by Linda Lazzeretti, OLLI member

In the upcoming winter term, OLLI @Berkeley will be offering a most interesting course by Henry Brady, Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

Dean Brady will focus on the trend toward increased political polarization throughout the nation, specifically in the mass public, Congress, and political parties. During the course of the class, various contributing factors and ways to address them will be explored in detail by Dean Brady and a series of equally distinguished guest speakers (focuses in parentheses):

  • Barbara Sinclair (Congress)
  • Mo Fiorina (Public)
  • Eric Schickler (General polarization themes, including filibuster)
  • John Ellwood (Budgetary & states)
  • Paul Pierson (National)

Additionally, aspects of the very serious January 'fiscal cliff' tax and spending sunset dates, Congressional decisions regarding them, possible slide into deep recession along with a possible recurring yearly $675 billion dollar loss, and negative growth will be discussed and analyzed throughout the weeks during this class.

Dean Brady has a long-standing interest in and commitment to public policy work, having received his Ph.D. in economics and political science from MIT in 1980 and many awards for his contributions to public opinion research. His expertise includes areas of electoral politics, political participation, management information systems, program evaluation, and social welfare policy. He also has considerable experience working at the federal Office of Management and Budget and other organizations in Washington, D.C.

Currently, Dean Brady is focused on providing venues for enlightened citizenry participation in our democracy at this critical junction in its history. He sees the current election as a crucial turning point in whether income distribution will become more or less equal, who will be responsible and/or blamed for its distribution, how well Congress will get things done, and how much the demands of a 24-hour media news cycle will influence the entire process.

In providing venues for greater citizen awareness, Dean Brady was on the calendar at the Commonwealth Club of California in October with the subject "A Political Prognosis for the Presidential Race & Its Aftermath." The focus was what we could expect to happen on election night and the shifts that would occur in the political landscape if these expectations were realized.  Additionally, he will be involved in the election night coverage event at Freight & Salvage on November 6. Attending the OLLI class should prove to be an important milestone in the political landscape that will be rigorously informative, thought-provoking, and insightful.