Monday, October 12, 2009

the awesome leadership of Governor Schwarzenegger

Yesterday, after threatening for weeks not to sign any bills because the legislature wasn't passing a bill he wanted, Governor Schwarzenegger finally acted on the 700 bills on his desk. Demonstrating the kind of political courage only he could, he vetoed SB 86 and SB 218, despite their broad bipartisan support. Clearly, Schwarzenegger will not follow political fads by signing bills just because they are politically popular.

Indeed, in this case, the bills were wildly popular. SB 218 passed the state Assembly and Senate with only 1 negative vote! But the Governor looked at it and realized how wrong it would be. SB 218 would have required the California State University - the largest publicly-funded university system in the world - to inform the public what it does with public funds. Specifically, it would have required CFA administrations to inform the public of the balances, investments, and amounts of money in their "foundations" - which is the public-university version of an endowment.

SB 86, which also received wide support, would have prohibited the CSU from giving raises to executives in years when the CSU budget is cut. Again, Schwarzenegger vetoed this wrong-headed bill, despite its popularity, since it would have prevented the CSU from rewarding administrators for making the hard decisions we pay administrators big bucks to make (in this case, the hard decision to pay administrators more big bucks).

Schwarzenegger was elected in the Gray Davis recall debacle on the promise of reforming government. He's certainly done that. This set of reforms sets a clear precedent for CSU execs, one consistent with the Governor's political ideology. Public university administrators, like their counterparts in corporate America, are an elite class a royal class, whose actions should never be overseen or regulated by the public their subjects. The only political principle, and the only acknowledged concept of governance, is their privilege to rule over their fiefdoms without let or hindrance.

I think I know who's getting my next furlough letter.

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