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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Angela Strehli
Blues Power: R.L. Burnside had to cancel, but Angela Strehli is still set to rock Saturday at the Fountain Blues Festival.

Campus Changes:
San Jose State University Associated Students Board of Directors vote out Program Board

LAST WEDNESDAY, the Associated Students Board of Directors at San Jose State University approved a budget that would eliminate the Program Board, the arm that brought speakers such as Jocelyn Elders and KRS-One, and entertainers such as Ben Harper and Tommy Davidson to SJSU. The Program Board also ran the noontime free concert series, which has exposed San Jose to Sleater-Kinney, Rancid, Cake, Heavenly, the Spinanes, the Mr. T. Experience and many local bands. If the budget is passed by university President Robert Caret, the program board--pending a change in A.S. guidelines--will be turned into a "special-events planning committee" with new members to be picked by outgoing Associated Students President Jerry Simmons. The committee will be in charge of putting on three specific events a year--the Blues Festival, the International Food Fair and homecoming. Its budget will be $41,000, down from this year's $169,000.

The restructuring would relieve 25-year A.S. adviser Ted Gehrke of his duties after this semester. "They've been real secretive," said Gehrke about the budget cut. "They're leaning towards the complete dismemberment of the program board while installing some novices as the cultural presenters of the campus. I wonder if they have the least idea of what it takes to put on a Ben Harper show."

"Without Ted's expertise, there's no way four students can pull off the Blues Festival," said Tyler Kogura, whose role as executive director of the Program Board would also be eradicated. Simmons was unavailable for comment last week. Pinch-hitting for Simmons, A.S. Director of Business Affairs Chris Constantin said, "From people looking inside out, it looks like we're cutting the program board. We're actually combining services to use the money more efficiently."

According to a copy of the A.S. budget for 1997­98 obtained by Metro, the total budget will go from $2,810,470 in 1996­97 to $2,986,539 for 1997­98. Incoming A.S. President Jeff Batuhan got a stipend raise from $500 a month to $1,000. A new position was created, the Associate Executive Director, which will be filled, according to Kogura, by Alphonso De Alba (currently the Assistant Executive Director) at $55,000 a year.

President Caret has the final OK on the budget, which will be signed or shredded by May 14. The decision could come down to a legal technicality, because, according to Kogura, the A.S. Board of Directors may have violated a union contract in their desire to combine services--as part of the proposed plan, 20-year program board secretary Kuni Kapps could be forced out in favor of a cheaper secretary for both the A.S. government and the proposed Special Events Programming Committee.

But Caret will sign any A.S. budget as long as no illegalities are detected. Sylvia Hutchinson, interim director of SJSU Public Affairs, said as long as the A.S. is operating within its purview, the university cannot interfere. "It does have the ability to distribute the budget as it sees fits," continued Hutchinson. "The administration doesn't agree or disagree. It's part of the learning process to be a part of the government without any intervention."

Fountain Blues Fest Update

In a last-minute, post-deadline cancellation, blues great R.L. Burnside had to drop out of Saturday's Fountain Blues Festival. He will be replaced by the Holmes Brothers. The reggae bar Waves is back open for business in downtown San Jose on Post Street between Market and South First streets. Waves Smokehouse and Saloon will celebrate its opening on Thursday (May 8) with Native Elements. ... Knapsack, Crumb and Mineral perform Friday (May 9) at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto.

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From the May 8-14, 1997 issue of Metro

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