Sunday, July 31, 2011

UCLA's Contribution to the Art of the Cinema

UCLA’s campus is often used for scenes in movies, TV shows, and commercials. Only one movie centers on UCLA and it has to be one of the worst movies ever made. But for your summer enjoyment, this blog makes it available. Much of it was filmed at UCLA with some scenes at LA City Hall, Westside Pavilion, the Natural History Museum and vicinity, and other parts of LA.

Big Man on Campus (1989)

In this version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", a hunchback is found living in the bell tower of UCLA. He is put on trial and made to go through tests. One of the research doctors falls for him, and he falls for her in the end.

Plot summary from IMBD:

A suspicious hunchback is spying through a scope on the UCLA campus from a tower which he makes his home out of, when his eye catches a beautiful girl. He lustfully keeps his eye on her until he sees her being violently pushed away while trying to stop a guy from beating up her boyfriend. This makes the hunchback mad and he makes himself known by swinging from a rope Tarzan style onto the campus and attacks the man who pushed the girl away. The hunchback is later taken into custody by campus officials and is later examined by the campus professors, Cathy, the beautiful girl, and Alex, her boyfriend. While on a ride back to the campus, the hunchback escapes the police car and is being chased by Alex, Cathy, and one of the professors riding along with them, Dr. Webster. He leads the trio to his tower and shows them the whole place. Dr. Webster then feels that it's best for him to stay there and he, along with Cathy, asks Alex to stay with the hunchback. After a long argument, Alex finally agrees and makes his home with the hunchback. The hunchback learns about life on Earth through Dr. Webster and another professor, Dr. Gerard. Alex and the hunchback, who later calls himself Bob Malooga-Looga-Looga-Looga-Looga, have their arguments and turmoil, especially over Cathy, but they later resolve their friendship when Bob gets a call about Cathy being in trouble and he goes to help Cathy, only to find it a hoax and he runs from the campus officials, who are trying to arrest him for breaking into the girl's dorm.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

More on Pension Initiatives: All Kinds of Clever Ideas Out There

Yesterday, this blog featured some developments that might impede public pension ballot initiatives getting on the ballot that could potentially override the Regents’ action last December revamping the UC pension system. It only costs $200 to file initiatives.

For that modest sum, the filer gets an analysis from the Attorney General (including summary description and title) and a fiscal analysis from the Legislative Analyst. Even initiatives that have a snowball’s chance in Hell get the same treatment – which clearly costs the state a lot more than $200.

Here is a summary of snowball-type pension initiative that someone thought was a real clever idea. It requires state pension funds (including UC) to invest 85% of their assets in California companies. The Legislative Analyst’s summary (excerpts) is below:

…Increases Required California Investments of Pension Systems. This measure amends the State Constitution to require public pension or retirement systems to "invest and maintain at least 85 percent of the system's assets" in California-based businesses. The measure defines a California-based business to be one "in which at least 70 percent of its employees are employed within California." Public pension or retirement systems would be required to comply with this new requirement beginning January 1, 2016.

…While the measure retains the Constitution's current prudent person rule language, it is unclear that the investment standards required under this measure would meet modern fiduciary standards of prudence. This is because the measure would require a huge concentration of investments in one economic market—California—that is responsible for only about 3 percent of world economic output…

Likely Decline in Average Annual Pension System Returns. If this measure were approved and implemented, it most likely would result in a decline in average annual investment returns for the state's public pension or retirement systems. In the short term, the systems could incur additional transaction costs to divest themselves of non-California assets, as required by this measure. Over the longer term, California's public pension systems would be forced to forego potentially profitable and sound investments in many non-California-based companies. Instead, they would be required to invest in California-based companies in which they do not now choose to invest. Overall, these investments potentially could result in lower average annual investment returns for the systems. Moreover, since activities of these businesses would tend to be concentrated in the California economic market, overall public pension investment returns probably would become more volatile, moving sharply upward or downward with trends in the California economy. As described above, changes in assumed public pension system investment returns would affect required employer contributions. The changes in public pension investment returns resulting from this measure would tend to increase required state and local pension contributions—potentially by billions of dollars (in current dollars) per year…

Full summary at

The actual text of the initiative is at

Over the years, there have been lots of clever and innovative ideas floating around. Not all of them catch on, of course. It would be best if most of them went the way of the one below, gone and forgotten:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pension Initiative Drive Might Become More Difficult

Earlier posts on this blog have pointed out that a pension initiative could appear on the California ballot that would override the changes made by the Regents last December in the UC pension plan. It was noted that initiatives – once qualified – go on the next statewide ballot.

For 2012, that might have been February when the state presidential primary was originally scheduled. The mix of voters in a February primary might have tilted toward passage of such an initiative. Now, however, the governor has signed a bill moving the presidential primary back to June when the regular primary for state races will also occur. The voter mix then will likely be less favorable to passage.

The governor has on his desk a bill that would ban per-signature piece rate payments to signature gatherers. They would have to paid on a time basis under the bill. Effectively, that would likely make signature gathering more costly since it is difficult to monitor gatherers to verify what their hours actually are. The piece rate system also provides gatherers with an incentive to get as many signatures as possible. So, if the governor signs the bill, that would likely impede initiatives from getting on the ballot on any subject.

Finally, a new radio ad has appeared that suggests that signing initiative petitions puts the signer at risk of identity theft. The ad seems to be aimed at impeding signature gathering for a “paycheck protection” initiative currently in circulation that would make it more difficult for unions to use dues money for political campaigns. However, the general message regarding ID theft could make voters more reluctant to sign any initiative. (The ad is general and does not focus on any specific initiative.)

You can hear the add by clicking on video below.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Primary Concern

The Sacramento Bee today carries a story about the resetting of the date for the California presidential primary. It focuses on the arguments made when – last time there was a presidential election (2008) – California moved its presidential primary from June (when the primary for state offices is held) to February.

The idea was to be early in the presidential primary campaign season and thus have more influence on the outcome. You can read all about that idea – and whether it worked in practice - at

Where this matters for UC is in the initiative process. As has been noted in prior blog posts, there may be public pension initiatives out there which could draw enough campaign funding to get the needed signatures and be on the ballot.

So the question then becomes when that balloting would take place and who will be voting. Once an initiative qualifies, it goes on the ballot of the next statewide election. Absent a change, that would be the February 2012 presidential primary. (Two initiatives, unrelated to pensions, have so far qualified: a tobacco tax for cancer research and a relaxation of term limits. There is also a proposition voted by the legislature – so not an “initiative” - dealing with rainy day funds and budgeting.)

Since Obama is sure to be the Democratic nominee, a February presidential primary would attract mainly Republican voters since there will be contending candidates. You can draw your own conclusions about what that voter mix might mean for a pension initiative that was also on that ballot and which could override the Regents’ decision on the UC pension of last December.

But it looks as if California is going to move its presidential primary back to June to coincide with the state-level primary. You would get a more balanced mix of voters under those circumstances. Of course, at this point no one knows what pension initiatives, if any, might end up on the ballot. And if the date is June, there would be more time for some group to pull together funding for a pension initiative. But on balance, from the UC perspective, June is likely to be better than February because of the voter mix.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Auditor Looks In: Now that the audit is out, a money-losing hotel would not be advisable

Undoubtedly, the headline on the audit report for UC released today will be the generalized call for more “transparency.” The report produced a nasty back and forth between UCOP and the State Auditor as to whether what the report found was significant or not with UCOP effectively suggesting that the audit was a waste of money. The audit was the product of a request by state senator Leland Yee – now running for mayor of San Francisco – who has made something of a career out of criticizing the university.

That being said, there is material in the report about “auxiliary enterprises” and whether they are subsidized or not. The specific cases raised are 1) use of student fees for the Pauley renovation at UCLA (and another building, see pp. 57-58 of the report; these are report pages, not pdf pages) and 2) a subsidy UC-Berkeley provided to its money-losing athletics program.

On a listing of the number of “funds” (accounts) for such enterprises and functions, UCLA has more of these accounts than other campuses and they are concentrated in housing, hotel, conference services, etc. (See page 54.) The auditor notes that UCOP’s position is the campus auxiliary enterprises are the responsibility of the campuses and that it does not get much involved in them. (p. 53)

In the back and forth sniping between UCOP and the auditor (which begins on p. 79), there is an interesting statement in the auditor’s reply (page 90, item marked “15”).

The auditor says that UCOP’s critique of the audit overstates its (the auditor’s) concerns about auxiliary enterprises, assuming that there are no plans within UC to provide subsidies to such enterprises more frequently than is now the case. The auditor assumes that the Berkeley case is a rare occurrence. It disagrees with UCLA as to whether the Pauley diversion was/is legit but, again, seems to assume that the Pauley situation was a unique event. It would be a Bad Thing for UCLA and UC if – following such an audit – it turned out that there were more money-losing enterprises in the works that would need some kind of subsidy or diversion.

All of which takes me to the hotel/conference center UCLA has planned to replace the Faculty Center. As has been pointed out by the Academic Senate Committee on Planning and Budget, the hotel’s business plan is a money loser. If we commit to a money-losing enterprise after the state auditor raises concerns about subsidizing such enterprises or diverting funds to them – but seems to have been assured that such decisions were rare anomalies that are not expected to happen in the future – we are asking for trouble.

So maybe we shouldn’t ask for it. You think?

You can read the state auditor’s report at

You can find a media account of the report at

Note: Ultimately, UCLA did not use the student fee for Pauley after complaints. But it defends its rights to have done so. See

No More Hired Guns?

Governor blasts California universities' hiring of pricey presidents:
Jerry Brown criticizes the trend of paying high salaries to
'hired guns' from out of state instead of seeking Californians who might take less

Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2011

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday criticized leaders of California's public universities for recruiting highly paid "hired guns" from across the country to run campuses instead of looking for home-grown talent that might be willing to work for lower salaries. The governor said officials at California State University and the University of California appeared in recent salary decisions to have adopted a mindset that market forces trump public service, but he said that must change, especially as the state struggles to close a budget deficit that has forced severe cuts.

…The remarks were in response to the continuing public outcry over the decision by the Cal State Board of Trustees this month to approve an annual salary of $400,000 for Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State, at the same time the school increased annual student tuition by 12%.

…William G. Tierney, director of USC's Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, described as "flat-footed" the two university systems' recent decisions to raise tuition and the salaries of highly paid executives in the same board meetings. (UC leaders this month also approved a nearly 10% tuition hike for the fall, at the same time granting a large pay raise to the chief executive of UC San Francisco's medical center.) "But the real problem is that the governor's strategy with higher education is simply to give them less money, and I don't think the systems have been good with how to make strategic cuts," Tierney said. "The governor's letter … wins political points, but it doesn't solve the education problem."

Full article at,0,6185738.story

Your CV looks good but we can’t afford you:

Possible Pension Fix Coming from On High?

Could this be the ultimate deus ex machina to fix the UC pension’s unfunded liability?

Unseen comet's orbit indicates possible crash

David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 2011

A stream of dusty fragments from a comet born in the outermost reaches of the solar system has hit the Earth on a path that leads astronomers to conclude the comet itself could be "potentially hazardous" if it crashes into the planet.

The comet's location is unknown, making it difficult to say when it will approach Earth, but "the orbits of the dust trail tells us that the comet is on a path that could eventually hit us," said Peter Jenniskens, an astronomer at the SETI Institute and the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View…

"I couldn't believe my eyes at first," he said. But once he had had determined the identical orbits of the fragments he teamed with Finnish astronomer Esko Lyytinen to predict that the dust trail will return in 2016, again in 2023, and once again in 2076…

[Editor’s Note: 2016 would work best for the pension plan.]

Full article at

Let's ask the President (not Yudof - the other President):

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maintaining a Healthy Balance

UC has maintained a kind of cautionary balance for its health plans meant to smooth out sudden bumps in health care premiums. Since the state budget has squeezed the UC budget - including using UC as a loan department - the Regents approved various actions at their July meeting to try and deal with the cash crunch. Among these was tapping the health reserve.

As the letter below (a public document I have been assured) indicates, the systemwide University Committee on Faculty Welfare has expressed concern about completely depleting the fund.

Apparently, that is not the intention at this time, but the Regents action would allow it. Were the fund completely depleted, upward bumps in premiums would immediately have to be covered, potentially raising participant contributions suddenly and without the possibility of smoothing.

Below is the text of the letter:

July 25, 2011


RE: Regents Plan to Draw Down Health and Welfare Reserves

Dear Nathan,

The University Committee on Faculty Welfare (UCFW) received a presentation at its June 10, 2011,
meeting by Provost Pitts and CFO Taylor on the subject “Revenue Bridging Strategies”. As background, a white paper on this subject dated June 2011 was shared with the committee members. One strategy listed was “Draw Down $50 million From Health & Welfare Reserves”. We further note that adoption of Regent Action Item F11 at the July 14, 2011, Regents meeting included an endorsement of the President’s plan to draw down “as needed” (emphasis added) from the University’s employee/retiree health and welfare reserves. The discussion associated with this action mentions that as much as $97 million could be drawn down from this fund source. We are concerned that a complete depletion of the employee/retiree health and welfare reserve may have significant negative impacts on employees and retirees if health care costs experience an unexpected and sudden increase. On July 22, 2011, Provost Pitts reassured members of UCFW’s Task Force on Investment and Retirement (TFIR) that the intent of the Office of the President is not to draw down more than $50 million from this fund source.

We strongly recommend that any action withdrawing more than the originally suggested amount of $50 million first be discussed with UCFW and other Senate committees involved in health and welfare benefits and budget planning. Thank you for your attention to our concern.


Joel E. Dimsdale, UCFW Chair

Copy: UCFW

Larry Pitts, Provost

Peter Taylor, Chief Financial Officer

Dwaine Duckett, Vice President, Human Resources
Martha Winnacker, Executive Director, Academic Senate

Observation on a slow news day

Let's hope none of the 3,261 people received an MD from UCLA!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Could Washington Debt-Ceiling Impasse Adversely Affect UC?

The simple answer is - as someone said - you betcha! Chaotic financial conditions - if such occur - can damage the economy, e.g., 2008, and ultimately cut into state tax revenue. Drops in the value of financial assets hurts the pension fund (and the individual 403b and 457b accounts of UC employees) and other funds UC maintains.

Significant funding flows from the federal government to UC in the form of research contracts, Medicare payments, etc. Will that be interrupted? Who knows? This is one social science experiment we would do well not to undertake.

Bottom Line: There is no good news to be found here.

Yours truly does have a modest editorial suggestion for someone's consideration:

Higher Ed Dream Act (One of Them) Signed by Governor

Gov. Brown signed AB 130 by Assemblymember Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) – Student financial aid: eligibility: California Dream Act of 2011. The new law allows illegal alien children who have been raised in California to receive financial aid in public higher education institutions (UC, CSU, community colleges). However, the aid to which the law refers is private scholarship money.

The issue of such aid has arisen in the controversy over tuition increases at UC. Although the university provides assistance to lower-income students, it cannot do so with public monies including tuition money to illegal alien students. Protests over UC tuition increases have noted that these students are not protected by UC tuition assistance programs and so pay whatever increases occur.

A more far-reaching bill is still in the hopper that would allow Cal Grants and other public aid to go to such students. Brown indicated he would likely sign that bill when it arrives.

A bill signing ceremony can be found at:

Watch live streaming video from asmdc at

Monday, July 25, 2011

Not Again! Another Pension Initiative Filed

Ted Costa of Peoples Advocate has submitted a ballot initiative on public pensions that explicitly includes UC. Peoples Advocate is the organization originally founded by Paul Gann of the Jarvis-Gann initiative known as Prop 13. You have probably heard of Prop 13. (Joke)

The organization by itself does not have funding for signature gathering. But it has a history of getting funding from others. Most notably, it kicked off the recall of Gray Davis. So I would take this initiative seriously. It has things like $100,000 caps on pensions, limits on cost of living adjustments, rules about funding, etc. It is quite complex and will take time to dissect.

The initiative is at:

It has typos, etc., so I expect it will be adjusted over time, particularly if money is found to gather signatures.

Here we go again:

UPDATE: A description of the initiative and a statement that a revised version will be filed is at

CalPERS May Contest San Jose's Way With Pension

As noted in prior posts, it seems clear that accumulated public pension rights of retirees and current workers cannot be voided or reduced. And it is also clear that new hires can be given lesser benefits than current workers or retirees. In the private sector, benefit formulas of current worker going forward can be made less generous. However, the degree to which that is possible in the public sector has been disputed. CalPERS takes the position that only new hires can have reduced benefits and formulas. But San Jose has a measure on the ballot that would change formulas for current workers (and new hires) going forward. It appears that CalPERS may oppose the measure in court even though San Jose is not part of CalPERS.

A legal test of the San Jose measure could indirectly affect UC should some group put an initiative on the state ballot that would override the Regents’ December 2010 changes in the UC pension system.

Will ballot measures test vested pension rights? (excerpts)

By Ed Mendel,, 7/25/11

…San Jose is one of a half dozen large cities in California that have their own retirement systems. But it seems likely that CalPERS would support a legal challenge to a precedent-setting change in vested rights. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s proposal, based on California court rulings, would use the declaration of a fiscal emergency to modify vested rights. (The CalPERS general counsel) said he is unaware of the emergency case law actually being used to modify public pensions. “That being said, I think this is going to be the battleground to watch…”

The office of state Attorney General Kamala Harris, asked by four legislators to review the San Jose emergency proposal, said in a preliminary response last month that the “unilateral impairment” of any contract “causes us deep concern.” … A spokeswoman for Mayor Reed said the city plans to meet with the attorney general’s office to explain its proposal…

Full article at

It does seem as if CalPERS is saying no way to San Jose:

Rooms at the Inns

UCLA (Covel on the first day) is the site of a conference sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown on "Local Renewable Energy Resources." You can find the agenda for the event at:

Now here is an interesting side note to the conference. Apparently, the participants and guests can be accommodated without a big hassle (and without a new on-campus hotel).

If you click on the website above, you will find the statement:

Hotel information: The nearby Luxe Hotel is providing rooms at a group rate. Call (800) 468-3541 and provide the group code UCLAGOV to book a room.

Below that, if you don't want to stay at the Luxe, you are told:

For other hotels in the area, check out

If you click on that link, you will find a listing of area hotels with rates as low as $89. You can also find the cost of staying at the Luxe at the UCLA rate which turns out to start at $139 per night. Here is the listing if you don't want to bother to click:

Best Western Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
UCLA rates start $84.00

Courtyard LAX, Century City and Beverly Hills
UCLA rates start at $99.00 - 129.00

Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills
UCLA rates start at $109.00 - $279.00

Doubletree Guest Suites Santa Monica
UCLA special rates start at $179.00*

Doubletree Los Angeles - Westwood
UCLA rates start at $149.00 - $379.00

Hilton Los Angeles Airport
UCLA rates start at $89.00 - $450.00

Holiday Inn Brentwood/Bel-Air
UCLA special rates start at $109.00*

Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard
UCLA special rates start at $139.00*

UCLA rates start at $103.00*

The Huntley Hotel
UCLA special rates start at $189.00*

Renaissance LAX
UCLA special rates start at $125.00*

Residence Inn Beverly Hills
UCLA rates start at $110.00 - $249.00

Sheraton Santa Monica
UCLA rate $159.00

The Los Angeles Athletic Club
UCLA special rates start at $110.00*

UCLA Guest House
UCLA special rates start at $109.00

W Hotel Westwood
UCLA special rates start at $199.00*

Oh. I noted above the location of the first day of the conference. Did I mention where the second day of this event will be held? It will be at the UCLA Faculty Center.

Bottom line: A major conference held at UCLA can be serviced by existing area hotels at room costs well below the room cost projections for the 280 room hotel/conference center UCLA proposed to replace the Faculty Center. And even in its current state - which clearly needs improvement - the Faculty Center can service the conference.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fee vs. tax

The Sacramento Bee today runs an article on a shift in the new state budget towards "fees" and the impact on particular households. Temporary tax extensions ended in the last fiscal year. The legislature raised certain fees as a result. However, as the excerpt above shows, the dramatic fee increases occurred at UC and CSU where tuition went up, not directly by action of the legislature but through the governing boards of the two systems.

The full graphic from which the excerpt above was taken and the accompanying article are at:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

UCLA History: Moving Day

UCLA moves to its Westwood campus with police escort in 1929.

Friday, July 22, 2011

More on Take Your Med at UC-Merced

UC Merced chief finds support for med school

Jul. 21, 2011 / Yesenia Amaro / Merced Sun-star

There's overwhelming support for a medical school at University of California at Merced, the school's chancellor said Thursday during an editorial board meeting with the Sun-Star and The Modesto Bee. In the 20 days that Dorothy Leland has been on the job as leader of the university, she has been meeting with people with a stake in the campus.

"Medical education, that's probably the first thing out of everybody's mouth ... 'How's the medical school coming?'" …

Full article at

(Not sure I want the first thing out of everybody’s mouth. Bad taste, etc. But that’s just me.)

(Sorry about that!)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

OC Register Gives UC Financial Aid Program Bad Marx

As is well known, UC tuition charges are partly recycled into financial aid for lower-income students. In an editorial, the libertarian-leaning Orange County Register finds this practice to be Marxist:

...The Republican caucus describes this wealth transfer as "from each according to his ability ... to each according to his need." If this sounds familiar, it's because it was coined by Karl Marx. We wonder how many of those from whom the money is taken agree with the concept. We know it should not be done without the consent of those paying the fee.

Full editorial at

I guess they are against it:

Who is supposed to salute the poll on the hotel/conference center?

We now have confirmation that the telephone poll on the hotel/conference center was in fact sponsored by the capital projects folks at UCLA. (See our earlier post of a recording of the poll.)

Apparently, the goal is to have 400 completed interviews. Whether we will get info on the details of the polling methodology – how many call recipients refused to participate, etc. - is unclear.

Reports have come in from people at some distance from campus that they have received poll calls. Obviously, the neighborhood opposition – presumably that is the subject of the poll – will be concentrated among those who live close to campus and worry about traffic. The wider the area covered, the less will be the percentage opposition; you don’t need a poll to tell you that.

So if the poll results are released, who is supposed to salute them? Faculty opposition has largely centered on the business model of the hotel and the concern that the hotel/conference center in one way or another will drain revenue from the campus. The poll has no particular relevance to that issue which was the key to the Academic Senate’s official opposition. Hotel owners in the area are concerned about competition from a publicly-supported hotel. The poll has no relevance to their issue. The business model for the existing Faculty Center is also not connected to the poll. Those who are concerned with architectural preservation of the Faculty Center also would not be influenced by poll results.

So what is the purpose of the poll? To prove neighborhood opposition comes from NIMBYism? Even if that were so, it is not of particular relevance to the main issues of concern to faculty.

Who is supposed to salute the poll?

Data on California Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed today pointed me towards a report on data concerning higher ed in California from the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy (CSU-Sacramento). The report covers the three systems of higher ed (CCs, CSU, UC) although often not breaking out the three separately.

For example, the chart above (from Figure 14 of the report) shows that while college-going directly from high school by race is qualitatively in line with stereotypes, the main gap quantitatively between whites, Latinos, and blacks occurs at the K-12 level, i.e., dropouts and late high school finishers. (Asians are substantially above the other three groups.) The chart will be clearer if you click on it.

You can find the full Institute report at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Med at UC Merced

UC Merced picks 5 students for medical training (excerpts)

Jul. 19, 2011, Yesenia Amaro / Merced Sun-star

The doctor is not quite in. But he's on the way. University of California at Merced on Tuesday announced its first group of five students in its medical program set to begin this fall. The new program to train doctors is intended to address the lack of physicians and health gaps in the San Joaquin Valley…

The UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (PRIME) was born out of a partnership program between UC Davis and the UCSF's Fresno facility. Students will spend their first two years at UC Davis. Their last two years will be spent working in clinics and hospitals in the Valley.

The program eventually will lead to the future development of a UC Merced School of Medicine…

Full article at

Will Jerry Brown somehow/some day come up with the money? You have to believe!

UCLA History: 1964 Commencement

Lower photo shows Bernice Brown, wife of Gov. Pat Brown, Eva Sámano de López Mateos, wife of Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos, Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson, and Catherine Kerr, wife of UC President Clark Kerr at 1964 UCLA commencement. Upper photo shows the three presidents with Gov. Brown in the background looking upwards. UCLA Chancellor Franklyn Murphy is on the left. Kerr is on the right. (There is a man behind Kerr who looks a lot like US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, although I have not checked whether he attended.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Governors' (not Governor's) Report on Public Higher Ed

At the recent National Governors Association conference – which Gov. Brown did not attend – there was a report on higher education, mainly public higher education.

The general theme was that there would be budget pressures on public higher ed indefinitely but that higher ed was important for workforce reasons. The report emphasizes metrics for measuring the output of higher ed such as graduation rates, transfer rates, job finding of grads, etc.

You can read the report below:

"They Control Funding"

Bill to curb California college execs' pay raises (excerpts)

Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, July 19, 2011

Days after California's public universities handed lucrative new pay and bonuses to three executives and a chancellor while raising student tuition, a state senator has introduced a bill to make such pay increases illegal in tough economic times. The bill, filed Monday by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, would prohibit executive pay increases at the University of California and California State University in years when the state does not raise its allocation to the schools…

On Friday, UC regents gave a 24 percent raise to Associate Vice President Santiago Muñoz, from $201,400 to $250,000. Taxpayers pay 40 percent. They approved a 10 percent increase for Vice President Patrick Lenz, from $272,500 to $300,000, all from taxpayer funds. And they gave Mark Laret, who runs the UCSF Medical Center, a $195,300 raise, to $935,000, with a retention bonus of $1 million over four years. His pay is from medical center revenue…

Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, wrote UC President Mark Yudof that the regents' decision "reveals a shocking misalignment of priorities."

…(UC) officials defended the higher pay. Lenz and Muñoz deserve the raises because of increased duties, said UC spokesman Steve Montiel. "Their compensation increases total $47,440 per year in state funds," he said. "It's a wise and relatively modest investment."

Laret's raise was necessary because a head-hunter from Harvard University had contacted Laret, although no offer was made, UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann told The Chronicle. Laret's involvement in completing UCSF's new medical center at Mission Bay is one reason he must stay, she said.

Meanwhile, it's not clear whether UC would have to abide by Yee's bill if it became law because it has constitutional autonomy. "But we take seriously any action by the Legislature and the governor," Montiel said. "They control funding."

Full article at:

Indeed, they control funding; about $2.5 billion out of a $20 billion UC budget.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Raiding the Bank

California's University of ATM

Joe Mathews, PropZero (KNBC), 7-19-11

California's public university systems aren't cash machines. But the state is treating them as such. Consider what's happened just this year to the University of California and the California State University systems. In March, the legislature and governor took $500 million from each system to balance the budget. Then in June's budget agreement, the state took another $150 million each.

But the withdrawals from this strange ATM doesn't stop there.

The budget includes provisions that could trigger another $100 million each in cuts in the likely event that tax revenues don't keep up with the fantasy-based projections in the budget agreement.

To add injury to greater injury, budget-related legislation authorizes borrowing $1.7 billion from the universities.

That's sort of like stealing from your neighbor, then asking for a loan from the same guy.

Of course, it's hard to blame the legislature and governor for this.

The universities are an easy target in the California budget system -- because voters have erected budget protection for so many other budget pieces. The voters have chosen to turn their universities into a giant cash machine.

Here's what is beyond the pale: politicians who blast tuition increases at the universities.

When you keep taking money out of your account, you can hardly blame the bank for trying to raise more capital.


Recording of Phone Poll Concerning Hotel/Conference Center

A resident of the area around UCLA received a call from the pollster who has been posing questions about the proposed campus hotel/conference center to replace the Faculty Center. He made a recording of the call WITH PERMISSION OF THE POLLSTER.

At the outset of the recording, the pollster acknowledges that the recipient has set up recording equipment to record the call. You can click on the option below and hear the call. The final questions which were for personal information have been omitted at the request of the call recipient. None of the omitted questions deal with the hotel/conference center.

Note that the call recipient is asked to assume that various arguments concerning the hotel/conference center are true when the call recipient says they are false. But he is asked to imagine that the arguments are true.

It is unknown at this time who is making the calls, although another recipient found via caller ID that they originate (or at least have a phone exchange) from New Jersey. It is also unknown if the script for this call is identical to that used for other polling calls that are being made.

The name you see on the video/audio is that of yours truly, not that of the call recipient.

Click below to hear the call:

UPDATE: The calls appear to be coming from a company called Maximum Research. While it seems reasonable to assume UCLA is the client, there has been no confirmation of that as yet:

MAXimum Research, Inc.
1860 Greentree Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003

Phone Number: (856) 874 - 9000
Toll Free Number: (888) 212 - 7200
Fax Number: (856) 874 - 9002

From the firm's website:

Our Phone Room

We maintain a 100-station telephone interviewing facility and employ more than 200 people. We use the well known and versatile interviewing software package, Survent, created by CfMC. Running Survent allows for complex quota control, centralized data management across modes, operational reports, and flexible sample management capabilities. The software allows for dialing schedules tailored to fit any and all of our clients' needs.

Our experience in telephone interviewing allows us to fully handle all aspects of a project in house. Our phone room of specially trained interviewers, have completed projects in practically every industry, including, Healthcare, Financial, Business-to-Business, Retail, Travel, Telecommunications, Food & Beverage and more. These projects have ranged from customer satisfaction and tracking to positioning, advertising and everything in between.

We have a number of dedicated Inbound phone lines allowing respondents to call in at their most convenient time to complete surveys.


Governor Brown, meet MIT President Susan Hockfield

Governor Brown did not attend the National Governors Association conference last week. Had he gone, he would have heard MIT President Susan Hockfield speaking on job creation and innovation related to higher ed and research. Of course, Brown hears from time to time about such matters from UC officials. But what they say can always be put aside as just pleading from another state agency. MIT is not a state agency, not even a public university, and is on the other side of the country.

Here is the audio of Hockfield's remarks: