Only One Regent Dared to Stand Up Against Furloughs



While 20 members of the UC Board of Regents cast their vote to go along with President Yudof’s furlough plan, one Regent was still looking for a different way.  That was Lt. Governor John Garamendi who has foregone a challenge for Governor in favor of seeking the open 3rd Congressional Seat, vacated by Ellen Tauscher who was appointed by President Obama as an under Secretary of State for arms control.

Right up until the end, Mr. Garamendi was looking for another way.  He called on the Regents instead of acceding to the demands of the economic downturn to join a coordinated effort with CSU and the Community Colleges to Abolish the two-thirds majority requirement and pass an oil severance tax.

“I think there are two specific angles of attack that we should pursue. The two-thirds vote issue is extremely important. We basically have minority rule in California on everything that’s important. That’s not democracy. […] It is possible for us as Regents for this university to join with the other two segments of higher education in a concerted immediate effort to pass Assemblyman Torrico’s bill, AB 656, that would institute an oil severance tax in the state of California.”

AB 656 is a bill sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico (also a candidate for Attorney General).  The bill would generate roughly $1 billion for higher education by implementing an oil several tax.

Lt. Gov. Garamendi, an ex-officio member of the board of regents went on to argue that the Regents, “have extraordinary power that we have not yet used.”

He said:

“Every person on this board is a leader in California, each person has their own constituencies, and all of you are opinion-makers.”

The Lt. Gov. was not available for additional comment on Friday, however in his comments from Thursday he suggested to his fellow regents, citing general’s statement as the Chinese entered the Korean War:

“You misunderstood, this is not a retreat. We’re just fighting in the other direction.”

He continued:

“And in fact the university has been in full retreat now for some years, and I would highly recommend that we fight in the other direction. In other words, we take the offense. I think we can. I am very impressed by the people who spoke earlier today and their willingness to fight for the university and the future of California.”

Much has been made about the two-thirds rule, but not nearly enough has been pointed out that California is actually the only major oil producing state in the nation that does not tax the oil that has been extracted from its state.  This would not cause our gas prices to go up, because it only taxes oil that we export from the state.

As the Lt. Governor pointed out, not only are we the only state that does not tax oil extracted from the state, but Governor Sarah Palin, that anti-tax conservative Republican raised her state’s oil severance to 25 percent.

Said Mr. Garamendi:

“If that was the rate in California would this year raise $4 billion. But let’s just take the average of six percent which is over a billion dollars of revenue. And if that bill were signed this session, this year, would raise a billion dollars plus for higher education.”

The bottom line for Mr. Garamendi is simply that we can either continue to retreat or we can fight back in a different direction.

“So my point is this: we can fight fiercely in retreat as we have for more than two decades now. Or we can stop, turn ourselves in the other direction, and fight fiercely for the future of the university with two very specific tasks. One of which is fundamental to the whole state and the university, and that’s the minority rule issue in California. And the second is immediate revenue. And by the way, Governor Schwarzenegger, seven months ago, supported the oil severance tax. It would be interesting to put a bill on his desk.”

On Thursday however, his fellow Regents by a 20-1 vote decided to continue to retreat.


It is perhaps fairly easy to blow off Mr. Garamendi’s comments as rhetoric.  However, as someone who has listened to Mr. Garamendi speak at least half a dozen times in the last year, it is actually the continuation of a long theme of his that we have simply allowed our support for higher education to decrease over the last two to three decades and that if we want to be a great state we need to reverse that trend.

Back in October of 2008 when he spoke at a rally at UC Davis he lamented the declining public support for higher education in California.

“In 1990, the state, the economy of California, the people of California supported the University of California students to a tune of $15,000 per student. Last year, the people of California, the economy, the seventh largest economy in the world, supported the students at the University of California at a rate of $10,000 per student. A full one-third decrease in the support that the people of California provided to the students who will be the future economy.”

He called that a “stupid economic policy.”

“Starve the education system and you will starve the future of California.”

And in that way had he done anything but fight for a different path, he would have been untrue to his own words.  At that time, he was lamenting the fall budget deal where the legislature and governor refused to raise any sorts of taxes except for a tax on students.

“The taxes that were increased in this budget were minuscule except for one… The single biggest tax increase was a tax on students. It is called a fee indirectly because it is nothing but a very direct tax on students.”

Mr. Garamendi has never been able to translate his vast ideas and willingness to fight for those ideas into an effective statewide campaign.  His campaign for Governor languished with the inability to raise the necessary funds as others such as Attorney General and past Governor Jerry Brown amassed a huge war chest, Mr. Garamendi’s efforts never really seemed to get off the ground.  But on Thursday, we saw a glimpse of Mr. Garamendi the fighter who would not back down in the face of near certain defeat.  He was not only saying no to the President’s proposal, but he came forward with an alternative proposal himself.

We can of course argue if it could have worked.  But at some point we need to stop taking money from education.  We have taken billions of dollars from education this year.  That is an investment in the future of this state.  That is an investment in the future of this workforce.  And for the last twenty years we have allowed that investment to slip.

The legislature and the Governor have a deal in place for a budget except for one thing–what to do about education.  Last night they announced they have a tentative deal which would pay schools an extra $9.5 billion in future years without permanently changing the state constitution.  Democrats are now predicting that they can have a final budget agreement by Sunday.

At some point we are going to pay a huge price for failing to invest money education.  Keep in mind it costs less than $10,000 per year to educate a child but nearly $50,000 per year to put someone in jail.  Given the fact that the failure to educate a child will lead them to a much greater likelihood of seeing the inside of a jail cell, it would seem cost effective to do everything possible to educate them to help them avoid such a plight.

Everyone recognizes the severity of the current budget situation and the economic downturn.  The question is how best to solve that problem and from my standpoint we have put far too much of the burden on children and education.  It is fortunate that we have leaders such as Mr. Garamendi to remind us that there is another path if we are willing to take the risks to take it.  Unfortunately no one was willing to follow the lead of the Lt. Governor this week, but perhaps he can re-kindle that debate.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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32 thoughts on “Only One Regent Dared to Stand Up Against Furloughs”

  1. Greg Kuperberg

    I am a faculty member at UC Davis, and I am in line for a furlough. My furlough is unlikely to reduce my workload: expectations for faculty will likely stay the same, but with reduced staff. The budget cuts have also led to a hiring freeze. Other universities have already been poaching good faculty from UC, and the furloughs will make this much worse. Obviously, the furloughs are bad for me.

    But I don’t see that John Garamendi is any help. The title today, “Only One Regent Dared to Stand Up Against Furloughs”, makes it sound like Garamendi is on my side and against big bad Yudof. I don’t think so. Yes, Garamendi wants to take a risk, but the risk is to the university, not to him. It’s not a matter of “debating” whether it would “work” for the university to demand AB 656. The Republicans already rejected another oil tax two weeks ago. Why would the university have any real leverage in the midst of these heated negotiations? Garamendi wants to send the university on a charge of the light brigade to help him run for Congress. He’s grandstanding.

    I have no objection to AB 656. If we could have it, it would obviously help the university. But the furloughs don’t stand in the way of AB 656. On the contrary, Garamendi is perpetuating denial. The university has had unfunded enrollment for years. State funding per student had already gradually declined by 20% in real dollars; the new cut is another 20%. The message to some has been that university expansion is an iron commitment, whether or not the state pays for it. The state needs to learn that cuts have consequences.

  2. DonShor

    Everything that Garamendi said is fine. His call to action is fine. But his vote on the specific proposal before the regents had no direct relation to those views or that call for action: it was a vote about how to deal with the budget issue before them right now. As such, his vote was just a symbolic gesture, and somewhat irresponsible. Thus it just looks like grandstanding.

  3. Wake Up!

    ….. It is possible for us as Regents for this university to join with the other two segments of higher education in a concerted immediate effort to pass Assemblyman Torrico’s bill, AB 656, that would institute an oil severance tax in the state of California.”…..

    An oil severance tax is not the white knight to save the UC, CSU, and California Community College Systems. However, herding all of these “Sacred Cows” into one pasture will certainly make them all a more inviting target for further reductions.

    It is time to get real, stop grasping at pie in the sky solutions, make the necessary cuts,and move on!

  4. Nancy

    Vanguard readers might want to read “Chevron Owes More to Richmond,” by Antonia Juhasz at originally printed in the SF Chronicle.

    She points out that Chevron has also repeatedly blocked state initiatives to impose a severance tax on oil extracted in the state, and emphasizes, once again, that California is the only major oil producing state in the nation without such a tax. It is estimated that imposition of a severance tax could bring in over $1 billion a year to the California state budget.

    Moreover, the Los Angeles Times reports Chevron’s role in lobbying to keep initiatives to increase corporate taxation more broadly off the table in the state’s budget negotiations.

    To this I might add: the case can be made that these are “public commons” resources and the public should benefit not just from the energy production, but more broadly from the profits and not just private U.S. and international investors and shareholders.

  5. Anon

    I tend to agree with the above comments. Garamendi was trying to conflate different issues together (furloughs w oil tax/two thirds majority rule), one really having nothing to do with the other. The U.C. Regents have to deal w the here and now, which has nothing to do with an oil severance tax or the 2/3 majority issue in the CA Legislature.

    If Garamendi were that enthusiastic about reducing the 2/3 majority needed to pass legislation, then make a concerted effort in the proper venue to get such a measure passed. A UC Regent’s meeting is an inappropriate place to do that. If he wants to institute an oil severance tax, put forth a bill to that effect, or get some legislator to sponsor such a bill.

    Furthermore, I would argue that there has been waste in the UC system that needs to be addressed. An orgy of building as well as obscene salaries for upper management have got to stop. Yodof’s salary increase alone of $400,000 would pay for at least four professors.

  6. Another point

    In addition to the very good points made above, at least part of the reason for California’s budget gridlock is the linking of specific revenue sources to specific programs. Garamendi’s proposal would be another brick in that wall.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    “Garamendi was trying to conflate different issues together (furloughs w oil tax/two thirds majority rule), one really having nothing to do with the other.”

    That’s not true at all. The issue is a revenue problem issue and the question is how you solve that issue–do you cut programs or services or try to find a different source of revenue. Your post demonstrates that fundamentally you do not understand the issue at stake here. You may disagree with Garamendi’s approach, but he is not conflating the issues. He was pushing the regents for a different solution than the one they took. I support his push because right now we are scraping our services to the bone and we will pay for that in the long run.

  8. train wreck

    Garamendi is a grandstander who is not contributing to a solution. His attitude is similar to a little kid who, when told his allowance is being cut because Dad lost his job, reacts by lying down and throwing a fit.

    Even though it’s irrelevant to the furloughs, let’s look at the oil extraction tax proposal. This is not a bad idea. I agree with the writer who praises Sarah Palin for her actions in Alaska in this direction. (Palin has actually accomplished quite a bit in cleaning up that corrupt state, successes that have not gotten much coverage.) But the oil extraction tax has the disadvantage of discouraging domestic production while encouraging further oil imports.

    Much better would be a tax on all oil sales in California. Even better would be a tax on all oil usage plus a bigger tax on imported oil. Such a tax would raise vast revenue, be positive for the environment and national security, and encourage more sustainable behavior.

    The reason we don’t have such a tax is simple: it is politically difficult.
    Why doesn’t the oil extraction proposal not fall into the “politically difficult” category?
    Because Garamendi can pretend that the cost of this proposal is carried by the “evil oil
    companies” instead of the oil users.

    Our politicians are spineless. and won’t do the right thing even if the alternative is disaster for the state. They are more concerned with the possibility that opposition to higher gas prices will hurt their reelection chances then with the good of the state. Democrats and Republicans are equally guilty. Those who think that one party or the other would save CA if only they had complete control are living in a fantasy.

  9. ink blot

    Dedicating oil taxes to the universities would just allow the state to shift even more if its budget allocation to other uses. It won’t increase total UC funding. It won’t solve anything. Garamendi is a fool.

  10. wdf

    “Dedicating oil taxes to the universities would just allow the state to shift even more if its budget allocation to other uses. It won’t increase total UC funding. It won’t solve anything. Garamendi is a fool.”

    Why should Alaska make all kinds of money from it’s oil severance taxes, but not California? It may not completely solve anything, but it would help.

  11. ink blot

    “It may not completely solve anything, but it would help.”


    It might make a small contribution (1 billion out of 25 billion or so in the current budget gap).
    But it would not solve the state’s or the university’s problem. For Garamendi to bring it up as “the” solution is
    absurd, and indicates that he is out of his league. He just doesn’t seem to understand what he is
    talking about.

  12. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]For Garamendi to bring it up as “the” solution is absurd, and indicates that he is out of his league. He just doesn’t seem to understand what he is
    talking about.[/i]

    No, ink blot, Garamendi is no fool. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s the Lieutenant Governor and he’s also running for Congress. He doesn’t really care about the university. He can’t afford to.

    The same thing goes for Leland Yee. Yee lives and breathes union support. He cares about UC even less than Garamendi, unless you think of a university as a food service organization that also teaches a little.

    Whenever I side with Yudof against these other guys, that doesn’t mean that Yudof is my big hero. He’s not; he has no direct connection to my career at all. The point is that if Yudof has the reins on $19 billion, the stakes are just too high for him to be paid the way that politicians are paid. The stakes are 100 times larger than they are for the Oakland A’s, yet they have two players who are each paid 12 times as much as Yudof. The answer to high compensation is to raise taxes on the rich, and not to turn UC into a political football.

  13. David M. Greenwald

    Garamendi has a much stronger connection to UC than you seem to understand.

    It’s also interesting to point out though you are very articulate, your views on this are from my understanding not representative of a lot of your colleagues. You have defended Yudof and the Regents at every turn.

  14. Mama Cass

    Why does the Vanguard love this guy so much. You said yourself you have heard him six times. I’ve never met him once. You wanted to support his son to run for the senate seat now held by Wolk. You make him out to be a champion for voting against furloughs but never question that he failed to win over a single vote. Looks like grandstanding to me and brown nosing too. Maybe if he gets to DC you can get a gig writing press releases for him.

  15. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Garamendi has a much stronger connection to UC than you seem to understand.[/i]

    I know, his son is Vice Chancellor at UC Merced. And people criticized Katehi for asking about the admission status of one well-connected Greek-American applicant. At least that girl wasn’t Katehi’s own daughter! And she was only applying to get into UIUC, she wasn’t applying for Vice Chancellor!

    [i]your views on this are from my understanding not representative of a lot of your colleagues.[/i]

    I don’t speak for any of my colleagues, especially if you don’t name them.

    [i]You have defended Yudof and the Regents at every turn.[/i]

    That’s because there have only been two turns. One is whether Yudof’s and Katehi’s salaries are a necessary evil, and the other is whether the furloughs are a necessary evil. These “turns” are both no-brainers.

    Do you want me to disagree with Yudof? No problem. He won’t admit that UC Merced hasn’t been worth it. He could save a lot of money if he closed Merced or gave it to Cal State, and gave Merced faculty the option of joining some other UC campus.

  16. rick entrikin

    Wow! What I intitially thought would be a rather mundane topic has exploded into a heated exchange on multiple issues. Great job by the Vanguard and all the previous respondents.

    David’s commentary seemed to praise Garamendi’s “independence” by being the lone dissenter on a 20-1 Regents’ vote. I don’t know Mr. Garamendi personally, but others who do know him have told me he is “wonderful.” And, I have no reason to question that assessment.

    However, I have to agree with other commenters that Garamendi’s linkage of an “oil severance tax” to the economic future of the UC system was nothing more than grandstanding. But, perhaps it’s good that he did so, because it brought a number of other issues into the fray.

    First, and foremost (in my opinion) is the future of the UC system, as well as the CSU & community college systems. These used to be, and should again be restored to, the most prominent higher-education systems in the entire nation.

    But something has gone terribly wrong to degrade the once-prestigious UC system into an unwelcome step-child during budgetary “deliberations” by state legislators. In my simplest analysis (or call me a simpleton, if you wish), during the past 25 years the UC system has been transformed from a service organization to educate & train our next generation of leaders into a huge commercial-industrial business complex.

    Can you imagine prestigious faculty & staff forced to take “furloughs?” Can you imagine high-achieving, middle-class, full-time students working as “baggers” or “checkers” @ local markets just to afford UC “fees?” Well, folks, that’s what we have now.

    And, during the entire demise of this once-great institution, the administrators have supported one another’s huge salary (& benefits) increases, spearheaded huge building developments & expansions (Man, Greg K., was right-on about UC Merced; what a waste!), all at the expense of faculty, staff & students.

    My solution for the UC system? Stop building, get rid of the inverted pyramid of overly-paid “administrators” and “assistants to the assistants,” (and @ UC Davis, empty Mrak Hall). I keep reading about the need to pay administrators 4-5 times the salary of full professors, since they “could command even more” in the private-sector. Well. fine, let them do so. I would like to see someone actively engaged in teaching & research lead UC Davis; not some wannabe CEO.

    I guarantee you one thing: if the UC Davis Chancellor position had been advertised @ $200,000 per year (with no house and no moving expenses), there would have been a virtual flood of applicants. And, perhaps a great Chancellor could have been selected from our existing faculty.

    (BTW: Nancy, didn’t mean to slight your “oil severance tax” issue. Don’t know much about it, but don’t think Garamendi was really trying to help UC by floating a legislative matter before the Regents. Tell us more.)

  17. Don Shor

    I really think this was a publicity stunt that is more related to politics than principle. I vote in Congressional District 10, where we are having a special election to replace Ellen Tauscher (it is a strangely configured district: the three houses on our side of the street are in CD10, while the two houses on the other side of the street are in CD3).
    Garamendi faces an uphill battle in that primary. In spite of his long political resumé, two of the other candidates have better name recognition in the east Bay, and one of the secured the endorsements of Tauscher and George Miller, veteran congressman from Martinez. Garamendi has acquired a reputation as a perennial candidate, constantly running for higher office, and isn’t really from the district (I’m not sure he even lives here, so I don’t know how he has established residency, but it is a weird-shaped district). Anthony Woods is getting a lot of publicity. So Garamendi had to do something to break out of the pack. It doesn’t hurt that this stance will endear him to the public employee unions. In a close race, having active volunteers out canvassing can make a big difference (just ask Mariko Yamada).

    Add to that the fact that this was a totally ineffective action on Garamendi’s part, and that the outcome was predetermined. No responsible regent would vote against Yudof’s proposal unless there was an alternative proposal that was fully developed and fiscally sound. Garamendi knows how the agenda process works at the regents’ board meetings. He could have developed a counter-proposal with actual numbers and put it forward. He could have added an agenda item to have the regents go on record as endorsing AB656 and an end to the 2/3 vote requirement. It was not an either/or choice of the Yudof proposal vs. AB656.

    So clearly he “took a stand” to garner headlines. And lo and behold: he got one on the Vanguard. But he also lost my vote.

  18. David M. Greenwald

    I want to address the grandstanding point. First of all, as I tried to point out, none of this is new from Garamendi, he’s been arguing this for some time.

    But second, when I read about him being the lone vote against the furloughs, I searched the web to try to find more info on it and I could only find a single line of quote usually towards the back of the article. So I thought on a weekend, why not see if I could talk to him or get a comment on it. Unfortunately he was unavailable however his staff did send me a transcript of his statement at the meeting. Based on the length of it, I would estimate he spoke for at most two minutes. Given the amount of work I had to do to get the transcript, I find it odd that people have heaped the grandstanding charge onto him, if anything I am probably guilty of overplaying it.

    Someone asked why I like him, probably because he embodies what I believe a public official should be–someone who stands up for the little people and is willing to be on the short end of the fight.

    As for my seeing him speak six times, most of them I did not see him speak due to me seeking him out. I saw him at the Democratic Champagne Brunch a couple of years ago, saw him last year speak at UC Davis for the College Democrats rally, he also had a fundraiser at Freddie Oakley’s house (which I didn’t go to, but Cecilia recorded for me), this year I saw him speak at Lincoln Club in Sacramento, at the Democratic State Convention, and then I attended a meeting with him with other bloggers throughout the state where we spent an hour and a half talking to the man.

    As an aside in terms of his knowledge of policy issues, I would put him at the very top in terms of the depth and breadth of knowledge. That has never translated into a good candidate however–he’s probably too cerebral for it. He along with Christopher Cabaldon were the most knowledgeable people I sat down with to talk policy issues, I would put Christopher behind him by a good measure but he was impressive.

  19. Nancy

    While we are discussing the UC system and funding, take a look at the furloughs and cuts. As far as I’ve read, no faculty paid from outside sources non-state monnies, such as huge government and private corporate grants, such as BP, Monsanto, etc., will take salary hits.

    So how about discussing what this mean in terms of freedom of research and outcomes or the vast difference in salaries, perks and facilities between the science side of the University and the humanities and social sciences side. I for one think “corporatization” of the university and education in general is the wrong direction. But as long as state and federal funding is cut this trend will accelerate with all the negative consequences. But, it will save money, but for what, more prisons?

    I think it is about time for an audit of state finances. Where have all the $$$ gone?

    Nancy Price

  20. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Given the amount of work I had to do to get the transcript, I find it odd that people have heaped the grandstanding charge onto him, if anything I am probably guilty of overplaying it.[/i]

    But the transcript is not the point. What Garamendi wants is the citation and the sound bite, what you call the “lone quote”, and he wants it in as many newspapers and on as many TV stations as possible. He wants people to remember these three words: GARAMENDI AGAINST FURLOUGHS. Sure, the beginning of the news clip would be better than the end, but the end is the second-best spot, and in every other respect Garamendi got what he wanted. Hundreds of thousands of people who probably won’t even remember Yudof’s name, have now been told that Garamendi is against furloughs.

    [b]John Garamendi voted against the plan, calling the furloughs “just not acceptable.”[/b] – Los Angeles Times

    [b]But Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, a regent, upstaged some of the drama by challenging the regents and each chancellor to “stand up and fight” instead of passively accepting the cuts.[/b] – San Francisco Chronicle

    [b]Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who is running for a congressional seat in the East Bay, was the sole dissenter among the regents.[/b] – San Jose Mercury News

    [b]Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who sits on the UC Board of Regents, listens Wednesday to details of how the system will deal with its estimated $813 million deficit.[/b] – Sacramento Bee (plus a photo of Garamendi)

    [b]The board approved the budget plan 20 to 1, with Lt. Governor John Garamendi voting against it.[/b] – KSBY TV

    Actually, I only partly blame Garamendi for grandstanding. Since he is an ex officio member of the Regents, the issue fell on him. If he didn’t grandstand, he would expose his chin in his Congressional race. His rivals could attack him with, “You claim that you’re for education, so why did you vote for furloughs with the fat cats on the UC Board of Regents?”

    But it is another illustration of why politicians shouldn’t control universities.

  21. Mama Cass

    Garamendi needs to break out of the pack?
    He is Lt.Governor and has been in the legislature. He was Insurance Commisioner, ran for Governor twice and served in the Clinton Administration. Guess he has been flying under the radar all these years so he needs to break out with this regents stunt.

  22. Huh?

    “I doubt he thought he was pulling off a stunt, I think he believes he was doing the right thing.”

    I think he believed he was doing what was the right thing for his political career, especially bc he knew it didn’t have a tinker’s damn chance of winning!

  23. David M. Greenwald

    He’s been very consistent on these issues in the past. Why especially because he knew it wouldn’t succeed–you shouldn’t do the right thing if it won’t work?

  24. DonShor

    CD 10 is very close to two UC campuses (it includes Dixon) and also includes Livermore. There are plenty of public employees that live in the congressional district. His action was symbolic, not substantive. The SEIU and both teachers’ unions have already endorsed him. SEIU’s hostility to the current UC administration has been well documented on this blog.

    Mama Cass: “Garamendi needs to break out of the pack?”
    Yes. He came into the race late. There are two local politicians already in the running. State Senator De Saulnier, who was a Contra Costa supervisor for 12 years, already has the endorsement of the outgoing Tauscher, Rep. George Miller, and the local labor council. Garamendi’s name recognition and long history in politics will help, but I don’t really consider him the front-runner in this contest.
    Just to complicate things, it is an open primary with a couple of Republicans in the running as well.

  25. ink blot

    David, I find it interesting how you are ready to give Garamendi the benefit of the doubt.

    “I think he believes he was doing the right thing.”

    “Someone asked why I like him, probably because he embodies what I believe a public official should be–someone who stands up for the little people and is willing to be on the short end of the fight. “

    You have sure bought what he’s been selling.

    You have a very different attitude towards Yudof and incoming chancellor Katehi, for some reason.

    By the way, Garamendi has been extensively criticized for botching the Executive Life failure when he was Insurance Commissioner. See

  26. David M. Greenwald

    Ink blot: In part it comes down to the fact that I agree with Garamendi and disagree with Yudof. Also Garamendi has been pretty consistent on this issue and I sat down with him for a good amount of time a few months ago and got a chance to really grill him. I’ve tried several times to interview Yudof and he has never allowed it, so I have no sense for him personally. I don’t have anything in particular against Yudof or Katehi. I don’t think Katehi handled the scandal particularly well. I think Yudof could have handled his salary issue and the furloughs better as well.

  27. Greg Kuperberg

    David, as a matter of human psychology, it’s dramatically easier to be fair to people after you have talked to them in person. Or, if they interview well, to be more than fair. And there are some hard questions that you certainly didn’t ask Leland Yee and probably not John Garamendi either. For instance, Garamendi’s declaration that furloughs are “unacceptable” sounds a little self-interested, given that his son stands to lose $25,000 in pay.

    There are several basic reasons why Yudof would be reluctant to grant you an interview. One is that, unlike Garamendi, he’s not a politician running for office. It’s his job to manage a $19 billion university and he ought to have his hands full with that. The other reason is that you haven’t signaled much interest in listening to him. You clearly understand why Matt Holliday or Eric Chavez is paid 10 times as much as Yudof to swing a bat for the Oakland A’s. Yet you find it scandalous that Yudof would take a 10% raise from the same job at the University of Texas. Do you think that he should accept a pay cut for the privilege of serving California instead of Texas?

    As for the budget, you’ve ignored sober financial explanations ([url][/url]) from UCOP, in favor of some Mickey Mouse arithmetic from George Lakoff and Lakeesha Harrison. If you don’t try to understand what Yudof and his office have already said, Yudof would have to wonder what an interview would accomplish.

    Likewise with Katehi, you’ve already told her that she has blood on her hands, and you’ve compared her to Richard Nixon. At this point, if you wanted to interview any top UC Davis official, they’d have to wonder, “What am I walking into?” Now, you might catch Katehi or someone else in a good mood and get an interview anyway. They might figure, correctly I think, that a face-to-face meeting would make a good impression on you. But you haven’t started off on the best foot.

  28. My View

    “I think Yudof could have handled his salary issue and the furloughs better as well.”

    How? What would you have preferred him to do? I am not clear on your position.

    I am not crazy about Yudof, and think his salary raise was positively obscene, especially at a time of economic crisis. I think someone else qualified enough could have been hired for half his salary. I do think the UC Regents are out of control when it comes to spending, and need some oversight (just not state gov’t oversight – when the state legislature gets its own house in order, only then do they have room to make suggestions in regard to UC or any other college system).

    That said, I see nothing wrong with Yudof’s furlough system. It is graduated so that the lower paid are not hit as hard. If not furloughs, what would you propose? Layoffs instead? What are the alternatives? It seems to me UC is being fairly responsible in how it is handling this economic crisis – except it should also declare a moratorium on ALL BUILDING.

    In so far as I am aware, UC is still continuing building those projects that have been funded through bonds, student fees or private donations. The problem w that is that I would guess that operating expenses for those new facilities will not come from bonds, or private donations. Someone correct me if I am wrong…

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