Archive for June, 2011
Governor Brown and state legislative leaders have agreed on a state budget proposal that the legislature is scheduled to vote on tomorrow. The Sacramento Bee has some details at:http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/06/more-details-on-the-democratic.html
What does it mean for UC? As was the case in last week’s budget proposal, this budget would cut UC $150 million on top of the $500 million cut in the March budget. But this proposal may go further: if an anticipated $4 billion in revenue expected due to the improving economy falls more than $1 billion short, UC would take an additional $100 million mid-year hit in January of 2012.
At least a $540 million deferral of payments from the state to University of California that had been proposed in last week’s budget has been eliminated in this proposal.
As mentioned above, the legislature is scheduled to meet tomorrow to vote on this. No GOP votes are necessary to pass it. Gov. Brown has already promised to sign the budget tomorrow, so he obviously expects the Democrat’s votes to be there.
The Council of UC Faculty Associations, CUCFA, is the systemwide organization of local campus faculty associations. Over the past few weeks, CUCFA officers Joe Kiskis and Stanton Glantz and CUCFA staff Eric Hays have conducted a series of visits with the staff of Governor Jerry Brown, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton, and Assemblymembers Fiona Ma and Warren Furutani.Our primary message in all of the meetings was the importance of a public university and, using the working paper that Stanton Glantz and Eric Hays produced last year, the affordability of restoring California’s system of public higher education – $32 to the median tax filer.
An important part of the above discussion was requiring UC’s administration to act like the administrators of a public university. In addition, descriptions of the negative effects on quality and fees of past, present, proposed, and worse than proposed cuts were reviewed. As always, our message was heard by knowing and sympathetic ears. More significant and less heartening is the position of higher education relative to other priorities, both substantive and purely political, for either party. Our sense was that although there were possibilities for a compromise budget agreement, the time for serious dealing had not yet arrived. (As of today, a budget deal that requires no GOP votes but that would cut UC a further $150 million is being voted on by the legislature).
In meetings with staff of the Governor and the President Pro Tem of the Senate, we also discussed the nomination of David Crane as a UC Regent. We asked several investigatory questions about the nomination procedure, particularly as related to a committee that the state Constitution requires the Governor consult before selecting a nominee. It seems that for the last decade or so, consultation has devolved to the governor simply notifying the committee of his selection at about the same time that it is announced to the world at large. So far, we have not been able to obtain documentation that would confirm even notification in the case of Crane. Most recently, our California Public Records Act request to the Governor’s office was rejected by an invocation of the blanket exception granted to that office. In the absence of any evidence that the correct process was followed, we continue to have serious doubts about the validity of David Crane’s nomination. Our discussions were useful, but clearly we have a lot of work to do to restore the consultation process that used to exist in the nomination of Regents.
Regardless of uncertainty on the technical legality of the nomination, there is considerable political opposition to the nomination. This case would be significantly strengthened if the basis for opposition were more than Mr. Crane’s infamous opinion piece. This is a place where academics could make a real contribution. We call on you who are researchers in the humanities and social sciences to supply additional evidence, as factual and objective as possible, that addresses the suitability of David Crane to serve as a Regent. This is important because the failure of Governor Brown to withdraw the Schwarzenegger nomination means that Crane is now considered to be Brown’s nominee. It would be far easier for a Democratic Senate to reject a Democratic Governor’s nominee if the case is objective rather than purely political.
Joe and Eric