Brandman University's head of its masters of public administration program, Fred Smoller, resigned his administration position at the university last week after saying that he was essentially replaced with a new staff member known mainly as an advocate of high-speed rail and the local government status quo. He will still teach, though. This is significant because it suggests the amount of pressure academics can receive for challenging the public sector. Here's my CalWatchdog article on it. Smoller (who in full disclosure is on our unpaid advisory board), is an avowed liberal with whom I have battled over the years, but he is serious about ideas and wants to reform government so that it does a better job providing the services he so strongly cares about. So he favors pension reform and exposing the outrageous salary packages earned by city managers. He is a pariah for that reason, although his students were learning to think critically and not just be functionaries in city bureaucracies. I disagree with his municipal consolidation ideas, but so what? We need more debates over ideas at the local government level and fewer battles between self-interested groups.
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