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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

UCLA Faculty Center Election: Deadline for Voting Near

Normally, elections for office at the UCLA Faculty Center are quiet affairs. However, because of the controversy surrounding the plan to demolish the Center and replace it with a large hotel/conference center, this year is different.

If you are a member of the Center, you should have received your ballot by postal mail - if your address is off-campus - or by campus mail. I have an off-campus address and my ballot came at least a week ago.

I am told some members have not yet received ballots. The deadline for voting is mid-June. Sorry, I don't have the exact date and, oddly, I was unable to find it or anything about the election on the Faculty Center website. Why is that?

If you plan to vote but have not received a ballot, I suggest you get in touch with the Center: Phone: (310) 825-0877 / Fax: (310) 825-4693 / General Manager Ali Tabrizi atabrizi@ucla.edu

Below are the candidates' statements:



If you have trouble reading the statements on line, try downloading them at http://issuu.com/danieljbmitchell/docs/facctrelection2011

UPDATE: There is now info on the election on the Faculty Center website (as of June 1): See http://facultycenter.ucla.edu/news.htm It contains the following statement:
Ballots have been mailed to the billing address of each member; if for some reason you have not received a ballot, you may pick one up at the front desk of the Faculty Center.

Coming Soon to a Polling Station Near You?

As noted in a prior post, one proposed pension initiative that could have overridden the Regents' December changes in the UC plan has been abandoned and no signature-gathering campaign will be conducted. But there are others possibly on the way, as calpensions.com reports (excerpt):

…Dan Pellissier, president of California Pension Reform, is working on an initiative that would cap normal employer contributions at 6 percent of pay and give new hires a 401(k) plan. The employer would be responsible for any previous “unfunded liability,” allowing employer contributions to exceed 6 percent until the debt is paid off. Employees could negotiate increases in their contribution to maintain pension levels. Pellissier has not yet filed an initiative. He said the campaign is “still trying to wrap up fundraising for the first phase” and talking to potential backers with “thick skin,” not intimidated by public employee unions…
Pellissier said he thinks defeating other initiatives that may be on the ballot next year (a spending limit and “paycheck protection” making it difficult to use union dues for campaigns) could be a greater priority for unions than hot-polling pension reform. “The unions may find that they can’t wage nuclear war and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on four different initiatives,” he said. “They may have to pick and choose.” …

Full story at http://calpensions.com/2011/05/31/pension-reform-bargaining-table-or-ballot-box/












A spokesperson for Mr. Pellissier summarized:

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Monday, May 30, 2011

UCLA History: Naval ROTC During the World War II Era

UCLA Naval ROTC cadets in 1943 at a dance (right) and in 1941 (below).

Bus Service from Westwood to LAX May Fly Away

From the LA Times:

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners has recommended discontinuation of the $5-per-trip Westwood FlyAway bus service to Los Angeles International Airport because it is operating at a loss, but UCLA and its students are trying to negotiate a way to save it. "The FlyAway bus provides an absolutely critical service to UCLA students," student body President Emily Resnick said in a statement. "Without this service, thousands of students will no longer be able to go home for holidays or other important events." …

Renée Fortier, director of UCLA transportation, said Friday that the campus had proposed measures that would make the service more economical. They include the availability of park-and-ride space in UCLA's Structure 32 pay station area; schedule and fare modifications; a campus contribution for extra bus service during holiday peLinkriods; and assistance with marketing…

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-flyaway-20110530,0,5844030.story

To be Frank, soon we can’t fly away:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Coming in Mid-July: I-405 Shutdown

LAObserved has a nice rundown on the I-405 traffic disaster that is likely to occur July 16-17 around UCLA when the freeway is entirely shut down for reconstruction:

http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2011/05/details_of_the_405s_weeke.php

That is a weekend. But folks who work at odd times in their UCLA offices should stay home and watch videos:

Where Things Stand on the State Budget

A nice summary of where things stand on the state budget appears today in the Sacramento Bee at http://www.sacbee.com/2011/05/29/3662193/browns-countdown-day-140-capitol.html although the picture may say it better.

UCLA History: Daily Bruin on Internment of Japanese-American Students in 1942


The UCLA Daily Bruin announced the internment of Japanese-American students in 1942. See yesterday's post on this blog concerning UCLA's retroactive awarding of honorary degrees to these students in 2010.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pay Freeze Bill Melts

A bill in the state Assembly that would have frozen pay of most state workers above $150,000 until 2014 has died. The bill would not have covered UC would contained language urging UC to follow its guideline. Specifically:

(9) (A) At a time when the University of California Board of Regents is raising student fees, it is imperative that they show leadership and fiscal responsibility for two years by not granting raises or bonuses for employees that make in excess of $150,000 per year. (B) The Legislature urges the Regents of the University of California and the Board of Directors of the Hastings College of the Law to adopt the policy expressed in this section for individuals employed by those entities.

Under Assembly rules, bills that remained in committees last week died for this session.

The full bill is at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0001-0050/ab_7_bill_20101206_introduced.html

Additional info is at http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/2011/05/california-state-worker-salary-freeze.html

UCLA History: Awarding Degrees to Japanese-American Students Interned During WW2

On May 15, 2010, UCLA awarded honorary degrees to Japanese-American students whose academic careers were interrupted by the forced internment during World War II in California and the West Coast. Video of the ceremoney is below:


Friday, May 27, 2011

Another Reminder, Courtesy of the U of Virginia, That Nothing Is Private at Public Universities

U. of Virginia Agrees to Release Climate Researcher’s E-Mails

May 25, 2011. Chronicle of Higher Ed

The University of Virginia has agreed to turn over a potentially enormous trove of climate-research e-mails and other documents to a conservative group that filed a demand for them under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The demand centers on more than a decade’s worth of e-mail messages from, to, and about Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist who left the university in 2005 to become director of a research center at Pennsylvania State University. The organization, called the American Tradition Institute, joined with a Republican state legislator to file its request after the university went to court to fight an attempt by Virginia’s attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, to use a different law to get the same documents, which he said he needed to investigate possible climate-research fraud. In a court document signed yesterday, the university said it would produce the materials within three months.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Legislative Analyst Not Keen on Ending CPEC: Suggests Reform Instead

As noted in a prior entry on this blog, Gov. Brown in his May revise budget proposed terminating the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC). CPEC is supposed to coordinate the various public segments of higher ed and the private higher ed institutions.

The Leg Analyst has issued a second document indicating it sees a continuing role for CPEC but suggests reforms including more data analysis of higher ed.

Undoubtedly, CPEC agrees. The Leg Analyst's document is at http://www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/education/2011/LAO_Recommendations_on_Governor%E2%80%99s_Proposal_to_Eliminate_CPEC_052511.pdf

The governor's May revise had plans to kill many boards and commissions of which CPEC is just one. And there are the Redevelopment Agencies and Enterprise Zones which are also on the potential chopping block. Whether the legislature will choose to save CPEC amidst all the others is unclear. It might not happen:
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What will be the state of the UC in five to 10 years?

Yours truly was asked by the Daily Bruin (5-26-11) to respond to the following question:

What will be the state of the UC in five to 10 years?

Below is my response:

DANIEL J.B. MITCHELL, Professor Emeritus at the Anderson School of Management and the Luskin School of Public Affairs

“Never (make) forecasts, especially about the future,” advised Sam Goldwyn (the G in media company MGM). I will take his advice and instead suggest two scenarios. I don’t know which one UCLA, and the larger UC, will follow. But I know which one I prefer.

The first scenario is an attempt at all levels of the UC, including UCLA, to muddle through the current state budget crisis in the hope that economic recovery will resolve the state’s fiscal problem and, therefore, the university’s. It is quite plausible that the campus and UC administrations will elect that approach since it is the easiest path to follow.

Unfortunately, it is less plausible that economic recovery in California will actually resolve the university’s long-term budgetary problems. The state has fiscal woes that economic recovery will only partially alleviate. California will not be willing to support the UC adequately even after recovery, whenever that comes.

Nonetheless, UC and UCLA administrators are mainly following the muddle-through approach and hoping things will somehow work out. The current muddling through takes various forms. There are short-term measures, such as furloughs and reactive increases in tuition. There is grasping at technological fixes, such as online education.

But there is also a subtle shift in rhetoric. UCs are now described as great public universities rather than great universities. That shift suggests that UC is separating gradually from the great private universities with which it once compared itself.

What would UCLA become if muddling through continues? Some professional schools will maintain quality by quasi-privatizing. But many components of UCLA, especially in the College of Letters and Science, will slide toward a kind of California State University, Westwood.

The other scenario is to recognize that the state cannot afford a great university. So the top administration of the university needs to sit down with the governor, legislative leaders and key interest groups and work out a contingent arrangement for funding and access.

Because the state is an unreliable partner, the deal cannot be a one-side commitment by the university. A contingent deal would instead say to the state, if you give us X, we will do Y. But for every dollar less than X, we will reduce Y accordingly. Bluntly, reductions in X will lead to higher tuition and fewer admissions of in-state students.

Negotiating a contingent deal would be more risky and unpleasant than muddling through. The payoff in terms of protecting the quality of the university would be mainly achieved after the current crop of UC and UCLA administrators are no longer in the scene.

But there is a different payoff for those at the top. Clark Kerr, the UC president who negotiated the 1960 Master Plan, remains well known in academic circles for his achievement. No one remembers his successor. There is a difference between leadership and administration.

=======================

The item above is one of several responses. For the full set, see http://www.dailybruin.com/index.php/article/2011/05/on_the_record

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

UC Drops Opposition to Foundation Transparency Bill

From Capitol Alert (Sacramento Bee):

The third time is shaping up to be the charm for Sen. Leland Yee's push to bring more transparency to the state's public universities. The University of California and California State University systems have dropped their opposition to the San Francisco Democrat's bill, Senate Bill 8, which would require university associations and foundations at the state's universities and community colleges to comply with the California Public Records Act…
http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Full article at http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/05/leland-yee-california-university-public-records-act.html

(Yee is running for Mayor of San Francisco.)


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UPDATE: A more detailed account is at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/26/MN971JKSNG.DTL

All Clear Siren on Pension

From the Sacramento Bee State Worker blog today:

Former Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello said he will not pursue a signature-gathering campaign for his pension reform proposal because of the diminishing likelihood of a special election on taxes later this year.

"Our urgency is gone," he said. "The reason for filing this measure was to have something in line for a November election alongside the measure on taxes, but that appears unlikely to happen now." ...


Full article at: http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/2011/05/niellos-pension-reform-initiat.html#ixzz1NNCGZ65A

Possible translation: I don't have $1 million+ needed to get the signatures.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Audio: Regents Committee on Compliance & Audit, May 5, 2011

The UCLA Faculty Assn. has been requesting recordings of Regents meetings. Again, it must be noted that although the Regents meetings are live-streamed, the recordings are not archived on the Regents website or elsewhere. Why that isn't done is unclear. However, below you will find a link to the audio of the May 5th meeting of the Regents Committee on Compliance and Audit.

Compliance and Audit encompasses both compliance with financial reporting as well as other matters. Various federal and state regulations and UC regulations require training on such matters as sexual harassment. Because of some racial incidents, an initiative on "campus climate" has also developed.

Early in the audio, Academic Council Chair Dan Simmons expresses some concerns about the non-privacy that Regental policy may impose in such areas as personal faculty emails and computer files. Advice from yours truly: It is best not to view emails as private and to maintain files that are private and not related to the university on non-university computers.

The meeting agenda is at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/regmeet/may11/audit.pdf

The full audio runs about an hour and three quarters:


You can also download the audio for your listening enjoyment at http://ia600605.us.archive.org/14/items/UniversityOfCaliforniaRegentsCommOnComplianceAudit5-5-11/ucCompliance-AuditMay5.mp3

Pension Initiative OK'd for Circulation

The pension initiative that was filed by legislative Republicans negotiating with Gov. Brown on the state budget now has a title and summary language and so it can be circulated for the needed signatures. It includes UC and would override the Regents' pension changes enacted last December. Like all initiatives, however, unless someone wants to spend $1-$2 million for commercial firms to get those signatures, it won't go beyond this stage. The added summary language is below. The actual text of the initiative is below that:

May 23, 2011
Initiative 11-0007 (Amdt. #1-NS.)

The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief
purpose and points of the proposed measure:

MODIFIES PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PENSION BENEFITS. ELIMINATES AUTHORITY TO SET PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT BENEFITS BY CONTRACT OR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

Sets retirement age at 62 for persons who are or will be public employees. Limits pensions to 60 percent of employee’s highest average base wage for three consecutive years. Requires employees match public agency pension contribution. Mandates public employees work fulltime for five consecutive years to receive pension. Provides public agency full discretion to modify pensions, and prevents pension changes through contract or collective bargaining. Retains current pension benefits for legislators and public employees retiring before initiative is effective. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Major reductions in state and local defined benefit pension contributions -- potentially totaling billions of dollars per year (as measured in today’s dollars) -- over the long run. These reductions would be offset to an unknown extent by increases in other compensation costs for some public employees, depending on labor market conditions and future decisions made by governmental entities. (11-0007.)

= = =

Note that the initiative takes away collective bargaining on pensions:

Public agencies shall retain exclusive authority to modify the terms of pension, retiree health, or other retirement benefits provided to its employees and may not relinquish such authority in any employee contract or collective bargaining agreement.

Apart from the content of the initiative, that element would likely create a strong incentive for public sector unions to put money into an opposition campaign should the initiative end up on the ballot.

= = =

The full text of the initiative is below:

INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE SUBMITTED DIRECTLY TO VOTERS SECTION 1. STATEMENT OF FINDINGS

A. Government has an obligation to provide adequate health and retirement benefits to its employees;


B. At the same time, government has a responsibility to its taxpayers to insure that such benefits are reasonable and adequately funded;


C. Pension benefits for existing employees are excessive and threaten the economic viability of state and local governments. A recent report by the State's Little Hoover Commission concludes that the current system is fiscally "unsustainable;

D. Government finance experts have determined that the pension and retiree health provided public employees are significantly more generous than other states. It has been reported that more than 15,000 persons receive pension benefits in excess of $100,000 per year. Under the current system, some public employees can actually receive more income in retirement than they earned while working.

E. In the 1930's, our state established a retirement age for government employees of 65. Now many government employees can retire in there 50's, notwithstanding a much longer life expectancy. As a result, many retirees will receive a government pension for more years than they actually worked for the government.

F. The current system has led to billions of dollars of unfunded liabilities for pension obligations of government employees. The taxes needed to adequately fund such benefits would crush the economy. The investment proceeds needed to fund such benefits are non-existent. Many local governments will be threatened with bankruptcy if no change is made right now.


SECTION 2. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE


A. The people hereby enact the "Public Employee Pension Reform Act" to;

1) provide fiscally responsible pension benefits for all government employees; and

2) Reform the excessive pension benefits provided to current government employees.


SECTION 3. Public Employee Pension Reform Act
Section 12 of Article VII of the California Constitution is added to read:

Sec. 12(a) Public agencies may provide reasonable pension benefits for all employees
hired after the effective date of this section, subject to all of the limitations of this section.

(b) Any plan providing for pension benefits for employees of a public agency who are
employed on the effective date of this section, shall comply with retirement age limitation in subdivision (f)(1), whether enacted by law or by contract, notwithstanding section 9 of Article I.

(c) This section does not apply to or limit disability benefits for public agency employees
or death benefits for families of public agency employees.

(d) Public agencies shall retain exclusive authority to modify the terms of pension, retiree health, or other retirement benefits provided to its employees and may not relinquish such authority in any employee contract or collective bargaining agreement.


(e) A public agency may not provide retroactive increases in pension benefits to any public agency employee under any plan.


(f) A public agency providing pension benefits to its employees shall:


(1) provide for full retirement ages of all employees no less than 62 years of age;


(2) require a public agency employee to have been a full time employee of one or
more public agencies for at least five consecutive years;

(3) limit retirement benefits for a public agency employee to no more than sixty percent (60%) of the highest annual average base wage of the employee over a period of three consecutive years of employment by a public agency. Any additional payment, including but not limited to, overtime pay, bonus pay, severance pay, and payments for accrued but unused vacation and sick days shall be excluded from calculating the annual average base wage.


(4) require the public agency employee to contribute an amount at least equal to the amount provided by the public agency to fund the plan.


(g) As used in this section:
(1) "Public agency employee" and "employee" mean a person who is or becomes a full-time employee of a public agency. (2) "Public agency" means the state or a political subdivision of the state, including, but not limited to, counties, cities, charter counties, charter cities, charter city and counties, school district, special districts, boards, commissions, the Regents of the University of California, California State University, and agencies thereof. (3) "Pension" or "pension benefits" means a plan or trust providing a pension benefit determined by a formula based on factors such as· age, years of service, and compensation, or a plan or trust

(h) The Legislature may adopt legislation implementing this section and only to further the purposes of this section by a bill passed by rollcall vote entered into the journal, two thirds
of the members concurring.

(i) Nothing in this Section shall terminate, amend, modify or in any way affect the retirement benefits or other benefits provided Members of the Legislature pursuant to Section 4.5 of Article IV.


(j) Nothing in this section shall repeal, modify, change or impair the pension benefits of
persons who are receiving or are entitled to receive such benefits as a result of that person's retirement from public agency employment prior to the effective date of this section.

SECTION 4. Severability
The provisions of this Act are severable. If any provision of this Act or its application is held invalid, that finding shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

SECTION 5. Effective Date This Act shall become effective immediately upon its approval by the voters pursuant to Section lO(a) of Article 11. No public agency may enter into any employment contract or collective bargaining agreement providing for retirement benefits in excess of the limitations imposed by this Act.

If this goes forward, we got trouble:


UPDATE: A prior post noted the dispute between Gov. Brown and the LAO on his proposal to have CalPERS develop a "hybrid" pension plan. Here is more on that subject: http://calpensions.com/2011/05/24/brown-seeks-hybrid-pension401k-reform-plan/

Monday, May 23, 2011

UCLA History: Extension in 1930

About a block away from the scene on the left in downtown LA, UC ran an extension service. Extension operated at that location before the general campus moved from Vermont Avenue to Westwood and afterwards. The scene in the picture is 7th Street and Hill in the 1930s. Extension was at 815 South Hill, a block away. (Sorry, I can't find a picture closer than this one.) It is not clear if the Extension program reported to UCLA or connected directly to Berkeley. (Any historians out there who know?)

The catalog below indicates that people take extension courses aimed "at learning and self-help, individual improvement and intellectual progress." Teacher credentials could be earned. Among the 1930 courses was one on "Television, Telephotography and Picture Broadcasting." There was also a course in "Radio Telephony and Talking Moving Pictures." Finally, in those days long before PowerPoint, an education course is taught which is "illustrated with lantern slides."

If you have trouble clicking on the publication below, try clicking on "open publication" and experiment with enlargement. The image may vary depending on your computer.

Yudof Ruminates on Privatization

On his Facebook page and on YouTube, President Yudof ruminates on privatization in general, e.g., roads, postal services, and of higher ed in particular.

The YouTube version is below. The Facebook written version (which skips a few ad libs) is at http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150181306213379

He attributes the trend toward de facto privatization of higher ed in part to demographics and the aging of the baby boom:

...Now, part of this can be explained by demographics. In the early 1960s, 57% of American families had children under the age of eighteen. Today, that number hovers around 46%. Along these same lines, American senior citizens now receive more than seven times the amount of federal benefits that American children do...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

UCLA History: Arpanet (and its consequences)

UCLA has long taken credit for pioneering work on the Internet (originally the Arpanet). The 1970 photo above purportedly shows unidentified UCLA folks using a SIGMA-7 computer on the Arpanet. Absent such work, presumably there would be no UCLA Faculty Association blog or, indeed, any blogging at all.

Given that achievement and its impact on the blog world - and since there is little UC-related news today (Sunday) - I will take the time to salute another blog - LAObserved http://www.laobserved.com/ - for the best juxtaposition of two consecutive blog entries of the past week. You can see the two consecutive entries in the reproduction below:

From LAObserved

Hancock Park's House of Davids for sale
8:30 AM Saturday May 21

The house on 3rd Street at Muirfield Road encased in white-painted spikes and iron bars, and guarded by a rank of 19 replica Davids, went on the market Friday for $2.4 million. It was built in 1952 and offers seven bedrooms and seven baths on two floors, plus a pool. The listing provides a photo tour of the inside, which Curbed LA says "exists outside the normal boundaries of space, time, and interior decorating. There are fake dogs everywhere, the dining room furniture is invisible and hanging from the ceiling, and there are either oversized chairs in the foyer or the foyer is tiny." The owner, reportedly R&B singer Norwood Young, calls the place Youngwood Court.

Photo: Apartment Therapy via Curbed LA
Streetscape | Wilshire corridor

Anti-circumcision vote could be coming to Santa Monica
5:52 PM Friday May 20

A Notice of Intent to Circulate a Petition that would make most circumcision a misdemeanor was filed with the city of Santa Monica this week, the Jewish Journal says. The text of the proposed ballot measure is identical to an initiative that will appear on the November ballot in San Francisco. There's no religion exemption, says the paper, "despite the fact that the practice of circumcision is a sacred ritual of both Judaism and Islam."

Cities | Cultures | Politics | Westside

Saturday, May 21, 2011

LAO wrecks hybrid (pension plan study)

The Legislative Analyst's Office has opposed a plan in the governor's budget proposal to give CalPERS funding to study a "hybrid" pension plan for all state public pensions, not just CalPERS. CalPERS is on record as opposing such a plan, so giving it funding to do a study may have been a way for the governor to sink the idea. Under a hybrid plan, there is essentially a cutback defined benefit pension and a defined contribution element.

The LAO position is at http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/budgetlist/PublicSearch.aspx?PolicyAreaNum=42&Department_Number=-1&KeyCol=430&Yr=2011

Circulating Cap

The initiative filed to place a formula cap on state spending can now be circulated with the summary and title below. As prior posts have noted, this initiative seems to have been filed as part of negotiations between Republican legislators and the governor regarding the state budget.

It essentially rejuvenates the old Gann Limit concept that voters approved in the wake of Prop 13 but later gutted. Whether someone has the needed $1-$2 million to hire signature gathering firms is unknown. The governor said in his May revise oral presentation that he supports a cap. He did not specify the formula, however.

May 20, 2011
Initiative 11-0006

The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:

STATE AND LOCAL SPENDING. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

Changes how the state spending limit is calculated and places a total limit on spending. Reduces annual cost of living adjustment to spending limit. Allocates excess state revenue to repayment of bonds and closing of education funding gap, a new reserve account, and a new school and roadway construction fund, rather than to schools and reducing tax rates. Caps sale of certain state bonds. Allows state to spread out mandated payments to local agencies. Suspends protections for local government employees and retirees if unfunded by state. Prohibits local government expenditures from exceeding revenues.

Summary of estimate by Legislative
Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Revised spending limit likely would constrain state spending below levels that otherwise would have occurred. Also, over time the percentage of the state budget devoted to education expenses likely would increase, and the percentage devoted to most other areas likely would decrease. The measure would also likely increase the level of state resources going to the state reserves, payment of certain debts, infrastructure spending, and tax rebates. Possible reduction in the amount of new bond debt that could be sold to fund infrastructure projects, particularly in the short-term. (11-0006.)

The full initiative is at http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/initiatives/pdfs/i937_initiative_11-0006.pdf

Jerry Brown as the Terminator (of CPEC): LAO Objects

The California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) is among the boards and commissions the governor proposed in the May revise for termination. CPEC is supposed to coordinate among the public and private elements of higher ed.

However, the Legislative Analyst's Office prefers other options, or at least suggests such alternatives be considered. LAO's position below:

Options Related to Governor’s Proposal for CPEC

Background

We believe there are several critical coordination functions necessary to protect the state’s investment in higher education. Examples include data collection and analysis, planning and oversight, and review of new program and campus proposals. Some of these activities should be performed by an entity that is independent from higher education institutions.

CPEC’s coordination efforts have been somewhat ineffective in recent years. The Governor has proposed to eliminate CPEC. (This is part of a larger proposal to eliminate, consolidate, or reduce 43 boards, commissions, task forces, and offices.) The administration proposes to move management of a federal grant program from CPEC to CDE, and to permit the public higher education segments to perform the remaining coordination functions, such as planning, program and campus review, and data analysis, with no intersegmental coordination. We believe this would be akin to “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Although CPEC’s performance of these functions has been problematic, the functions remain important and should be preserved in some form.

Options

There are several options for addressing performance issues while maintaining important coordination functions.

Reform CPEC. In our 2010 report on higher education coordination we recommended as one option reforming CPEC. Specific reforms include:

  • Increase independence. Maintain independence from executive and legislative branch control to avoid partisan or ideological bias. Increase independence from higher education institutions by removing segment representation from the commission, replacing it with a high-level advisory board of segment representatives, and requiring the commission to consult with the advisory group. The California Education Round Table could potentially serve as the advisory body.
  • Revise commissioner appointment process. The diffuse nature of the current appointment process, while providing broad representation, has several drawbacks. A more concentrated appointment process and clearly established qualifications for commissioners could improve the balance, cohesiveness and ultimately the effectiveness of the commission.
  • Focus responsibilities and resources on shepherding public agenda. Current efforts in the Legislature to identify goals and priorities for higher education could provide needed focus to CPEC’s efforts. The Legislature may wish to modify CPEC’s statutory mission and authority to concentrate exclusively on advancing the state’s goals and facilitating statewide accountability efforts related to those goals. This could include an expanded role in advising policymakers on finance policies and other mechanisms to bring the segments’ performance in line with state priorities.
  • Develop comprehensive statewide data resource. Create a comprehensive statewide student data resource with enhanced research and analysis capabilities and linkages to other state systems. (Current legislative activity regarding formation of a JPA for intersegmental data acknowledges CPEC’s lack of effectiveness in this area.)

Replace CPEC. If the Legislature determines that needed reforms are not workable with the existing structure and leadership, it could eliminate CPEC and create a new coordinating body that meets the state’s needs for coordination.

Relocate CPEC Functions. Alternatively, the Legislature could relocate CPEC’s functions to an existing board or department. One candidate is the Department of Education, where the Governor has proposed to move CPEC’s federal grant management function. Although the Department concerns itself primarily with K-12 education, it has provided leadership in intersegmental K-16 efforts and could provide valuable coordination across educational levels.

A portion of CPEC’s funding and position authority could be transferred to the Department to perform the highest priority coordinating functions such as data collection and analysis and academic program review. The Department already manages extensive longitudinal data from school districts, and conducts compliance review and program evaluation. Co-locating K-12 and higher education data at the Department could provide the opportunity to link these data for state policy purposes.

Relocation of duties into an existing agency could be a temporary measure. In the future the state could develop a new coordinating entity for higher education, or one with broader purview including K-12 and the higher education segments, both public and private.

Enact Sunset for CPEC. Another alternative is to maintain CPEC for the time being and enact legislation to repeal its authority on a specified future date. This would create pressure to identify alternatives by that date. In our view, however, this action would serve only to postpone a decision and would not make resolution of an ongoing concern any more likely. Instead, we believe the current proposal provides an opportunity to address a problem that has been an ongoing concern for quite some time and has defied past executive and legislative attempts to resolve it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

UCLA History: Ample Free Parking in Westwood

Westwood had a sign in 1945 advertising ample free parking

Who Will Bail Out UC?

The parking of a Hummer belonging to Lipstick Bail Bonds (slogan: "Kiss Jail Goodbye") at the UCLA med center recently raises the issue of who bails out UC if the governor's tax extensions-resumptions don't pass. Students, apparently, will be the answer:

UC tuition might jump 32% if tax proposal fails, official says

UC President Mark G. Yudof tells regents that this fall's 8% tuition increase may be dwarfed by an additional 32% midyear hike if Gov. Jerry Brown's plan for tax extensions is not approved.

By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times

May 19, 2011



Reporting from San Francisco -- University of California officials warned Wednesday that the 8% tuition increase UC students already face this fall may be dwarfed by an additional 32% midyear hike if Gov. Jerry Brown's plan for tax extensions is not approved...

Basic tuition for UC undergraduates who are California residents is scheduled to rise 8% to about $11,100 this fall, not including room, board and other fees. (UC President) Yudof promised that the university would not seek a midyear increase if its reduction in state funding remains, as it now stands, at $500 million. The additional 32% hike would bring tuition to about $14,800 a year and surely spark student protests.

The threat of such an increase is partly intended to influence debate in Sacramento...

Full story at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0519-uc-regents-20110519,0,1561248.story

Thursday, May 19, 2011

LAO Points to Alternatives to the May Revise

The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has prepared its analysis of the governor’s May revise proposal. It believes that recent increases in state income tax receipts are more heavily the result of capital gains than the governor does. In the short term, i.e., through the next fiscal year, the source of the revenue doesn’t much matter. However, the LAO believes that in the outyears (beyond 2011-12), less revenue can be expected than the governor’s projection would suggest. LAO provides a similar analysis of the corporate profits tax; it has a less rosy outlook in the outyears than the governor.

The LAO also notes the uncertainty engendered by the governor’s wish to put the tax extensions-resumptions to the voters. LAO point to the difficulty faced by state and local agencies if the plan depends on such a vote. It appears that the LAO would like the legislature to adapt a plan without a vote – something the governor insists should not happen. But it goes on to suggest that if the vote must occur, it would be better to have it later in the fiscal year than sooner. This point is unclear in the report. If voters reject the revenue that, in effect, has already been spent, exactly what occurs at that point? Presumably, LAO is assuming that since the spending cannot be undone at that point, there would simply be a carryover of a negative fund balance in the general fund into the future.

One issue the LAO does not touch is the 2/3 vote that would be needed either to approve tax extensions-resumptions directly in the legislature or for the legislature to put the matter on the ballot. Exactly what happens if no deal is reached by the start of fiscal 2011-12 and the now-usual legislative gridlock takes hold? The governor and some news accounts have suggested that the provision enacted by voters that the legislators do not get paid if there is no budget by the constitutional deadline will force an agreement on something. It is unclear - given that the legislature has passed some elements of a budget already - that the no-pay provision applies in this case, however. (See http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-legislature-pay-20110520,0,4005654.story)

Finally, the LAO points out in several places in the report that the legislature could pick and choose elements from the governor’s proposal. It has provided similar advice in the past. As this blog has noted, the governor’s added emphasis in the May revise on all the different forms of debt faced by the state tends to undermine his position that it is particularly vital to move the fund balance in the general fund from negative to positive by June 30, 2012. There is still going to be some “kicking the can down the road” even if all of his plan is adopted. So the issue is really how big a can to kick and over what period.

There is no specific analysis in the LAO report of the May revise budget proposal for UC, which is essentially unchanged from what it was back in January.

The full LAO report is at http://lao.ca.gov/reports/2011/bud/may_revise/may_revise_051911.pdf

UCLA History (and travel)

The Fox Theater in Westwood in 1938.

Today is a travel day and therefore slow blogging day. Flying out of LAX. Luckily, there are black robed angels at LAX that wake up daydreaming air controllers. (Funny how they look like Nicholas Cage.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

No End in Sight (for tuition increases)

UC leaders: Tuition hikes nearly inevitable (excerpt)

Matt Krupnick, Contra Costa Times, 5/18/11

The University of California may charge higher tuition each of the next five years even if the state stops cutting its budget, UC leaders said Wednesday. Administrators presented four budget scenarios Wednesday to help the Board of Regents plan future budgets. Under the rosiest scenario -- which is unlikely, given the state's financial crisis -- UC would raise tuition 8 percent per year, starting in 2012…

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed $500 million cuts to both the 10-campus UC and 23-campus California State University systems, and the cuts could rise to $1 billion each unless the state's budget deficit is solved in the next few months. "Believe it or not, these are the most comforting scenarios," UC President Mark Yudof told regents Wednesday at their meeting at UC San Francisco. "The numbers are very scary once we go beyond this."

Full article at http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/localnews/ci_18089740

Note: We now routinely request the recordings of Regents meetings since yours truly cannot always be around to record the live stream. When we get the recording of the meeting described above, we will post it.

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