California community colleges currently offer a handful of programs that allow students to walk away with full-fledged four-year bachelor’s degrees, thanks to a bill passed in 2014 by San Diego state Sen. Marty Block.

The catch is that the four-year degrees are only offered in hyper-specific career fields, like airframe manufacturing technology and mortuary science, that aren’t currently offered at any UC or CSU schools. That was the compromise with the state’s college systems that Block had to settle for in order to get the bill through – the UC and CSU systems did not want to compete with community colleges for students seeking bachelor’s degrees.

It’s still in a pilot phase – 10 programs launched this fall, including at Mesa College in San Diego, and 15 total are planned, including another at MiraCosta College in Oceanside. This week, Block held a hearing at San Diego City College on the progress of the program and to examine the possibility of expanding it.

The same tension that played out in the original debate around the bill – balancing the need to meet the state’s workforce demands and to offer more affordable degrees with the need to not hurt California colleges’ feelings – was present in the hearing.

The 15 programs were chosen so as not to overlap with anything being offered by four-year public colleges in California, said Pamela Walker, vice chancellor of California Community Colleges.

But Sen. Ben Allen wondered why the duplication issue loomed so large.

“What’s wrong with being duplicative when being duplicative meets a widespread need?” he asked.

Constance Carroll, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, said she’s already eager to see the program expanded.

“We’re in a context in which 80 community colleges in America currently offer over 500 bachelor’s degrees, with great success and with great coordination with the public universities in their states, and with great student outcomes and workforce placement,” Carroll said. “And in California, we’re talking about 15 degrees – a very tiny pilot, which needs to expand.”

California is currently on track to have a 1.1 million gap between the number of bachelor’s degrees produced in the state and the number the workforce demands, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Expanding the number of bachelor’s degrees offered by California community colleges, many of the panelists suggested, could go a long way toward meeting that shortfall.

“Our greatest hope would be that the Legislature would consider simply allowing a change in mission, to allow community colleges to offer several bachelor’s degrees on an as-needed basis,” said Carroll.

Self-Described ‘Dangerous Man’ Is East County’s Likely New Assemblyman

Assemblyman Brian Jones, an East County lawmaker who created a video series putting his outrage at various Democratic lawmakers and causes on full display, is all termed out.

The man set to replace him also has a history of making provocative right-wing statements in public – but even Jones thinks his likely successor can go too far.

In a new story this week, Liam Dillon lays out Santee Mayor Randy Voepel’s history of outrageous statements and antics, like the time he told Voice of San Diego he doesn’t believe in funding efforts to end homelessness, and that global warming is good.

Jones has endorsed Voepel, who technically has a challenger on the ballot though that person has dropped out and endorsed Voepel. Jones told Dillon he doesn’t necessarily sign off on Voelpel’s style.

“Sometimes I just shake my head and move on and let Randy be Randy,” Jones told the L.A. Times. “I don’t think he’s purposely trying to insult people. I think he thinks some of those things are ridiculous and he responds to those things with ridiculous statements.”

More on the Dueling Death-Penalty Propositions

With so (so, so, so, so) many issues on the ballot, it seems like something that would normally be a big deal – either repealing or speeding up the death penalty – has taken a backseat in this election.

Ry Rivard and I explored the two statewide death penalty measures, Propositions 62 and 66, on the latest episode of our San Diego Decides podcast.

Prop. 62 would end the death penalty in California. Prop. 66 would speed up state death penalty appeals, possibly hastening executions.

We spoke with a local couple, Mike and Penny Moreau, whose son Tim was murdered in 1990. They discussed how their experience factored into their decision-making process as they pondered the two measures.

The L.A. Times examined what Prop. 66’s passage would mean for California’s execution methods, which have been in limbo since a federal judge found the state’s lethal injection protocol might be too painful.

Golden State News

The ACLU tried to intervene at the 11th hour to allow ballot selfies on Election Day, but a federal court said no. California lawmakers have already overturned the ballot selfie ban, but it’s still on the books through the end of the year.

2016 is so over. It’s all about 2018 now. (Politico)

One-fourth of California is drought-free. (Associated Press)

Vietnamese Americans, a bloc that used to vote reliably conservative, are fleeing the GOP. It’s likely a big part of why Orange County is turning blue. (CalMatters, L.A. Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown was in San Diego Thursday making the case against Proposition 53, which would require a statewide vote on high-dollar bonds. (CBS8)

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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