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California and the West

Key Donor to Democratic Causes Named as Regent


Gov. Gray Davis has nominated George M. Marcus, a Bay Area commercial real estate broker and major Democratic donor, to fill a vacancy on the University of California Board of Regents.

Marcus, 59, of Los Altos Hills, is the founder and chairman of Marcus and Millichap Co., a commercial real estate brokerage, investment and development company.

The multimillionaire, who was unavailable for comment, has been a patron of the arts and has considerable background in higher education policy. He spent eight years on the Cal State Board of Trustees in the 1980s.

A 1965 graduate in economics from San Francisco State, Marcus remains on the California State University Foundation, a fund-raising organization. He is on the policy advisory board of UC Berkeley's Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics.

Marcus has been a significant player in Democratic politics. He was the Northern California finance chairman for Michael Dukakis during his ill-fated bid for president in 1988.

Since then, he has contributed handsomely to mostly Democratic candidates, including $242,570 to state and local candidates in 1998, according to campaign finance records. The bulk of that money--$145,000--went to Davis' 1998 gubernatorial campaign.

This year, Marcus spread around donations to a veritable who's who of Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, including $2,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to the Federal Election Commission. Campaign reports show he has donated $190,000 in "soft money" to the Democratic Party over the last few years.

The 26-member Board of Regents has fiduciary responsibility and sets policy for the prestigious nine-campus University of California. His nomination to fill a 12-year term is expected to easily win confirmation by the state Senate, which is dominated by Democrats.

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