On Friday morning, I spoke with Assemblyman Tim Donnelly who updated me on his signature gathering campaign to stop AB 131, the California DREAM Act. Tim, just back from what he described as a "successful week on the road" was up and at ‘em early.
On the highlights of Tim’s trip occurred in Fresno where a steady stream of cars at a drive-thru petition location generated hundreds of signatures. According to Tim, the anti-DREAM Act sentiment reaction so prevalent in Fresno is widespread throughout California.
As Fresno local Ed Hanson said:
"I think we should take care of our own people first. Nobody paid for my education. I had to work for it, so why can't other people?”
Tim told me that as of today, about 300,000 petitions are on the street. Each one has room for seven signatures. The goal is to collect 700,000; 504,760 are needed to put the referendum on the November 2012 ballot.
Subsidizing illegal aliens’ tuition at a time when UC and Cal State fees have gone up year after year and with another $100 million cut to higher education looming is insanity and, to quote Tim, “morally wrong.” The DREAM Act will cost hard-pressed Californians $40 million.
Another Fresno resident and petition signatory, Ed Williams summed up the DREAM Act this way:
"Maybe later on when there's a budget surplus, maybe that can be talked about and brought to fruition. But right now, in this economy, I don't think this is the way to go." [Battle to Ban Tuition for Immigrants Comes to Fresno, by Nicole Garcia, KMPH Fox 26, November 17, 2011]
Although many grassroots organizations are hard at work with Assemblyman Donnelly and promoting his campaign at every opportunity, time is of the essence. The deadline for submitting signatures is January 3, 2012. Tim hopes that the holiday shopping season when a lot of supporters will be gathered in malls and other public places will result in enough signatures to put him over the top.