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tv   This Week in Northern California  PBS  May 11, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm PDT

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program is made possible by the fireman's fund foundation. >> belva: history in the making as president obama endorses gay marriage. >> it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same sex couples should be able to get married. >> belva: how will the political fallout affect the upcoming elections? five years of state budget cuts has taken a toll on california teachers and students. according to a new report, san francisco unified tension mounts as the school board issues more than 200 layoff notices and contract negotiations break down. as california prepares to vote on the tobacco tax, the
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debate over proposition 29 heats up with a flurry of campaign ads on both sides of the measure. will facebook's public offering be a big boom to silicon valley economy? that's all coming up next. 555 >> belva:goodevening, i'm belva davis and welcome to "this week in northern california." joining me tonight on the news panel are jill tucker, staff writer with the san francisco chronicle.
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michelle quinn, reporter for politico. marisa lagos, staff writer for the fran chronicle. and scott shafer host for kqed radio. scott, president obama made history on wednesday by announcing that he now supports gay marriage. what has been the fallout from that? >> well, the fallout, if you want to call it that, so far there's been mostly up side for the president in the short term. he had a big fundraiser. george clooney digs in hollywood. he was treated like a rock star. that hollywood group supportive of gay marriage so the fundraising has ticked up. that's been good. there's also sort of an enthusiasm among the base liberals, students, young people who generally are very supportive of same-sex marriage. that's the short-term fallout. the same things could be said of mitt romney. his fundraising ticked upwards. evangelicals, not base but the base he's trying to get that have been a little suspicious of
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him, gives them another reason to support romney if they needed one. longer term impact remains to be seen. this election, like all elections, national elections, will be decided in the swing states. there are seven to nine swing states. one is north carolina that just this week overwhelmingly passed a ban on gay marriage. those will be the places we'll be watching carefully in the next several months to see what impact, if any, that has on how people there view the president. >> it seems to me though that, i mean, like you said, there he's very small part of the population this they're fighting over. i would think on the left and right neither man is going to gain or lose any supporters over this one issue. the polls that i've seen show that independents support gay marriage in the majority. i mean, is this even going to be a defining issue in a few months or is this kind of a blip? >> well, i don't know. >> obviously. as an expert.
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>> my guess is that it will matter at the margins for some people. if you look at, you're right, independent voters tend to favor same-sex marriage. if you look at the internal numbers of opponents of same sex marriages, african-americans generally less supportive of same-sex marriage, latinos. those are both constituencies that the president does very well with. i think it's highly unlikely they'll peel away from him on that issue. >> you said at the very beginning, maybe not so much how many voters is this going to split that were maybe in the middle or undecided but more about energizing the base of obama because four years ago it was pretty exciting and now we've had four years of really bad economy and a lot of other things. this is something at clooney's mansion, for example, lots of money flowing. if you have the money, you have the energized base. but i don't know, you know, for what i've been reading about african-americans and hispanics,
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this is not a big issue for them. i don't know if we're going to see very much from that. >> yeah. to your question earlier, is it going to matter in the long run? the economy is still the first, second, and third issue. that's really where the president's fate lies with jobless numbers. more importantly, how people are feeling about the economy. do they feel it's going in the right direction and do they want to continue going with the kinds of policies that president obama has implemented? >> it seems to me that you hit on a good point. i think there's been a lot of anger among some of his base. latinos have been pretty ticked off at him for not taking on immigration. as we've seen in san francisco, there's been a lot of disappointment among the gay community over him not taking up this mantle before. i wonder if more college students might come out to vote. if you'll see more fundraising issues. i heard one in six bundlers is gay. that's how a lot of this money flows from these pacs.
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>> one of the groups that's sort of on the sidelines is wall street. the gay community has sort of picked up their fundraising and have replaced a lot of that money. i think also what it does generally is it reminds liberals why they elected this guy and what they wanted, what they had in mind when they were promised change. >> belva: let's talk about the process. did he wait too long to do this? is that possible that you ever wait too long to do something that you say is an issue of your consciousness over something very deep for many people? >> well, i think if it had been up to him he would have waited a little bit longer. joe biden, as the president said, got a little over his skis on "meet the press" and so i think if the white house said that he had decided several months ago that he was going to do this before the convention, and the convention, don't forget, is in north carolina. i don't think the president wanted a big platform fight over gay marriage. gay marriage will be in the democratic platform. so that -- he wanted to take care of that issue well before early september, but i think he
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would have liked to have done it probably in a different place, way, time of his choosing to maximize it. >> and that probably means that maybe he's not going to be so active in the next several months in pushing for it in states or maybe campaigning for it where there might be votes or anything like that. i think this was very symbolic. if he's elected, maybe four more years we might see action. these are a lot of words right now. >> i can't imagine a better timing. he does it now, it's a non-issue by november but he gets the campaign money. >> to belva's question, i think it looks like he got pushed out a little bit because his press secretary was getting all these questions and one by one the cabinet secretaries were saying that they were for it. arty done kin, shaun donovan. >> even his wife. >> yeah. so i think he just felt, okay, i've got to do this. water torture. >> he talked about it so personally which i think kind of gives him a pass on the policy side. he talked about talking to his
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daughters and all of that. >> and i think, you know, it fits with his narrative of, you know, being for broader rights, equal rights. i think it's an easy thing for him to talk about or not talk about. >> belva: that allows us to get back to issues of education, no money for it, the stresses that are coming all over it. jillç tucker, if anybody is feeling the stress of the whole economic outlook for the country, it's here in california. it's now coming right to our door, right? >> right. the schools have been hit hard, as we know. i think every parent knows. every community member can see it in their schools. five years straight of cuts. we have lost 32,000 teachers in california over the last few years to layoffs. class sizes are larger. you can see it everywhere in every school. it's there. in san francisco really the union has said we've been pushed to the breaking point. we've had furlough days. class sizes are at risk to go
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higher. and we're done. we want a raise. we want to go back to normal life and, of course, the district is saying, yeah, we have an $80 million cut over the next two years that we have to make and you need to share the pain again. and it has pushed them to logger heads. they are on i guess you could call it the brink of a strike. they have had the first of two preliminary strike votes. last night was the first. 97% of the teachers that voted supported the strike. they would then schedule another vote and if, again, they have the support, that would authorize the union leadership to call a strike. doesn't mean a strike is imminent, but it really pushes them right to the door. >> where do they think the money will come from for the raises that they want? >> they feel that the concessions that they've given, the furlough days, other types of concessions that they've made have allowed the district to
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really create a cushion of money and, in fact, the district does have a reserve fund. the district, however, is sort of like a family that's saying we know we're going to have hard times so we're going to cut back on cable. we're going to save things now even though we can still afford it, to save up so that next year we can buy food. >> what about a tax or any revenue generating ideas? >> it's funny because they're so at loggerheads now with strike, impasse, talks. just a few years ago they were singing coombaya together that gave teachers a raise. it was proposition a in the city. it boosted teachers' salaries. gave them a little bit of a cushion. that was then, this is now. the teachers want -- are tired of giving. >> belva: this climate though, the constant cuts, the constant discontent within the teachers' group doing to the schools and weren't there some schools that
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were expecting to get a by on some of the seniority positions because they were trying to raise the standards? >> as if things weren't bad enough with all the contract talks, the district wanted to skip over teachers in schools. there were 14 schools that they were pouring resources in the lowest performing where they had teachers churn over years past. they were trying to skip over teachers in the layoffs. that was attacking seniority. that is a core tenant of the unions and the union balked. it went to an administrative law judge who ruled with the side of the unions. now what that means is the 210 teachers in san francisco that got pink slips are concentrated in these 14 carver elementary could lose 60% of their teachers. >> do you have any reaction of the parents? they sometimes pull their kids out and go to private schools or move out of the county. do you have any sense of whether
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this is affecting those kinds of decisions among parents or are they kind of numb to it at this point because it's been happening? >> the reality is there's nowhere to go because every school is getting cut. they're trying to shore up support in their own schools, raise money, bake sales, auctions, every way they can to help their kids retain programs. a lot of parents are looking at tax measures in november. there's two, and they both submitted signatures this last week to get them on the ballot and so the pta, for example, is now in huge campaign mode for molly mongeur's tax measure that would raise money specifically for schools. union officials and schools are supporting brown's measure that would raise taxes to backfill the budget. >> this is part of the problem we're seeing around the state. nobody knows what's going to happen in november. especially with the governor's proposal. he's saying, hey, look, we're going to fund schools unless this doesn't pass. what you're seeing around california is districts saying,
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we can't live like that. a family can't live like that. we might get this money or not. >> the sad reality is that this $80 million cut over the next two years is the best case scenario. if these taxes don't pass, they are going to have to cut a week of school and more. >> yeah. >> belva: just want to get to an important report that came out. ed source. they had statistics on what the effect had been of all of these. were you surprised at the numbers? >> i was surprised at some of the numbers. what they talked about were the stressors that had been on schools. it's not just the education funds and the lack of teachers, but what they're saying is a huge increase in the number of children who are living in poverty. so as if 25% of children in poverty wasn't bad enough, we're now at 33% in five years, less than five years, three, four years. these children in poverty who come with a lot more problems to school are going to schools where class sizes are larger, fewer adults, fewer counselors and the stressors are pushing
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everybody to a breaking point. the strike in san francisco is an indicator that everyone is saying -- schools can't cut anymore for a few years. i think we're really there. they're starting to turn on each other and it's getting ugly. >> belva: we're now number 47th in ranking of what we spent. >> 47th, 48th, 49th. we're down there. >> belva: which brings us to people who have money to spend. that's proposition 29. that's the tobacco tax. you have the tobacco giants and others fighting about a new tax to raise money for what? >> well, there's big money being raised mostly against but also on the for side. this is $1 a pack tax height. we currently have 87 cents for the state tax on packs of cigarettes. it would basically raise it in similar amounts for other tobacco products. we've seen big tobacco with a little bit of help from the california republican party raise about $40 million to defeat this measure so far. on the other side is the american cancer society, the
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lung association, lance armstrong foundation. mostly non-profit health organizations. they put about $5 million into the measure. you know, the whole point of this -- i mean, it's twofold. really it's to help decrease smoking. we've seen it fall precipitously over the last 20 years as more taxes on education have happened. also to raise money for tobacco research. it would raise an estimated $810 million the first full year. >> isn't there an ad out that said none of the money is going to cancer research? >> no. actually, what they claim is it's not going to cancer treatment, which is true. that's not what it's supposed to do. then some of the money would also going to cessation efforts, law enforcement efforts to try to catch minors buying cigarettes, things like that. >> one of the problems though is that for good government types to talk about ballot box budgeting where taxes are put on, they're fund. they don't go to the general fund, they go to a specific thing, tobacco cessation. i have to wonder, those are the kinds of taxes that people are
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inclined to pass because it doesn't affect them. >> exactly. >> but is it good government? does it mean that there will be less support, say, for the other tax measures that are on the ballot? >> i think that tobacco taxes are in a realm of their own in a sense. everyone is always happy to pass a tax that affects someone else, right? we have seen smoking levels fall so i think there has been some concern raised that, yes, at a time when we need every penny for the general fund, schools and other programs, should any tax be passed? i'm not sure given this is on the june ballot that it might have a huge impact on november, but i think that there is, you know, any time you go to voters, there's a big chance they're going to say no. >> belva: i was going to ask you about the polling. $40 million i assume as a funder behind this, you want to know how it's doing. >> the only polling i've seen externally was a poll that came out a month ago and did show it with very strong support.
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that was before any of this money got spent. if you guys have turned on a tv or radio in the past two weeks, you probably heard the ad we just mentioned. it was starring a doctor named ladonna porter who has actually been involved in some other -- on the no side tobacco campaigns in the past. she was removed this fwreek a state toxis board. they won't say it was because of this, but there was a big push on the yes side saying, governor, should this be the person deciding these things. but it's also interesting to know that, you know, as much as tobacco products, as expensive as they are, this would be the first state tax hike in 14 years. >> i was surprised california's state tax is 87 cents which is lower than most of the states in the west. >> yeah. for all the smokers out there who are going to get mad at me, there are federal tax hikes. it's one of the lowest. we would still be pretty much in the middle if this passed.
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it would -- you know, one of the other issues that's come up is would it actually go to california researchers? it doesn't prohibit it from leaving the state, but the board that would actually be handing out this money is going to be made up mostly of -- >> i know they talked a little bit about oversight of the money. i think people who would be inclined to vote for this say there's not enough in there to make sure -- this is a lot of money. >> that's not the criticism of the campaign. they're saying it's creating a new bureaucracy. what the yes side will say is that they modeled this on the national institute of health. it will be a peer reviewed process looking at research. i think it's very similar to the semtel bond we passed a few years ago. it's a smaller bureaucracy. the same sort of makeup of how they're going to do this. it is based on research and what they've done in the past. >> belva: at the bottom of the last two stories is all money. now we're going to turn to the
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fairy tale world. they don't want to talk about it except in i guess in terms of what it will mean to, you know, their own personal wealth. in advance of facebook's initial public offering, ceo mark zuckerberg has been traveling the country meeting with investors. we'll discuss how his road show is going over but first robin takes a look at how the ipo could affect silicon valley's economy. >> more electric cars like this nissan leaf may roll out of board walk auto center after environmentally conscious facebook millionaires cash in their stock. the auto dealer is counting on it. >> we have been doing marketing to facebook for months now to increase interest and get board walk's name in front of the facebook employees in anticipation of the ipo. >> it's not just cars. the ipo hype has been driving
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the local real estate market into a frenzy. kold well banker vice president mike james says the pending ipo as well as wealthy buyers from other high tech companies is driving up prices in communities near the facebook campus. >> about 20% is what most people are calling, but it's a day-to-day event because there are still multiple offers on every house pretty much in palo alto. >> and higher home prices mean higher property taxes for most homeowners. the tax assessor mark church says the county expect to generate $3 million in property taxes from facebook alone next year as it makes improvements to its new campus. >> so that's more than double the property tax currently generated. all of that money will be used to support local schools, our health care system, public safety, transportation projects and other vital services. >> while the facebook ipo will boost silicon valley's economy
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across the board, the real benefit may be long term as early facebook investors take their profits and invest those in new companies looking for the next facebook. >> it will drive more interest back into venture capital and into annual investing which will then again bring more money into the silicon valley creating more jobs and more opportunities. >> belva: well, michelle quinn, as we've just seen, the impact of facebook is expected to create some dollars that could help the economy. is that really going to happen, do you think? >> i think it will. it has already happened. this company is not a startup. this company is the biggest -- you know, this company ate the startup. this is a very big startup that maybe would have gone public years ago but it didn't want to. and it sort of got taken to the public in a very kind of backwards way. didn't really want to do it. now mark zuckerberg ger is traveling the country doing the road show for the public
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offering that should be this next friday. it's expected to bring more money to the region, hair cuts. you know -- >> manicures. >> it will help the local tax base. mark zuckerberg alone will write a tax check for $180 million. >> he's on this road show to sell facebook and they're talking about, you know, shares going for, i think if i'm not mistaken, maybe $35, $40. and you might not even be able to get them. you have to be a really good customer at fidelity. >> who gets to buy these? >> when will they become available to average people? >> they're talking about it. >> it's a very inside world. maybe something will break out next week for the average person. you will be able to buy a facebook share in a month or a few weeks, but at a very high price. so eventually you, i, anybody
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else who has -- >> $80. >> yeah. i think what's interesting, we were just talking about this, mark zuckerberg was walking around with his -- not dressed for wall street. the company's really going through kind of its perception, it's been very internally focused on growth and innovation and now it has to look out to pleasing investors, regulators, and the world in a bigger way. >> i'm sorry. are people there worried that that's going to change the culture? >> i think they were intensely worried about it, and i'm sure they still are right now. i mean, they were forced to go public because they hit a shareholder limit, a law that's now changed. and that gave them a lot of freedom to innovate and play. now they're going to have shareholders and people who want -- >> because they can give their client $100. >> the average facebook worker who has been there for a little bit of time, $2 million and then
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others are in the billions. i mean, it's crazy money. it's play money. >> does that lead to people leaving in droves? >> that's the concern, that they won't -- they won't stick around for the long term. >> well, there are some people saying that these are not larry ellisons or bill gates. they won't build mansions on the mountain. do you think that they're different? >> i think that's a really good point. the money might not mean that much. this may be more in the model of steve jobs. there's money but aus sten tear shusness and toys are not the point of getting money. it's about the work itself. my impression of the people i meet at facebook is they are about the work. >> you know what's interesting though, there hasn't been a lot of philanthropy coming out of tech. there's been some, but not a lot. you'll have all of these new millionaires. it will be interesting to see if they develop a culture of
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philanthropy. >> it's interesting because facebook had a big story last week where they started the donor program so everybody can go on their facebook page and fill out and it gives you a link to your state. i think they really benefitted. i think they'll do that kind of thing, public affairs using their service. >> the bill gates foundation was not created, you know, at the beginning. i just feel like how old is zuckerberg? >> 28. >> i'm saying it seems he's been around for a long time. bill gates is terrific but, you know, he's -- there aren't a lot of bill gates. >> there's bill gates, hps, but there's not the big elephants. apple is the biggest exception. there was very little philanthropy out of that company. >> there's one person i know is hoping we're wrong, jerry brown. maybe the state could get some of it. well, that is all the time that we have for tonight. we could keep talking about that. my thanks to you all for joining us here this evening. we hope you'll visit us at
7:56 pm week. that's where you can watchful episodes, subscribe to our news writer and pod cast and share your thoughts about the program. i'm belva davis. good night.
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