Gov. vetoes transparency bill

By Ben French

On Sept. 30 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed
Senate Bill 330, which would amend the Public Records Act to
require private entities within the California State University
system, including the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, to submit budgets
and gains from government donors and volunteers.

Schwarzenegger said in a statement to the media that he believes
because of the way the bill is worded now, it will protect some
donors but will not grant others the level of privacy they
deserve.

Schwarzenegger’s statement went on to say that because of the
risk of public scrutiny, the bill poses a threat to the private
funds most schools receive. As a result, Schwarzenegger cannot sign
the bill.

Paul Storey, executive director of Cal Poly Pomona Foundation
Inc., explained how the bill would have little effect on the CPP
Foundation.

“The Foundation is pretty transparent as it is,” said Storey.
“We have a 20-member board with students, faculty and staff. If you
look on our websites, you can see our annual reports, board
meetings, agendas and so on.”

David Prenovost, the chief financial officer of Foundation
Financial services said being a public-benefit corporation as
opposed to a private foundation makes them transparent.

“We’re not a private foundation so everything is available,”
said Prenovost. “Our tax returns are on a global website called
GuideStar and of course we put our tax returns on our website.”

Public record of the CPP Foundation is accessible to anyone, but
the issue of donors is still a concern for Storey.

“The main concerns the CSU had with the bill was with donors,”
said Storey. “Even though there was some protection in the bill,
the CSU wanted to make sure that donors were protected because they
didn’t want the concern that they couldn’t get some of the
donations that we need to help the university.”

The CSU did propose a middle ground on the bill that would
completely protect donors, but the bill’s author, California State
Senator Leland Yee, refused the proposal.

A sum total of $5.3 million was given to CPP in donations in
2009. Of this, 10 percent was given from organizations and 35
percent came from individuals other than parents and alumni.

If the donations were anonymous, there is a chance that some of
those people would not donate again due to the risk of exposure
from Senate Bill 330, had it passed.

If donors intended on donating the same amounts, Senate Bill 330
would cost Cal Poly Pomona millions of dollars in potential
funds.

Dennis Miller, director of employment services for CPP
Foundation spoke of volunteers on campus and their perception of
being on-record.

“If [Senate Bill] 330 passed then it probably would have
dissuaded somebody from volunteering because they didn’t want their
information disclosed,” said Miller. “For our purposes and the type
of volunteers we have ” usually they’re volunteers for working in
the Arabian Horse Center or wherever they’re needed ” I think they
wouldn’t be concerned with whether or not their information was
disclosed.”

Gov. vetoes transparency bill

Photo Courtesy of gov.ca.us

Gov. vetoes transparency bill

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