hour early.

Contact Faythe Del Rosario at

PO Box 5284,  Richmond, CA 94805
(510) 237-1456   •
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