Tag: University of Southern California

Aug 02 2012

Arnold Schwarzenegger is “BACK” in Public Policy at USC

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Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and USC President C. L. Max Nikias

He’s BACK!

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in public policy – at USC.

Less than two years after leaving office, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is pumping up his political and academic profile — and will head the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California, a new think tank to advance “post-partisan” politics.

The Republican former governor  told The Chronicle that he’ll formally announce the establishment of the partnership Thursday at USC, where his Institute will be housed in the Sol Price School of Public Policy.

Schwarzenegger will chair the Institute’s Board of Advisors, and he has also been appointed the inaugural Governor Downey Professor of State and Global Policy at USC, a post in honor of  the first immigrant California governor — who was also a co-founder of the university.

“I always said that after I left office, I would continue to stay involved in certain issues, to be involved in something that has had an affect on people,” Schwarzenegger said Wednesday in an interview with the Chronicle. “This is what it is about: post-partisanship and the regional approach to issues…(that’s) one of the very important things we learned in California.”

Good for Arnold (something to do in his semi-retirement) and good for USC to receive all of the funding from Schwarzenegger’s movie millions.

But, I do not expect too much from this “post-partisan” institute which is laden with Democrats and Leftists.

The institute will issue the same ol’ left-leaning university “white papers” and Arnold will give a lecture or two. Arnold will present awards to up and coming Democrat POLS – maybe a libertarian or two, but no conservatives.

Maybe the institute will do some polling and the Governator will sign some autographs, especially for the co-eds

Bet Arnold gets some good seats for the USC football games too!

Ho hum…..

Here is the video introduction:

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Apr 12 2012

Flap’s California Afternoon Collection: April 12, 2012

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Lombard Street, San Francisco, California

Good Thursday Morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California Headlines:

FEC delays decision in Durkee embezzle case

The Federal Election Commission on Thursday raised sharp questions but came to no firm conclusion over Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bid for greater fundraising leeway in the wake of embezzlement by her former campaign treasurer.

The punt will give the FEC more time to consider whether California politicians ripped off by former treasurer Kinde Durkee can solicit additional funds from individuals who have already reached their contribution limit.

“We’re all sympathetic to your client,” FEC commissioner Ellen Weintraub told Feinstein’s attorneys Thursday morning, “but it’s still a hard question.”

Though the commission’s legal staff had recommended rejecting Feinstein’s request, the commissioners during a two-hour hearing indicated they thought it was a close call. Several voiced concern over the potential “implications” for other campaigns of granting Feinstein’s fundraising request.

“We have to do some special thinking,” Commissioner Steven Walther said. “We’re in a tight spot, and we need to think this one out.”

Feinstein wants contribution limits be lifted following revelations that Durkee had embezzled millions of dollars from dozens of campaign treasuries. Feinstein’s campaign alone reported losing at least $4.5 million under Durkee’s scheming. The FEC’s reasoning will apply to other former Durkee clients as well, and will also be closely attended to by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.

Court: Managers don’t have to ensure lunch breaks

In a case that affects thousands of businesses and millions of workers, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that employers are under no obligation to ensure that workers take legally mandated lunch and rest breaks

The unanimous opinion came after workers’ attorneys argued that abuses are routine and widespread when companies aren’t required to issue direct orders to take the breaks. They claimed employers take advantage of workers who don’t want to leave colleagues during busy times.

The case was initially filed nine years ago against Brinker International, the parent company of Chili’s and other eateries, by restaurant workers complaining of missed breaks in violation of California labor law.

But the high court sided with businesses when it ruled that requiring companies to order breaks is unmanageable and those decisions should be left to workers.

The opinion written by Associate Justice Kathryn Werdegar explained that state law does not compel an employer to ensure employees cease all work during meal periods, instead saying the employee is at liberty to use the time as they choose.

“The employer is not obligated to police meal breaks and ensure no work thereafter is performed,” Werdegar wrote.

The court’s decision could greatly reduce the numerous class-action lawsuits surrounding the issue that cost companies millions of dollars in legal costs.
“The courts are making it clear that you have to create a system and a procedure that fully allows employees an opportunity to take breaks and meal periods, and if they do that they do not have to be Big Brother and individually monitor each employee to ensure that they’ve taken every bit of their breaks,” said Steve Hirschfeld, founder and CEO of the Employment Law Alliance, an employer-side legal trade group.

Deadly shooting revives concerns about USC’s neighborhood

It started as a typical evening for Ming Qu and Ying Wu, two graduate students from China studying electrical engineering at USC.

After a night at the library, Qu drove Wu to the house where she was renting a room less than a mile from campus. He double parked in front of the home early Wednesday morning to continue talking.

At around 1 a.m., a gunman approach Qu’s BMW and opened fire, killing both students in an attack that shocked USC and rekindled long-held concerns about safety around the university.

Qu attempted to run for help after he was shot in the head and was found collapsed on a nearby porch, police said. Wu was found shot in the chest, slumped over in the passenger seat of the car parked on a tree-lined stretch of Raymond Avenue just south of Adams Boulevard.

The students, both 23, were close friends who spent evenings chatting on the front porch of the house where Wu lived, according to police sources, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. But on Wednesday, it was raining, so police believe the pair decided to stay in the car, which friends said was a 2003 model that Qu bought for about $10,000.

Police suspect a lone assailant of carrying out the killings, but LAPD Capt. Andrew Smith said investigators had little to go on and are examining all motives, including that the gunman was trying to rob the pair. More than a dozen Los Angeles Police Department homicide detectives canvassed the area Wednesday, going door-to-door to search for witnesses and reviewing intersection cameras for clues.

USC, south of downtown Los Angeles, has long dealt with worries about crime in the neighborhoods around the campus. But in recent years, some of those concerns have eased as crime plummeted, the university expanded and some of those neighborhoods, such as West Adams, gentrified.


California senators call for a vote on Jerry Brown’s pension plan

California’s ranking Senate Republican and one of the GOP’s representatives on a special pension committee have fired off letters to Gov. Jerry Brown and their Democratic colleagues in the Legislature, calling for a key committee vote on the governor’s pension reform plan later this week.

Republicans have embraced Brown’s plan and put it word for word in two bills. Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar and Sen. Mimi Walters of Laguna Niguel on Tuesday signed the letters delivered to Brown and pension conference committee co-chairs Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino, and Assemblyman Warren Furutani, D-Gardena, pushing for a vote Friday when the committee meets in Southern California.

They asked Brown to “join us to demand immediate legislative action on your twelve point pension plan, which we believe represents the first steps that must be enacted to get our runaway pension system under control.”

Molly Munger puts $2 million more into California tax measure

With just weeks left to gather the signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot, civil rights attorney Molly Munger has poured another $2.15 million into her proposal to raise income taxes to fund schools.

Munger, president of The Advancement Project, is the sole financier of the “Our Children, Our Future Measure.” The proposal would raise taxes on a sliding scale for almost all California earners, routing the revenues directly to school districts and early childhood development programs.

Supporters of Gov. Jerry Brown’s rival tax measure, which would temporarily raise income taxes on high earners and increase the state sales tax by a quarter percent, have tried to persuade Munger to drop her measure to avoid confusion and mixed messaging that could arise with more than one tax hike in front of voters in November.

The Munger camp must collect roughly 504,000 valid voter signatures by to make it on the ballot. They likely need to submit those petitions signatures to elections officials by mid-May to be certified in time for the 2012 election.

Enjoy your afternoon!

And, lastly, Dan Walters explains why the City of Los Angeles may have to declare bankruptcy.

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Aug 23 2011

R.I.P. John R. Hubbard – Former President of the University of Southern California

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John R. “Jack” Hubbard

John R. Hubbard has passed away at 92.

John R. Hubbard, a historian and former U.S. ambassador to India who was president of USC in the 1970s, died Sunday at his Rancho Mirage home after a long illness, the university announced. The broad-shouldered and outspoken Texas native, widely known as “Jack,” was 92.

During his decade-long presidency, Hubbard was credited with helping to boost the University of Southern California’s finances and academic reputation. But his term also was marked with controversies over donations from the shah of Iran and from corporations doing business in Saudi Arabia.

USC’s current president, C.L. “Max” Nikias, said Hubbard’s presidency established a foundation for the school’s subsequent rise in national rankings in scholarship and research. “I greatly admired his keen mind, his quick wit, his passion for history, his service to our country and his love of this university,” Nikias said in a statement.

Hubbard, who was an expert on British diplomatic history and U.S.-India ties, continued to teach part-time at USC until he was 91, even if it meant sometimes leaning on a walker. “He was a strong, tough Texan, no question about it,” said friend John Callaghan, a USC associate professor of kinesiology, who also recalled Hubbard as a first-rate scholar with a global perspective. “He really knew a tremendous amount about the growth of the British Empire, its stability and its eventual decline,” Callaghan said.

I was pleased to serve on USC’s President’s Advisory Council under President Hubbard. I and many others cut their teeth on politics working in student government at USC.

In 1969, Hubbard was named provost and vice president of academic affairs at USC, and the next year he became USC’s eighth president. During his tenure, applications to the school nearly tripled, 10 major buildings were begun or completed, and new programs were established in communications, urban planning, gerontology and hydrocarbon science, officials said.

Rest in peace.

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