Friday, August 30, 2013

CAL LISTENS—DOES THE RIGHT THING.




Kudos to Sandy Barbor. 

This from today’s Contra Costa Times:  

"Fan response was at the heart of the decision to keep the Big Game at Memorial Stadium….. 'The feedback and the input was useful,"  (Sandy) said."

That was kind of her to say and we should all congratulate her.  

She listened.  Apparently, the hundreds of e-mails (Maybe thousands when you count blog posts and comments) sent to her and the Chancellor helped them to come to the right decision.

And thanks to all of you who acknowledged the efforts from here.  But it was Loyal Golden Bears who made the difference not some arrogant, sexist, self indulgent, supercilious writer of drivel. 

As we used to say back in the day, “Power to the people.”

To all of you who wrote in, all of us are in your debt—especially the kids.

(As one professor wrote to me): 

“Who was consulted about this proposal?  If this is a student activity, was student government consulted?  Why do Cal fans have to find this out through the media?”

Can you imagine their final Big Game and they have a choice of piling on to a bus (being searched for booze, no doubt) and then riding a couple of hours to Great America to play in the new Niners’ Stadium—or playing beer pong, doing shots and watching the game on a flat screen TV?

It appears eventually the kids were consulted and the probably influenced the decision as much as anyone.
As to whether the “process worked” that is an open question.

In Sandy’s defense, she is obligated to look at any proposal (no matter how outlandish) and make a decision.
But I wasn’t the only one who’d been told it was a “Done deal.” CBS seemed to agree as well and the Chron reported that "both schools are expected to accept" an offer from the 49ers and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority to shift the game from Cal's Memorial Stadium to Santa Clara.”


There are e-mails out there that indicate this was much more dire than many of you will admit. 
Nuff’ said.

That being said, I honor Sandy for doing the right thing and listening. 

And as a gesture of good will I promised my friend, I will try to check with Sandy to get her side—though that was impossible in this case.  

If nothing else, I hope this fiasco will, if not change the culture in certain parts of the administration, at least give them pause when they say, “We will never win over the traditionalists”.

I know we are old and will be dead soon (not soon enough for some of you apparently), but someone handed down these traditions to us.  It enriched our lives.  It made us what we are.  And we feel that it is a moral imperative to hand it down to the next generation and all the generations which follow.

(This aside is appropriate on the 50th Anniversary of “I Have a Dream”). 

Remember, it was Cal which educated an impoverished white kid from Bakersfield and gave him the sagacity and character to one day  grow up and write the words “Separate but Equal is inherently unequal,” thus ending state sponsored school segregation which eventually led to that march in Washington half a century ago).  And he was a Republican to boot!  

That’s the kind of kid Traditional Cal is capable of producing.

Of course, former Chancellor Birgeneau  honored his place in history by tearing down Earl Warren Hall a couple of years ago in favor of a Cat that gave Berkeley more money.  (Like the discussions regarding the Niner’s stadium it was done with no notice to the family.  We weren’t even given the offer to match the other guy’s bid).  As though we could....

This is why some of us worry about the dangers of not adhering to traditions.  Should we forget that those words were written by one of our graduates?  Maybe students to day might take some pride in going to a school which produced such a man of Character?

(And no.  No one can blame Sandy for that one).

It may be difficult to maintain Cal traditions in the ESPN world of today.  But (some of us feel) we must resist with all our fiber, any attempt to destroy (even inadvertently) the traditions which have made Cal (I know soon to be re-named Berkeley), the Greatest University in the World.

Power to the people!

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

THE DEAL: WHAT CAL GETS IF BIG GAME GOES TO SANTA CLARA IN 2014




Sandy was perturbed.

She hadn't even received the final deal from the Niners, when some jerk put it out on the Internet that Cal could sell tradition and change their home BIG GAME to Great America in Santa Clara--a nine iron from the Stanford State campus.

.  She met Tuesday night with her financial advisers (a voluntary group--no idea if they carry any sway or not) to fill them in in what she had hoped would not come out--fair enough.

I know no one believes my drivel any more than they believed it the time I wrote that Sandy was going to demote Rugby.  They thought it was just the typical Warren BS.

What I'm writing (except opinions) is true.  You don't have to believe it.
The news you’ve read about Cal giving away its home game to Stanford in 2014 is accurate.  It just wasn’t published anywhere else.


 Perhaps as some have said, I rejoice in creating mischief.  But no one can deny that we love Cal and that we are doing what little we can to keep it the premiere University in the Country, if not the world.  We (the tapeworm and me) give you this information in the hopes you will carry it to the administrators of the School we all love.

The facts are, that due to my kids and their friends, we know kids on the team,--some have come up to the ranch to shoot skeet—we know coaches, medical staff, MAJOR donors, administrators, and people who work in the Athletic Department.  

Most of them want the best for Cal—that’s why they reach out--even though they want no attribution.  They fear what is going on at Cal.  

They all want to get their story out.  My job is to get the truth out.  No, that’s not true.  My job is to advocate for the beauty of attending the University of California (Cal, not  Berkeley) that  my grandfather, my parents, my uncles, my aunts, myself and my kids went to—is not stolen from us by some short timers (who may be good honest people) who just don’t understand what the Cal experience is.

Here is what took place  Tuesday around 6pm..  You can believe it or not.

According to Sandy the 49ers approached them. I have not talked to them, though Jed York wants to come up and share some cab—just joking--not sure he's old enough to drink.

Cal would like to balance their schedule.  In even years we have Stanford, UCLA, Oregon and Washington—plus Stanford--all tough teams in today’s world.

That means on odd years we have less attractive teams—meaning  less revenue  Of course, maybe if we wouldn’t schedule the Presbyterian Blue Hose, we could have a better schedule those years—but that’s an aside.

So to Cal’s credit, they would like to “balance the schedule”. 
  
“It’s a great recruiting tool.”  Sandy told the group. “Kids want to play in a stadium where the Super Bowl will be played.

OK.  I buy that.  Let’s do it in  fall of 2015 because Super Bowl will be played down there in 2016..

So here are the deal points as articulated by Sandy and Solly (a good guy BTW).

Last October our net, net, net for the Big Game was $1.750.000  If we go down there we will get $2.400,000 (as will the Indians) plus a possible additional $400,000 to cover the ESP people—no I don’t understand it either, but that’s the deal.

Ergo:  On the face of it, we could get maybe close to a million more dollars more than last year if we sell our soul to Stanford.  Hey, I’d do it.

Alas, (and I think I've got this right, but if not you will get the picture) this only included 1250 tickets for students at $25 per ticket.

(Don’t shoot me if I’m wrong  or sue me because some of the numbers may be off by a hair).

Last year there were 10,000 tics, sold to students @ $25 a pop.  Oops.  If we subsidize them (using $71 as an average price, depending upon how they negotiate it, that could take half a mil off the table.  Paying for buses to get them down there etc. the million dollar figure dwindles.

Another (interestingly not talked about point) is that the price of an AVERAGE TICKET which was $71 last year will be $101 this year.  Everyone has to make a profit off  those traditionalists..

Are casual or even rabid fans going to fork out $100 for Big Game?  Maybe.
Plus, as several of her advisers asked her—why are we basing these numbers on the Big Game that was played in October last year?   What were the numbers from 2004, 2006,2008?  Her team apparently had no answers but “get back to them”.

Sandy was adamant about not apologizing for looking in to this.  Fair enough.    It is her responsibility to check out every and all opportunities to raise revenue for Cal.  She shouldn't be criticized for it.

However, as one of Cal's biggest donors e-mailed me , "I would have thought she might have checked with us:")  Not exact, but you get the point.

But what about the people who e-mail or FaceBook me and say “If this happens, I’m  changing my will?”

I know they mock us (see yesterday’s post) because we are old, but is there some gold there that we are about to give away?

Every decision by the athletic department comes up against this wall.    “Fire Tedford and I’ll take you out of my will.  Hire Tedford and you will be disinherited.”  This happens all the time and should be a part of the calculus.  

Are we going to gain enough money from this one shot deal (remember we can do it in 2015 just as well as we can do it in 2014) to off set the loss of revenue from people who are angry?

 All they presented was the number from the October game.  This should make you all suspicious.

Ergo:   it may sound like a million dollar delta , but when compared to a normal Big Game, and when the dollars are subtracted from subsidizing student tickets, it is going to be a LOT less—and could cost a LOT more in ill will and changing of wills.

Also what was discussed was that people who give to football, also give to the University in general.  So when one upsets them—forget them cancelling their season tickets—what about that money they were going to give to the new Chemistry building?

This has not been thought out.

Well, actually it has.  Last night, Sandy asked her committee (this is not  binding) to okay $500,000 of the revenue from the Big Game move, to go to help pay down the nut on the stadium and Simpson Sports complex. 

Now we're getting to the nub.

So they want to do this game (not to finance women's gymnastics, or woman's volley ball) but  to make up for the shortfall that they created in the way they marketed and (failed) to sell the tickets.

It turns out that over 130 people (alas, sadly we are two of them) have cancelled their ESP Tickets.  They claim they've added new folks so it's a 'wash" but that is still revenue lost.

So this game will help make up that short fall.  

I don’t understand why we should have to pay for this!

This is not our problem.

The group which met last night, decided that they didn’t want to make the decision in public, but I gather from folks who have called me that they urged Sandy to make the decision sooner than later.

If you have any  thoughts (and trust me, numbers of e-mails matter—not that they read or would dain to respond to them) let her know:
athletic.director@berkeley.edu

More important, let the new Chancellor know
'
chancellor@berkeley.edu


In fairness, Sandy has said the decision has not been made.  Her committee (advisory only) asked her to get the numbers—to make a compelling financial case for why this should be done.  

I guess if there’s money involved—nothing else matters.  Not sure that’s what we tried to teach our kids, but maybe I got it wrong.

Cal was/had been a shining light for meritocracy and character—not money.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70 

P.S.  Jay Torchio ( a good guy) and President of the Grid Club sent out an e-mail and then called me to say I misrepresented the truth about Sandy’s comments to the Grid club.  Also several people found it sexist that I said that Sandy was the one with the Cojones (because she refused to take questions) and the Grid club wimped out by letting her get away with it. 

Not sexist folks—a compliment to Sandy ( for having guts) and a put down of the Grid Club for not calling her on i.t.

I was not there, but several of the Club’s distinguished members told me what I wrote was accurate.  Jay said it was not accurate because she promised to take questions “individually” –but not publicly.  She stayed after and did so one on one, he said.  I assume what Jay says is true.




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

LOYAL OLD BLUES RENDERED “QUAINT” BY CAL ATHLETIC DIRECTOR




“It's Better to Lose than to Win at the Sacrifice of an  Ideal," 
Andy Smith

                We now know what separates Cal from other Athletic programs in the country.  Can you picture an Athletic Director like Pat Haden (USC), or  Bill Battle (Alabama), or even Stanford State’s Bernard Muir—any one of them standing in front of their school’s most loyal donor base--Grid Club, Buck Club, Condom Club (SC)—whatever they’re called—and telling them he won’t take any questions?
                Can you imagine those words coming from Pete Newell’s lips,  John Kassar’s or Sandy’s predecessor, Steve Gladstone?  Can you imagine anyone of them daring to say that to the folks who pay their salaries?
(From Sandy’s Contract:  This position is funded 100 percent by athletic department revenues and private fundraising” )

                Well, it happened yesterday right in Memorial Stadium (the place the 2014 Big Game is likely not to be played) during a special Grid Club luncheon.
                (This is from another source.  My friend realizes we are hardly Wiki leaks, but maybe, due to my age, wee, wee leaks would be more appropriate).
                The Grid Club met—Coach Dykes spoke—the A.D. was introduced, paid lip service to tradition—and then said she would take “no questions” regarding her plan to move our Home Big Game to Great America Amusement Park in 2014.  Something about being tired after her boondoggle  to China. 

  Whose dime was that on?
  Good on ya’ mate, Sandy.  At least, now we know who has the cojones and who doesn’t.  Hopefully,  those old meat eating males behaved like good little boys the rest of the meal, and then rushed home to watch re-runs of You Porn in the hopes of seeing  a real pair or two.   How times have changed.
If the Cal Grid Club (fervent donors, all) allows you to dictate the terms of the debate, we all deserve what we get.
Sandy and her team in Eshleman Hall (isn’t that where the Athletic Department still is?—just joking) have declared war on Cal Grads—we are dismissed as an annoyance.  Some don’t even bother to hide it any more.
Members of the Athletic Department now actively recite the refrain,  You know.  We are never going to win over the traditionalists.”  It’s become a mantra.
(Sort of like our Mantra “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, we hate to shut it down, But we Must, We must—back on the streets in the 60’s).
So “the traditionalists” have now been boxed out.  We have become (as a tall good looking guy wrote back in 2010, “Quaint.”)  (BTW it’s not just old folks.  It’s any kid who went to Cal and bleeds Blue and Gold).
Because they never went to Cal, they have no Idea why we are so snotty and uppity about having graduated from the (Once) Greatest University in the World.
Though all College experiences on all campii can be fantastic, we arrogantly believe no one knows what it is like to have made it through Cal, unless one has done it.  What makes us different besides our egos?  The institution, that’s what.  Despite Red Scares;  loyalty oaths; financial Cut Backs; Peoples’ Park; Riots in the Streets; gas dropped from Helicopters;  sit-ins, teach ins, Anti-War strikes, Draft evasions; marches on every cause known to man; third world shut downs, Racism, Reverse Racism; bloated administration;  touchy-feely classes; sock doll classes; women’s issues; gay issues; Naked men;  Dirty Speech; tuition hikes; pacifists, environmentalists, communists, Young Republicans, Mario Savio, the selling out of  local tax payers to out of staters; and a Rose Bowl drought since 1959, we have not only muddled through—we are stronger for it.  And that’s not even mentioning getting slapped down by co-eds on a regular basis.
NO ONE has had to endure what Cal Students go through to get that parchment,  We are proud of it—button busters, as we should be.
We are most often referred to as “Loyal old Blues” or “Loyal Golden Bears.” No one talks about the “Loyal Trojans” of SC or “Loyal” Indians (or however they refer to themselves) at Stanford or the Loyal Irish.

“Loyal” isn’t our middle name. It’s our first name. It's a concept these new folks haven’t seemed to grasp.
Loyalty is earned—not granted.  And once earned, it is a sin against all that is holy to destroy it.
When you want people to be loyal to you, you have to send some love back.  Loyalty assumes (actually, requires) reciprocity.

                Why do we no longer matter?  Why are we treated with such distain?
It’s simple:  With the exception of a few major donors, (most of our) donations pale in comparison to the Pac 12 TV contract (over $20,000,000). They don’t have to care what we think.
They pigeon hole us like the Democratic Party pigeon holes the Tea Partiers , or like Republicans pigeon hole progressives as “socialists.”
Oh, they pay us lip service, but as soon as our backs are tuned they go at it—laughing at us all the time.
Otherwise, they might  pay attention to the fact that The Cal Blogs are on fire with anger.  A cursory look at the articles which appeared on line in the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, and Contra Costa Times shows that the overwhelming number of “comments” are negative to her idea.  
This idea has been test marketed in the public arena and flopped—yet no one is paying attention.
               It becomes a numbers game:  Let’s see, there’s that pain in the neck (or wherever) and his Luddite friends.  “They might raise a ruckus, but if you think about it, they will be dead in a fear years so, who cares.”
Here’s why Sandy doesn’t have to worry about Cal tradition.  Her contract runs through 2016   According to her contract (approved by the regents September 16, 2010)
Base Salary:
$370,150
Range of Total Incentive/Bonus Awards:
$64,776.25 - $240,598
Total Cash Compensation:
$434,926.25 - $610,748

This is not including tips, or her membership at Claremont Country Club, leased car or “benefits.”

None of this is coming from the State.  
We saw the administration’s attitude, of course, with the demotion of Rugby—arguably the most meritorious sport at Cal.   Instead of rewarding excellence they demeaned it.  
  
(To his credit,  when introducing Mr. Dirks to the Trustees, outgoing Chancellor Birgeneau  joked,  “My one bit of advice?  Don’t cut any sports.”)
I’d give in to Sandy’s arguments if it made business sense.   Okay, I’m lying--but I’m trying to be reasonable.
Is getting an extra x-hundred thousand dollars (Even if it’s a million dollars) worth alienating such a huge group?  (Maybe it is.  Perhaps they have done the numbers and decided that those who have given to Cal over the past half century will be dead soon, so we don’t have to worry about what they think).
Gratitude has not been the hallmark of this administration.
But what if it’s a one time hit which causes bigger losses over time in anger and ill will.
Has no one ever taught them that this is a long term deal and turning off Cal fans today just might result in fewer Cal fans in the future?
I can’t prove that’s the case, but why would anyone take the chance.
Like municipalities mortgaging the tax payers’ future by granting bloated retirement benefits to be paid years down the road, they are risking depleting the future fan base by alienating a HUGE constituency of fans today.
College football works, not because of the excessive athleticism (there is much more in the NFL) but because local communities, cities, counties, states, regions, identify with them.  It’s generational—handed down from father to son, mother to daughter.
School  spirit actually exists and adds to the pageantry and the game day experience.
That being said, it is clear she and her staff are smarter than I am (who isn’t).  They know that we can raise hell for a day or two, but it will die off and then they can do what will benefit their personal careers to the detriment of what we once knew as “Cal.”  
They have a plan that disdains us, but what if they’re wrong?
Cal will become Berkeley (Dan Mogolof gave a presentation at the Lair stating this is the goal).  Big Game will one day be played in Beijing  or Paris (for the money, of course).
My grandfather graduated from Cal in 1912 with Bob Sproul.  My parents graduated before the War, and my three kids graduated this century.
We have a stake in this school, just as you do.
This is not over.

Papa Warren’s favorite poem is always a perfect way to end:  
You don’t go down with a short hard fall you just sort of shuffle along
Till you lighten your load with the moral code, Till you can’t tell right from wrong.
Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70