An awful national recession and fifteen years of Sacramento smoke and mirrors budget fakery have taken a terrible toll on the local economy. Important public services are endangered. Many worthy non-profits are barely hanging on. Every sector of public and higher education has been battered like nothing since the Great Depression.
It would be easy to succumb either to confusion and despair, or to mindless anger that our small, semi-rural county is in these straits, and to begin turning inward, or lashing out. But that’s not the Santa Barbara way.
For over a century now, when tough times hit, we roll up our sleeves, come together, and try to protect what’s best about our area. Now, it’s time to come together again.
It’s time to step up for affordable, high-quality local education. It’s time to step up for Adult Ed and Continuing Education. Time to step up for City College.
No matter where you stand on Sacramento’s perennial budget problems, it’s time to step up.
Every elected official, every candidate, for every office, should step up, now.
Pueblo and SBCAN, COLAB and the Taxpayers Association. Every party and faction on the South Coast should step up.
Every employer, large or small, who depends on a steady stream of well-trained residents to fill local jobs should step up.
Every family worrying whether our next generation could still afford all four years of UC or Cal State should step up. Every family of an SBCC grad who went on to a four year degree should step up too.
Anyone who knows someone who benefited from Adult Ed, whether it’s arts, crafts, literature, or computer skills should step up. Everyone who learned about career skills, health, nutrition, senior needs, English, or citizenship should step up too.
Each resident who’s been helped by a nurse trained at SBCC should step up. Every diner who’s been well served at a lodging, restaurant, or café owned or staffed by SBCC grads should step up. Everyone whose landscape is lovingly tended by an SBCC certified green gardener should step up, too.
Every local investor or entrepreneur who appreciates the Scheinfeld Center working to successfully incubate new areas businesses should step up. Every multi-media or high-tech company that looks to SBCC for creative, innovative students should step up.
If every south coast resident donated just $25 this month (50 cents a week) toward a $250,000 challenge grant from the Winslow Homer Charitable Trust, before 5 p.m. June 30, we’d buffer much of Santa Barbara City College and Adult Ed from new cuts or weird edicts raining down on us from up north.
Maybe we could help assure that no student or resident in need is turned away from any credit or Continuing Ed course because of income.
Now is the time for SBCC’s board to unite with the larger community to realize the challenge grant opportunity.
Some people know about the goal, but are still hanging back. Are they waiting for some white knight to ride to the rescue?
It’s time to get past dreaming that Oprah or Charles Munger writes a big check. It’s time to get past waiting for Michael Towbes or Leslie Ridley-Tree to rescue us, again. This time, it’s up to us.
Not everyone can afford $25 in these hard times. Some on the south coast are too young, too sick, too infirm. Some good neighbors can’t read the words in this appeal yet. That’s understandable.
But every resident can step up, now.
They can join our phone bank teams for Adult Ed, Continuing Education, City College scholarships. They can volunteer.
Everyone can do something. That’s how this area has always met tough challenges: together and head-on.
A healthy City College is vital to a strong regional economy, and to residents’ affordable access to life-long learning - each of these essential to maintaining our community’s promise.
To help, or to contribute, or learn more, please call 730-4402. Do it today.