Schwarzenegger appoints pension critic as UC regent

The Sacramento Bee, 12/31/10.

By Laurel Rosenhall

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday named his chief public employee pension critic to the University of California’s governing board, which was rocked this week by a pension controversy.

David Crane, 57, was named to fill a seat vacated by Joanne Kozberg on the Board of Regents. The governor will make dozens of appointments before leaving office Sunday at midnight.

Crane has been one of Schwarzenegger’s top economic advisers since 2004 and a vocal advocate for changing the state’s public employee pension system.

He has criticized the California Public Employees’ Retirement System for not disclosing important information to the Legislature before it voted to substantially increase pension benefits for state employees a decade ago. He repeatedly said the retirement benefit structure is unsustainable.

The appointment comes the same week the San Francisco Chronicle reported that 36 of UC’s highly paid executives wrote a letter to the regents threatening to sue if UC doesn’t boost their pensions.

Crane, a Democrat, will not receive a salary as a regent. He must be confirmed by the state Senate for a term to expire in March 2022.

“Serving as a member of the Board of Regents, I know that David will devote the energy, tenacity and creativity needed to keep the University of California the finest public university system in the world,” Schwarzenegger said.

Crane is a former partner in the investment firm Babcock & Brown. He earned a law degree from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

“I look forward to working with the regents to ensure access to a high-quality and affordable education for California’s students,” he said in a statement.

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