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Spring 2001
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"Fortunately, I have a long relationship with the speaker," Welinsky says, smiling. Working his way to Hertzberg, telling him how he had driven down to San Diego at the invitation of his best buddy, the host of the fund-raiser, Welinsky felt he had the speaker's attention.

"We made the speech. What was really important was to get him focused, to get the facts out quickly in front of him. Sure, there were many competing issues here, but to his credit, Hertzberg realized something had to be done."

If the governor could put the money in UC's budget, and the Senate could do it, the Assembly could as well, Welinsky urged. "If John Burton can do it, you can," he told the legislator.

"I used a multitude of arguments, but bottom line, he understood it was the right thing to do," Welinsky says.

Message delivered, Welinsky then worked the room, honing in on other Assembly members with UC campuses in their districts, including Majority Leader Kevin Shelley (D-San Francisco) and Fred Keeley (D-Boulder Creek). "I got them focused on it. Kevin Shelley (with whom Welinsky had been to Israel on a goodwill visit) took my piece of paper."

Moving on to dinner, Welinsky found even more reason to be optimistic when Hertzberg came by his table to let him know they were working on the issue. When it came time for the traditional farewell photo session with the speaker, who favors bear-hugging his supporters and friends, Welinsky recalls taking the initiative and hugging Hertzberg from behind, mugging for the camera. "This picture is going to cost me $180 million!" Hertzberg remarked jovially.

Five days later, at midnight Sunday, Arditti left Welinsky the phone message he had been waiting for: the $180 million had been restored in increments - $25 million one day, $35 million the next, and so on - until it was all in place. "Never in my life has something so tangible, so remarkable happened in such a short period of time," Welinsky says, shaking his head.

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