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Spring 2001
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"Howard comes to elected officials with an incredibly strong reputation and unassailable credibility," says Keith Parker, assistant vice chancellor for Government and Community Relations. "In the University of California, he's regarded as one of its most important advocates. Clearly, he is UCLA's most important advocate. He truly bleeds blue and gold. His commitment is such that he is always willing and able to leverage his political contacts on behalf of the university. And he has the very best political connections of anyone we know."

Says State Sen. Sheila Kuehl '62 (D-Santa Monica): "Legislators who know him are genuinely impressed by his quiet intellect and his ability to understand what we need to know. We don't have time for the 'How are yous?' Howard is effective because he understands that. He's always polite and soft-spoken, but he gets to the point. He knows how to make the most of a 20-minute meeting with a legislator."

His message to legislators is upfront and simple, but not always so soft-spoken. Once, when a lawmaker he had supported began, as Welinsky recalls, "behaving very badly toward UC," the advocate got the offending official on the line: "When you feel a tendency to vote against UC, pretend it's a dagger through my heart," he told the officeholder bluntly. "You don't want to hurt me, do you? Then don't hurt UC because if you do, it's going to hurt me personally."

Welinsky does not toss off such threats lightly. But he knows what's at stake for the university.

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