Saturday, April 21, 2018

April (revenue) showers - Part 2

We noted in an earlier post that the state controller has a daily income tax revenue tracker for the month of April, since that is a big month for tax collections (for obvious reasons).* Through April 19, the tracker is showing income tax revenues for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017 running $9.7 billion ahead of last year's receipts at this date.

Don't respond

Just one of our periodic reminders not to respond to emails such as the one above. They don't come from the university. At best, it is some sort of commercial solicitation from who-knows-who. At worst, it is malicious spam that can harm your computer or steal your information.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Things to come?

UC put off a proposed tuition increase until May (at the May Regents meeting). Now CSU has cancelled its proposed tuition increase, under pressure from the governor.

Can UC be far behind?

Cal State decides not to raise tuition as legislators support more funds


Leaders of the 23-campus California State University system have decided not to increase tuition for the 2018-19 school year, cancelling a planned $228 hike in response to commitments from the Legislature for more state funding.

Cal State system Chancellor Timothy White announced Friday that the university will drop its previous proposal to raise undergraduate tuition by $228, or 3.9 percent, to $5,970 a year and will instead keep tuition flat. In January, the Cal State trustees were scheduled to consider that hike but then decided to postpone action until May, in hopes that more general revenue money would be allocated from the state’s anticipated $6 billion budget surplus.

“I think it’s the fair thing to do but it’s also the right thing to do for California’s future,” White said in an interview with EdSource. He cited the state’s strong economy, which has helped to produce the tax surplus, and the need to expand higher education opportunities while keeping tuition costs as low as possible for students and families. “This is an opportunity to not add to the cost of going to a Cal State University,” he added.

White said he has “no guarantees, no contract” with state legislators about increased funding for Cal State and his announcement did not provide details of a possible budget agreement in Sacramento. But notably, the press release about the tuition freeze included strong statements of funding support from state Senate President Pro Tem Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, the most powerful leaders in the Legislature.

Given such positive statements, White said he thought “there are a lot of signs that give me the confidence that this is the right decision to do now.” He promised that the tuition freeze would remain in place through the 2018-19 school year even if state funding turns out to be worse than expected.

Calling the tuition freeze “good news for California students and for the California economy,” Rendon’s statement said that: “CSU students, faculty, staff and leaders have made a strong case for additional funding — and they are being heard. The Assembly is committed to increased funding for higher education, and will carry this commitment into budget discussions.”

The Cal State system had been seeking an increase of $263 million in state funding for such costs as enrollment growth, pay raises, pension costs and efforts to improve graduation rates. But Brown’s budget had offered a $92 million increase for next year, which is $171 million less than Cal State says it needs. The now-abandoned tuition increase proposal would have filled that hole partly.

Atkins said she was “pleased with the CSU’s decision not to pursue a tuition increase for the coming year.” Without mentioning details of a budget compromise, she said she pledged “to continue our work in the Legislature to lower barriers and reduce the cost of quality higher education for all students.”

Brown in recent months has said he opposed boosting funding beyond his original offer and that both the Cal State and the University of California systems should drop tuition increase proposals and instead save money through reforms such as more online classes. Whether Brown’s position on higher education funding has changed will be evident in his revised state budget, the final one in his years as governor, expected to be announced next month.

Like their UC peers, Cal State trustees and administrators have visited Sacramento a lot lately to lobby the Legislature and the governor for additional dollars. There was a precedent: a previous agreement for extra state funding in exchange for tuition freezes held for five years — until last year. Then tuition rose $270, or about 5 percent at Cal State, and $336, or 2.7 percent, at UC.

UC has proposed raising 2018-19 tuition and systemwide fees by $342, to $12,972 for California undergraduates, but also decided to postpone a decision until at least May in hopes of more state dollars. UC officials say that talks are continuing in Sacramento but that it is unclear whether they too will be able to make a similar announcement about a tuition freeze.


In effect, CSU is gambling on the legislature - and maybe the governor - approving a higher direct state appropriation than proposed in January. Will UC take the same gamble? The May Revise budget has yet to be released, of course. Is it asking for the Moon to expect more appropriation? Tuition increase or not.

Which shall it be?


There seems to be no end to the tale of former (and disgraced) state senator Leland Yee who made a political career of attacking UC. He was eventually convicted of gun-running and other crimes and went to prison.

One of his flacks, when Yee was in his heyday, put negative comments on this blog at one point, as yours truly pointed out some of Yee's faults. But it seems as if all of his associates eventually have "problems." Here is the latest:

Adam Keigwin, who served as chief of staff to former state Sen. Leland Yee, allegedly sexually harassed and touched a former colleague and subordinate between 2013 and 2014, according to a Senate investigation released Thursday.
An unidentified woman who worked in the Senate with Keigwin at the time made the allegations. She said Keigwin, now a managing director at Mercury Public Affairs in Sacramento, sexually harassed her, according to the investigation. His behavior happened on numerous occasions when he was drunk or had been drinking, investigators found.
A “preponderance of the evidence” supports the Senate’s finding that Keigwin "engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct during the time that he worked in the Senate, including unwanted touching, exposing himself and engaging in sexually explicit talk," the investigation found. "The evidence supported a finding that this behavior occurred at social events that involved drinking when Keigwin had become inebriated."...
You can find links to some past posts on Yee at:
The search engine can locate others.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Union calls for speaker boycott at graduations

President Sproul at UCLA graduation in Hollywood Bowl, 1930s
University of California union votes for strike, commencement speakers urged to boycott

LA Daily News, 4-19-18

The union that says it represents more than 25,000 employees in the University of California system announced today that 97 percent of its members have voted to authorize a strike.
The union also called today on speakers invited to participate at upcoming UC graduation events to support workers by boycotting university engagements until the labor dispute is resolved. Scheduled commencement speakers include Sen. Kamala Harris, who’s due at UC Berkeley on May 12th, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, who’s scheduled to speak at UC San Diego on June 16th.
“With contract negotiations and post-impasse mediation procedures being exhausted after a year of bargaining, AFSCME Local 3299-represented workers at the University of California voted with 97 percent approval to authorize a system-wide strike,” according to a union announcement. “The union has also called on speakers invited to participate at upcoming UC graduation events to support workers by boycotting university engagements until the labor dispute is resolved.”...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

It's the vision thing

The seemingly-endless drama of the Thirty Meter Telescope in which UC has a stake continues. It was originally planned for Mauna Kea in Hawaii, a mountaintop where other telescopes are already located. Objections by native Hawaiians held up the plan and seem to be a continuing barrier. Hawaiian Public Radio reports large majorities of the general Hawaiian population and native Hawaiians in fact favor the plan. But one house of the state legislature has voted to bar construction and there is an alternative plan, which sounds a bit like a bargaining chip, to move the project to the Canary Islands, a Spanish possession in the Atlantic off Morocco.

For a public radio program on these developments, go to: