Sunday, 28 February 2010

Good Work By the Sac Bee Editors

The new editorial team at the Sacramento Bee is starting to impress me. This weekend provided some good examples.

On Saturday, they wrote a tough editorial about the Westlands Water District that drew heavily from a recent news article in the LA Times. It is interesting when an editorial page of one paper quotes news articles from another paper on a topic their reporters have been covering. This is also a nice contrast from some of the editorial choices of their predecessors.

They followed that up on Sunday with a very thoughtful trio of Forum articles on job creation. All three articles stray off track in places, but the main point of each is very sound.

I don’t normally echo industry lobbyists, but I thought the article from the manufacturers association was pretty good. I agree with the points about sales tax on manufacturing equipment and electricity costs. The Milken Institute study she kept referring to is deceptive though.

An environmental advocate complaining of redtape and regulation was nice to see. Unfortunately, the essay strays off the mark frequently with comments like “make suburban sprawl illegal,” exactly the kind of thinking that created our over-regulated, high cost state.

Dan Morain’s article about NUMMI was interesting too. Attempts to save NUMMI have no chance at this point, but it is interesting to see the contrast in how various leaders approached this very serious event.

Finally, the last Sunday editorial on expanding university administration is a topic I used to think about a lot. I know nothing of UC, but before coming to Pacific, I worked at a large public university in another state for about a decade. I was what they call “ladder track” faculty before being “promoted” to administrative appointments as a Director and Associate Dean. I saw a first hand case of this when a very necessary Director position I occupied was upgraded to Associate Dean. Why the promotion? Because the administration made a new unnecessary Dean position in my division, and that Dean needed an Associate Dean not a Director. So I enjoyed the article’s line about a “deans of dean services.” Having said that, many of these administrative positions do have research and teaching functions and the issue is more complex than portrayed in this brief editorial. Nevertheless, the questions about swelling administration are very valid, and I commend the Sac Bee editors for raising the issue.

About the Author

Ethan Jacob

Author & Editor

I am Ethan Jacob Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, where I have a joint faculty appointment in the Eberhardt School of Business and the Public Policy Program in the McGeorge School of Law..

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