As chairman of the governing board of the California State University system, Herbert L. Carter has positioned himself as a consensus builder at a time when the system has been battered as never before by budget cuts, student protests and discord over salary and hiring policies.
The former president of the United Way and chairman of the Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations has spent decades attempting to forge compromise with differing factions. But now he is struggling to bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats in the state Legislature to win a second term on the Board of Trustees.
Senate Republicans have signaled that they will block the confirmation, citing Carter's role in controversial decisions last year to increase executive pay while also boosting student tuition.
Democrats see the opposition as partisan posturing having little to do with those actions. Although Democrats control both legislative houses, Republicans have leverage in this fight: nominations to the Cal State board are among the few that require a two-thirds majority, meaning at least two Republican votes are needed.