Appointments of UC Regents

Republican Gov. George Deukmejian's appointment of two attorneys--both over 60, both males, both Republicans--to the University of California Board of Regents ("2 Attorneys Join Regents," Part I, July 4) shows his contempt for the state Constitution as well as for the diversity of the people of California.

Article IX, Section 9, subsection d, of the state Constitution clearly states, "Regents shall be able persons broadly reflective of the economic, cultural, and social diversity of the state, including ethnic minorities and women." However, the constitutional mandate for diversity is rendered practically meaningless and impotent because it further states, " . . . It is not intended that formulas or specific ratios be applied in the selection of regents."

The sad and readily evident consequence of a toothless mandate is the fact that the UC Board of Regents remains a restrictive club composed almost entirely of wealthy individuals--predominately white and overwhelmingly male.

The recently elected chairman of the regents, Roy T. Brophy, for example, is a wealthy Northern California builder and land developer appointed by Deukmejian for a 12-year term on the board in 1986.

Furthermore, although California is estimated to be 24% Latino--the overwhelming majority of Mexican descent--the "California Roster" lists only two Spanish-surnamed regents. Only one, Vilma Martinez, is of Mexican descent. The governor is primarily to blame for this dearth of diversity. He could be part of the solution, but has chosen not to be.

Excluding any regents who may be completing a 16-year term in the period of transition to exclusively 12-year terms, the state Constitution allows for 18 appointive members. Hence, four or five of the regents should be Latino--primarily of Mexican descent--if Deukmejian voluntarily wants to adhere to the spirit and the will of the people, as mandated by the Constitution. Given the demographics of California, Deukmejian has to go out of his way to not appoint qualified Latinos as regents.

By any measure, Gov. Deukmejian is violating the public trust and his oath of office, not to mention his gross dereliction of his responsibilities and duties owed to all the people of California. Let's do ourselves a favor and vote Democratic.

GEORGE C. BALDERAS

Corona

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