You Must Remember This: When I am governor

By NANCY GARDNER

When I am governor – oh, you didn’t know I was running? Yes.  Bowing to the requests of so many people (translation from Politalk – I woke up one night and thought it was a marvelous idea.) I am certainly considering a run. After all, it’s not like I’m inexperienced in government, having served two terms on city council, which is a lot more experience than some of my competitors will be able to point to.  As for my record while on council, it should be noted that a local columnist stated that I was the most fiscally conservative member of the council. The fact that he later went to prison for embezzlement in no way weakens that claim. Who knows numbers better than an embezzler?

Anyway, enough about me (further translation from Politalk – I will be sure and mention myself as often as possible.); one of my goals is to reform California’s state university system, but to fully understand the scope of my proposal we need to step back in time to a period in our state’s history, a good part of the 20th century, when the mission was to provide higher education to California students, and I highlight California. This was the world I grew up in, and it was a stress-free environment. You didn’t start worrying your freshman year of high school about college, because you knew that if you got a B average you could go to a state-funded university. You didn’t take prep classes for the PSAT. You just sat and took the test, knowing that a reasonable score along with your reasonable grades assured you of a place. In those days almost everyone I knew went to college in-state.  The only ones that didn’t had let their B average slip, and they went to Arizona State.

Compare it to today. The anxiety starts in the ninth grade if not before. At one point in time, a 4.0 was as good as you could get. Like everything else that has been inflated to the degree that a B can send students to bed for days, wondering how they can possibly get into a decent school with that horrible smirch on their record. As for the PSATs, they seem to require as much prep as an Everest climb with various practice courses and tutors, and taking the test multiple times. Students participate in every school activity that might burnish their application; they do community service for further burnishing, and after all that work – good grades, good test scores, good activity list – do they get into a UC? Probably not.

So, as governor, we will return to the past (which should get me lots of conservative votes). California students get first dibs at state-funded colleges (which should get me ALL the votes of parents of school age), but that’s just a first step.

When I am governor, the highest paid staff member at a UC will not be the football coach. It will be a Nobel laureate working on solutions to climate change. Sorry all you Bruins fans, but I’m pulling us out of big-time athletics. There will be no athletic scholarships, meaning we will no longer be prep schools for those aiming for a professional athletic career. As an ancillary benefit, this means all the kids playing soccer, baseball and all those other sports – they can go back to doing it just for fun, and their parents can back off on the pressure since athletic prominence won’t get their kids into school.  The lack of emphasis on athletics also means that a California student won’t be rejected in favor of some hot athlete from another state or even another country. However, a sound mind and a sound body is a good principle, and we will still have athletics, but they will be with student athletes, not the other way around. This means that the level of expertise displayed will not be what it was, but it doesn’t mean that sports won’t still be exciting since we will be playing teams at a similar level.

I recently watched a women’s water polo game between Brown and Harvard. I’m pretty sure my granddaughter’s Laguna Beach High School team could have beaten either side, but it was a close game and the fans were into it just as much as if it had been Stanford vs. USC.

This is just one of the legs of my platform, all of which are for the benefit of the people of our great state (final Politalk translation: When does the money start rolling in?).

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Nancy Gardner, former Mayor of Newport Beach, long-time resident and daughter of Judge Robert Gardner, is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


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