Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Future Lies Ahead and He May Be a Member of the Regents

The year 2018 seems far away. However, it happens to be a gubernatorial election year. We now have a candidate, one already gathering money for the campaign, as an ex officio member of the Board of Regents: Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.* As is often pointed out, lieutenant governors in California don't have much to do. But they don't run as a slate with the governor and so are independent agents. Newsom is an independent agent relative to Gov. Brown. Unlike the regents Brown recently appointed, Newsom is on the Board independently, not because Brown wants him there.

Anecdote: Back in the day when Republicans could achieve statewide office and when Jerry Brown did his first iteration as governor, Brown had a Republican lieutenant governor, Mike Curb. In 1980, when Brown was running for president and had to leave the state to campaign, Curb would take advantage of a provision in the state constitution that made him acting governor whenever Brown was out of California. He would take executive actions as acting governor that Brown would have to try and unravel when he returned.

Newsom regularly appears at Regents meetings and has been trying of late to make a name for himself regarding the issue of UC coach salaries. He likes to distinguish himself from Brown, for example by opposing Brown's high speed rail project. Whether he will be the next governor is unknown at this point, but it is a possibility.

At the moment, Brown and Napolitano are negotiating a deal regarding tuition and funding. A deal may be reached - or not. But cultivating Newsom could be important in the long run, regardless of what happens. If a deal is reached, Newsom might oppose it, putting on his I'm-not-Jerry-Brown hat. If a deal isn't reached, he might propose something of his own. Whatever happens, it would be good to keep things as cordial as possible with him.

Right, Janet?


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