Monday, August 25, 2014

Lack of consultation or just being ignored?

We posted earlier about recent regents confirmations by the legislature.  Ultimately, the governor nominates regents and the state senate confirms them (or doesn't).  A Daily Bruin article today notes that the procedure for selecting regents involves an advisory committee - with some faculty and student representation - with which the governor is supposed to consult.

...The confirmation came after a tense hearing by the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday, in which students and faculty voiced their opposition to nominees because of concerns about the appointment process...

Evan Westrup, spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown, said in an email that Brown consulted the advisory committee more than six months before the confirmation hearing. Brown announced his appointments in mid-January, about seven months before the confirmation. But in a letter sent to senators prior to the hearing on Wednesday, the Council of University of California Faculty Associations said it does not think Brown adequately consulted with the committee before the appointments.  Joe Kiskis, vice president for external relations for the council and a physics professor at UC Davis, said he thinks the confirmation shows that legislators pay little attention to the voices of students and faculty...

Full story at

It may be, however, that Jerry Brown only wants advice from folks he finds to be interesting:

Excerpt from link above:
...This is how the third-term governor of the nation’s most populous state makes up his mind. In the most eclectic administration in California’s modern era, the decision-making apparatus is less a Cabinet than a cerebral orbit around Brown.  “He likes to sort of blue sky with people ... just sort of see what’s cooking,” said Orville Schell, who wrote a book about Brown in 1978 and remains in contact with him. “I don’t know any other politician in the world who sort of free ranges as widely intellectually as he does.”  As Brown seeks another four-year term in office, associates estimate he maintains contact with at least 50 – and likely more than 100 – subject area-specific advisers whose degree of significance fluctuates depending on his interests at any given time...

So it appears that if you want to influence the governor, you have to be interesting or get to him through someone he thinks is an interesting guru.  He tends to dismiss interest groups (if he doesn't have to pay attention to them for some political reason) as predictable advocates and thus uninteresting.

Here's somebody, for example, who might get the governor to pay attention:

Read more here:

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