Embattled UC President Mark Yudof got off a couple zingers to Deborah Solomon in the New York Times magazine over the weekend, but furloughed faculty members and administrators at campuses around the state aren’t laughing very much.
Yudof sat still for the infamous “Questions for” column, in which Solomon conducts a Q&A with a celebrity or newsmaker, then edits and pares the transcript down to the money lines. The result is displayed with a semi-formal, posed photo of the subject which, in this case, made the UC prez look like a human bowling ball in pinstripes.
While Solomon asked some serious, tough questions about UC’s budget woes, Yudof unfortunately did his best to be flip, a poor man’s Will Durst act that came across as tone deaf, given the walk-outs, teach-ins and job actions now roiling the system.
Q: Already professors on all 10 UC campuses are taking required “furloughs,” to use a buzzword.
A: Let me tell why we used it. The faculty said “furlough” sounds more temporary than “salary cut,” and being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery; there are many people under you, but no one is listening. I listen to them.”
Solomon also asked about the prickly issue of Yoda’s compensation which, with that of other top administrators, has been the focus of political outrage in Sacramento.
Q: Some people feel you could close the UC budget gap by cutting administrative salaries, including your own.
A: The stories of my compensation are greatly exaggerated.
Q: When you began your job last year, your annual compensation was reportedly $828,000.
A: It actually was $600,000 until I cut my pay by $60,000. So my salary is $540,000, but it gets amplified because people say, ‘You have a pension plan.”
Q: What about your housing allowance? How much is the rent on your home in Oakland?
A: It’s about $10,000 a month…
Q: What do you think of the idea that no administrator at a state university needs to earn more than the president of the United Sates, $400,000?
A: Will you throw in Air Force One and the White House?
Not surprisingly, soon after the Times posted the piece on its web site, UC list-servs were crackling with anger at what was perceived as Yudof’s cavalier attitude towards the sacrifices being made by professors, students and staff members, a group of whom dashed off a letter to the editor decrying Mr. President’s “apres moi, le deluge” commentary.
One less measured academic type put the matter more succinctly in a collegial e-blast: “Take comfort in the fact that Yudof makes himself look like the total dick that he is.”.
Add UC: Peter Schrag, in a characteristically thoughtful analysis, casts a skeptical eye at last week’s “walk out” by UC faculty protesting the searing injustice of not being allowed to take furlough on days they’re supposed to be teaching.
Clint disses eMeg: Back in the day, when he ran winning campaigns for San Francisco politicians who later achieved national prominence, like Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, Clint Reilly’s nickname around town was “Satan.”
He got the moniker from politically connected attorney Jeremiah Hallisey and his pals, who awarded it after Reilly left the services of their crony, longtime state senator Quentin Kopp, to go to work for Feinstein, Q-ball’s arch-enemy back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.
Many adventures later, Reilly has mellowed and morphed into a successful real estate investor and esteemed member of the Bay Area’s eleemosynary community, but he hasn’t lost his knack for sharp political analysis, as in a new piece on the premise and politics of Meg Whitman’s campaign for governor.
“The conceit of America’s business elite is striking. Even after our entire financial system was nearly scuttled last year through the incompetence and greed of so many ‘brilliant’ executives, they continue to peddle the myth that they are better qualified to run the country than anyone else.
“…While watching the bottom line is an important skill, negotiating with the multiple factions in the public sector is far different than sending an executive edict to a corporate division head.
“Corporations and the military have command structures and a strict hierarchy of authority. Democracy does not. Change depends on a leader’s ability to inspire, cajole and intimidate in an arena where almost no one is dependent on the leader for their livelihood and where a leader has no direct authority over an interest group or even a citizen. In a democracy, the leader works for the people. In a corporation, the people work for the leader.”
Check it over at California Progress Report.
Meanwhile, the Steve Poizner campaign — purely as a public service, we’re sure — has pulled together all the eMeg quotes, misquotes, unquotes and noquotes about Her Royal Voting Record and/or lack thereof, which you can find in one handy-dandy-double-duty-dual-sided click spot right here.
Boxer Rebounds: Nate Silver, the Blaise Pascal of American politics, is out with his new trend analysis of 2010 Senate races, which finds Barbara Boxer strengthening her position and declares an earlier poll showing Carly Fiorina within four points “more of a fluke.” Silver is underwhelmed by Hurricane Carly:
“I’m on the record as not being that impressed by Fiorina as a political entity. I also want to go on the record as being unimpressed by the customer service at Hewlett-Packard, her former company, but we’ll save that complaint for a tweet or something.”
Beware Calbuzz knockoffs: Our mystery spy has the final word on the state GOP convention: “Outside the entrance to the shake-off-the-hangover closing speeches at the GOPalooza Sunday a.m., a woman was handing out paper fans with Meg’s photo and ‘I am a huge fan of Van Jones’ on it.
When I asked who she was with, she responded, ‘Calbuzz.’
‘You mean, Calbuzz, the political website?’
And then she froze, with a Quayle-in-the-headlights look: ‘Uh, I mean…’ and then was hustled away by another woman, just as Chuck DeVore mounted the podium.
Now we know how Nike and Gucci feel.