California State University, Northridge hosted the San Fernando Valley Joint Higher Education Legislative Reception on Thursday. Feb. 6, at the Valley Performing Arts Center. It brought state and area legislators together to discuss issues that involve the Valley.
The reception was co-hosted and sponsored with UCLA, and presented in partnership with Los Angeles Valley College, Pierce College, Los Angeles Mission College and College of the Canyons.
The evening began with remarks from CSUN Director of Government and Community Relations Francesca M. Vega, who introduced CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. President Harrison noted the change in leadership in the UC, CSU and community college systems, and touted CSUN’s successes.
“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to utilize the university as the great resource it is, and will continue to be, for the San Fernando Valley and the greater Los Angeles region as a whole,” Harrison said. “I hope you will return to campus for a tour or for one of our performances in this outstanding facility.”
Harrison then introduced Keith S. Parker, UCLA’s assistant vice chancellor for government and community relations, who introduced the group of elected officials who attended the event. They included state Assemblymen Adrin Nazarian and Scott Wilk; Los Angeles City Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield, Mitch Englander, Felipe Fuentes and Paul Krekorian and Nury Martinez; state Senator Fran Pavley and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
Parker moderated a discussion that included such topics as job creation, the quality of public safety, the city’s infrastructure, technology growth, runaway film production and, especially, higher education.
Nazarian noted how 48 percent of the state’s current budget is diverted toward education, but that figure wasn’t enough. A theme forPavley was a shorter route for students to receive a diploma, four years rather than six or eight that are commonplace now. The group as a whole also lamented the lack of cooperation between cities and their schools system to better prepare their students for advanced learning, and life in general. Martinez said her area’s top school had 88 percent of its students fail their English and math standardized tests.
The night ended with Parker asking Yaroslavsky his thoughts about the supervisor’s upcoming retirement and who should replace him. He focused on the electorate’s need to find someone who will fight for them, and, in particular, the need to help to the area’s K-12 school and colleges and universities.
“Both my parents were teachers, and I owe everything to the upbringing they gave me and the educational opportunities I’ve had,” Yaroslovsky told CSUN Today. “I’ve always believed that’s the key to future success, and I’ve been proud that my district is home to so many universities, colleges and community colleges. As institutions of learning, as test-beds for innovative new thinking, as intellectual and cultural centers for the community, they are an integral part of what makes our region great.”