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Spring 2003
The Challenge
Going After the Best
Can We Afford Excellence?
The Price of Excellence
Strength in Numbers
First & Goal

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Spring 2003
Can We Afford Excellence?
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Those who participated were Assemblyman Ronald S. Calderon ’80 (D-Montebello); Assemblyman Ed Chavez ’89 (D-La Puente); Assemblywoman Judy Chu ’74 (D-Monterey Park); Assemblyman Lou Correa J.D. ’85, M.B.A. ’85 (D-Santa Ana); Sen. Sheila Kuehl ’62 (D-Los Angeles); and Assemblyman Keith Richman M.D. ’78, M.P.H. ’83 (R-Granada Hills). Fernando Torres-Gil, associate dean of the School of Public Policy and Social Research, moderated the discussion.

TORRES-GIL: Given the budget crisis, can California afford a world-class research university?

CHAVEZ: If the question being asked is whether we can afford to maintain this premier institution, my response is that I don’t know how we could afford not to maintain it. Think about the new technologies that are generated, about the new medical breakthroughs. UCLA has led the way in these areas. How could we afford not to have an institution such as this that helps to improve the quality of life for our communities?

CORREA: As policymakers, we try to develop a blueprint for the future of California within the context of jobs, international competition, economic growth, cutting-edge technology. Those are the kinds of investments we need to continue to focus on — the things that will lead to breakthroughs in technology that change the way we live on this planet. Of course, the challenge we have today as policymakers is that we have some tough sacrifices to make. Right now it’s a matter of prioritizing.

TORRES-GIL: Should UC seek a funding guarantee such as Proposition 98, which sets a guaranteed minimum funding out of state revenues for K-12 and community colleges?

CALDERON: Every special-interest group would like to have special funding set aside in order to add predictability and to be able to budget, but what we’ve seen in these set-aside situations is that the state loses flexibility. It’s necessary in times of budget shortfalls such as we’re experiencing now to have flexibility. Prop. 98 hasn’t really turned out to be the Eden that some thought it would be because while it does make guarantees, they are linked to state revenues. It would be nice to have predictability, but in situations such as the one we’re faced with now we need flexibility.

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