Controversial regent appointment fails to receive Senate confirmation

Brenna Alexander/Staff
David Crane lost his seat on the UC Board of Regents as a result of the California State Senate not confirming him within a year.

David Crane officially lost his seat on the UC Board of Regents Tuesday because the California State Senate did not move to confirm him to the board within a year of his appointment, as required by state law.

Crane, who worked for over two decades at a multibillion dollar investment firm, was a top economic adviser to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appointed Crane to the board last December during his final days in office.

For the past year, Crane’s appointment has been consumed by controversy over his position on collective bargaining for public employees, and it became clear in recent months that the senate was unlikely to confirm him.

Crane came under withering criticism from labor groups and some politicians, including state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, after Crane wrote an op-ed that criticized collective bargaining in the public sector.

Crane argued that unions could use campaign contributions to gain control of policy makers and that Sacramento could end up being more responsive to public employees than to “citizens benefitting from public services,” including UC students.

Yee, who had vowed to “toast” Crane’s confirmation, released a statement on his website entitled “Finally Some Good News for UC Students, Faculty, and Workers,” where he expressed satisfaction that Crane had not received senate confirmation and attacked Crane’s position on collective bargaining.

“Crane promoted a very dangerous agenda against working families,” Yee wrote. “Public employees make an enormous contribution to our neighborhoods and our communities and deserve our respect and appreciation.”

Crane, who supports collective bargaining rights for UC workers, has maintained that Yee and others have distorted his positions.

Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to appoint a replacement for Crane in the near future.

Jason Willick covers higher education.