How are basketball players like Cruz Bustamante?

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on September 30, 2003

They both get special treatment at Fresno State.

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante got credit but did not have to attend a basic speech class at Fresno State in the late 1990s because a professor decided in 15 minutes or less that the Fresno Democrat would have earned at least a C based on his public utterances.

Bustamante left Fresno State in the late 1970s without earning a bachelor's degree but returned 20 years later to complete it, which he did this spring. He needed to take approximately eight classes, and the speech class satisfied a general-education requirement.

"In my judgment at the time, he had certainly demonstrated minimal proficiency, and I emphasize minimal proficiency ... in the fundamental skills mandated by the course," Robert Powell, former chairman of the communication department, said last week. He interjected: "I'm not going to make any judgment about the eloquence or anything else" of Bustamante's speeches.

Of course, you'd think a politician could manage beter than a C.

On a related note: Saw a second (newer?) version of the Cruz Bustamante opposes Prop. 54 television ads. A superior court judge ruled that the funds for the ad buy were illegally laundered through old Bustamante campaign committees, but Bustamante's people are claiming that the ads will continue to run because they cannot "breach a contract" they have with TV stations to run the ads. But, according to the Los Angeles Times, if Bustamante were serious about following the judge's ruling, then he could have them pulled.

Although NBC requires four weeks' notice for ad cancellations, the employee said, affiliates treat political candidates as "preferred customers" and would likely reach a quick compromise with Bustamante.

I never expected an honest politician -- but at least Bustamante could try harder at faking it.


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September 2003



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