02.04.hiero_.LANG_Sunday Shout-Out picks out the week’s stories that simply slipped our minds.

Gun incidents galore at Berkeley High School bring numerous Offspring references to mind. [Berkeleyside]

On the general subject of violence, Oakland, Berkeley and UC Berkeley police all helped break up a bar fight in Emeryville at around 1:30 Friday morning that ended up with ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY PEOPLE brawling in the street. Mother of God. [Mercury News]

Berkeley Patients Group, the city’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, owes a whopping $6 million in sales taxes to the state. We would insert a joke about someone being too stoned to do the math, but even we are above that (we think). [Mercury News]

In a blow of similar proportions, Blake’s is closing after 71 years of business. Perhaps this will cause a reduction in the general population of what an anonymous fellow student fondly termed “hordes of badly-proportioned slags.” [Daily Cal]

Image Source: Anne Lang, Daily Cal [TtLG]

Transparency said:
Feb 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm

UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau owes the state $3,000,000: state afraid to collect. When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of student sports including baseball, men’s, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found by Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste, inefficiencies in UC Berkeley (Cal), despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was accomplishing the same thing without expensive consultants.
Essentially, the process requires collecting, analyzing information from faculty, staff. Apparently, Cal senior management believe that the faculty, staff of their world-class university lacks the cognitive ability, integrity, energy to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor has lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated to $150 million. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (‘They told me to do it’, Birgeneau), credibility, trust, problems remain.
Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and academic senate leaders to identify $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

Students, staff, faculty, California Legislators are the victims of his incompetent decisions. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni, benefactors, donors, will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year while abdicating his work responsibilities.

Let there be light.

The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.
PS University of California Berkeley (Cal) ranking drops. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked Cal the 2nd leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place.
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