Saturday, June 29, 2013

Haas: "But we don't vouch for the assumptions of revenue-generation provided by the athletic department. If they overestimated things, the model won't work."

see: Cal Stadium Financing Flaws Could Cripple Athletic Department

"Is it possible the adjustments will constrict our operating budget? Yeah," Barbour said. "And if it does, we'll address it at the time."

Said Wilton, the vice chancellor: "It puts more pressure on them, but so be it."

The situation could put the Bears at a competitive disadvantage: Many Pac-12 peers are likely to funnel TV revenue to football recruiting budgets and coaches salaries and to support money-losing Olympic sports.

It's also a worrisome sign for a department that nearly cut four sports (and re-classify a fifth) in 2010 because of budget woes.

"We have a lot of faith in the people making the decisions," said baseball coach David Esquer, whose program was eliminated, then reinstated -- and is now self-funded. "I haven't sensed any behind-the-scenes discomfort."

The $50 million in long-term media revenue earmarked for stadium debt could have been put to another use: Reducing the athletic department's reliance on institutional support.

This year, the Bears received $4.5 million in campus funds, which come from a variety of sources, including student fees. (Taxpayer dollars are not used to support athletics.) The figure is expected to decrease to approximately $2 million starting next year.

but the operational excellence of this passage was so...special: "(Cal paid Stadium Capital Financing $4.6 million, including expenses. A former company executive declined to comment on the situation. This newspaper was unable to confirm that SCF remains operational.)"

Thursday, June 27, 2013

UCLA Going Private? Yudof OKs Private UCLA MBA Program

see: UC President OKs Self-Supporting Plan For UCLA Business Master's Program by Larry Gordon in the LA Times

"Judy Olian, the dean of Anderson, described the decision as "a win-win for both the university and for UCLA Anderson." She said it will enable the school to invest in program innovations "while redirecting state support to other needed priorities at the university." In her statement, she did not specify whether tuition would be hiked in the near future."

Here's the: UCLA announcement and link to the letter.
The letter includes: "I want to acknowledge that the UC Academic Senate does not support this course of action."
and, again, look at this article (on UCLA- but also includes a section On UC Regent Blum Getting It Wrong on Cal) Public Research for Private Gain:
"According to Blum, Berkeley's tech transfer office staff bungled the invention's transfer to private industry and the faculty inventor was excluded from further participation. "Next thing I know is this group takes this project, doesn't tell us what they're doing with it, licenses this to somebody, and won't even tell us who they licensed to develop the product."
A basic web search shows, however, that Blum got much of this story wrong."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CPRA Update, An Important Article on UC Tech Transfer

from EFF says:
With a 27-11 vote, the state senate on Monday sent a new version of the trailer bill—without the public-records language—to the governor’s desk. Brown has pledged his support for the new bill, SB 71, as long as the legislature also passes a constitutional amendment that would shift the cost of complying with CPRA from the state to the local agencies. That is set for a vote later this week and would be placed on the ballot in 2014.

they also mention AB 76
and LA Times: Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Bill Allowing More Closed-Door Meetings
The measure adds the governor to the list of people with whom local officials can meet in private to discuss security issues.

Not sure how that works but apparently other state officials have been allowed to do it and now they are just adding in the Governor's position.
And, UCLA Fac Blog has a post on Newco and UC
UCLA Tech Transfer, UC Berkeley Tech Transfer offices
Alumni UC Regents, their law firms, biz partners and UC patents
and on and on...
it is like an update on "How the UC Regents Spin" from a few years back -- but now it includes other players:

Agensys' deal with UCLA was unique in that the school reportedly had some equity stake in the company. The university has never disclosed the financial terms of the deal, however, so just what benefit there was to UCLA isn't clear. Some say the university benefited greatly, while others claim it was actually short-changed and that Agensys' private investors were given a favorable deal because they were big donors to UC.

another section:
What is clear is that the biggest moneymaker in the Agensys deal was a small network of investors who earned millions. These investors included UCLA professor Arie Belldegrun, a doctor who has created and advised numerous biotechnology companies over his career. Roy Doumani, a wealthy Los Angeles banking and real estate investor, and friend of Belldegrun, was also part of Agensys. Doumani has been a major UCLA donor for several decades. In 1989, he gave UCLA a $7 million oceanfront house in Venice Beach. One of his more recent gifts to the school was an endowed chair in urologic oncology. This prestigious faculty post is currently occupied by Belldegrun. Although he has no scientific background, Doumani recently became a UCLA faculty member by joining the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology to teach the "business of science."

Please read this important article: Public Research for Private Gain

University Workplaces and SCOTUS

decisions...all over this story on Vance, more.
see: Thrun - Newfield and Newfield - Thrun

(Didn't 20mm's Dean Florez get an MBA from Harvard? Maybe we'll soon read his...)
Even if you just hung out around Cheit or the old Jimmy Beans etc.-- noticed the sponsorship lettering/banners plastered around the Haas complex (B school) facilities at Cal, this might strike a li'l funny: UC Regents, San Diego governments launch LIBOR lawsuit
"The ability to articulate, design and innovate will be combined with the traditional technical rigor of a Berkeley engineering education.

Ask anyone to describe an engineer, and you’ll probably hear words like “logical” or “good at math” rather than “creative” or “artistic.” But we agree with Paul Jacobs that successful engineers must possess creative design skills and entrepreneurship skills on top of deep technical understanding."
VRA, and After ruling that the time on SB 5 had expired, he told reporters that "an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics - that ebb and flow of movements thing again.

If you aren't paying attention to SCOTUS this week - then you aren't fully aware of the times we are living in...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Steinberg on Education, CPRA, Mandates, but NOT on Trailer Bills

it starts off with CPRA debacle and then moves to his feelings on mandates and then at the 14:00 mark it goes into education and accountability - but (so far as we can hear) he does not tackle the ending of trailer bill behavior. More to read: here.

and earlier...

"Black, Latino and Native American students made up almost 54 percent of California's high school graduates in 2012 -- but just 27 percent of all freshmen, UC-wide, and 16 percent of UC Berkeley's freshmen class that year."

see: Affirmative Action Ban At UC, 15 Years Later By Katy Murphy

also consider this story of personal experience of a student and reflections of other students in accompanying video along with it. Also a reminder of the history of the Lemongrove case in CA...

What Happens Without Affirmative Action - The Story of UCLA
what is being directed at the next Student Regent? - see this piece for one side and more background here
It looks like the UC Regents are meeting on the next UC President quite a bit lately
this from the SJ Merc:
"Every member of the state Assembly who represents a part of the Bay Area voted for Assembly Bill 76, which contained provisions gutting the state Public Records Act. All but three state Senators did the same.
YES -- Luis Alejo, D-Salinas; Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco; Susan Bonilla, D-Concord; Rob Bonta, D- Alameda; Joan Buchanan, D- Alamo; Nora Campos, D-San Jose; Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton; Paul Fong, D-Cupertino; Jim Frazier, D-Oakley; Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park; Marc Levine, D-San Rafael; Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco; Bill Quirk, D-Hayward; Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley; Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley; Philip Ting, D-San Francisco; Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; Mariko Yamada, D-Davis;
YES -Jim Beall, D-San Jose; Ellen Corbett, D-Hayward; Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley; Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo; Mark Leno, D-San Francisco; William Monning, D-Carmel; Lois Wolk, D-Davis
NO -- Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Leland Yee, D-San Francisco
NO VOTE RECORDED -- Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa"
Life of the absurd and a 20% approval rating

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Jerry Brown abandons plan to limit access to government records - Jerry Brown will support bill keeping Public Records Act intact

see: update from First Amendment Coalition

"likely averted" says NBC Bay Area

View more videos at:

in the Sac Bee: Jerry Brown will support bill keeping Public Records Act intact

LA Times: Jerry Brown abandons plan to limit access to government records and: Gutting public's right to see records would be huge mistake

that's for now anyway-- who knows what might happen 10 mins from now - or 10 hours or...

Document: Letter to Governor Jerry Brown regarding California Public Records Act

and updated with more signatures

View more videos at:

Proposed Bill Would Eliminate California's Public Records Act
By Damian Trujillo

Why Does CA Gov Want To Shred CPRA For A Year?

Sac Bee's headline should really read: Jerry Brown says let's shred CPRA and leave it totally messed up for a year and then claim we fixed it...

also: Is Less Liberal The New Conservative?

Why are Dems trying to game fellow Dems with the e.g. ‏@MarcLevine
"I agree with the Governor and will introduce an ACA to protect the Public Records Act."

Sacto- 'we are going to protect it after we demolish it' logic...yep, we see what is happening. Governor's re-election could be a lot harder too-- b/c no one will forget.
An hour after Pérez's announcement, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said the Senate would not move the replacement bill until"we get word from one public entity that they are not complying"

what does that mean? really?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

UPDATE:"Battered by criticism from open government activists, the Assembly will vote Thursday to undo a budget bill that made some provisions of the state's Public Records Act optional for local governments."

CPRA Switcheroo: Assembly cuts CPRA threats from Budget Bill, but Senate won’t sign revised bill

KQED Assembly Speaker Perez: California Public Records Act Changes Will Not Go Through

Plan B: Saving the CPRA from Repeated Sabotage


Today, please call the Governor at (916) 445-2841 and ask the following:

“I urge Governor Brown to veto section 4 of Senate Bill 71 and Assembly Bill 76 (specifically section 6252.8 to the Goverment Code) to restore effectiveness to the Public Records Act.”

Melody Gutierrez @MelodyGutierrez
Senate will pursue constitutional amendment. Will hold Assembly's amendments re CPRA until they hear of noncompliance by a city or county.

Melody Gutierrez @MelodyGutierrez
@proTemSteinberg said constitutional amendment will be on floor next week. "We want to look at what the law should be." #CPRA
Original post:
See Sac Bee!: Battered by criticism from open government activists, the Assembly will vote Thursday to undo a budget bill that made some provisions of the state's Public Records Act optional for local governments.

In a statement Wednesday, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez said the Assembly will move Senate Bill 71 without the records act changes requested by Gov. Jerry Brown .

"To be clear, this means that the California Public Records Act will remain intact without any changes as part of the budget - consistent with the Assembly's original action," Pérez said.

and Steinberg et al to hold presser at 4:30pm PST on CPRA

EFF has a good explanation of what these latest moves really mean

and more here

Does UC ask the state to reimburse UC for costs related to CPRA?

Where Is The Press?

First Amendment Coalition has assembled multiple links on: CPRA Budget Bill threat update: Editorials skewer “appalling,” “unbridled arrogance” of legislative “sneak attack”

-but still have to ask where is (the rest of) the press? seriously? news coverage on broadcast tv on this issue is non existent. some newspapers don't mention it at all-- even Daily Cal hasn't covered it... (but Daily Cal is covering other trailer bills in the budget)...

this stood out:
EDITORIAL: Tell Brown to veto attack on Public Records Act

The unbridled arrogance of government is on full display, here in California and across our great land. In the name of security and the war on terror, the federal government is prying ever deeper into the lives of law-abiding Americans, eroding civil liberties and owning up to the deeds only after a whistle-blower calls them to the public's attention.

Meanwhile, in California, a Legislature controlled by a Democrat supermajority and in concert with Gov. Jerry Brown, wants citizens to know as little as possible about the workings of local government."

On Friday, lawmakers approved a pair of budget trailer bills (SB 71 and AB 76) that would free local governments of the obligation to comply with certain aspects of the California Public Records Act. The bills zipped through the Legislature with little or no committee review. Lawmakers clearly wanted to rubber stamp potentially embarrassing legislation under cover from prying eyes.

The supposed justification for the bills is to free the state of the obligation to pay local governments for complying with state open records mandates. Under Proposition 1A of 2004, the state must either suspend the mandates or reimburse local governments for complying.

That's the ostensible reason. The real reason is that Gov. Brown and legislative leaders have a weak commitment to transparent governance. Collectively, they've received scrutiny over pay raises, use of state funds, the Bay Bridge debacle and other embarrassments. Collectively, they're the foundation of a Secrecy Lobby that wants to keep Californians in the dark.

Only one Democrat -- Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco -- had the courage to buck the party line and and join Republicans in voting no. Said Yee: "It's not about saving money. It's all about curtailing an open, transparent government that can be held accountable."

If these bills become law, local governments and their representatives say they will continue to grant open records requests. Perhaps many would, but if they didn't, the public would have little legal recourse if a city or county decided to keep public documents secret.

In the hands of reporters and ordinary citizens, the California Public Records Act is the hammer that makes public agencies reveal the salaries and pensions of government workers and officials. The Act forces the disclosure of legal fees, project overruns and the recordings of 911 calls. Take away that hammer, and the wall around government becomes thicker and taller.

This is just the latest assault on sunshine. Last year, to avoid paying reimbursements, lawmakers and the governor suspended notice mandates for public meetings. This year, lawmakers considered imposing a $10-per-file fee on the public to look at court records. Fortunately, a conference committee killed that bill.

Public pressure can make a difference again. Urge the governor to reject SB 71 and AB 76 by contacting him at:

In the Fresno Bee
Kinda in shock reading this just now from East Bay Express: Jerry Brown's Assault on Transparency
The governor and state legislative leaders struck a backroom deal to eviscerate portions of California's public records law. Plus, Big Oil and Gas defeat fracking bills.

"When he was mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown was never a fan of transparency and openness in government. He made a habit of blocking access to public records back then, and his staff destroyed reams of public documents before he left City Hall in late 2006. So it was no surprise that Governor Brown's administration worked behind closed doors in recent weeks with state Democratic leaders to gut key aspects of California's open records law."
"As for Brown, this latest action is just more of the same. In the early part of the last decade, he worked furiously to block access to public records in Oakland, including an investigative report concerning his then-top aide, Jacques Barzaghi. Several female employees at City Hall had accused Barzaghi of sexual harassment, but Brown's administration went to court to keep the report on Barzaghi secret. Brown's staffers then destroyed essentially all public records in the mayor's office after he was elected California attorney general — the statewide position in charge of enforcing the Public Records Act."
you might ask yourself: why would one need a public records act just to find out textbook and syllabi information?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dirks: " many intellectuals don’t want to take on the sort of complications and impurities that come with being public.”

"Battle ready"..."purity"
"The politician Dirks has spent the most time with is his new boss, the Governor. “When I first met Jerry Brown, he was making hay on questions from executive compensation to online education,” says Dirks. (Brown had voted against increasing the chancellor’s pay by $50,000, even though the raise was coming from private donors.) But since then Brown has been reading Dirks’s books “and we have had these long conversations about caste, about hierarchy, about social theory.” While Brown, he adds, is fascinated by some of the academic superstars whose work he doesn’t necessarily understand or appreciate, he’s really interested in the relationship between ideas and celebrity.

There are a number of ways you could read that sentence, but Dirks seems essentially to be a fan of the Governor’s, at least so far. “He’s unusual; you don’t see political people like that.”

Dirks has obviously been thinking a bit about this public persona."
The title of the article: "Administering Change"
just sad

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Who Buried SB 71/AB 76 Legislation In The CA Budget?

The bill was authored by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. None of the Bay Area committee members -- chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and members Jim Beall, D-San Jose; Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; and Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley -- responded to emails and calls seeking comment late Friday afternoon.
Brown's spokesman on the budget, H.D. Palmer, said late Friday the budget conference committee had adopted a "compromise" solution by the Legislative Analyst's Office,
California Public Records Law 'Eviscerated' in Budget Bill, Critics Charge
By Thomas Peele and Josh Richman
Proposed Budget Would Weaken California's Public Records Laws- By Chris Megerian LA Times
See this important post for embedded links, here:
"Transparency in California Should Not Be Optional

** this is just the text, please visit the link above to view add'l info**
This post has been updated and adapted to reflect the developing situation in Sacramento. Thanks to Californians Aware and the First Amendment Coalition for staying on it.

The California legislature is close to suspending important provisions of the state’s public records act, giving local agencies the authority to unilaterally ignore procedures designed to ensure government transparency.

Senate Bill 71 and AB 76, which could be passed and sent to the governor's offiice on Saturday, would allow government bodies on the local level—such as cities, counties, sheriff’s departments and education systems—to choose whether or not to follow certain requirements under the California Public Records Act. These provisions would be downgraded from law to mere “best practices.” Gone would be the deadlines for determining whether records are disclosable and notifying the member of the public who requested the records. Gone would be the requirement that agencies assist members of the public in identifying which records would answer their questions. Gone would be the mandate that agencies turn over documents in an electronic format if the records have already been digitized.

A local government wouldn’t even have to publicly disclose its records-disclosure policy in writing. The bills only say an agency must “announce orally” once a year if it decides not to follow the new “best practices.”

The impact on government watchdogs, journalists and the public—including EFF—would be profound. The legislation would create long waits for access to records, allow agencies to interpret requests narrowly (say, rejecting requests unless the citizen asks for a specific document), and leave the requesters waiting in limbo indefinitely as government agencies will have no incentive to be helpful.

Further, it would create massive inconsistencies in policies across the state, making it difficult for members of the public to know what their rights are under the law. Because the opt-out announcement could be made orally, people may have to go back and listen to audio recordings of meetings to even find out if local officials decided to ignore the recommendations.

The state senate and assembly each passed separate versions of the legislation in May under the auspices that it would save the government money. So far no dollar figure has appeared in any public legislative analysis (meanwhile, the state's revenue has exceeded expectations by $4.5 billion).

Even if the change in law would save money on the front end (if anything, a drop in the bucket), taxpayers would pay a heavy price for it in the long haul: It could mark the end of the public’s ability to uncover wasteful spending, ineffective social and educational programs, foolish development projects, abusive practices by law enforcement, and political graft. The agencies most likely to opt out of the best practices won’t be the ones with the tightest budgets, but the ones with the most to hide.

California has long had a strong commitment to government transparency. The California Public Records Act became law in 1968, just one year after the federal Freedom of Information Act, and recognizes that:

access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.
Californians even incorporated a right to government transparency into the state constitution by overwhelming majority vote in 2004. However, this proposed legislation would strongly undermine this important right.

As is it now, California’s public-records laws are inadequate. The State Integrity Project—a report-card-style study by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International—gave the state a D- in the terms of public access to information. The grade was based on a 75-percent mark for the legal right to access and a 47-percent for actual effectiveness.

If this measure is passed, we predict that failing grade will drop even lower.

This legislation runs in exactly the opposite direction that the government should be moving in terms of open government. Public access to records should be included as a standard part of the overhead of any government activity. EFF urges the state legislature to stand up for accountability and remove the public-records provisions from SB 71/AB 76 now or vote it down altogether. And if this land on his desk, Governor Jerry Brown should not hesitate to veto the anti-transparency measure buried in this budget."
and also this:
Legislative Alert!!! Stop CA SB 71 !!
it reads:
"From Peggy Rossi – CSGA Legislative Watch Chair ….. I received a call and the message below this morning from Jan Meisels Allen of IAJGS. It is a heads up to a “trailer bill” attached to another bill. Please read below and contact your representatives as soon as possible. This could have serious consequences for records access.
IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee member Teven Laxer heard about this trailer bill about it on NPR this morning as Common Cause is strongly opposed. The following information was sent out by IAJGS…..

“… SB 71—it’s a trailer bill—NO HEARINGS and will be heard on floor of Senate and Assembly today or tomorrow. It requires only a majority vote to pass. One of the provisions is to make the California Public Records Act requests for records VOLUNTARY compliance by the local agency.

“trailer bills” that will accompany the budget bill for floor votes Friday — and possibly Saturday. The last-minute release of the policy bills needed to implement the spending plan has become something of a tradition at the Capitol, with open government advocates complaining that the public is not given enough time to evaluate the sometimes voluminous provisions. The Senate this morning voted to send all the bills to the floor without committee hearings, drawing the ire of Republicans.

This is the link to the bill—see pages 3 ( paragraph (3) , 17 (lines 2-40) -18 (lines 1-24).

There is very little we can do other than contact CA State Senators and Assembly persons to vote no on the bill or try to have someone amend it on the floor by removing these provisions. If the bill passes and since the D’s have a majority and this came from the D’s it is assumed it will pass is to ask Governor Brown to line item veto these provisions on pages 3, 17 and 18.

This is the link to the CA Legislature; —click on Senate or Assembly then on each of those pages either member or Senators for a list and link to each office.

While I am copying below only select sections please read all three pages to get the entirety of the bill

Page 3:

(3)Existing law, the California Public Records Act (CPRA), requires state and local agencies to make public records available upon receipt of a request that reasonably describes an identifiable record not otherwise exempt from disclosure, upon the payment of fees to cover costs. This bill would, commencing on the effective date of this bill, make compliance with certain provisions of the CPRA, which among other things relate to the delivery of electronic data, optional for local agencies.

The bill would encourage local agencies to follow these provisions as “best practices” and would require a local agency that determines that it will not follow these best practices to so announce orally at its next regularly scheduled public meeting and annually thereafter. By requiring this announcement, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing constitutional provisions require that a statute that limits the right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies be adopted with findings demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and the need for protecting that interest. This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.

While Section 4 of the bill provides that compliance with the Public Records Act by California local agencies could be voluntary, upon notice by that agency at a public hearing.


LINE 21- b) Beginning on January 1, 2014, a local agency that
line 22 – determines that it will not follow these best practices, shall so
line 23 – announce orally at its next regularly scheduled public meeting
line 24- and annually thereafter at a regularly scheduled public meeting
Note also on page 18: (3) Section 6253.9. As on this requirement, the local agency - line 17 – may determine the format of electronic data to be provided in - line 18 – response to a request for information
Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters column is a scathing rebuke of this process:

Please share this info.
California Public Record Act Threatened By Stealth Amendments by Peter Scheer, a lawyer and journalist, is executive director of the First Amendment Coalition.
The California Public Records Act (CPRA) is gravely threatened by stealth amendments revealed for the first time yesterday as part of a “trailer bill” to the new state budget. Instead of the relatively minor cost-saving tweaks proposed earlier by the governor and approved in legislative committees, the actual amending language will gut key transparency safeguards in California’s most important open-government law.
I am writing to ask you to call on Governor Brown to veto the relevant portions of the budget trailer bill that is headed to his desk as early as tomorrow. We invite you to do this by email to the Governor office, using the form provided in this email.
How, exactly, will the budget trailer bill undercut the CPRA and set back open government?
1) Public access to data controlled by local governments, so important to open-data and big-data initiatives, will come to an end. The final trailer bill, SB 71, eliminates the requirement of existing law that agencies must make available “electronic” records or information in “any format” in which the agency already holds them. Gov Code sec. 6253.9(a)(1). Instead, according to SB 71, “the local agency may determine the format of electronic data to be provided in response to a request for information.”
This change will empower local governments to limit data access to situations in which the requested data will show government agencies and officials in a positive light. All other requests for data will be blocked by producing data in formats that are unusable in databases. Example: Requests for data held in .xls (Excel) or .csv formats will be produced (if at all) as .pdf files–even though the agency has the data in the requested formats and therefore can provide it in the requested formats at no cost.
2) Local governments, when denying written requests for public records, will no longer be required to give a reason for the denial. SB 71 purports to make that common sense requirement (found in Gov Code sec. 6255(b)) completely optional. What does optional mean? You can be sure that all lawyers for cities, counties or school boards, once they become aware of this change, will advise their clients to give no reasons for denying records.
3) Local governments may even take the position that SB 71′s changes free them from any obligation to communicate–at all!—with requesters about the status of a denied CPRA request. Agencies that believe requested records are exempt from disclosure could elect to say nothing to the requester, leaving him/her in the dark, unable to determine–without suing–whether the requested records will be disclosed or withheld.
Tell Governor Brown to veto the provisions of SB 71 that would affect these changes in existing law."

Legislature Moves to Neuter the Public Records Act

Let everyone you know who cares that their right to a prompt and informative response to a request to copy or even see public records of local government agencies is being switched off indefinitely by the Legislature, without a single public hearing debate. With the relevant trailer bill amendments in print today (SB 71 and AB 76) which will go into immediate effect with the budget, it’s clear that the California Public Records Act (CPRA) mandate suspensions are far worse than had been anticipated. If they go into effect, local agencies including counties, cities, educational and special districts and others will no longer have the legally enforceable obligation to:

assist requesters to frame and direct their written requests in effective ways;
provide electronic records in a format specified by the requester, even if the agency can do so without special cost;
provide a determination notice within 10 days as to what if any information will be released;
provide a notice within 10 days that up to an additional 14 days will be needed to make the determination, and what justifies the added delay;
provide any written response to the requester at all, even if the request was in writing, including a written statement of the legal basis for withholding information.
These CPRA requirements are still encouraged in the bill as “best practices,” and agencies are required to state orally (but not in writing) at their first public meeting of the calendar year beginning in 2014, any intention not to observe these obligations. But failing to make that statement does not prevent the agency from changing its mind, and in fact an affirmative commitment to continue would not be enforceable in court.

This blog stated in back in February, when the proposed suspensions were more limited, why as a policy matter they are completely bogus, even compared with the previous Brown Act suspensions, which were actually based on some kind of experience.

The purpose of suspending mandates, as shown with last year’s unplugging of certain open meeting law requirements, is supposedly to keep the state from having to pay unaffordable local government claims for the cost of performing extra services added to the law in the last few decades.

In the case of the Brown Act, such documented reimbursement claims accumulated over the years to constitute multiple millions of dollars of obligations from the state to cities, counties and districts. But unlike the Brown Act claim drain, there is no huge and continuing mountain of mandate reimbursement demands under the Public Records Act. In fact the Commission on State Mandates (CSM) only approved the CPRA requirements for state reimbursement in May 2011, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) concedes, “As the CSM has yet to issue a statewide cost estimate, the annual state cost of funding the CPRA mandate is uncertain.”

But nevertheless, the LAO insists, “given the breadth of activities required by the CPRA mandate and the number of local governments affected, we estimate that annual state costs could reach the tens of millions of dollars”

In 10 years, maybe, if never paid.

Otherwise, the estimate is wildly conjectural. The costly Brown Act mandates such as meeting agenda composition and posting became costly simply because they were automatically triggered by every meeting, month after month, of every one of the thousands of local government bodies in the state. They understandably accumulated very rapidly, like the animated brooms propagating around Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence of Fantasia.

In contrast, the targeted CPRA mandates are triggered only upon specific requests.The problem is that while the majority of local agencies that already do their best to get back to the requester with a determination within 10 days would probably continue to do so without the mandate, and needing no “best practices” preachments from Sacramento, there are some others that already consider servicing CPRA requests a low priority if not a nuisance. If they took advantage of the mandate suspension to adopt a “when we get around to it” and hide-the-ball standard, nothing could compel them to do better—not even a lawsuit.

Moreover, this exploitation of the suspension would probably happen very quietly. Again in contrast with the Brown Act suspension last year, in that episode almost no local agencies took advantage to go dark because to stop posting agendas would have been a conspicuous and politically damaging departure from public expectations, whereas only the CPRA requester would notice if the agency stopped being as responsive or helpful as the law previously required. In a relatively small but persistent percentage of instances brought to CalAware’s attention, the public records request never gets a response of any kind after months of waiting. Those agencies are the ones who look forward to the proposed suspensions.
The suspect circumstance of this move is that no one has been willing to go on record with even an estimate of the cost savings to the state. Any reimbursement claims sent to the Controller so far have not accumulated to the point that a number can be ventured. Thus the suspensions cannot be justified by fiscal necessity. So what are they doing in a budget bill? One reasonable conclusion is that someone simply wants to take these burdens off local government whether they are threatening the state treasury or not. That’s certainly the laissez faire message of the Prop 59 clause in the bills:

The interest being protected is the strong interest of the Legislature in allowing, to the extent possible, local agencies to control the manner in which they perform their public duties, including, but not limited to, the manner in which they comply with the spirit and purpose of the California Public Records Act.
You can check status of SB 71 here
and AB 76 here

-it looks like AB 76 passed on June 14th but it is unclear if SB 71 has passed.-- Um, it looks like folks are saying the budget passed - so...

After voting Friday for the state's main, $96.3 billion budget bill, lawmakers today finished voting on all but one of the numerous trailer bills required to implement the annual spending plan. Senators were expected in committee Monday to discuss the final measure, involving a coordinated care program for "dual eligibles" - people enrolled in both Medi-Cal and Medicare.

For the most part, however, the budget is done.

"I'm just very pleased," Steinberg said.

Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the spending plan before the next fiscal year begins July 1.
from: California Budget Negotiations A Breeze For Jerry Brown
and also see: California Democrats wrap up budget, flex supermajority power

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Patrick Lenz, UC's vice president of budget and capital resources, called Brown's original plan "punitive."

LA times: Brown retreats from conditions on university funding
The budget plan to be voted on Friday will no longer tie money to transfer enrollment numbers and other measures, which critics called rigid and unrealistic.

it goes on to include this:
One element of the budget would change California's public-records laws, making some requirements for how local governments and agencies handle requests voluntary. Local officials would no longer have to respond to a request for documents in 10 days or provide them in an electronic format.

Administration officials say the change could help the state save tens of millions of dollars in reimbursements to local officials for complying with the laws. But open-government advocates are concerned that the changes would make it tougher for the media and the public to see government records.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

UC YoYo...

see: UCOP's Peter Taylor, UC CFO writes in the LA Times: "Decentralize the UC system? It's a bad idea"

it is a response to UC Professor David N. Myers, chair of the UCLA History Dept: "Cut from the top to save UC -The search for a new University of California president offers an opportunity to slim down the office's labyrinthine bureaucracy."
Kerr was a student of large organizational structures, and he discovered among them a certain pattern: "to decentralize too much and, when that did not work, to recentralize too much, and when this also did not work, to change again -- a yo-yo process in perpetuity."

Kerr's conclusion: "There is no permanent golden mean, no single point of steady equilibrium, only constant tensions and adjustments that seem to be inherent in large organizations."

"Students, faculty and campus administrators know what the most pressing challenges are. And we are our own best advocates; we know who our students are and what our faculty can accomplish. We have loyal alumni who understand the value of excellent and accessible higher education. The UC president, by contrast, is rather disengaged from the most compelling facets of campus life.

This is not to say that UCOP could or should disappear overnight. It still performs valuable tasks such as administering systemwide research collaborations, avoiding unnecessary duplication of retirement or benefit programs, assuring that new campuses such as Merced are nurtured as they mature and advocating for the UC system with the governor and Legislature. These are serious responsibilities.

Still, one could easily envision a much smaller administrative office in Oakland to oversee the key systemwide programs, as well as a skilled lobbying shop to promote the interests of the campuses in Sacramento. Alternatively, one could also imagine instead of one president, a rotating chairmanship of a Council of Chancellors that would represent the best interests of all 10 universities (not just the biggest, UCLA and Berkeley) to the governor and regents. Above all, one could imagine greater administrative and fiscal efficiency through local control."

Monday, June 10, 2013

UC Medical Centers To Be Audited By State

“If UCLA Medical Center does not generate sufficient revenue to meet the county average for charity care, we need to understand why,” Gray said in the letter. “If, on the other hand, UCLA is generating substantial revenue in excess of its costs, we need to understand where those revenues go.” see: the Daily Cal article on it
also see: UC implements unconditional salary increase
Stockton woman is nominated as next UC student regent
Sadia Saifuddin, who is studying social welfare at UC Berkeley, is believed to be the first Muslim who would represent students on the Board of Regents.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ah Low Ha

see: MRC Greenwood leaving UH more on it here and, yeah, some folks around UC Santa Cruz kinda noticed. Did folks around UC Davis? -Remember a story from a few years back by Todd Wallack on UC (Wallack broke that story the other day on the AAAS Pres.)
Is Climate Change A Hoax?- where "climate" is the admin euphemism for race, gender and...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Steinberg Talks with PPIC

This event from June 6th Public Policy Institute of California "A Conversation with California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg" -24:50 mark on UC (he talks about ROP and vocational for highschools, K-12 throughout- he wants and foresees the Swiss model of high schools in USA) he talks about SB 520 at the 27:30 mark and labor concerns about SB 520 at 29:00 and 31:00:

Sac Bee covered the event: Steinberg calls Jerry Brown's education plan '80 percent there' and ""If there is no creative tension, we're not pushing each other hard enough," Steinberg said.

you can also watch this earlier event with CA Assembly Speaker from March 2013 to see higher ed mentioned by the other chamber.
Does anybody else get Glenn and Robert mixed up?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Kiss-Up, Kick-Down Culture, Non Profit Sector, Academia

See content and links in: Bosses From Hell: Workplace Bullies In The Non-Profit Sector
Q: So are non-profits like academia? Are they notorious for managerial nastiness?
A: "The first is that too often the mission of the nonprofit is used to justify everything else that happens, including being an apologist for bad things that occurred.
Secondly — I’m going to preface this by saying I don’t know whether this applies to Ms. Berlowitz [AAAS president Leslie Berlowitz] — but I think a lot of nonprofits promote people for reasons unrelated to leadership ability..." check out the full article.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Marty Block, (D-San Diego) sent a letter to the University of California asking them to review the procedure of using first and last names in the HIV clinic. "

it goes on:
"Alex and the other patients who took the time to speak with me said that they all requested to be called by their first name only, but that when they were called, their full names were used regardless of their expressed wishes."

HIV Patients Refused Medical Privacy by the University of California, in Spite of California Lawmaker Requests

SB 520 Passes CA Senate Unanimously

Daily Cal: Online Education Bill Passes In State Senate Despite Opposition - from some of the faculty and UC. Steinberg says "the faculty are in complete control" in the process in this video-- from 3:06 mark to 3:19 covers discussion of SB 520 and vote - (tried to embed the video clip but it does not work properly, just use the direct link in bold if you want to view the video.)

Birgeneau and "bottom feeding organizational leadership"

remember Birgeneau is touting his new role on the leadership of the Lincoln Project, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences initiative to “advocate for the importance of public colleges and universities.
now read this Boston Globe article:

No Record of Academy Head’s Doctoral Degree- Where Deeds Are Honored, One Is In Doubt

and this post from University Diaries on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences drama.

and Minding the Workplace has this take on the story: Prestigious honorary society president may be a bullying boss "bottom-feeding organizational leadership: First, sweep allegations of workplace bullying under the rug. Second, hire a PR consultant to spin the Academy and Berlowitz into victims."

-- it is the same place that is lookin' to Birgeneau to research the future of public higher ed.
Update: Academy Head’s False Credential Draws Scrutiny- Grant Filings Listed Leader’s Nonexistent Doctorate
Federal investigators plan to examine whether the chief executive of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences violated any laws by inflating her academic credentials as part of efforts to win more than $1 million in government grants over the past decade.

By Todd Wallack, Globe Staff now-- but he was with SF Chron a few years back and he and his colleagues broke the UC compensation scandal stories...a certain symmetry.
What UC administrators talk about when they talk about risk
Is There Only One Right Answer?: A Challenge to the Teaching of Math and Science in Higher Ed

Monday, June 3, 2013

"He tried last summer to line up trustees' votes to become the California State University system's chancellor, but ultimately was passed over in favor of someone with more background in academia; he said he understands that decision"

that was from the LA Times: Bill Lockyer won't run for controller, will retire from office at end of 2014

and this from the Sac Bee:
"Lockyer floated the idea last year of becoming chancellor of the California State University system. That would not have been a great fit. But Gov. Brown could do worse than to appoint Lockyer as a University of California regent, or a CSU trustee."

CalBuzz...'money on every side'
this happened on May 30th.

“Generically speaking, there are no specific UC policies, or laws for that matter, governing what employees must do if they hear about allegations of unlawful behavior,” said UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

In Daily Cal: Lawsuit Criticizes University’s Handling of Alleged Domestic Abuse
includes this:In 2007, the University of California received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women, which was cited in the lawsuit. The grant provided training for UC police officers and student conduct staff to respond more effectively to violence, including domestic abuse.
SF Chron (sorta)...announced the release of University of California Hastings College of the Law (UC Hastings) magazine for spring 2013, featuring 1989 graduate Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General. The feature article, “Toward Justice for All,” emphasizes Harris’ accomplishments and highlights her role as the first woman, African American and South Asian to hold the post as the state’s top prosecutor.

The magazine’s goal and focus is to raise the college’s reputation score, invite engagement and response, inspire loyalty, support the school’s endowment, encourage enrollment, and promote various events. The magazine invites deeper engagement through substantial, interesting and relevant content.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Brown, Steyer, Prop 30 and 39

"Rule will show the man." See:Viewpoints: Gov. Jerry Brown as philosopher-king? Really?
Who is right or wrong on this?:
"Westrup also challenged my characterization of Prop. 30's tax increases as a "bait and switch," with much of the money earmarked for education actually making its way to teachers' pensions. I'm hardly the first to point this out. As former Schwarzenegger budget adviser David Crane has argued, the California State Teachers' Retirement System needs an additional $4.5 billion a year to remain solvent. School districts are on the hook for that money. So while it's technically true most of the Prop. 30 revenue will go to districts, the lion's share will end up in CalSTRS' coffers, not in classrooms."

Recall Crane is a former UC Regent but still sits in on UC Regent investment committee meetings.
on Steyer, Brown and Prop 39-- there is this from LAT: Jerry Brown faces new criticism on school energy plan (btw, shouldn't the kids be spared the being used for pol photo ops?)