Sanchez and his UT Regent position

Tony Sanchez is refusing to resign from his UT regents position because he knows that even if he somehow wins the Democratic Primary he will never beat Rick Perry in the November general election. If he resigns the UT position, then after the elections he will return to being Joe Nobody in the state.

Sanchez should be removed from the UT board anyway due to his corruption. Just the fact that he laundered $25 million in Mafia drug money through his bankrupted Tesoro Savings and Loan should have kept him off the board. But little George has all kinds of corrupt buddies as members of the Bush "Pioneers". Ken Lay of Enron being the most infamous right now.

Sanchez can use the increased student fees as political fodder by voting against them and using it to show how he is big on education. In fact, I think it is a foregone conclusion that he will have to vote against the increase.

Personally I do not know if the fees are needed or not. They seem a little high. As governor, I intend to review the entire state education system from kindergarten to college. I have promised a $2,500 across the board raise to teachers as a beginning.

I believe that Tony Sanchez needs to be in jail. When I am governor, I will do what I need to do to remove him from the UT board of regents because of his corruption. He's just another Ken Lay and even a cursory investigation of his International Banc of Commerce will show that it was built with Mafia drug money and other corrupt business deals and there are just as many offshore accounts related to the IBOC as there were with Enron.

John WorldPeace
The next governor of Texas
"A real Texan for ALL Texans"
No more corruption. No more Monicas.

January 19, 2002

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Voting as regent or office seeker?
UT fee controversy creates questions about Sanchez's dual roles
By Sharon Jayson

American-Statesman Staff

Saturday, January 19, 2002

Tony Sanchez is a University of Texas System regent who is running for governor. He thinks he can do both and has no plans to step down from UT's governing board.

But as the board prepares to vote Feb. 14 on UT-Austin's proposed mandatory student fee, some students, lawmakers, gubernatorial candidates and fellow regents are raising questions about the Laredo regent's continued service in the midst of a gubernatorial campaign.

Some already have questioned his spotty attendance at important meetings during the past year and have called for his resignation. Now, with a vote on a controversial issue one that students want to make a campaign issue for statewide candidates the question becomes: Is Sanchez voting as a regent or as a candidate?

"I am voting as a regent," said Sanchez, who on Friday pledged to oppose the fee.

"This is the responsibility of the Legislature, and they should come up to the plate and make this funding available," he said.

The proposed infrastructure fee would add almost $500 a year to most students' bills. If approved by the board, the $230-a-semester fee for students taking seven hours or more (and half that amount for students taking less) would be effective this fall. With $50 annual increases, in five years most students would pay almost $1,000. UT officials say the new fee is needed for repairs, renovations and some new construction, and they propose setting aside 15 percent for scholarships to ease the extra financial burden.

Since UT President Larry Faulkner unveiled the fee proposal last week, it has provoked debate on campus and across the state. Students criticized it at a two-hour meeting Thursday.

Some lawmakers oppose the fee, which is the largest ever proposed for all UT-Austin students.

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, on Friday asked the attorney general for an expedited review of his request for an opinion on whether UT regents may adopt the fee without legislative approval. Wentworth, a former regent for the Texas State University System, says he doesn't believe the board is the final authority on the fee. UT officials disagree.

The UT-Austin community with 50,000 students and their parents offers plenty of potential voters. That makes some students such as sophomore Samson O. Asiyanbi wonder about Sanchez and the fee. The 20-year-old majoring in economics and government raised his concerns at the student meeting. 

"My primary concern is conflict of interest that's possible in this situation," Asiyanbi said. "If I was a student from another Texas university, I wouldn't want somebody who is a UT regent running for governor. And he may not serve my best interest as a regent if he's a candidate for governor."

So when Sanchez says the university needs the money but that "the problem that I have is that we're putting these needs on the backs of the students, and I oppose that completely," is he saying what voters want to hear?

Lowell Lebermann, a former UT regent appointed by Democratic Gov. Ann Richards, worked with Sanchez on the board and said he believes Sanchez made the choice to stay on while running for governor knowing that controversial issues like this would arise.

"I understand it's a fragile situation and votes could be swayed one way or another," Lebermann said. "My experience is that he is very forthright and one might say determined in expressing his position in favor of the best interests of the university." 

Dub Riter, a regent from Tyler, agreed, citing the Blanton Museum of Art as an example of Sanchez's forthright manner. Sanchez, along with Regent Rita Clements of Dallas, rejected a design for the museum and created a stir that was later resolved with a new architectural design.

"He really stood up and fought for that," Riter said. "He's been a good regent. He's extremely capable."

Regent Cyndi Krier of San Antonio said Sanchez has kept his politics out of UT policy.

"I will give him credit for not politicizing the University of Texas in any meeting I've attended thus far," she said. "I hope he'll continue acting in that manner."

But regents Chairman Charles Miller of Houston, who was appointed by former Gov. George W. Bush, is less convinced that Sanchez can continue keeping his two selves on separate planes.

"I think people were surprised with his decision to stay on," Miller said. "There's a duty as a candidate to the party and to voters to do things to get elected, and there clearly could be conflicts with that duty and the duty to be a regent. That's why it's a difficult position to be in both places. Everything is going to be filtered through that prism."

Sanchez's major opponent in the Democratic gubernatorial race also opposes the fee. Former state Attorney General Dan Morales said it doesn't matter whether the decision is up to the regents or the Legislature, he wants an alternative rather than "saddle these students with having to pay additional fees." 

But that's the extent of their agreement. Morales says Sanchez should remove himself from the board to avoid confusion about his motives.

Sanchez, appointed in 1997 by Bush, has been criticized for refusing to resign. His six-year term is to expire Feb. 1, 2003. He is the first sitting regent to run for elective office since the UT System board was created in 1885. That puts his candidacy in uncharted political waters. 

The UT-Austin chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas has called on Sanchez to resign, and on Friday the Republican Party of Texas said it is "past time" for him to resign.

Gov. Rick Perry has deflected questions about Sanchez "He knows what the requirements are for the Board of Regents" and about the proposed fee "That's up to the board, and the board needs to make those decisions."

Sanchez said he has voted for fee increases during his time on the UT board, but they were small.

"The size of this one is what bothers me," he said.


You may contact Sharon Jayson at sjayson@statesman.com or (512) 445-3620.