Davis Faculty Association

DFA Meets With Our Assemblywoman, Helen Thomson

On October 15, the DFA sponsored a campus meeting with Assemblywoman Helen Thomson (D-Davis). We also invited Marj Dickinson from UCD’s Office of Governmental Relations and some representatives from the UCD Alumni Association.

Helen served for many years as a Davis School Board member and then as a Yolo County Supervisor and has just completed her first session representing the 8th Assembly District, which includes Yolo County.

After providing some background information about her “freshman” colleagues in the Assembly, Thomson answered a number of questions from the assembled group. We can only provide brief highlights of that interchange here.

Background:  Helen emphasized the effect of term limits stating that of 80 members, 30 are new and the most experienced have served only four  years. They tend to think of UC as rather elite, of CSU as more accessible, and as the Community Colleges as the place for most young people to get a start. Thus they favor providing easy transfer to UC.

Thomson noted that Chancellor Vanderhoef is being “politically wise” in advocating a shift to the semester system because doing so will enhance transfer possibilities with CSU and CCC. She also praised his presence in the Capitol, meeting with legislators and testifying at appropriate hearings.

Response to Questions:

Q: We try to take the message to legislators that we are charged not only with teaching but also research, which is valuable to the state’s economy. What do you think of this strategy?

A: The more you can do so, the better. I did not realize, even having lived in Davis just down the street from the campus and having read Environmental Impact reports as a Yolo Co. Supervisor, how much UC faculty contribute. I was particularly impressed by the testimony of Jeff Mount during the hearings on the flood problems. Perhaps UC could compile a list of experts who would be willing to advise legislators on various topics of their expertise. The faculty need to be more public about their participation in these issues.

Q: What issues do you see emerging for next session?

A: Many are carryovers.  First are   HMO’s and health reform. I will be serving on the Task Force set up by the Governor and am particularly concerned about how to provide UC training of medical students.  Next, how to fund school buildings and renovations. It is unfair to continue to expect young families in new developments to pay so much more than people in older areas for local government issues such as schools.

If the economy continues to improve, we should be awash in money next year.  Right now, folks are underestimating the cost of welfare reform and the amount of new money coming in to the state.

Q: Since the Governor  vetoed AB 1415, what are the prospects for long-term funding for higher education?

A: Legislative leaders do not want stability; they want CONTROL. They prefer to have UC and others come hat in hand to ask for a budget each year.  That’s why they hate Prop 98.

Q: What of the “new compact” mentioned in the veto message? How can a Governor who is on his last term (and running for President) really negotiate a  new compact for a future Governor?

A:  I found that the veto messages do not make sense, so do not be surprised that this one doesn’t.  But I voted for AB 1415 and I believe that Bustamante will continue to seek  a funding mechanism for higher education and for the tenth campus.

Q: Will Bustamante get caucus support if  a reversal of term limit restrictions allow him to run again?

A: Yes. It is good thing that he may get a new term. Cruz asks people what they think and  provides options for an informed decision. He is a good listener and good problem-solver.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 27th, 1997 at 9:07 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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