Butte butts heads with governor

The leaders out at Butte College—a normally apolitical bunch—are miffed at Gov. Gray Davis for a recent round of cuts that has the college missing out on almost $1 million in maintenance money.

“These funds were intended to provide needed instructional equipment and to save energy by replacing inefficient heating and lighting equipment,” stated President Sandra Acebo in a press release. She said if the state insists on saving money by cutting the projects, they would just end up costing more later on.

In all, Davis decided to cut $98 million from community college budgets, and leaders of schools across the state are urging the Legislature to intervene.

Hilary McLean, the governor’s chief deputy press secretary, said it was just a matter of priorities, and money Davis thought would be there in January didn’t pan out as the state’s revenues took a downturn.

School workers join Big Labor

In labor news, the local chapter of the California School Employees Association (CSEA) has joined its sister chapters nationwide in affiliating with the AFL-CIO. Eileen Robinson, president of Chico’s CSEA group, the union that represents school bus drivers, secretaries, custodians and cafeteria workers, said members took the vote at the annual conference last week in Las Vegas, and right away the state CSEA president was elected vice president of the AFL-CIO.

“The action doesn’t change the internal operation of CSEA but does give us a more significant voice in Washington, D.C., on legislative matters that affect public schools and working families,” she said.

Art smart

I can’t help but admit I was a little perplexed at the end result of the public-art project on Park Avenue (pictured below). I thought it looked kind of cool, but I didn’t realize beforehand that the rendition of a plowman and plow would be quite so abstract. I couldn’t tell what the concrete-looking chunks and metal bars were and if it was “worth” (to what ever degree art can be quantified) the $150,000 the city approved for it.

So, as we happened to have a sculptor friend of ours in town for the weekend, we made a point to drive past the art. "Wow!" said our buddy. "It sure has a lot of motion and energy to it. What is it? Somebody pulling something? Like a plow?" Shows what I know.