Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Audio of Meeting on Sale of UCLA Japanese Garden: 1-31-12

A hearing or meeting was held today at the Community Magnet School in Bel Air on the proposed sale of the Japanese Garden.  Representatives of the Carter family (the original donor) were there.  Hannah Carter’s son Jim was the spokesperson and strongly condemned the sale.  Also presented were histories and photographs of the garden.

UCLA was represented by Bradley Erickson, Executive Director, Campus Service Enterprises. Almost all of the individuals in the audience were from the neighborhood and almost all were opposed to the sale.

UPDATE: The Daily Bruin has a summary of the meeting at:

Audio of the meeting can be heard at the link below.  Some cellphone photos are below the link.

State Out of Cash?

You may see some headlines about the state running out of cash.  The state controller today sent a letter to the legislature supporting passage of a bill allowing for more internal borrowing.  What does this development mean?

As we have noted in past blog posts, in the current fiscal year and the past two years, in common English parlance the general fund of the state has been in rough balance, i.e., inflow = outflow.  But prior to that there were big deficits that ultimately left the state with a negative reserve in its general fund.

When the general fund has a negative reserve, borrowing from somewhere must occur.  It comes in two flavors: external borrowing from outside financial markets and internal borrowing from funds the state has outside the general fund.  There are many such funds. But the biggies are in transportation where the gas tax and other related revenue flows into earmarked funds for roads and other transportation activities.

Essentially, internal borrowing consists of the controller putting an IOU into these other funds and using the money for general fund purposes.  However, if you go too far in that direction, you begin to interfere with the functioning of the activities geared to the special funds.

Apart from the fact that we have ended recent fiscal years with negative reserves in the general fund, there are seasonal issues of timing since outflows and inflows from the general fund do not match within the fiscal year.  The controller wants the legislature to give him more authority to dip into special funds with IOUs. From the UC perspective, the fact that the controller is having cash management problems is just more evidence that we should not be looking for budgetary salvation from the state any time soon.

You can read his letter at

UPDATE: Just to drive home the point on the UC perspective, consider:

UCLA History: Come and Park Wherever

A great photo in the new history book on UCLA, "UCLA: The First Century," shows the campus covered with cars (and no apparent parking structures) in 1956.  (See an earlier blog post on the book.)

By the way, President Obama will be back on the Westside Feb. 15, so your future commute that day may not be so free and easy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Listen to Radio Program on Japanese Garden

At the link below, you can listen to Which Way LA? on KCRW which featured a program this evening on the UCLA Japanese Garden.  Guests are Martha Groves of the LA Times, R. Michael Rich – research astronomer, and EVC Scott Waugh.  The program does not have anyone from the Carter family or background on the source of the original gift. It runs about 10 minutes at the beginning of the link below.

UCLA's position is that it would like to see the garden preserved but wants to sell it.  No guarantee is made, however, that the sale would be to some preservation group.

The lack of ready public access is given as the prime reason for the sale.

Imitation is Not Always Flattery

The LA Times today carries a story about the UCLA Anderson's School's use of the system for catching plagiarism in essays of applicants for the MBA program.  The system is more commonly used for checking reports written for class assignments by already-enrolled students.  Excerpt:

..."The more we can nip unethical behavior in the bud, the better," said Andrew Ainslie, a senior associate dean at UCLA Anderson. "It seems to us nobody ought to be able to buy their way into a business school."  In the school's first review of essays from potential MBA candidates this year, Turnitin found significant plagiarism — beyond borrowing a phrase here and there — in a dozen of the 870 applications, Ainslie said. All 12 were rejected...

Full article at,0,2954802.story

Faithful readers of this blog will note that Turnitin itself has a questionable practice of its own:

UPDATE: Anderson rejected 52 applicants for plagiarism.  See:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

UCLA History: Fundraising

The issues of the sale of the Japanese Garden and the construction of the hotel/conference center both point to fundraising and gifts to UCLA.  The recent history of UCLA - UCLA: The First Century - has a section on the early days of fundraising.  (See an earlier blog post on the book.)

In the book is the undated photo on the left of Dean Neil Jacoby of the business school promoting his idea of a building for the school.  The book, incidentally, incorrectly gives his dates as dean as 1948-73.  In fact, when yours truly arrived on campus in the summer of 1968, Jacoby was no longer dean although he remained a faculty member.  The deanship had been recently assumed by George Robbins and then later by Harold Williams, all before 1973.  (Jacoby managed, however, to be both dean and a member of President Eisenhower's Council of Economic Advisors simultaneously during his actual term as dean.)

In any event, Jacoby first went to the local business community in a fundraising effort for the new building. The private universities screamed about UCLA - which got state support - competing with them for private funds.  Various accords were reached over time - described in the book - limiting the ability of UC and UCLA to solicit private funds. In the end - not reported in the book - Jacoby went around the university bureaucracy that controlled priorities for capital projects and took his case for the building to the Regents. By the time I arrived in 1968, the structure had been built.  (It is now the Luskin School of Public Affairs.)

Of course, nowadays UC campuses fund raise at will.  However, one suspects that in the era when fundraising was restricted by the deals with the privates - gifts in kind - such as the Japanese Garden got around whatever constraints there were.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Audio Recording Indicates that UC Needs to Talk With Legislative Leaders on Pensions

Yesterday’s State Worker blog of the Sacramento Bee carried a story about remarks by California State Senate President Darrell Steinberg on public pensions.  It includes a link to a recording of Steinberg’s remarks on pensions at a press conference of 1-26-2012.  Good luck with that link; the IT guy at the Bee must have gone home for the weekend.  Nevertheless, yours truly has come to the rescue and you can hear it without hassle by clicking on the link below.

There is a back story which state politicos will understand regarding Steinberg’s remarks.  Last year, the legislature kept waiting for Gov. Brown to negotiate a deal with Republicans – which never happened.  When it became clear it wouldn’t happen, the legislature slapped together a budget just before the June 15 deadline so its members would get paid.  (Voters had earlier approved a proposition that cut off legislative pay if the budget deadline was not met.)  The governor then vetoed the budget and the state controller said it wasn’t technically “balanced” and thus cut off pay for a few days until another budget was enacted.  Reporters in the recording ask Steinberg if the legislature wants to wait for Brown to come up with a specific legislative bill on pensions (as opposed to the general concepts he {Brown} has proposed).  Steinberg in effect says that the legislature has learned its lesson about waiting for Brown and this time will work on its own.

Steinberg indicates that the legislature is willing to contemplate Brown’s hybrid concept (mix of defined benefit and defined contribution for new hires) but he also indicates he likes defined benefit.  However, the details are not important at this point.  You can read the Bee blog at for more detail and listen to the recording.  The main point is that if UC wants to carve out some kind of exemption for the changes in its pension system that the Regents already enacted in December 2010, UCOP and the Regents need to start talking with Steinberg & Co.  With some creativity, we can adjust the Regents’ plan to be a hybrid if needed, say, by adding a small defined contribution element along the lines of what we had during the two-decade contribution “holiday” which got us into trouble.

Bottom line: The governor is not the only player.  Indeed, he may not be the key player on pensions; UCOP and the Regents need to engage the legislative leaders.

Listen to the recording below:

Friday, January 27, 2012

LA Councilman Koretz Opposes Sale of Japanese Garden

LA City Councilman Paul Koretz, whose district includes UCLA and the surrounding area, has written a letter to Chancellor Block opposing the sale of the Japanese Garden.

The letter is reproduced below.

By way of further historical background, the photo at the right appears in the new history book on UCLA, "UCLA: The First Century," in a section entitled "Artful Transformation" dealing with Chancellor Franklin Murphy's interest in campus beautification during his regime.  The caption to the photo reads in part:

Murphy had long wanted to acquire a Japanese garden in neighboring Bel-Air, and in 1965, it was donated to UCLA by Regent Edward Carter and his wife, Hannah.

UC-Davis in the Post-Pepper Era

After the pepper spray incident at UC-Davis, the administration is apparently taking a hands-off attitude toward Occupy demonstrators.  From the student paper at Davis:

Blockades by Occupy UC Davis protesters have led to speculation that U.S. Bank may leave the Memorial Union (MU) if protests persist.  In the past week, protesters have blockaded the door to the bank eight times, according to a protester. These blockades have resulted in the early closure of the bank and involvement of campus police.  The closure of the bank could also mean the departure of funds for student activities.
“The occupiers claim they are working for students, but they are actually disrupting funding for the same services they want to be improved,” said ASUCD Senator Justin Goss.  Occupy protesters assert that the presence of U.S. Bank on campus is uniquely harmful because students may opt for the convenience of obtaining a high-interest loan there, rather than shop elsewhere. Ultimately, the protesters say that they want the bank closed.  Critics like Goss have called that notion “ridiculous” and believe it is the student’s responsibility to find the best loan…

More on the Obama/Tuition Issue

As a prior blog post noted, President Obama's State of the Nation address earlier this week contained a threat to cut federal support to universities whose tuitions were rising. But it was not clear what exactly was involved.

Insider Higher Ed has a brief story - with a link to a NY Times iece and a link to a White House fact sheet about the proposal.  In fact, to the extent that the proposal is implemented - always a question given Congressional gridlock - UC and UCLA are likely to benefit.  Our tuition is rising but it is still low compared to the privates and many publics.  And we have a good record at this campus with low income student enrollment and support.  The issue is whether UC would be rewarded for relatively low tuition or penalized for percentage increases in tuition starting from a low base.  The tuition under consideration is not the sticker price - which is what gets aired at Regents meetings - but the net price after student aid from the university.

The Insider Higher Ed story is at

Below is (most of) the fact sheet:

For Immediate Release

January 27, 2012

FACT SHEET: President Obama’s Blueprint for Keeping College Affordable and Within Reach for All Americans

“Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid… States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets.   And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.”
                                                                                                President Barack Obama
                                                                                                State of the Union, January 24, 2012

In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. As an important part of keeping the American promise alive, the President called for a comprehensive approach to tackling rising college costs.  In today’s global economy, a college education is no longer just a privilege for some, but rather a prerequisite for all.  To reach a national goal of leading the world with the highest share of college graduates by 2020, we must make college more affordable.

President Obama has emphasized the responsibility shared by the federal government, states, colleges, and universities to promote access and affordability in higher education, by reining in college costs, providing value for American families, and preparing students with a solid education to succeed in their careers. Over the past three years, the Obama Administration has taken historic steps to help students afford college, including reforming our student aid system to become more efficient and reliable and by expanding grant aid and college tax credits. 

This year, President Obama is calling on Congress to advance new reforms that will promote shared responsibility to address the college affordability challenge. If these proposals are passed, this will be the first time in history that the federal government has tied federal campus aid to responsible campus tuition policies
President Obama will begin the third day of his post-State of the Union travels with an event at the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, focusing on the importance of tackling rising college costs to ensure America’s students and workers can obtain the education and training they need so that we have a workforce prepared for the jobs of the 21st century.
Shared Responsibility to Tackle Rising College Costs

Rewarding Schools that Keep College Affordable

·         The President’s proposal to reform student aid to keep tuition from spiraling too high and drive greater value will improve distribution of federal financial aid and increase campus-based aid. This reform will reward colleges that are succeeding in meeting the following principles:

1)      Setting responsible tuition policy, offering relatively lower net tuition prices and/or restraining tuition growth.
2)      Providing good value to students and families, offering quality education and training that prepares graduates to obtain employment and repay their loans.
3)      Serving low-income students, enrolling and graduating relatively higher numbers of Pell-eligible students.

The campus-based aid that the federal government provides to colleges through Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Perkins Loans, and Work Study is distributed under an antiquated formula that rewards colleges for longevity in the program and provides no incentive to keep tuition costs low. The President is proposing to change how those funds are distributed by implementing an improved formula that shifts aid from schools with rising tuition to those acting responsibly, focused on setting responsible tuition policy, providing good value in education, and ensuring that higher numbers of low-income students complete their education. He is also proposing to increase the amount of campus-based aid to $10 billion annually. The increase is primarily driven by an expansion of loans in the federal Perkins program – which comes at no additional taxpayer cost.

Colleges that can show that they are providing students with good long-term value will be rewarded with additional dollars to help students attend. Those that show poor value, or who don't act responsibly in setting tuition, will receive less federal campus-based aid.  Students will receive the greatest government grant and loan support at colleges where they are likely to be best served, and little or no campus aid will flow to colleges that fail to meet affordability and value standards.

Creating New Incentives to Promote Affordability and Quality

·         The Race to the Top: College Affordability and Completion will promote change in state systems of higher education. The President is proposing a program that would spur systemic state reforms to reduce costs for students and promote success in our higher education system at public colleges. This $1 billion investment would incentivize states to:

o   Revamp the structure of state financing for higher education.
o   Align entry and exit standards with K-12 education and colleges to facilitate on-time completion.
o   Maintain adequate levels of funding for higher education in order to address important long-term causes of cost growth at the public institutions that serve two-thirds of four-year college students.

The Race to the Top for College Affordability and Completion would incentivize governors and state legislatures around the nation to act on spurring this innovative reform. Through cost-saving measures like redesigning courses and making better use of education technology, institutions can keep costs down to provide greater affordability for students.

·         The First in the World competition will improve long-term productivity in higher education by investing $55 million to enable individual colleges (including Minority-Serving Institutions) and nonprofit organizations to develop, validate, or scale up innovative and effective strategies for boosting productivity and enhancing quality on campuses. This initiative would provide modest start-up funding for individual colleges, including private colleges, for projects that could lead to longer-term and larger productivity improvements among colleges and universities – such as course redesign through the improved use of technology, early college preparation activities to lessen the need for remediation, competency-based approaches to gaining college credit, and other ideas aimed at spurring changes in the culture of higher education.

Empowering Families and Students to be Informed Consumers

·         New actions to provide consumers with clearer information about college costs and quality will improve the decision-making process in higher education for American students and allow families to hold schools accountable for their tuition and outcomes.  President Obama is proposing new tools to provide students and families with information on higher education, presented in a comparable and easy-to-understand format:

o   The Administration will create a College Scorecard for all degree-granting institutions making it easier for students and families to choose a college that is best suited to their needs, priced affordably, and consistent with their career and educational goals. 
o   We will also make an updated version of the ‘Financial Aid Shopping Sheet,’ announced in October, a required template for all colleges, rather than a voluntary tool, to make it easier for families to compare college financial aid packages.
o   The President is also proposing to begin collecting earnings and employment information for colleges, so that students can have an even better sense of the post post-graduation outcomes they can expect.

Redoubling Federal Support to Tackle College Costs

·         As highlighted by the President in his State of the Union address, we are calling on Congress to:

o   Keep student loan interest rates low: This summer, the interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans are set to double from 3.4% to 6.8% – a significant burden at a time when the economy is still fragile and students are taking on increasing amounts of debt to earn a degree. The President is asking Congress to prevent that hike from taking place for a year to keep student debt down, a proposal that will keep interest rates low for 7.4 million student loan borrowers and save the average student over a thousand dollars.
o   Double the number of work-study jobs available:  The President also proposes to double the number of career-related work-study opportunities so that students are able to gain valuable work-related experience while in school.
o   Maintain our commitment to college affordability: Over 9 million students and families per year take advantage of the Obama Administration’s American Opportunity Tax Credit – supporting up to $10,000 over four years of college.  In his State of the Union address, the President called on Congress to make this tax credit permanent and prevent it from expiring in 2012. 
Building on Progress

President Obama has worked throughout his Administration to expand access to college and provide greater resources and support so that more students graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce:

·         Helping students and families pay for college: The Obama Administration has raised the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,635 next year – a $905 increase since 2008.

Making college loans more affordable: The Obama Administration’s “Pay as You Earn” plan will enable 1.6 million students to take advantage of a new option to cap student loan repayments at 10% of monthly income as soon as this year. Borrowers looking to determine whether or not income-based repayment is the right option for them should visit

UPDATE: NPR has a report at

UPDATE: President Yudof's response:

The University of California appreciates President Obama's focus on higher education and his efforts to assure that college is within reach for all Americans. We are pleased that the president is looking at ways to reward institutions that are doing a good job graduating more low-income students.

The University of California already has tuition that is highly redistributive: One third of every tuition dollar goes to financial aid, and more than half of our students pay no tuition. We have a strong record of providing high-quality education to students from families from a broad range of income levels, and we look forward to working with the Obama administration and Congress on these proposals as they move forward.

UC is proud of the robust state and institutional financial aid our enrolled students receive, and the university is continuously working to ensure that college costs remain low and affordable. Over the years, UC has cut costs and become significantly more efficient, while serving a historically high number of students. UC will continue to take actions to reduce costs and maintain its high quality and will work with the state of California to ensure a strong commitment to funding public higher education.

Shooting Arrows

The Daily Bruin carries a story today about possible construction of an archery range on campus as a component of a large donation which is raising some ecology concerns.  Apparently, the area currently contains California native plants and is used in some coursework and has raised some faculty objections.  As pressures for fundraising ramp up – reflective of the larger university/state budget situation – these kinds of conflicts over university property and land use seem to keep cropping up.  Earlier - and still-current - examples involve the hotel/conference center project and the proposed sale of the Japanese Garden.

Just behind Parking Structure 11 and the Hitch residential complex ­– on the northwest tip of campus – is a four-acre patch of land.  Known as Sage Hill, UCLA geographers have designated the area as the only functioning ecosystem of native Californian plants and animals on campus. Professors take students on official field trips to the area at least once a quarter, and use the land to teach students how to take soil samples and biological inventories…  Discussions are currently underway regarding the building of an archery range “somewhere along Veteran Avenue,” said Brad Erickson, executive director of UCLA Campus Service Enterprises. He added that these plans are still in a conceptual stage, and no formal planning process has begun.  University spokesman Phil Hampton also confirmed that the university is considering utilizing donated funds to provide what he described as much-needed recreational space on the northwest side of campus…

Back in 1930, we had plenty of space for archery on campus.  But in our modern circumstances - with much less open space - one is reminded of the old Twilight Zone episode – “I Shot an Arrow in the Air.”  As it turned out in that story, where it came down proved unfortunate:

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Regent Carter Background & the Japanese Garden Issue

Because of the Japanese Garden issue, blog readers might be interested in Regent Carter (at left in the 1966 photo above with UC President Clark Kerr at right giving presentation to Prince Philip).  Ultimately, the Japanese Garden was a gift of the Carter family.

Here are some excerpts and links:

From the Harvard Business School:
Carter developed the first suburban shopping center in 1947 in Los Angeles and popularized regional chain stores. Carter started with three regional stores in Los Angeles in 1946, and by 1980, had grown that number to 47. Carter expanded the company nationally through acquisitions, such as the Weinstock stores, Neiman-Marcus, and Waldenbooks. When Carter took over the Broadway Company, annual sales were $30 million. By 1980, the chain under a new name, Carter Hawley Hale, was the nation’s fourth largest department store chain with sales of $2.4 billion.

In Los Angeles, the presence in the community of a museum devoted entirely to art was little more than a hope before 1945. Only in 1965 did a proper building, LACMA, open its doors to the public. The late Edward W. Carter was a successful businessman and philanthropist, and an indefatigable promoter of cultural institutions in Los Angeles. It was Carter who negotiated with the County of Los Angeles for the new museum’s site in Hancock Park, for the funds to maintain the new museum, and for the transfer of art from the museum’s parent institution, the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art. Carter was LACMA’s founding president (1961–66) and trustee (1962–96). In these capacities, and as chairman of LACMA’s board of trustees, Carter exercised profound influence on the museum’s creation and evolution. In 1989, the year he was replaced as an active trustee by his wife, Hannah Locke Carter, Edward Carter was named Honorary Life Trustee.

From the New York Times:

He was appointed to the University of California's Board of Regents in 1952 by Gov. Earl Warren. He served for 36 years, helping guide the university through the student unrest in the 1960's and advising it on financial matters and investments.

From the LA Times:
A Hollywood High School graduate, Carter attended UCLA while working 40 hours a week at Silverwoods on Wilshire Boulevard, becoming in his own words "a damned good salesman." By 1932, he rang up about 25% of the store's sales.  Carter went on to Harvard Business School, where he received his master's degree cum laude in 1937.

Even before joining the Broadway Department Store as executive vice president in 1946, Carter was well known in retailing circles. Besides his six years with Silverwoods, he also spent eight years at May Co., rising to the post of divisional merchandise manager. In addition, he was an account manager with the Scudder, Stevens & Clark investment firm in Boston.  Carter became president of the three-store Broadway chain in 1947, taking charge of a concern that he later said ranked "last among Los Angeles department stores in both size and in stature."
Within months, Carter built one of the nation's first suburban shopping centers, the Crenshaw Center, on a former golf course. (The Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza sits there now.) During the boom years after World War II, Carter studied the freeway map and built his stores accordingly.  To finance his ambitious expansion plans, Carter sold stock to Hale Bros. Stores of San Francisco in 1949, and the two chains merged in 1950 to become Broadway-Hale Inc. As with all of Broadway's later acquisitions, the Hale operation retained its name and management and was run as a separate division.  Other acquisitions followed with such respected names as Emporium Capwell, Neiman Marcus, Waldenbooks and Bergdorf Goodman. Carter was considered well versed in consumer trends and an innovative merchant who chose a decentralized approach to retailing that allowed Broadway-Hale's various chains to operate independently with substantial autonomy.

OMG! Whoops. Oh My Whatever-You-Are!

Inside Higher Ed pointed to this story:
"It's no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college," said… former Pennsylvania senator (Santorum.) "The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination. If it was the other way around, the ACLU would be out there making sure that there wasn't one penny of government dollars going to colleges and universities, right?"
He continued: "If they taught Judeo-Christian principles in those colleges and universities, they would be stripped of every dollar. If they teach radical secular ideology, they get all the government support that they can possibly give them. Because you know 62 percent of children who enter college with a faith conviction leave without it."
Santorum went on to encourage his audience not to "give money" to colleges and universities that he said are causing harm to the country.  "I'll bet you there are people in this room who give money to colleges and universities who are undermining the very principles of our country every single day by indoctrinating kids with left-wing ideology," he said. "And you continue to give to these colleges and universities. Let me have a suggestion: Stop it." …

Well, maybe some of these folks would like to donate:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CSU establishes salary cap for campus presidents

CSU has adopted a salary cap for its campus presidents, equivalent of UC chancellors.  Will the Regents take similar action?

The California State University board of trustees on Wednesday capped salaries of newly hired campus presidents at $325,000 after an outcry over a $400,000 pay package approved for a new president last year when tuition shot up 12 percent.  The new policy will establish a salary ceiling of $325,000 or raise the salary by no more than 10 percent of the pay received by the outgoing president...

Full story at

Read more here:

New Payroll System Coming: Maybe You Should Save Some Cash Just in Case

The Daily Bruin today carries an article about a new systemwide payroll system that is supposed to be installed in stages through 2013.  However, an initial phase is starting soon at UCLA:

Although details for the program are still being sorted out, the UCPath Project will essentially create a more simplified process for paying university employees than in the past.Proposed changes to the current system include standardized pay cycles among all 10 campuses. For example, all academic employees and postdoctoral scholars within the UC will be paid bimonthly. Temporary employees and health systems staff will be paid biweekly. Right now, UCLA departments follow different timetables for awarding payrolls, said Allison Baird-James, associate vice chancellor and controller.The first phase of the project will be implemented at UCLA and several other campuses in 2013 and will slowly integrate into the rest of the UC system over a period of three years. In addition, UCLA employees will see a streamlined biweekly payroll schedule in the coming months.

Full story at

Yours truly has some indications from those in the pit who are dealing with the transition that maybe all the hiccups have not been worked out.  Those living paycheck to paycheck might want to put a little cash aside just in case pay is delayed.

Meeting on UCLA Japanese Garden Announced

The photo on the left shows UCLA students in the Japanese Garden in 1965.

It has been reported to yours truly that there will be a meeting about the proposed sale of the garden next week, possibly including UCLA officials.  Below in italics is the announcement I received:

Tuesday, January 31

5-7 p.m.


Community Magnet School 

11301 Bellagio Road
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Garden lovers, neighbors, and the interested public are invited to a meeting in Bel-Air on Tuesday evening, January 31, to discuss the future of the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden. UCLA has announced plans to sell the garden, and challenged the community to help identify a buyer who will maintain it and keep it open to the public. The Garden Conservancy, a national garden preservation group, has joined the Los Angeles Conservancy, California Preservation Foundation, the California Garden and Landscape History Society, and concerned individuals to gather public interest and support to save the garden.

Kendall Brown, noted authority on Japanese gardens in America, will discuss the history and significance of the garden at this gathering. We have invited UCLA officials to join us and share their perspective. We welcome your ideas and help in saving this garden treasure.
Please RSVP to Paulette DuBey at the Bel-Air Association Telephone 310.474.3527

As noted in prior blogs on this matter, the UCLA Faculty Association has no position on this issue.  However, it seems to have bubbled up from below in the administration without full consideration.  Exactly who would buy the garden, particularly in view of the controversy, is unclear.  And a longstanding issue is the very limited public access that has characterized the garden. Neighborhood and conservancy groups will need to consider the access issue as well as the proposed sale and removal of objects from the garden.

Obama on Higher Ed Tuition and State Support

In the State of the Union address last night, President Obama called on states to enhance their higher ed budgets and universities to hold down tuition.  Whether the California state legislature is going to heed that request is another matter, of course. The President talked about less federal aid if tuition goes up, although in what form that would come about was not clear.

Video clip below.
"When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college.  At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.  Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves middle-class families thousands of dollars.  And give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.

Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid.  We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money.  States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets.  And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.  Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that.  Some schools re-design courses to help students finish more quickly.  Some use better technology.  The point is, it’s possible.  So let me put colleges and universities on notice:  If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.  Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford."

UPDATE: Inside Higher Ed has a report on reactions to the statement at:

PPIC Poll on Taxes

Above is the latest PPIC poll dealing with taxes and Gov. Brown's proposed initiative to raise them temporarily.  Keep in mind that polls tend to be full of contradictory attitudes. And this is January but the actual initiative won't be on the ballot until November.  There will be lots of events between now and then.

The full poll is at

Note: If you click on the image above, you will see a clearer picture.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

UCLA History: Vermont Graduation

Photo shows a UCLA graduation ceremony in 1927 at the former Vermont Avenue campus.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On the Japanese Garden: Let's Hear It from the Top

OK. It appears – after the embarrassing LA Times article yesterday on the Japanese Garden proposed sale by UCLA – that the ship has run aground.*  We have angry heirs of a donor, a major Regent of his time.  We may discourage future donors because of this episode.  We have a statement that it was not the intent to destroy the garden, but – in contrast to that statement - the removal of objects from it in an amateur way.  And it is unclear that folks at the Fowler Museum want those objects.  There are angry neighborhood groups and concerned preservation groups.  There could be litigation which would discourage any sale.  We also had a resource in the Japanese Garden which – unlike, say, the Fowler Museum – was difficult for the public to access.  Any solution will need to address that issue as well as the sale/removal.

UCLA has long had a management problem with independent underlings operating with a “call-me-if-you-have-a-problem” relationship to the top.  Since no underling wants to make that call, the result is that problems don’t surface until the situation becomes worse than it has to be.  Would you want to call your boss and say you just created a problem? 

Some folks will remember the body parts scandal of yore which resulted from that management style.** And - more recently - there was (is) the hotel/conference center – still yet to be resolved.  Reforming the management structure is a larger challenge that UCLA needs to address.  But in the interim, on this particular issue involving the Japanese Garden, we need to hear from the chancellor.  He may not be able to right the ship at this point.  But at least he can help with the rescue.
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*See yesterday’s post on this blog concerning the garden (which has links to the still-earlier posts and the LA Times article).

**One LA Times headline on that situation read, “Businessman found guilty in UCLA's willed body-parts program scandal: The body broker collected $1.5 million by selling cadaver parts to private medical research companies. A juror also faults the university for 'allowing something like this.'”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Deal to End UC-Berkeley Library Hours Dispute

From the Contra Costa Times:

Protesters occupying the UC Berkeley's anthropology library on campus claimed victory Saturday night when university administrators signed an agreement meeting the protesters' demands for a fully restored library schedule.  …Under the agreement, the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 1 to 6 p.m. on weekends, the same hours that were kept in the Fall 2011 semester. As part of the agreement, administrators also will hire a full-time librarian…

Music and poetry at:

LA Times Picks Up Japanese Garden Story: Not the Best PR for UCLA

Excerpts from the LA Times article below and link to the full article:

For nearly half a century, the UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden in Bel-Air has served as a serene stopover for visitors from locations as varied as Newhall, Nashville and the Netherlands.  But the decision by UCLA to sell the steep hillside property and an adjoining house to raise money for endowments and professorships has the garden world in an un-Zen-like uproar.  The Garden Conservancy, an organization based in New York and San Francisco, has lambasted the university's transfer to the Fowler Museum of a five-tiered stone pagoda and other garden objects and has urged the public to contact UCLA Chancellor Gene Block…

The garden was donated by Edward W. Carter, a retailing magnate and former chairman of the UC Board of Regents, and his second wife, Hannah Locke Carter, under a 1964 agreement that the university would maintain it in perpetuity. In 1982, the parties agreed that proceeds from the sale of the house would be used to fund certain endowments and professorships…

…The UC Regents asked the Superior Court of Alameda County, where the university system is based, to allow the properties' sale and to lift the "in perpetuity" requirement. The regents argued that "changed circumstances" made continued ownership and maintenance "impracticable." The court agreed.  That is a sore point for Jim Caldwell of Woodside, Calif., one of five children of Hannah Carter.

"There was no communication with any of Hannah Carter's children," he said.

…(B)id packages (will) be available in early February and that bidding would begin in May. …Coldwell Banker Previews International in Beverly Hills has the listing…

Full story at,0,6654788.story

Editorial note: Apart from the merits of the garden itself, the fact that the heirs of a past major figure on the Board of Regents feel that a past donation is not being treated properly could give pause to other prospective donors to UCLA.  In addition, unless it is clear that UCLA can find buyers who will preserve the garden in a manner the heirs will accept, it is unclear who would buy it.  Given the controversy, any buyer planning to use the facility for some other purpose would likely face litigation costs and delays.  So maybe someone in authority needs to take a deep breath and announce a time out.  Like the hotel/conference center project, we seem to have a case here where underlings just roll along with a plan that seemed like a good idea to someone - until the idea surfaces and trouble erupts.

It might be noted that on a recent broadcast, Chancellor Block pointed to an emphasis on philanthropy for the UCLA funding model:

For those who haven’t followed this issue, here are links to prior blog posts:

Meanwhile, the LA Times editorial board thinks the sale should go ahead given the university budget situation but that some preservationists should buy the garden:,0,116027.story

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bit of a Departure from UC Regents History

Once upon a time, the Regents were a relatively placid group, even when there was controversy.  The photo on the left shows them in 1950 dealing with the loyalty oath issue.  But nowadays, we learn that “the University of California Board of Regents will rally on the steps of the state Capitol in May alongside students, faculty, staff, alumni and other UC supporters, chair Sherry Lansing announced Wednesday (Jan. 18).  In remarks opening the regents' two-day meeting at UC Riverside, Lansing said the regents will meet in Sacramento May 16 and 17. She said the rally at the state Capitol is intended to spotlight the adverse effects that cuts in state funding have had on the university and to build public support for re-investment in higher education…”

[Thanks to Bette Billet for spotting this release.]

Plenty of Nothing

Here is a quote from the governor’s recent budget proposal: "The University of California (UC) will receive an increase of $90 million General Fund for base operating costs, which can be used to address costs related to retirement program contributions."

Question: What does it mean?  Answer: Nothing.  UC has always been free to take its general revenue and put it into the pension fund.  Indeed, since the state has so far refused to resume paying the employer contribution for state-funded employees into the pension fund, that is what UC has been doing.

Question: If it means nothing, why are you discussing it?  Answer: It appears that some folks up in Oakland view this statement as a kind of recognition of a state liability for the UC pension.  As we have documented repeatedly, before the two-decade pension contribution “holiday,” the state routinely paid its contribution, even putting in IOUs when it was short of cash.  When the state paid in, whether in cash or in IOUs, that action allowed UC to collect from non-state sources, currently roughly $2 from non-state for every $1 of state.
Earlier in the state budget crisis, then-Governor Schwarzenegger put a token $20 million in his budget proposal for the UC pension.  But the legislature – acting on advice of the Legislative Analyst – deleted the $20 million and inserted budgetary language that there was no state liability.  That perverse language was later removed, but since then there has been zero progress in getting state recognition of its liability.  Note that CSU, which is part of CalPERS, does not have this burden since the state does not dispute its liability to the giant CalPERS system.

If UC depicts the governor’s non-statement as amounting to more than nothing, we will continue to get just that: nothing.  As we have noted before, if the state wants to privatize UC, not taking responsibility for the pension liability is a good way to do it.  The Regents can’t create money.  They cannot raise taxes.  They can only keep raising tuition.

So let’s not pretend nothing is something.  This song sums it up nicely:

A history of UC pension funding by Faculty Association Executive Director Susan Gallick is at

Friday, January 20, 2012

No Students to be Charged in Pepper Spray Incident

The Yolo County District Attorney's office announced today that it will not file charges against any of the 10 protesters arrested during a Nov. 18 pepper-spraying incident on the University of California, Davis, campus.  The standoff between campus police and occupy protesters on the campus quad resulted in 10 arrests and a number of demonstrators being pepper-sprayed. Those arrested were cited by campus police with unlawful assembly, illegal camping or both, said Michael Cabral, assistant chief deputy district attorney...  (T)he Yolo DA office's investigation into the use of pepper spray is ongoing...