California State Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, criticized the UC Board of Regents for the process used in selecting Janet Napolitano as its new President, calling it a "very flawed search."
"It should have been a much more open and deliberative process" Perez said on NBC 4's News Conference program. "They should have narrowed it down to a short list and had the short list of candidates interact with students, faculty and staff."
Perez said he nevertheless supports the selection of the Homeland Security Secretary for the position. "You can have a bad process and have a good outcome... sometimes it's called getting lucky."
Perez said he had initial concerns regarding Napolitano, relating directly to her department's deportation of 142,000 immigrants in the country illegally. He feared Napolitano would have a "chilling effect on the campus environment, especially students who were undocumented." Perez said private conversations with Napolitano convinced him to support her nomination.
On other issues the Assembly Speaker chastised the Consumer Attorneys of California for issuing "threats" over a ballot fight to change the 1975 MICRA law which caps "pain and suffering" damages in medial malpractice cases at $250,000.
"They've gotten a whole segment of the legislature who would have engaged saying fine, take it to the ballot, your not going to be happy with the solution we come up with as a compromise... a pox on both your houses."
The California Medical Association has been leading the campaign to maintain the damage limit at the current level.
Perez said he has not talked with Governor Brown on a bill that would allow transgendered students to use the bathrooms and play on the sports teams of the gender they "identify" with. He suggested that notions that a boy would end up in a girls locker room were mistaken.
"What your going to find is someone who looks like a girl, who presents as a girl, identifies as a girl and just wants to be treated as the girl that she is," Perez said. "We have a growing science on how inaccurate we've been in identifying gender for a narrow group of people.".
NBC 4's News Conference, hosted by political reporter Conan Nolan, broadcasts Sunday at 9 a.m. following "Meet the Press." A link to the program can be found at www.nbcla.com/newsconference