Whether you were lounging on a beach in Acapulco, hiking the Himalayas or biking down the Pacific Coast Trail, the world kept on turning and the news kept on coming. Here is a recap of the things that might have slipped under your radar this summer and a taste of what kind of stories to expect from City on a Hill Press this year.
Governor Cuts Funding to Domestic Violence Centers
As a means to balance the state’s budget, all funding to domestic violence programs was eliminated, leaving Santa Cruz’s two shelters, the Women’s Crisis Center and the Walnut Ave. Women’s Center, without $750,000 and $414,000, respectively. Both of these figures represent more than half of each programs’ funding.
Kristie Clemens, director of domestic violence services at the Walnut Ave. center, said she’s seen an increase in the severity of domestic abuse in the last six months, due in part to financial pressures facing families in the recessive economy. She and her counterpart at the Women’s Crisis Center, Laura Segura, deplored the cuts. Both said it is heartbreaking to lay off dedicated staff members and close their doors once a week as a cost saving measure when both places have seen a need for services increase.
Pay Raises for Some, $813 million Cut from the Rest
In a round of closed-to-the-public sessions during their three-day July meeting, the governing body of the University of California, the regents, approved stipends- periodic payments above a salary designed to compensate for additional duties- for more than two dozen senior leadership positions.
These votes fell on the same day the regents implemented layoffs, pay cuts and mandatory furloughs for all UC employees to tackle a state funding shortfall of $813 million.
The regents justified the stipends and pay increases as necessary to attract the best and brightest minds to the University of California’s top-tier positions.
Positions that will see an increase in their salaries and/or a stipend are the Associate Vice President-Federal Government Relations in the UC Office of the President, who will see a 10.4 percent increase in base salary, and UCSF’s interim chief operating officer, who will receive a 6.5 percent stipend, boosting his salary this year to $500,763.
For a complete list of individual’s stipend and pay increases, check out cityonahillpress.com.
Competency of UC President Questioned with a Vote
The University of California Union Coalition, comprised of unions whose members work in various sectors of the UC, called for a vote of no confidence in Mark Yudof, the president of the university.
Phil Johnston, president of the local chapter of the Union of Professional and Technical Employees, said the unions are fed up with the draconian actions taken by the university’s administrators to deal with a perceived budget crisis. Among them are pay cuts and mandatory furlough days for all state-paid UC employees.
Johnston said that as only $3 billion of the UC’s $19 billion budget comes from the state, the measures undertaken by the regents are based on false premises. Furthermore, there are other options, he said, the regents could take to offset the cuts, such as tapping into the university’s rainy day fund, which has not yet been done.
“[The regents] are downsizing and destroying the university,” he said. “When I see the effect [regents’ measures] have on the quality of education, I feel bad for the students and their families,” Johnston said. “As an alum, I hate seeing what it’s doing to the quality of the experience of being here.”