Schwarzenegger’s Higher Ed Constitutional Amendment: All PR

On January 6, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lamented the disastrous condition of public higher education in California and decried the fact that California now spends more on prisons than higher education.  He called for a constitutional amendment to reverse this situation and commit at least 10% of the state budget to higher ed (UC and CSU) and limit prison funding to 7%.

This is just the kind of “ballot box budgeting” that the Governor used to condemn.  Moreover, since the Governor makes the budget, Schwarzenegger could just have proposed these allocations in the budget he produced a few days later.  He didn’t.

The fine print is even more cynical:

  • The provisions would not take effect until 2014, long after he left office.
  • The amendment could be suspended by the governor by declaring a “fiscal emergency.”
  • The amendment could be waived by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature, the same vote it takes to pass the budget.

And there is more:

  • The amendment is tied to privatizing prisons and allowing the prison employees to be exempt from civil service.
  • The amendment prohibits early release programs to reduce prison costs.

Finally, the amendment includes an unusual “non-severability clause,” which says that if any part of the amendment is found to be illegal, the whole amendment is killed.

The bottom line: This is a PR proposal to take pressure off Governor Schwarzenegger and the UC and CSU leadership to restore the promise of public higher education without changing anything.

3 Responses to “Schwarzenegger’s Higher Ed Constitutional Amendment: All PR”

  1. Milan Moravec says:

    Save $3,000,000 for better jobs, richer lives etc right NOW!$3 Million Extravagant, Arrogant Spending by UC President Yudof for UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau to Hire Consultants – When Work Can Be Done Internally & Impartially

    These days, every dollar in higher education counts. Contact Chairwoman Budget Sub-committee on Education Finance Assemblywoman Carter 916.319.2062 and tell her to stop the $3,000,000 spending by Chancellor Birgeneau for consultants.

    Do the work internally at no additional costs with UCB Academic Senate Leadership (C. Kutz/F. Doyle), the world – class professional UCB faculty/ staff, & the UCB Chancellor’s bloated staff (G. Breslauer, N. Brostrom, F. Yeary, P. Hoffman, C. Holmes etc) & President Yudof.

    President Yudof’s UCB Chancellor should do the high paid work he is paid for instead of hiring expensive East Coast consults to do the work of his job. ‘World class’ smart executives like Chancellor Birgeneau need to do the hard work analysis, and make the tough-minded difficult, decisions to identify inefficiencies.

    Where do the $3,000,000 consultants get their recommendations?
    From interviewing the UCB senior management that hired them and approves their monthly consultant fees and expense reports. Remember the nationally known auditing firm who said the right things and submitted recommendations that senior management wanted to hear and fooled the public, state, federal agencies?

    $3 million impartial consultants never bite the hands (Chancellor Birgeneau/ Chancellor Yeary) that feed them!

    Mr. Birgeneau’s accountabilities include “inspiring innovation, leading change.” This involves “defining outcomes, energizing others at all levels and ensuring continuing commitment.” Instead of deploying his leadership and setting a good example by doing the work of his Chancellor’s job, Mr. Birgeneau outsourced his work to the $3,000,000 consultants. Doesn’t he engage UC and UC Berkeley people at all levels to examine inefficiencies and recommend $150 million of trims? Hasn’t he talked to Cornell and the University of North Carolina – which also hired the consultants — about best practices and recommendations that will eliminate inefficiencies?
    No wonder the faculty, staff, students, Senate & Assembly are angry and suspicious.

    In today’s recession economy three million dollars is a irresponsible price to pay when a knowledgeable ‘world-class’ UCB Chancellor and his bloated staff do not do the work of their jobs.

    Take action: use the phone. Together, we will make a difference: save $3 million for students!

  2. R. Vine says:

    Here it is, August already, and I have heard nothing more from the Governor or the Legislature about this proposal for a constitutional gaurantee of funding to higher education. Arnold chucked this proposal into a bottomless pit from which we will probably never even hear the splash.

  3. Transparency says:

    Businesses and public universities are into a phase of creative disassembly where reinvention and adjustments are constant. Even solid world class institutions like the University of California Berkeley under the leadership of Chancellor Birgeneau & Provost Breslauer are firing staff, faculty and part-time lecturers through “Operation Excellence (OE)”. Yet many employees, professionals and faculty cling to old assumptions about one of the most critical relationship of all: the implied, unwritten contract between employer and employee.
    Until recently, loyalty was the cornerstone of that relationship. Employers promised work security and a steady progress up the hierarchy in return for employees fitting in, accepting lower wages, performing in prescribed ways and sticking around. Longevity was a sign of employer-employee relations; turnover was a sign of dysfunction. None of these assumptions apply today. Organizations can no longer guarantee employment and lifetime careers, even if they want to. UC Berkeley senior management paralyzed themselves with an attachment to “success brings success’ rather than “success brings failure’ and are now forced to break the implied contract with employees – a contract nurtured by management that the future can be controlled.
    Jettisoned Cal employees are finding that the hard won knowledge, skills and capabilities earned while being loyal are no longer valuable in the employment market place.
    What kind of a contract can employers and employees make with each other? The central idea is both simple and powerful: the job or position is a shared situation. Employers and employees face market and financial conditions together, and the longevity of the partnership depends on how well the for-profit or not-for-profit continues to meet the needs of customers and constituencies. Neither employer nor employee has a future obligation to the other. Organizations train people. Employees develop the kind of security they really need – skills, knowledge and capabilities that enhance future employability.
    The partnership can be dissolved without either party considering the other a traitor

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