Spending $1 Million to Get Rid of a Single Bureaucrat

By Conor Friedersdorf

Every so often, Californians get distracted from the physical beauty that surrounds us, remember that a state government is nominally under our control, notice a feature that galls us, and stage a populist revolt—for better or worse. Steep increases in property taxes led to Proposition 13. Anxiety over immigration prompted Proposition 187. Power outages and an increase in the vehicle license fee fueled the recall of Governor Gray Davis and the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger. And I reckon that the Golden State is about due for its next political earthquake.

Lest a shortage of farm labor cause a kale shortage that vaults Gwyneth Paltrow into the statehouse, I hope to trigger a tremor on a different fault line. I’d rather Californians unleashed their pent up seismic tension on the system that gave them the saga of Linda Katehi.

Do you recall the controversial UC Davis leader?

Last year, when she lost her chancellorship, I mocked her golden parachute, expressing a journalist’s fleeting outrage at how much taxpayer money her failure cost us.

But the weather was so nice and a new taco truck had just arrived in my neighborhood. I’d have totally forgotten my anger if the Sacramento Bee hadn’t published a coda to her saga last week. As it turns out, an extra million dollars of taxpayer money was spent––and so needlessly, so extravagantly, I can scarcely believe it. The UC System’s annual budget is $28.8 billion. Next to that, $1 million isn’t much. Then again, $1 million would cover the student loans of a lot of students. The people in my neighborhood’s tent city could all be housed for $1 million.

So I say this saga matters.

Before I tell you how that million was spent instead, let’s quickly review the vast sums, beyond the final million, that were already squandered during Linda …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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