Friday, October 29, 2010

UC Pension Program Proposition Provokes Controversy From Union Members and Town halls give staff, faculty a closer look at 'future of UC retirement benefits'

Dear Dissenting Statement Folks,
Would you please release an update to your dissenting statement that details your position on Yudof's latest position?

Also, Yudof states that he has the backing of "the leadership of" certain staff organizations like CUCSA-- but he does not state that he has the organization's backing. It is an important difference.
It would be helpful if Yudof/UCOP would use the actual names of those who support his latest position and their rank in the staff org -- rather than referring to the "leadership of" X, Y staff org or faculty org.

Here are stories on the recent townhall at Cal on the pension-- take a look at the photo on the DailyCal story- the look of contempt from the panel table to the audience is rather remarkable imo:

Town halls give staff, faculty a closer look at 'future of UC retirement benefits'

UC Pension Program Proposition Provokes Controversy From Union Members

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Class War? Failed Leadership.

Catherine Liu has written an interesting post called Class War.
But it left out a key piece that I hope faculty will speak to (and perhaps Liu speaks to it in her forthcoming book, I don't know) :

Liu's post reminded me of the time when I first used the phrase "class war at Cal" in conversation. It occurred at the beginning of the decade, when many at Cal were vociferous in their protest against Bush and against the wars. Some commentary by UC members and the City of Berkeley was offensive to another part of the community at Cal- a large number of staff and students at Cal were serving in, or had family members who were serving in the armed forces. Many felt their viewpoints were not being respected in the discourse- they were hearing attacks on military service while struggling with the financial hardship of military service and pay etc. The administration tried to deal with the backlash after the fact. See letters to the editor here for some detail- the Berkeleyan also attempted to cover this- their archives are not so easy to search- but here is one story and another one. It was a failure in leadership at the top that the issue was allowed to fester for too long. Administration eventually worked on giving a face to those in military service who also concurrently studied and worked at Cal. At that time, it was merely a failure in quick leadership response...

To me, those experiences were some early warning signs that the ever present "class war" was going down a nasty path of becoming more hostile and complex.

Class wars always involve race- and we can't avoid it.

Finding solutions to these problems in the University-Cocoon setting (forgive the oxymoron) at UC is difficult when, year after year, we are hampered by a leadership group that has ZERO credibility both system-wide and state-wide because they provide scandal after scandal documented in the press.

Sometimes bad leaders at least can be great communicators of their own message-- but we don't even get that benefit. Our UC leaders also speak out of both sides of their mouths, examples:

In response to protests at UC Irvine and other racially charge incidents earlier this year, Regent Lansing encouraged students to attend a Jewish Studies Center at UCLA to foster deeper understanding among groups.

and now we see this story:
UCLA's ongoing suspension of admissions to Islamic studies worries students
Admissions were frozen in 2007, pending a reorganization. But that hasn't happened, and students fear that the program could simply be allowed to die.

What sort of message does that send to students- not just Bruins- but students throughout the system? Students at Irvine see what goes on at UCLA and vice versa etc.

Additionally, the Ethnic Studies programs (always ridiculed but now under assault) at Cal are also being downsized
Students, Faculty Discuss The Fate of Ethnic Studies

while the campus does double speak on Diversity Program Seeks to Improve Understanding of Diversity on Campus

Our shared troubles are complicated by a failure to provide a model/example of leadership, an absence of credibility and trust at the top and trickling on down. Efforts at fostering objectivity and perspective are doomed almost from the start when the top level of management thinks they have the answers- and, as most low level staffers can tell you, it is a lesson in futility to attempt to "manage up".

So, where do answers come from in these times when the economic woes are just fuel to the fire?

Monday, October 25, 2010

UC's One Hundred Million Dollar Legal Bill $$$

Yes, One Hundred Million Dollars... you can read about it here

This reminds us of the August Audit and Advisory Special Meeting.
During the discussion of the cyber security insurance plan
the presenters mentioned- in trying to sell the value of the insurance- that there is a current on-going case where the liability could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. We recall this info peaked the attention of Regent Makarechian and he referred to it as well in his questions. Do any of you readers happen to know what case they were referring to specifically? Do we have the right to know? We attempted to find out but, well, let's just say we felt "intimidated" and didn't pursue it.

Also, it appears there are many firms up and down the state on retainer for UC -- perhaps those pursuing legal representation (e.g. against UC) might have the option to: first ask any firm they consider hiring if that firm would have a conflict in representing them(e.g. against UC)? - perhaps ask that first before supplying any identifying information or details on any potential case might be a good idea?- do your research on this folks!

Geez, its crazy the UC community has to think this way!

This also reminds us of Bob Samuels Why UC Has Huge Legal Bills post

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Yudof carefully pulled the sheets down, fluffed the pillows, and decided he needed to snuggle"

that quote comes from this story, and it also asks this important question:
" if Mark Yudof thought the California Chamber of Commerce had become too political, why hadn't he advised his universities to sever ties with the organization? And if he thought it was inappropriate for himself to participate, why was it appropriate for the schools he oversees, tax payer-funded institutions, to participate? These schools are clearly giving moral and material support to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."

Top Corporations Aid U.S. Chamber of Commerce Campaign

Countdown video: Group skirts campaign donation limit

AFSCME pushes back
Larry Scanlon comments on the group's $87 million contribution to the midterm elections.

AFSCME Responds To Critics: Unlike Chamber There's "No Mystery" With Us
We wonder if the parents and students at Pajaro Valley High School are aware of any of this as Yudof was selling the Blue and Gold program to them?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mark Yudof, Chamber of Commerce, Latino Coalition, Voter Suppression

Please see the following stories on these items,this first for an overview:
American Taxpayers Paying for U.S. Chamber's Political Hit Job Against Democrats
by KathleenPederson
Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 05:01:27 PM PDT
I was disgusted to find that my college was part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the organization which is currently spending millions of dollars to defeat Democrats and overturn the programs that I support. After a bit of research, I discovered that there were at least 5 California universities which have a direct link to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC San Francisco. I'd always thought that colleges and universities funded by taxpayers were prohibited from supporting one political party over the other, so I decided to get some answers. read the rest of this post here

Read this story New Efforts at Voter Suppression Aimed at Latinos

and also take a look at the Chamber of Commerce affiliation with Latino Coalition here at the Latino Coalition website.

We are left asking the question: Why Does Mark Yudof, UC President want to be made an Ex Officio Member of the Chamber of Commerce?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cal Students Don't Have A Clue About Operational Excellence...

and how it will affect them- can it be true?
-Their textbooks store
-Number of Hours with their advisors
-Their personal data in IT Systems
-the number of minutes with a financial aid representative
and so much more...
all of it on the line - but they don't know?- or are they being shut out?
Read more about it here.
Is the same thing going on at UC Davis Operational Excellence Exodus?
And is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion merely in the suggestion box in the process?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Big Oil Goes to College-Study Shows Big Oil Money Can Influence Research.

An Analysis of 10 Research Collaboration Contracts Between Leading Energy Companies and Major U.S. Universities
It addresses the slick BP-Cal deal.
You can read the full report here.

Study Shows Big Oil Money Can Influence Research
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) ― A Washington think tank says three California research universities that accept big oil money, including the University of California, Berkeley, have failed to shield themselves from corporate influence.

The Center for American Progress study says UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Stanford and seven other universities accept money from petroleum companies, leading to a cozy relationship that gives big oil too much control over decisions on what research to fund.

The California universities in the "Big Oil Goes to College" report dispute the study conclusions.

The San Francisco Chronicle says the report found no evidence of compromised research in its study of 10 contracts between universities and corporate sponsors.

But study author Jennifer Washburn says the contracts tend to give more control to companies that foot the bill than to researchers.


Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

UC "MarketPlace" For Data On Applicants, Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni

little to nothing said about security improvements
but a whole lot of talk about marketing the data they have on us
in this story
not terribly reassuring when you consider these incidents (its four pages long! but not an exhaustive list)

also, the quotes in the story raise more concerns about the quality of the data that was given to Bain consultants as they conducted their analysis for Operational Excellence Exodus.

they perhaps would have been better off talking about their "first-of-its-kind -don't-know-if-it-will-work carrot" insurance policy plan being instituted system wide -- a sort of "layered carrot cake" approach...

When Hellman Froze Over On Pension Prop and RoundUp of Updates

Warren Hellman Leaves Prop. B Campaign -- Shocks Prop. B Backers
--Prop. B, spearheaded by public defender Jeff Adachi, would force San Francisco city workers to contribute more to their pension and healthcare benefits. The initiative is vehemently opposed by the city's public employee unions--here is my post from when Hellman first announced support for Prop. B
and it will also be informative if you have no idea what Warren Hellman has to do with UC.
University Probe has this new post on pension:

I am also including for your reference this recent news story on Prop B in San Francisco
this article on Schwarzenegger and Pension veto work-- I think it might be instructive...

the Chris Edley forum on online education is covered here.

here is the latest on Operational Exodus at Cal
Campus Officials Address Confusion Over Job Cuts

Impending Position Eliminations Source of Worry Amongst Staff

* if anyone has any info on updates about operational exodus at Davis, drop us a line.

and recent UCOF updates are here as well.

but, frankly, the whole Hellman Commission UCOF thing just looks like a dog and pony show, busy work to quell the masses they can't just give the finger to-- or some such.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

VOTE, info guides on CA propositions for Nov 2010

Here are some links that we read to help us learn about different propositions in CA. You can also adjust the font since the mailed hard copy guides aren't so reader friendly. Don't forget to vote!

Also, it just has to be said - while everyone was worked up over "Whoregate" no one wanted to talk about this story:

Governor Kills Domestic Violence Shelter Bill
Friday, October 01, 2010

Yee: Schwarzenegger has a "disturbing" record on domestic violence issues

SACRAMENTO – After eliminating funding for domestic violence shelters in the state budget and forcing a number of domestic violence programs to close, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) vetoed legislation that would have returned up to $5 million to shelter programs.

SB 662, authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), would have allowed counties to increase marriage license fees by up to $10 to provide for critical domestic violence shelter services.

“Governor Schwarzenegger has a very disturbing record on issues surrounding domestic violence,” said Yee. “His actions are unconscionable. Until we end domestic violence, funding for shelters should never be on the chopping block.”

“The Governor has forced battered women and their children into a choice between homelessness and returning to their abuser,” said Yee. “Closing domestic violence shelters will only result in increased health care, law enforcement and other costs to the state, but more critically, it will put victims of domestic violence and their children in grave danger.”

As he did in the 2009-10 state budget, Schwarzenegger again has proposed eliminating $16.3 million for California’s 94 domestic violence shelters in the 2010-11 budget. Last year, Yee introduced and passed emergency legislation to restore the funding. With this year’s budget still not approved, it is uncertain if such funding will be restored again.

“Domestic violence victims literally cannot survive another year with this Governor,” said Yee.

SB 662 was meant to offset previous years cuts and not to backfill the Governor’s proposed elimination of funding. The bill would have allowed counties to raise a portion of marriage license fees that already funds domestic violence shelters from $23 to $33. This fee has been in place for decades but has not been increased since 1993.

“We are deeply troubled by the Governor's decision to veto SB 662,” said Tara Shabazz, Executive Director of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. “This bill would have given counties the option to support badly needed domestic violence programs in their communities. In addition to eliminating State shelter funding, this veto sends the message that these life-saving services are expendable, when in fact communities depend on them to preserve public safety and keep families safe.”

Domestic violence shelters are often the only thing standing between victims and physical harm or death. For a list of shelters and programs, visit:

According to a national census of domestic violence services, in just one day, over 7,700 requests for services went unmet due to a lack of resources. When the resources do not exist for victims to receive domestic violence services, they are often left with no choice but to risk their own lives by returning to their abusers.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or if you want to report an incident of domestic violence, call the 24-hour-a-day toll-free National Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 (TDD) or the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence at 1-800-524-4765.


We wonder which story - the close of domestic violence shelters vs. Whoregate - will be most discussed at First Lady of California Maria Shriver's Women's Conference in Long Beach when Meg, Jerry and Arnold take the stage for a panel discussion.

Revive the Five!

We support Cal athletes fighting for their sport.
Here are some links to look at in support of their cause.
Brainstorm solutions with them, give them a donation, sign their petitions, respectfully express your concerns -- whatever.

-- We really encourage the Revive the Five folks to create a simple shared blog with links to their sport and their various sites/facebook pages etc as a "one stop shop" -- it is difficult to hunt down the contact info. Also, they could update that blog with items like their perspective on Sandy Barbour's recent address about Cal Athletics which was not covered by the media, and Daily Cal stories related to their plight but giving their perspective etc-- anyway, its just a suggestion.

here are some of the Daily Cal stories in recent days:

good luck. Go Bears!

"Some of the acoustics here remind me of my days as mayor of San Francisco, and I don't miss them." Di-Fi

Of course you don't, we rarely see you in SF Di-Fi, doubt if you can even find your way around town, you know, the parts where the lowly folks live and work...

the quote above came from this story

and here is Daily Cal coverage of the Blum protest

Remember the last time Blum came on campus- Bill Clinton was present- no arrests, no having to cross picket lines
I doubt Di Fi would have made the same comments if the former president was present
etc. but while Bill's away ...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Divide and Conquer

we all know the ever present conflicts between various stakeholder groups
Faculty vs Staff
K-12 vs. Higher Ed
but I can't recall a time when UC students were ever more pitted against each other

this latest news story captures it well- especially the comments section

it will be interesting to see how/if/when the student body stands up to those who rigged the game against them.

one purpose of a university is to encourage a healthy competition in the pursuit of academic excellence

not foment racial and class warfare through their policies imo
UCOP would say that it is all Sacramento's fault - but as you can see from all of the stories on this site, that simply isn't the case- they each share the blame.
Blue Angels Rock! they put on an amazing show for us today- Love them, love the sound of them!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Got Mine... Who Cares About K-12, Human Services

Update: Schwarzenegger signed the Not In My Name - Kick the Can Down The Road - Smoke and Mirrors budget.

State legislature approves 2010-11 budget
>> Statement from UC vice president of budget
I was proud of Senator Yee sending out this statement:
Senator Yee Opposes Devastating Budget Cuts
Friday, October 08, 2010

SACRAMENTO – Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) issued the following statement regarding his vote on the state budget:

“At a time when many California families are struggling to just put food on the table, government and the state budget needs to work for them.

While I appreciate the effort put in to develop a budget deal, I can not support further devastation to our schools, social services, and health care. The brutal reality is that many of our poor, elderly and most vulnerable individuals simply will not survive this budget.

Enough is enough – our students, seniors, and working Californians deserve better.”

--It is wrong, just wrong and good people need to say it.

You can read more about the Alice In Wonderland Budget Here

also, some important excerpts from this PEW report:
from pg 41
Finding savings of that size by trimming the state workforce also
is problematic. There are fewer state employees per resident now than there
were in Ronald Reagan’s last year as governor, says State Senator Denise
Moreno Ducheny. Plus, she says, most of the state workers paid for out of the state’s general funds—the area of the budget in most trouble—are in university systems or in corrections. “Nobody really wants to cut university faculty. Nobody really wants to lay off prison guards,” Ducheny says. “So,where is it?”
from pg 42
When asked what areas of state spending they most want to protect from cuts,
half of Californians name K-12 public education,
while another quarter pick Medicaid (see Exhibit 14).
Just 15 percent say higher education is the area they most want to see protected.

But public support has not shielded schools from budget cuts.
Two years ago, the legislature approved a change to help
local school districts cope with budget shortfalls by reducing the minimum
number of school days from 180 a year to 175. Statewide, 20,000 teachers
were laid off last year, according to California’s superintendent of public
instruction. And a record 174 school districts landed on the state’s list of
financially troubled systems. “Massive state budget cuts are crippling
our public school system’s ability to operate,” said Jack O’Connell, the state
superintendent of public instruction, in a statement. “Public education in California received $17 billion less in state funding than anticipated over the last two budget years. School districts already have made draconian cuts to programs and services, eliminated summer school, increased class sizes, and cut art, music, libraries, school nurses and sports.

And the MULTI BILLION dollar UC,CSU auxiliaries go on unchecked operating in the shadows with closed books
and on it goes

Thursday, October 7, 2010

UPDATE: Media Blackout On Oct 7th Day Of Action

got some coverage, take a look:

Daily Cal is live blogging
Look on HuffPo college and Education section - not one story about Oct 7th Day Of Action-- not even on their Impact section. How can folks have an impact if no one is willing to cover it? Checked google for stories at 930am PST-- surely something on the east coast or midwest must be going on by this time of day -- Nope, Nothing.
KRON 4 News in Norcal- SF had one story @ Cal in front of MLK Student Union at 730am- nothing on KGO, KPIX,KTVU. Is your local news covering it? If not, why?

Perhaps their corporate interests won't allow for it?

Note it, report it, complain about it.

We pay for the MSM.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Questions Remain On Coordination Between UCOF, UCOP and OE

Operational Excellence and UC Commission on the Future (UCOF)
1- Why was there no coordination between UCOF and OE at the various campuses?
Faculty working on UCOF had no idea that OE was happening at the same time!
You'll recall some faculty working on UCOF dared to insert themselves into the discussion of OE and some development staff at Cal pitched a fit over non Cal faculty making any comments on OE- if you don't remember that - see this.

Operational Excellence and UC Office of the President (UCOP)
2- Who is coordinating the various OE initiatives among all the vendors/consultants at each campus in order to ensure that there is OE SYSTEMWIDE?

Frequently, initiatives at the campus level are not understood by UCOP personnel-or even on their radar- so the improvements and streamlining all the way up to UCOP are never fully achieved/realized and so the major problems persist.

--these questions are not asked, nor answered in the following piece, but it does address some important points- so we've cross posted it here:

Principles for Evaluating "Operational Excellence" at UC Berkeley, Fall 2010

(we are not sure what "SAVE" means on the title of that post)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oct 7th and Nov 2nd

They are linked- regardless of what you do on Oct 7th... MAKE SURE YOU VOTE ON NOV 2ND -so let's look at the choice we have for Gov (who appoints UC Regents). The OC Register has an easy to read comparison between the two candidates proposed solutions:

Higher Education

The Problem: Budget cutbacks have reduced the number of students accepted at the University of California and the California State University systems. Meanwhile, community colleges, which now have to absorb students not heading to public universities, also have fewer resources.

Jerry Brown

Channel cost savings from the prison system to higher education.

It is unclear whether the current financial model for our universities can be maintained. Convene a representative group to develop a new state Master Plan for Higher Education.

Explore online learning and new technologies to the fullest as well as "extended university" programs to increase educational productivity, expand access to higher learning, and reduce costs.

Ensure that community college transfer courses closely align with, and are accepted by, the California State University and University of California systems so that transfer students are not forced to take redundant courses.

Meg Whitman

Use savings from welfare and other budgetary reforms to invest $1 billion in the UC and CSU systems.

Take advantage of the academic excellence at our universities and create economic opportunity zones to encourage businesses to locate within a specified zone around these institutions. Tax incentives offered within these zones would be focused on hiring workers, promoting research and development, increasing access to state funds and loans, and encouraging a close collaboration with universities.

you can read more comparisons between Brown and NutMeg on education here in this article

Right To A Speedy Trial at Cal?

Its the Sixth Amendment in the USA
but perhaps that model is not applicable in the peculiarly sovereign, self-governing, "public" land grant institution that is UC.
--and the Senior Editorial Board at Daily Cal thinks it is "just a shame"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pensions, Hellman, Bain Capital and Bain Consulting

If you are concerned about pensions in CA then you should read this article
which concerns:
"Financier and philanthropist Warren Hellman contributed $50,000 to the contentious Proposition B campaign. Prop. B, spearheaded by public defender Jeff Adachi, would force San Francisco city workers to contribute more to their pension and healthcare benefits. The initiative is vehemently opposed by the city's public employee unions."

if you don't recognize the name-then, do the Google-- "Warren Hellman and University of California"

SF Chron's Matier and Ross also say:
"Proving that he is indeed 'hardly strictly bluegrass' (an SF concert this weekend) billionaire financier and free concert host Warren Hellman has contributed $50,000 to the very hot Yes on B pension reform campaign in SF. "Great another Wall Street billionaire pointing the finger at public workers and saying we're the reason for all the financial problems" said police officers union head Gary Delagnes.
Hellman, who was busy putting together his annual concert in Golden Gate Park, did not return calls for comment. Prop B would require city workers to pay more for both their pensions and for their family health care plans. It was put together by Public Defender Jeff Adachi and has attracted the endorsement of former L.A. mayor Dick Riordan (who has given $50,000) and former SF mayor Willie Brown (who has given lip service).
City worker unions have launched their biggest campaign effort in years to beat back the measure.
The "no" forces have about $350,000 on hand, but labor is promising to pour in $1.3 million before it is all over. Unions have also gotten just about every elected official in the city to come out against Prop B except the biggest name in town - Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has opted to stay neutral."

--you will recall that Dianne Feinstein is married to billionaire UC Regent (another Dick) Blum. So much for neutral...

(we wonder if Blum, Di-Fi, Hellman were listening in on last week's UC Retirement Townhall Webcast? or was that just for the 'little people')

Phil Matier was on KPIX news this morning and highlighted that this proposition will impact pension policy across California- so its important folks.

Jeff Adachi is a fellow bear and you can read more about him here

is this Boston based business :

connected to this Boston based business?

and are these the same Bains and Hellmans who are involved in UCOF (the defunct busy work of Hellman Commission on the Future) and Operational Excellence Exodus (at Berkeley) -- are these the same players being discussed in the story below?

comments with info to confirm either way would be much appreciated.

(if it is true - its 'hell'-acious, just hellacious)

Kind of like the movie Burnt Offerings - which was filmed at Dunsmuir Hellman House -- perhaps the Hellmans would let UC use it and it could serve as the new UC President home given this story. "Burnt offerings" pretty much sums up the way UC is treating Blake House-- so it would be pretty apropos.