Overstating liberalism's effect

Monday, January 18, 2010

George F. Will seized upon a stubborn California fiscal crisis brought on by a national recession to make the case that the state that gave America Ronald Reagan, three-strikes prison sentencing, Richard Nixon, term limits, Howard Jarvis and the largest prison build-up in modern history was having trouble funding its public universities because of chronic "compassionate liberalism" ["Getting what you wish for at Berkeley," op-ed, Jan. 10].

This, to put it mildly, was a stretch. Yes, California is facing tough times, but it has faced them before and always emerged a better place. The University of California, too, has hit rough patches in its 140-year history. It will survive this one -- which, by the way, is less a child of misguided liberalism than a shift in priorities toward prisons and populist anti-tax movements such as Jarvis's Proposition 13.

Richard Blum, Oakland, Calif.

The writer is a chairman emeritus of the University of California board of regents.

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