Eugene Ruyle, the Peace and Freedom Party candidate who won a spot on the November ballot for state assembly, is calling for the resignation of UC Regent Richard C Blum. The 15th District Assembly candidate is taking on Blum, who is married to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, claiming he has a conflict of interest since he is presiding as a UC Regent while also being a major shareholder in for-profit colleges.
"On the one hand he's voting to raise fees, while he's driving students to his diploma mills," Ruyle tells us.
Blum, a real estate speculator and businessman, has made headlines for years, from stories detailing his meteoric rise to prominence to the recent alleged conflicts of interest.
We contacted Blum for comment, but his office declined to talk to SF Weekly.
The LA Times also
noted this potential conflict of interest, explaining that it says more
about Blum's views on education than anything else. Calling Blum "a symptom, not a cause," Ruyle said he wants to rethink the way the UC system and our whole society is run, which is probably why he's jumped in the race. Just a guess.
He claims that he's also worried about what he calls the militarization of our colleges, noting that the UC's have been integral in the development of the United States weapon's programs."Is that the kind of business the university should be in?," he asks rhetorically.
Ruyle doesn't actually think he's going to win this election; in fact, he knows he won't. After all, he represents the Peace and Freedom party, which generally garners no more than 2 percent of the vote. But that's not to say he can't try to create a little drama.
"I have no illusions about what is going to happen in November," he said. "The reality is the Democrat is going to be re-elected."
He is running, however, to give voters a choice -- and a little insight about the rising cost of education. As a UC Berkeley alumnus, he's worried about how future generations will be able to afford college.
He says his next goal is to add "debt cancellation" to the Peace and Freedom Party's platform. He says that if you borrowed money you should have to pay it back, but he thinks many of the fees that banks charge are outrageous. Ruyle also fears that Proposition 14 will hurt the Peace and Freedom Party, because it won't have enough votes to keep its candidates on the ballot. Prop. 14, the open primary measure enacted by voters in 2010, requires political parties to garner at least 4 percent of the vote to remain on the ballot.