BIll Lockyer for CSU Chancellor
California’s Capitol left this comment at the bottom of a column by the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Morain about State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and his qualifications to be California State University Chancellor:
The 427,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff of the California State University system would be terrifically lucky to have State Treasurer Bill Lockyer as their next chancellor.
Lockyer has 40 years of experience resolving a ridiculously large number of vexing issues with creativity, compromise and cajoling. His intellectual curiosity and love of mastering a rubric-like challenge is unmatched in the state Capitol. He’s a principled pragmatist skilled in reaching consensus.
At a time when a cash-starved state general fund annually leads to steady spending reductions for CSU – over $1 billion already during the past several years — wouldn’t it be an enormous plus to have a chancellor with decades of personal relationships in Sacramento and elsewhere and an intimate knowledge of the budget process?
Perhaps more importantly, a chancellor with a willingness to personally lobby members of the Assembly and Senate to help pass needed legislation, which is something Lockyer has done – very effectively – over and over again as senator, Attorney General and treasurer.
When Lockyer was leader of the Senate, it rejected several of the GOP governor’s appointments as UC regents because of worries over their impact on educational policy. The upper house did approve Ward Connerly as a regent. That action, taken in isolation, says nothing about Lockyer’s leadership.
Leadership is about trade-offs. The real measure of that leadership is what did the Senate extract from the governor for Connerly’s approval? Maybe it was abandoning a 5 percent reduction in the subsistence checks to single parents and their kids living under the federal poverty level. Or maybe it was a two-year moratorium on UC and CSU fee increases, which are de facto tax hikes on students and their families. A chancellor with a record of opposing tuition fees in the past, it seems likely, would be a chancellor striving to avoid them in the future. And if anyone has the skills to bring disparate parties together to embrace a workable alternative to such increases, it’s Bill Lockyer.
CSU’s 25 trustees are painfully cognizant of the political realities facing their system today and in coming years.
It’s not an academic question.
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