SACRAMENTO -- Librarians aren’t known for being loud, but Gov. Jerry Brown might hear some raised voices from that scholarly crowd over his decision Tuesday to appoint a politically connected journalist as the California state librarian.
Brown appointed Greg Lucas, 55, a former political reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, to the post. Since 2011, Lucas has been a senior editor for the Sacramento website Capitol Weekly, which provides articles on California politics, and he also writes and edits California’s Capitol, a website he created that also explores issues of state politics and history.
Lucas is the son of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas and the husband of Donna Lucas, who heads a political public relations firm and previously was a top aide to former Republican Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Deukmejian.
Librarians were concerned that a non-librarian would be appointed as state librarian. “A former reporter? What the hell?” responded Roy B. Stone, president of the Librarians’ Guild, which represents 350 librarians in the city of Los Angeles.
Stone said he was “disappointed” by the appointment. ”I’m tired of political appointments everywhere you go for everything,” he said. “How about the ability of the person to do the job? His resume at this point is pretty lacking as far as the ability to do that job.”
Some librarians said it appears the appointment may be in conflict with the state Education Code, which was changed in 1976 to say that the state librarian “shall be a technically trained librarian.”
Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor, said Lucas’ appointment passes muster with the law.
“However, our appointee will be pursuing additional technical training through San Jose State University’s library science program in the months ahead,” Westrup said.
Lucas, who will be paid $142,968 annually if confirmed by the Senate, has been a board member at the Friends of the California State Archives since 2012. He has a master of arts degree in professional writing from USC.
Rosario Garza, the executive director of the California Library Assn., also said the post should be filled by a librarian. “It’s a complex world and we are facing a lot of challenges,” Garza said.
Westrup, the governor’s spokesman, defended the appointment. “Greg is an independent thinker, a sharp writer and a keen observer,” Westrup said. “His appreciation and knowledge of California’s history runs deep and the state will be very well served.”