By Charly SHELTON and Mary O’KEEFE
California State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, Republican from the 59th district which includes La Crescenta, spent some time at the La Crescenta Library on July 27 to have one-on-one discussions with constitutes.
Meeting in a small room in the library, Donnelly chatted across the table with residents about everything from the working of the state assembly to the newly signed “Dream Act.”
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Dream Act on July 25. The controversial bill, now law, allows students who are in the country illegally the opportunity to be awarded some scholarships.
Those who support the bill, including author Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, state the law is geared to helping children, all children, achieve their goals.
Donnelly, a critic of the bill, said he was not against supporting children’s goals but worries the law will encourage illegal immigration.
“I think it is irresponsible and shameful for our state to encourage people to come here illegally at a time when we are telling students that you need to pay 12% more in fees,” Donnelly said.
He also voiced concerned that the students here illegally will have an education but cannot work legally in the United States.
“At the end of all that [state] investment the students who are here illegally cannot work,” he said.
The first part of the Dream Act allows students to compete for scholarships offered by private companies. Students who have attended high school in the U.S. must qualify for those scholarships like all other students. The second part of the bill that has yet to pass will allow students in the country illegally to receive in-state tuition and apply for financial aid.
Donnelly shared his concern that the price of higher education is continuing to grow as money is spent in areas where, he felt, the state could conserve.
“People who are running our colleges have the gall to raise our students’ fees and they just paid the president of San Diego $100,000 more than the last guy [who held the presidency],” he said.
Last month the California State University trustees approved a pay increase for the president of San Diego State University. Elliot Hirshman, the new San Diego State president, was given a reported $400,000 compensation package. That is an increase of about $100,000 from the previous president.
Donnelly added the economy has created an employer’s market. With the current rate of unemployment he was certain the university could have found a candidate for the job that was well qualified and would accept less than the $400,000 a year salary.
“You can’t tell me there aren’t people [out there] that would accept that job,” he said.
For more information, visit the assemblyman’s website at http://arc.asm.ca.gov/member/59 or contact his office at (760) 344-5277 or (916) 319-2059.