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Dueling budget protests held in Modesto

6:44 PM, Mar 8, 2011   |    comments
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MODESTO, CA - City leaders from throughout Stanislaus County and students from Modesto Junior College both voiced their anger at the state over budget issues Tuesday. In fact, the two protests overlapped at one point.

The student protest took place at 10 a.m., when about 200 students left classrooms.  They're upset that $8 million in proposed budget cuts that would reduce class offerings and staff. Students blamed the school's new president, Gaither Loewenstein, for his proposals.

"He's a brand-new president here and he didn't go to the source for information: People who've been here longer, who know what's going on here on campus.  He should have listened to the people here," said student Doug Dyrrsen.

When students left campus about an hour later, they went another demonstration, a quieter one, in downtown Modesto.

That's where city leaders from Modesto, Riverbank, Newman and Ceres voiced their unhappiness with Gov. Brown's plan to take back redevelopment funds from cities.

"They've got to quit taking local money," said Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour.

Speakers said it was especially disappointing for the state to seek that money, since voters last November approved Proposition 22, which bans such a move.

"Quite frankly, legislators need to pay attention to you, the voting public.  They're not doing a very good job of that," said Newman Mayor Ed Katen.

The downtown protest fizzled when the MJC students arrived and proved louder.  Final decisions on the college budget cuts were expected Wednesday night when the Yosemite Community College District meets.



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