Looking Back and Looking Ahead
Why I Support Measure R, Funding for Cabrillo College
BY GEORGE OW, JR.
When I was in high school, I was a mediocre student. My family had a small grocery store in Monterey, where my siblings and I needed to work so that we could survive. My only option for college was Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) because I could live at home, work at our store and tuition was nominal. I did not feel cheated by going to a community college and not going away to a four-year university. It would not have been practical for my family and that was not my dream.
A major transformation for me began at MPC. I matured and found MPC challenging and exciting. My professors really cared that I learned something. They were excited about what they were doing and their dedication inspired me to do my best. I am still very proud of my A.A. degree. Community college woke me up. I caught fire for learning. This same transformation occurred for many of my family members and friends when they attended Cabrillo College.
After MPC, I attended San Francisco State for my B.A., then UCLA for my M.B.A. Then three years as U.S. Army officer, returning in 1970 to Santa Cruz, where I spent the next 50 years pursuing entrepreneurial activities, business ventures, philanthropic endeavors, and engaging with my community.
My family has been here for over 100 years. This is our home. I am now 77 and the patriarch of a giant Chinese American family that includes genes from all over the world. Here is some of what I learned over my life: My best, most caring college teachers were at the community college level. Yes, better than the Cal State and University of California levels. In talking to the younger members of my family over time, I found they felt the same love and dedication that I received at MPC from their Cabrillo professors. Many of my best friends are Cabrillo professors. They are such high level people, scholars, citizens and, most importantly, teachers.
Members of my family are prudent business people. We get the most return for the college dollar by sending family to Cabrillo. Many dozens of our family, over three generations, have attended Cabrillo. We as a community get the biggest return per dollar from Cabrillo. We feel so strongly about this that in 1989, we established the American Dream Scholarship Foundation at Cabrillo and have awarded over 1,700 scholarships to local students. People who have attended Cabrillo have the knowledge and confidence to live better and healthier lives, earn more money, and have access to better careers.
My family’s business is focused on ownership and management of buildings and land. We know buildings have to be maintained and sometimes replaced as time goes by. We often find that investing a little more in the beginning provides the benefit of saving money in the long run. This is smart business.
Cabrillo benefits from a Board of Trustees comprised of forward looking people who care deeply about our community and focus on the big picture…just the way my family thinks and plans.
Matt Wetstein is the perfect person to be Cabrillo College’s president. He is an absolutely brilliant and committed person. I do not use these words lightly. In my lifetime, I have seen lots of people, jobs and major business deals. You could not find a better person to lead Cabrillo.
With these lessons in mind, my family supports Measure R. The rate is $18.85 dollars per year per $100,000 of assessed value. So, if your property is assessed at one million dollars, you pay $188.50 annualy. Our family is large. We own lots of houses and many commercial properties. We will be impacted more than most. And we embrace this because Measure R is a worthwhile investment and a smart way we can support our community.
Please join me and my family in voting YES on Measure R.