Crane unlikely to win confirmation as UC regent
San Francisco businessman David Crane’s brief term as a UC regent seems likely to be over in December because Democrats in the state Senate have not moved to confirm his appointment nine months ago by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Under state rules, an appointee to the university board can serve up to a year without legislative confirmation. The state Senate is now in recess and no special session is scheduled for the rest of the year.
Crane, a Democrat who was an economic advisor to Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is opposed by labor unions and student organizations who contend that Crane does not represent the values the board needs and that he has taken anti-union positions. Crane has said that he is not anti-labor and said that union activists have distorted his concerns about the power of public employee unions over pension benefits and reform.
Reached by telephone Thursday, Crane said he did not know whether the regents’ November meeting, their last in 2011, would also be his final one and whether his chance for a full 12-year-term is dead. “I’m just operating month to month,” he said. “I honestly don’t know.”
In a statement Thursday, UC Student Assn. President Claudia Magana welcomed the likely end of Crane’s term. “Californian's are sick and tired of not being adequately represented by UC’s regents. We need leaders who will represent our interests and fight to keep our UC public and affordable, not out of touch millionaires and investment bankers who are beholden more to Wall Street than to everyday Californians.”
Alicia Trost, a spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), said there is no special Senate meeting scheduled between now and late December but declined to offer specifics on why the Crane appointment was not brought up for a vote. If Crane’s seat becomes vacant, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown would be able to appoint a replacement on the UC regents board, which is an unpaid position governing the 10-campus system.
-- Larry Gordon and Patrick McGreevey