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For the Week of August 23, 2010
The New York Times is reporting that UC president Mark Yudof vacated his UC-paid $13,000-a-month Oakland hills home in haste after a dispute with the landlord, leaving behind “thousands of dollars of damage to the hardwood floors and Venetian plastered walls.” The landlord kept the $32,000 security deposit and demanded $45,000 more for damages. The cost so far to UC: $600,000. A university official told the paper that the months-long situation had annoyed members of his UCOP team: “He essentially turned the Office of the President into his personal staff,” the official said.
The state’s Supreme Court has allowed California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to reinstitute 3-day-a-month furloughs for state workers, amounting to a 15% pay cut, pending a decision in a lawsuit this September. If the court eventually finds the furloughs illegal, the state could be ordered to repay workers over $1 billion.
In addition to slashing state workers’ pay, as part of ongoing budget negotiations the governor has proposed drastic cuts to social services for California’s poorest residents. Among the worst affected would be In-Home Supportive Services, which provides aides for low-income seniors and disabled people to allow them to stay in their homes. In protest last week, demonstrators in wheelchairs blocked streets in Sacramento, resulting in 22 civil disobedience arrests.
In the race for governor between Republican billionaire and former Ebay CEO Meg Whitman and former Democratic governor Jerry Brown, a group of prominent economists including UC Berkeley’s Robert Reich has released a statement highly critical of Whitman’s economic plan. Meanwhile, polls are showing that Whitman’s repetitive TV ads, which have so far cost over $100 million, are doing her more harm than good. The California politics blog Calitics notes her negative numbers increasingly dramatically in the wake of the ads. Brown has a slight lead in most polls (which you can follow here).