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Spring 2001
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Months later, on December 7, the image of Gov. Davis beamed in from a Sacramento press conference onto a giant screen in Ackerman Grand Ballroom, announcing to an expectant audience that UCLA and UC Santa Barbara scientists would receive $100 million from the state to launch the California NanoSystems Institute, selected against heavy competition as one of Davis' three California Institutes for Science and Innovation. The other selected projects were the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, a collaboration between UC San Diego and UC Irvine, and the California Institute for Bioengineering, Biomedical Research led by UC San Francisco with UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.

Welinsky knew there were no guarantees that his advocacy efforts would pay off. "Each time you do this, you feel you're being tested," he explained. "You're sweating each time it happens. It doesn't happen overnight or automatically. It's hard work, repeated phone calls, the thank-yous afterward." And then there's typically the long wait. "Sometimes you don't see the results for months."

There have been other close calls.

In 1999, local water and sewer districts were pushing hard for a bill that would empower them to increase by hundreds of millions of dollars the capital-facility assessments paid by local school districts, higher education institutions and other public agencies. Current laws restricted the amounts these districts could assess public agencies.

"This was a huge problem for us," Arditti recalls. "The bill had already passed the Senate and was in the Assembly appropriations committee. So once again, we went to Howard."

Howard called then-House Speaker Villaraigosa to request a meeting in Sacramento on behalf of UC and other representatives of the public- educational system.

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