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$350K Spent for Incoming CSUN President Renovation to Home and Office

Incoming President Diane Harrison; Image courtesy CSUN Daily Sundial
From the fine folks at the CSUN Daily Sundial is a report blasting incoming President Diane Harrison's renovations to her office and home totaling over $350K which are paid for by the California State System or in other words, California Taxpayers

So here are the details from the Daily Sundial:
Carmen Ramos Chandler, director of news and information for CSUN, said that renovations for the office of the president are costing state funding  $243,292. 
“The decision to renovate the office was made many years ago and it could not be done before because the office is so busy,” Chandler said. “We decided to take advantage of the vacancy between presidents and do the renovations.”
Since the office of the president belongs to Harrison as well as her staff, the majority of the work  being done is to improve the staff cubicles. By fixing the cubicles, privacy issues are being addressed, Chandler said.
“Because the cubicles have short walls, you can technically hear conversations between cubicles,” she said.
Why do you need privacy in the office? Who are these people talking to that require so much privacy? Are they talking for business or personal reasons? Are you going to tell me that raising a cubicle wall automatically eliminates all noise? You have got to be kidding me. Please tell me they are gold plating this because I can go down to IKEA and take care of all this for $10,000. I didnt realize it costs $240,000+ to renovate an office. 

But wait, there is more:
Other major renovations include updates to the university house, which is owned by the University Corporation, according to Chandler.
“The house is pretty old and needs more than just regular maintenance,” she said. “The kitchen and bathroom are going to be improved and it will cost approximately $115,000.”
Housing renovations come from the University Corporation, who owns the house.
Once again, $115,000 to renovate a kitchen and bathroom is ridiculous! You can get the local help from Home Depot to get this completed for $30,000. Is the home also being gold plated? Please say yes.

The home in question is located in Northridge not too far from the Oakridge estate which is conveniently located to CSUN. This home is rather large with 4 Beds/4 Baths on 3,655 sqft on a total lot size of 17,145sqft which was built in 1966 and purchased by the University Corporation on April 27, 2000 for $534,000. At the time of this writing, Zillow gives it an appraisal estimate of $670,900. Oh, I forgot to mention, it also has a pool and spa.

CSUN President's Home owned by University Corporation; Image courtesy Google Maps
What makes this whole discussion laughable is a comment from CSUN president Harry Hellenbrand that was covered by CBS Channel 2 and 9 news: 
 “If there was a choice between adding classes and refurbishing the offices the way that we did, clearly we would opt to choose to add the classes, but that’s not the choice that we’re faced with right now. The choice we’re faced with is either making these renovations now or postponing them further, but we’re not able to add more classes at this stage. I know that’s strange, but that’s politics in California,” he said.
That statement by Harry Hellenbrand clearly demonstrates whats wrong with California and why there is a $16 billion budget deficit. Take these funds that are allocated for specific expenses and multiply it across the entire state and it will probably equate to a couple of billion dollars that we desperately need during these dire times. I realize $350K is a drop in the bucket when compared to the overall deficit but this is clearly symbolic of how the CA budget is a big mess.

The incoming President will probably earn up to $300,000 which is inline with the outgoing President, Jolene Koester's, salary of $361,387.23 from 2011 according to the Sacramento Bee database.
Outgoing President Jolene Koester's Salary; Image courtesy  Sacramento Bee Salary Database
I realize being the President of a major university is no easy task and one that requires appropriate compensation but I think its safe to say that they are well compensated with all their perks. Just to be safe, we should probably give the President a vacation rental in Malibu for $40K a month to relax on the weekends. She is going to need it after all the student protests especially after the recent hunger strike. I cant believe its come down to hunger strikes. Ghandi would have been proud. Big props to those students.

Most families #1 expense are their housing. In this case, CSUN already covers that. Meanwhile, students are facing constant tuition hikes every year to unsustainable levels. When I was a student at CSUN, I was able to pay for the tuition and books by working part-time (it also helped that I lived at home which is why CSUN is known as a commuter school) which is what made the California State School systems great because you could earn an affordable education that was equivalent to private institutions but at a fraction of the cost without going into heavy debt. Today, students need to become debt slaves. The two charts below demonstrate the train wreck the higher education is heading into which clearly speak for themselves.
Image courtesy Calamities of Nature
Image courtesy My Money Blog

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

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