State auditor slams UC

Apr 26, 2017

A state audit has pinned the UC system to the wall in a scathing report on budgeting practices of the university's Office of the President, which included putting aside some $175m in a undisclosed fund.

California State Auditor ELAINE HOWLE
 in Capitol Weekly: "Our audit of the University of California Office of the President’s budget and staffing processes revealed the following."

"–The Office of the President did not disclose to the University of California Board of Regents, the Legislature, and the public $175 million in budget reserve funds."

"–It spent significantly less than it budgeted for and asked for increases based on its previous years’ over‑estimated budgets rather than its actual expenditures." 


The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ: "The University of California hid $175 million from the public in secret funds while its administrators demanded more money from the state, according to a report released Tuesday by state Auditor Elaine Howle."

"Under the leadership of Janet Napolitano, the UC Office of the President amassed millions in the secret reserve funds in part by overestimating how much it needed to run the 10-campus university system — and then spending less than budgeted, the audit said. From 2012 to 2016, the office sought increased funding based on the inflated estimates, not actual spending, according to Howle."

"Howle also accused the university of interfering with the audit by inappropriately screening the confidential responses of campus administrators to her office’s survey, resulting in some answers being changed or deleted. She said she is looking into whether the university violated any laws or policies on interference."


READ MORE related to Education: The University of California Office of the President Official State Audit Report (PDF) -- California State AuditorState audit questions UC Riverside's medical school funding -- The Press-Enterprise's MARK MUCKENFUSSAuditor says UC kept millions in secret fund -- The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZCoulter expected to speak at Sproul Plaza on Thursday -- The Chronicle's JILL TUCKER; Pot shop near Pacoima schools closes after parents put on the heat -- Daily News' ANTONIE BOESSENKOOL


A conservative advocacy group is threatening UC Berkeley with legal action over alleged free speech suppression related to Ann Coulter's improperly arranged appearance at the campus.


LA Times' PAIGE ST. JOHN: "A Conservative group on Friday threatened to take legal action against UC Berkeley if student sponsors are not allowed to pick the date and location for an appearance by commentator Ann Coulter."

"Coulter had been scheduled to speak on the demonstration-weary campus on April 27, but Berkeley officials refused permission, citing safety concerns. Amid public criticism, the administration on Thursday agreed to set the event for May 2, at midday, in a science hall away from the central campus."

"The university’s actions violate fundamental principles of free speech, equal protection and due process guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” a letter from lawyers representing the conservative outreach group Young America’s Foundation warned."


Many major insurers plan to sell insurance in next year's Covered California exchange.


The Chronicle's CATHERiNE HO: "Despite a cloud of uncertainty hanging over federal health care policy, several of the nation’s largest insurers are moving forward with plans to sell insurance on the Covered California exchange in 2018."

"Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of California and Health Net, which collectively cover two-thirds of the 1.3 million Covered California enrollees, intend to continue selling plans on the California exchange, or marketplace, in 2018. The move is an incremental but important signal of confidence from insurers that they expect the exchange to continue operating next year, at least in California, whose exchange has been one of the most stable in the nation."


“We are planning to participate in each of the marketplaces in which we currently operate ... in 2018 as we have in years past,” Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson said in a statement."


News coverage of a bizzarre robbery involving 40-to-60 teens taking over an entire BART train and strongarm robbing all the passengers has largely been suppressed and now locals are wondering why.


The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN/KURTIS ALEXANDER: "Seeking to track down some of the 40 to 60 teen robbers who took over a train car in Oakland, BART police investigators have pored over video footage, interviewed witnesses, combed through social media chatter and shared surveillance images of the suspects with other police agencies in an all-points bulletin."

"But the one thing the transit agency didn’t do in the immediate aftermath of the mob robbery is announce what had happened to riders and other members of the public — and seek to enlist their help."

"The shocking crime occurred at 9:30 p.m. Saturday when a crowd of juveniles swept into the Coliseum/Oakland Airport Station, hurdling fare gates and racing to the second-story platform, where they rushed onto a train, forcing passengers in at least one car to hand over their phones and other valuables and bloodying at least two riders."


READ MORE related to Transportation: 1 dead, 10 injured in fiery big rig crash on 5 Freeway that closes all lanes -- Daily News' WES WOODS


A federal judge has imposed a nation-wide injunction against President Trump's anti-sanctuary city executive order -- much to Trump's chagrin---as he suffers yet another defeat at the hands of the courts. 


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "President Trump can’t coerce sanctuary cities like San Francisco to cooperate with immigration officers by threatening to withdraw crucial funding, a federal judge said Tuesday in a ruling that bars enforcement of Trump’s order nationwide."

"In the first legal test of an executive order Trump issued five days after taking office, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III of San Francisco said the president was exceeding his constitutional authority by trying to punish local governments that refuse to cooperate with his immigration policies."

"Ruling on a lawsuit by San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, Orrick issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits the administration from enforcing Trump’s Jan. 25 order by cutting off funding to defiant cities and counties. His ruling will remain in effect unless it is overturned by a higher court."


READ MORE related to Beltway: New twist in Trump-Russia probe as Congress turns focus to Michael Flynn -- Sacramento Bee's MATTHEW SCHOFIELD


Fox News is facing yet another legal hurtle as the media monopoly continues to reel over the aftermath Bill O'Reilly's ouster.


LA Times' MEG JAMES: "Fox News on Tuesday confronted additional allegations that minorities who worked in the network’s payroll division were subjected to years of verbal abuse and “plantation-style management” by high-ranking white executives."

"In the first of two race discrimination lawsuits filed in New York, 11 current and former Fox News employees alleged that senior management turned a blind eye to “appalling racial discrimination.”

"The class-action case amends a complaint filed in March by former Fox News employees Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright who alleged that former Fox News controller Judith Slater regularly made racist and inappropriate comments. Slater was fired Feb. 28."


READ MORE related to Economy: GOP drops US-Mexico wall demands as spending talks advance -- AP's ANDREW TAYLOR


Protests broke out in LA after an allegedly innocent woman was swept up in a massive raid and now faces deportation due to her undocumented status.


LA Times' MATT HAMILTON/RICHARD WINTON: "Dozens of people gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday to protest the detention of a 54-year-old woman who now faces deportation for living in the country illegally."

"Teresa Vidal-Jaime was picked up by federal authorities Monday after a massive drug bust at a Boyle Heights apartment complex where she lives. During the raid, her husband was arrested for drug possession and investigators seized more than 30 pounds of cocaine and $600,000 in cash, according to the U.S. Border Patrol."


"But Vidal-Jaime’s daughter, Claudia Rueda, an immigration activist in Los Angeles, joined community organizers to protest her mother’s detention, calling it an unlawful raid that swept up an innocent woman in a criminal probe."


READ MORE related to Immigration: Trump loses another round in court, this time over funds for sanctuary cities -- Sacramento Bee's FRANCO ORDONEZ; U.S. judge blocks Trump order threatening funds for 'sanctuary' cities -- LA Times' MAURA DOLAN/JOEL RUBIN


Plain clothes officers have been accused of inciting violence at Davis' Picnic Day by nearly running over a group of people in an unmarked police vehicle; three of the ten assailants have been arrested.


Sacramento Bee's CATHY LOCKE: "A visitor to UC Davis’ Picnic Day on Saturday who witnessed an incident in which two officers were injured said she blamed police for the crowd’s hostile reaction and the fight that ensued."

"Isabel Lynch, a Sacramento resident and student at Sierra College in Rocklin, said she has attended Picnic Day for several years and was there Saturday with friends. After attending events on campus, they went to a party at what she described as townhomes or apartments in the College Park area. After about an hour, Lynch said, people started leaving and she was told they had been asked to go."

"Lynch said she was waiting with other people to cross Russell Boulevard. “I was on the edge of the sidewalk, waiting to cross, when a van came and nearly hit us,” she said."


READ MORE related to Public Safety: This group smuggles drug-testing kits into Coachella -- Valley Tribune's JASON HENRY; City program tells kids to keep out of playgrounds, but parents say no way -- Sacramento Bee's WALTER KO; Charged in high-seas homicides, elderly suspect dies before facing justice -- Sacramento Bee's PETER HECHT


The political resurgence of the far-right has prompted the NRA to go after California's gun control legislation with both barrels loaded.


Sacramento Bee's ANGELA HART: "A firearms advocacy group has gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of California’s new assault weapons ban, as well as other major gun control laws passed last year by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature, arguing that “assault weapon” is a “political term."

"The California Rifle & Pistol Association filed a lawsuit against the state Monday in federal court targeting six laws that took effect Jan. 1. Those, along with provisions of a successful 2016 statewide ballot initiative, have made California’s gun restrictions the strictest in the U.S., according to a ranking by The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-control nonprofit."

"California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is named in the complaint as the sole defendant."


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