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UCSD misses out on Covid and Fema gravy trains

Toni Atkins' love of horses

UCSD deliberately did not apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — which would have significantly augmented the university’s relief funds — because it required too much staff work.
UCSD deliberately did not apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — which would have significantly augmented the university’s relief funds — because it required too much staff work.

Audit hotspot

UCSD is again suffering an auditor’s unflattering scrutiny. This time, it’s State Auditor Elaine Howle, who has released a report accusing the school of failing to apply for millions of dollars of minority and Covid-19 federal emergency relief. UCSD’s omission, the document notes, comes during a time of steep tuition hikes to fill the university’s gaping financial holes.

Elaine Howle is just trying to help UCSD help others, people.

In their November 18 report, auditors say that UCSD lost out on a big chunk of education aid for its minority students because it had previously failed to obtain so-called Minority-Serving Institution status. “UC San Diego has met the demographic requirements to be designated as an [Minority-Serving institution] for the past ten years; however, it has never pursued the designation, which may have cost it more than $600,000” in federal funding, and much more in the future, per the report. UCSD’s chief of staff for the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion told auditors that the qualification remains delayed because the school had “not yet developed a strategy for helping its Asian American and Native Pacific Islander student population.” He stated that “UC San Diego established a task force in the fall of 2020 to develop recommendations for supporting this population.” Adds the report, “To ensure that UC San Diego can provide additional educational opportunities and expand the campus’s capacity to serve its minority students, it should apply for [Minority-Serving Institution] status during the next available application cycle.”

Making things worse, the document adds, UCSD deliberately did not apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — which would have significantly augmented the university’s relief funds — because it required too much staff work. “UC San Diego’s Campus Budget Office director indicated that FEMA’s claims process puts a large administrative burden on campuses to gather all of the required documents, such as invoices and receipts associated with each expense.” But the stakes are high: “Expenditures that appear to be eligible for FEMA reimbursement [are] over $40 million,” the report says. “To put the amount of these funds in perspective, we estimate that these funds would be the equivalent of the planned $534 tuition increase of all four years of education for two classes of 9000 entering freshmen.”

In an October 29 letter to Howle, UCSD chancellor Pradeep Khosla did not dispute the findings and pledged to do better in the future. “We agree with the recommendation to apply for [Minority-Serving Institution] status and are already planning to do so for the Federal Fiscal Year 2022 cycle. We understand that the call for applications typically occurs in the Winter, so we will apply for the upcoming FY2022 cycle when the application window is available.” He also promised to apply for FEMA cash. “In light of FEMA’s most recent September 2021 COVID-19 Public Assistance Guidance, we will review expenses incurred in response to the pandemic and submit eligible expenses for reimbursement.”

Atkins corral

A longtime darling of the state’s horse racing business, California Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego got $11,200 from Thoroughbred Owners of California for her Toni Atkins for Lt. Governor 2026 committee on November 19. The former city council Democrat has long enjoyed the favor of the Del Mar track, showing up for fundraisers and racing meets thanks to free passes and turf club tickets. “The new President Pro Tempore of the Senate is a longtime fan of racing,” California horse racing industry lobbyist Robyn Black wrote in the May 2018 edition of California Thoroughbred magazine.

Toni Atkins: getting race funds from fellow race fans

“Senator Toni Atkins is a regular, studying the horses in the walking ring before each post at Del Mar.” Other recent donations to the Atkins 2026 election fund include $5000 on November 16 from Ace American Insurance Co. of Philadelphia. Also, the California Apartment Assoc. PAC gave $8100 that day. And on November 3, the Elon Musk-run electric car maker Tesla came up with the same. Last month, Musk announced he was moving Tesla’s headquarters from California to Texas, complaining of long commutes for his workers to affordable housing, a big cause with Atkins, whose spouse Jennifer LeSar runs a public housing consulting business. “We’re taking it as far as possible, but there’s a limit how big you can scale it in the Bay Area,” Musk said at the time. “Just to be clear, though, we will be continuing to expand our activities in California. This is not a matter of leaving California.”...Democrat Shirley Weber, the former San Diego Assemblywoman appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the post of California Secretary of State, continues collecting for her election bid next year. Ghost Management Group LLC., the Orange County-based pot industry proprietor, gave $5000 on November 22. The Weedmaps publisher has long been in the legal crosshairs of federal law enforcers.

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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UCSD deliberately did not apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — which would have significantly augmented the university’s relief funds — because it required too much staff work.
UCSD deliberately did not apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — which would have significantly augmented the university’s relief funds — because it required too much staff work.

Audit hotspot

UCSD is again suffering an auditor’s unflattering scrutiny. This time, it’s State Auditor Elaine Howle, who has released a report accusing the school of failing to apply for millions of dollars of minority and Covid-19 federal emergency relief. UCSD’s omission, the document notes, comes during a time of steep tuition hikes to fill the university’s gaping financial holes.

Elaine Howle is just trying to help UCSD help others, people.

In their November 18 report, auditors say that UCSD lost out on a big chunk of education aid for its minority students because it had previously failed to obtain so-called Minority-Serving Institution status. “UC San Diego has met the demographic requirements to be designated as an [Minority-Serving institution] for the past ten years; however, it has never pursued the designation, which may have cost it more than $600,000” in federal funding, and much more in the future, per the report. UCSD’s chief of staff for the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion told auditors that the qualification remains delayed because the school had “not yet developed a strategy for helping its Asian American and Native Pacific Islander student population.” He stated that “UC San Diego established a task force in the fall of 2020 to develop recommendations for supporting this population.” Adds the report, “To ensure that UC San Diego can provide additional educational opportunities and expand the campus’s capacity to serve its minority students, it should apply for [Minority-Serving Institution] status during the next available application cycle.”

Making things worse, the document adds, UCSD deliberately did not apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — which would have significantly augmented the university’s relief funds — because it required too much staff work. “UC San Diego’s Campus Budget Office director indicated that FEMA’s claims process puts a large administrative burden on campuses to gather all of the required documents, such as invoices and receipts associated with each expense.” But the stakes are high: “Expenditures that appear to be eligible for FEMA reimbursement [are] over $40 million,” the report says. “To put the amount of these funds in perspective, we estimate that these funds would be the equivalent of the planned $534 tuition increase of all four years of education for two classes of 9000 entering freshmen.”

In an October 29 letter to Howle, UCSD chancellor Pradeep Khosla did not dispute the findings and pledged to do better in the future. “We agree with the recommendation to apply for [Minority-Serving Institution] status and are already planning to do so for the Federal Fiscal Year 2022 cycle. We understand that the call for applications typically occurs in the Winter, so we will apply for the upcoming FY2022 cycle when the application window is available.” He also promised to apply for FEMA cash. “In light of FEMA’s most recent September 2021 COVID-19 Public Assistance Guidance, we will review expenses incurred in response to the pandemic and submit eligible expenses for reimbursement.”

Atkins corral

A longtime darling of the state’s horse racing business, California Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego got $11,200 from Thoroughbred Owners of California for her Toni Atkins for Lt. Governor 2026 committee on November 19. The former city council Democrat has long enjoyed the favor of the Del Mar track, showing up for fundraisers and racing meets thanks to free passes and turf club tickets. “The new President Pro Tempore of the Senate is a longtime fan of racing,” California horse racing industry lobbyist Robyn Black wrote in the May 2018 edition of California Thoroughbred magazine.

Toni Atkins: getting race funds from fellow race fans

“Senator Toni Atkins is a regular, studying the horses in the walking ring before each post at Del Mar.” Other recent donations to the Atkins 2026 election fund include $5000 on November 16 from Ace American Insurance Co. of Philadelphia. Also, the California Apartment Assoc. PAC gave $8100 that day. And on November 3, the Elon Musk-run electric car maker Tesla came up with the same. Last month, Musk announced he was moving Tesla’s headquarters from California to Texas, complaining of long commutes for his workers to affordable housing, a big cause with Atkins, whose spouse Jennifer LeSar runs a public housing consulting business. “We’re taking it as far as possible, but there’s a limit how big you can scale it in the Bay Area,” Musk said at the time. “Just to be clear, though, we will be continuing to expand our activities in California. This is not a matter of leaving California.”...Democrat Shirley Weber, the former San Diego Assemblywoman appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the post of California Secretary of State, continues collecting for her election bid next year. Ghost Management Group LLC., the Orange County-based pot industry proprietor, gave $5000 on November 22. The Weedmaps publisher has long been in the legal crosshairs of federal law enforcers.

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Comments
2

Khosla should have been fired years ago by Napolitano. She left that dangling detail for her successor to deal with. He hasn't dealt with it at all. UCSD has a gigantic staff of administrators, just like every other UC campus, and letting all those millions slip away is a travesty. So, now he says they'll do better in the future. UCSD might, but not as long as he's in charge.

Dec. 2, 2021

In 2016, ACE Limited (NYSE: ACE) completed its acquisition of huge Swiss company Chubb, "creating the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company." The question is: WHY did the company give $5000 to Atkins? How will ACE benefit if Atkins becomes Lieutenant Governor?

Dec. 2, 2021

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