Monday, September 12, 2022

Katie Porter and UC Irvine

Let me state at the outset that I am not a fan of Katie Porter. A former professor in the UC Irvine Law School (which I have often criticized), Porter is making her mark as a US Congresswoman in Washington as a sort of liberal activist, a mini AOC if you will.

There is a story out of Los Angeles reported by KTLA (normally very politically-correct) that Porter may be improperly holding on to her home in University Hills, a UCI-operated housing area overlooking the UCI campus. I am cross-posting their article which came out just a few days ago.

As a former part-time teacher at UC Irvine from 1998-2016, I was not qualified to purchase a home in this area. ( I'm not griping. I have my own, with which I am very happy.) As the article explains, that is reserved for full-time educators at UCI. The article goes on to explain the rules of ownership, especially when one leaves the employment of UCI (other than retirement).

I know three former colleagues who are retired UCI teachers and who live in University Hills. I have had the occasion to visit the home of one of them. The neighborhood is in many ways typical of Southern California upper-middle-class neighborhoods.  They are sufficiently spacious and comfortable, but I have not seen any that I would call ostentatious or a mansion. Definitely upper-middle-class. Of course, it is hard to qualify homes in Southern California in comparison to those around the country-especially as to cost.

So given the fact that Katie Porter is now serving her second two-year term in Washington, there is question over whether she is violating the conditions for owning a home in University Hills. It appears to be a complicated question given the complexities of a Washington-based politician who is representing a district back home, in this case, California. I won't try to be the judge here, but I do want to make one point. Porter, like so many of her colleagues on both sides of the aisle, has presented herself as a crusader taking on this or that special interest. I recall the time in April 2019 when she was grilling a bank president called to testify before Congress. Porter was telling the bank executive (Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan) about one of her constituents, a single mom named "Patricia", who worked for the bank, lived in Irvine, California, and was having a hard time making ends meet on her paltry salary.  The liberal media had a field day reporting how Dimon squirmed and struggled for answers as Porter rattled off a list of possible remedies that Dimon could suggest for "Patricia".

It was only the next day while being questioned on CNN about the exchange and asked some specific questions about "Patricia's " situation, that Porter revealed that there was no Patricia, She was a "representative of a number of constituents.....". "....there are many thousands and thousands, and tens of thousands of Patricias out there," said Porter.

"When asked by CNN’s Brooke Baldwin whether the bank teller she described would want to communicate with Dimon, Porter replied, “Patricia is a representative of a number of constituents that we’d heard from.”

“So there is no Patricia out there,” Porter said, adding, “but in the other way, there are thousands and thousands, and tens of thousands of Patricias out there.”

Was that a trick she learned at UC Irvine's Law School? (Porter is a bankruptcy lawyer by trade.)

By the way, the planned city of Irvine, only incorporated in 1971 with land from the old Irvine Ranch, is a quite prosperous community. It's not Newport Beach, which is next door, but there are no poor neighborhoods.

Katie Porter may be able to satisfactorily explain her right to maintain her house in University Hills. But I view her with extreme skepticism when it comes to her image as a crusader for the common person.

PS: I know this young lady, a single mom named Patricia. She is just gotten her PhD in education and has landed a teaching gig at UCI. She would like to buy a home in University Hills but has been told there are none available. I wonder what Katie Porter would advise her.

Just kidding. There is no Patricia. There's just Katie Porter.

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