San Francisco for Democracy State/Local PAC San Francisco for Democracy San Francisco for Democracy Federal Action


Honored Not Dead
Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:01:00 pm

San Francisco for Democracy would like to take this and every opportunity to show off the four Certificates of Honor we received at our tenth anniversary party.  We will be hanging these on our office wall as soon as we have an office or a wall.


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June 2014 Endorsements
Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:39:00 am

are on the PAC page.


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Board of Supervisors: democracy & public accountability must be restored to City College
Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:17:00 pm

This week the SF Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a strongly worded resolution directed to the State Chancellor of the Community College system, Brice Harris, urging him to bring democratic decision-making, transparency and public accountability back to CCSF by restoring the duly elected Board of Trustees.    Sponsored by Supervisor David Campos and co-sponsored by Supervisors Mar, Avalos, Wiener, Yee, Kim, Chiu and Cohen, the resolution was ultimately approved by all 11 supervisors at their March 25th meeting.

While much criticism has been directed toward the ACCJC which issued its de-accreditation order against CCSF last July, this resolution focuses on poor decision making and lack of public accountability by the current all-powerful boss of the college,  Bob Agrella.   Originally invited to campus as a Special Trustee by the Board of Trustees in 2012, Agrella was subsequently elevated to the role of “Special Trustee with Extraordinary Powers” by the State Chancellor and Board of Governors in July, 2013, which is when the duly elected Board was suspended.


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Night of the Two Davids (annual party)
Sun Feb 2, 2014 11:32:00 pm
"so after close inspection, the first Harvard lawyer declared them to be deer tracks. The second Harvard lawyer disagreed, saying they must be elk tracks..."

San Francisco for Democracy held its tenth annual membership party on January 25.  Click here for the photos...


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Meeting the new chancellor
Fri Dec 6, 2013 1:32:00 am

On December 5th, members of San Francisco for Democracy, the Noe Valley and Potrero Democratic Clubs, and Noe Valley Friends and Neighbors got to spend some quality time with the new City College Chancellor, Dr. Arthur Tyler. It was his first ever community meeting since being hired in October.

Acquired in a nationwide search, the knowledgable and well-spoken Tyler would appear to be a stellar choice for the job. He comes to us from the Houston system, largest in the country, where he served as Deputy Chancellor and COO, serving over 72,000 students in 22 locations. Prior to that, he served as President of Sacramento City College, Special Trustee at Compton Community College, and VP of Admin and Finance for the LA system.


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New SF4D'er
Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:53:00 am

Congratulations to our President Glenn Davis, and his wife Heather, on the October 1 birth of their daughter Ella Anais. Does this face look vaguely familiar to anyone?


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2013 Endorsements
Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:23:00 am

are on the PAC page.  Also, some of our members have written blog entries to explain why they will be voting one way or another.


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Transforming the Waterfront: Is 8 Washington the right project?
Fri Aug 9, 2013 3:46:00 pm

This article contains information about the 8 Washington Project, a measure on the November 5, 2013 local ballot.  Pacific Waterfront Partners, a premier real estate development management firm, designed the project to open the waterfront for public parks, housing, and additional access for public space.  Opponents argue that the the project's building height increase from 84 feet to 136 feet would create a wall on the waterfront and block views, would not allow for much public space and would set a precedent for future developers.  The article comprises both supporting and opposing viewpoints, which may help you to learn more about the 8 Washington Project.


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June 2013 Membership Meeting
Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:31:00 am

Another installment in the Save CCSF saga. Early in July the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges will announce its decision on the fate of City College. Although most people believe that the ACCJC will not issue its harshest sanction which could result in closing the college, there are nevertheless dramatic changes in the works concerning structure and mission. These changes will affect the availability of classes and delivery of services for students for years to come. A panel of experts addressed these issues: Save CCSF coalition spokesperson Wendy Kaufmyn, Student Trustee Shanell Williams, and recently elected Trustee Rafael Mandelman. Wendy Kaufmyn outlined some of the history and current actors in the crisis. Shanell Williams argued that the crisis shouldn’t be solved on the backs of the students. Trustee Rafael Mandelman said that fiscal responsibility needed to be restored, that the current problems have roots going back several years and that people need to get together to solve them. He was optimistic that City College can once again be the institution we all want it to be.

After the presentation, there was discussion from the floor. One obvious problem appeared to be the termination of marketing people just when enrollment needs to be increased to drive up revenue. City College Trustee Chris Jackson said that he was trying to represent his constituency—low income people without much access to higher education—and that much of the perceived conflict on the board was because different trustees represented varying constituencies and values. And isn't that what democracy is all about? Video here.

San Francisco for Democracy members then elected its slate of officers for the coming year. Results are here.


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Save CCSF Coalition Continues the Fight
Tue May 7, 2013 12:13:00 pm

While City College waits to learn whether it will be removed from "Show Cause" sanction by the unaccountable and secretive Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the "Save CCSF" coalition of faculty, staff and community supporters continues to gainpublic support.  The  ACCJC is not expected to announce its decision until late June or early July, but the Coalition has been gaining traction in its campaign against the unnecessary pay cuts and sweeping reorganizations that continue to be imposed in the name of accreditation.  Here are recent highlights:

--April 18:  Newly elected College Board Trustee Rafael Mandelman appeared with Coalition representatives Wendy Kaufmyn (Engineering instructor) and Shanell Williams (Student Council President) in an educational forum at the Unitarian Church. Shortly after her forum appearance, Williams won election as Student Trustee on the College Board, a real victory for progressive students at City College!

--April 23: The SF Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution in support of City College. Sponsored by supervisors Mar, Cohen and Avalos, the resolution urges City College of San Francisco to preserve the quality and diversity of the school’s education and the City to consider new support.

--April 30: The California Federation of Teachers sent a complaint about ACCJC practices to the Department of Education and to the ACCJC itself as “third party comment.” The complaint documents harm arising from the ACCJC’s July, 2012 “Show Cause” order which was based on mischaracterization of CCSF’s accreditation history from 2006 to 2012. Citing numerous examples of conflict of interest on the part of ACCJC commissioners, the CFT complaint alleges that the ACCJC “violated Federal and State law, Federal common law due process, State common law Fair Procedure and the Commission’s own policies in its evaluation of CCSF and in placing it on Show Cause sanction.”

For more information on the Save CCSF Coalition’s activities and to sign up, click here.


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Pirate Shuttles
by Jeff Whittington, Thu Apr 3, 2014 10:53:00 pm

The April 1 Supervisors meeting included a lengthy public hearing on an “appeal of an exemption determination on the SFMTA's Commuter Shuttle Policy and Pilot Program.” What emerged was that, in their desperate haste to boost the city's sagging population and bring housing prices up to national norms, our government skipped that one elemental, pedestrian task that's done for pretty much everything that happens around here: they failed to file an Environmental Impact Report.

Environmental lawyer Richard Drury opened comments on behalf of appellants Sara Shortt, the Harvey Milk Club, SEIU 1021, and the League of Pissed-Off Voters. Drury pointed out that that the California Environmental Quality Act requires that an EIR be filed before a project such as the Shuttle Program is implemented; the whole idea is to understand what the impacts will be. Worse, loading and unloading private vehicles in public bus zones (red zones) is flatly illegal under state law (Vehicle Code; Stopping, Standing and Parking; Code 22500); the only exceptions allowed are school buses. The city is turning a blind eye while a fleet of pirate shuttles operates illegally within its borders.


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Housing Discussion in Noe Valley
by Jeff Whittington, Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:00:00 pm
Schumacher, Shortt, Colen, Martí

The NVDC housing panel on Wednesday night was interesting and thought provoking, though as one of the participants noted, not much was really resolved.  The panel consisted of Douglas Schumacher, former chief of the Housing Authority and now with the nonprofit housing firm Mercy Housing; Sara Shortt, Executive Director of the tenants' group Housing Rights Committee; Tim Colen, who heads the pro-construction Housing Action Coalition; and Fernando Martí of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, a coalition of 11 different groups.


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Dean Brothers Celebrate DFA's 10th Anniversary in San Francisco
by Tom Brown, Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:01:30 pm

On March 11th Howard Dean and his brother Jim appeared at two events in San Francisco.  There was a small luncheon in the house of SF for Democracy members Alec and Sharry Bash followed by a larger event at Savor Restaurant in Noe Valley.   At the luncheon,  Jim reported on the effectiveness of DFA's bottom-up organizing strategy with a current membership of well over one million. Governor Dean gave candid comments about the Tea Party and Democratic party prospects in the upcoming election.  He explains why there's cause for optimism in this video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9bYjcv7rQQ

At the Savor restaurant event, there was a crowd of DFA supporters from all over the bay area . . . as far away as Tracy, California.  Although the event sold out at one point, ultimately the organizers were able to find room for all the late comers.  A good time was had by all.


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Population and Climate
by Jeff Whittington, Tue Mar 4, 2014 11:00:00 pm

In 1950, world human population was 2.5 billion souls.  Currently it is about 7 billion, by 2060 it will be nearly 10 billion, and it is projected to rise to fifteen by the end of the century.  To what extent is this extraordinary explosion culpable for our current environmental travails, particularly with respect to climate; and what can/should be done to stem the tide?

In 1968, Paul and Anne Erlich wrote The Population Bomb, which warned of mass starvation in the 1970s and 80s due to overpopulation.  At that very time, Norman Borlaug was busy launching the Green Revolution, which rendered the predictions temporarily moot.  As a result, nobody has really worried too much about population for decades, to the point where today your typical American would likely say the book was "Sixties-style sensationalism," or some such.

Big mistake, say Alan Weisman, author of Countdown: Our Last Best Hope for a Future on Earth; and Malcolm Potts, family planning expert at the U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health.  Even at the time, Borlaug only viewed his Revolution as a temporary reprieve from mass starvation, stating in his 1970 Nobel lecture that "Most people still fail to comprehend the magnitude and menace of the 'Population Monster'," and warning of the "impending doom" that would follow if nothing were done to curtail it.  Today the "doom" may have more to do with dwindling water supplies, water and land poisoned by fertilizers and insecticides, ocean acidification, and rising global temperatures than anything it had to do with in Borlaug's day, but it appears to hang over us more menacingly than ever.


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Fencing Out the Deluge
by Jeff Whittington, Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:52:00 pm

Sea level in Northern California will rise between thirty-one and sixty-nine inches by the end of this century. What can Bay Area cities do to accommodate the change? What are they doing now? These questions were put to Laura Tan, SPUR's Sustainable Development Policy Director; Larry Goldzband of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; Alicia Aguirre of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and former San Mateo Mayor; and E. Julian Potter, SFO Chief of Staff, at Commonwealth's February program on dealing with a rising bay.


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Idiot Grid
by Jeff Whittington, Sat Feb 8, 2014 9:00:00 pm

I've had several lively conversations the past few years with the folks campaigning against smart meters. The intermittent nature of renewables makes an intelligent, load-routing grid sine qua non for any large scale deployment of green energy, without which our planetary boat is pretty much sunk. But as Commonwealth's January 28th presentation, “High Road to the Smart Grid,” made clear, the meter-haters are probably not so far off the mark.

Timothy Schoechle

The program centered on a 2012 paper, “Getting Smarter about the Smart Grid,” written by Timothy Schoechle, PhD, which you can find here. Schoechle has been engineering energy management systems for 25 years, is a board member of the International Organization for Standardization, taught at the University of Colorado, and has founded a number of companies, including BI Incorporated, a pioneering RFID firm, and CyberLYNX Gateway, which focuses on home automation. He spends most of his time at the intersection of energy and IT.


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Nancy Pelosi speaks out about flawed CCSF accreditation process
by Tom Brown, Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:00:00 pm

On January 6, 2014, Nancy Pelosi spoke out about the flawed accreditation process for CCSF and the need for the accrediting agency (ACCJC) to improve its practices. For too long the local media has covered City College's accreditation crisis purely from the perspective of the accreditation agency and its out-of-control leader, Ms. Barbara Beno.  But with the recent spate of lawsuits against the ACCJC, plus a hearing on campus spearheaded by U.S. Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, a different narrative is finally gaining traction in the public consciousness.


Nancy Pelosi at CCSF Chinatown campus,  Jan. 6, 2014

Pelosi attributed CCSF’s death spiral of declining enrollment  to the accreditation process itself, calling it a "self-fulfilling prophesy."  In January, 2013, many local activists begged Pelosi's district office to take seriously our concerns about the over-reach of the ACCJC.  We sent a call to action to thousands of local DFA members  (see “Hostile Takeover of City College” article below) and  Pelosi’s District office was deluged with phone calls.  But despite all our good efforts, Pelosi’s District Director, Dan Bernal, insisted that college accreditation is not a federal issue and therefore Pelosi could not intervene in any way.   All that has changed.

I was able to get a front-row seat to the press conference and shot a video of the proceedings. Check out the highlights here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lex_di3j0oo


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The Secret History of The AUMF
by Peter Wong, Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:05:00 pm

They were 60 words drafted and approved in the days after 9/11.  Yet over the past dozen or so years, the words of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) have been used to justify everything from the indefinite detentions of Guantanamo Bay to the killing of people anywhere in the world.


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Water in California
by Jeff Whittington, Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:50:52 pm

Climate One's January 10 presentation, “The Future of Water in California,” might have been better titled “The Present of Water in California.” The predominant topic of conversation was the state being in the third year of a severe drought, with no clear end in sight. Snow pack is 20% of normal; San Luis reservoir is at 29% of capacity; Folsom Lake at 17%. Wildfires are raging in January. Many are already comparing the situation to 1977.

San Luis Reservoir

So, will water have a future in California? Gathering for the discussion were District 18 Senator Jean Fuller (Inyo, Tulare, Kern and San Bernardino), Matt Weiser, the Bee's Water and Environment writer, and District 3 Senator Lois Wolk (Napa, Yolo, Solano, Sacramento).


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The Development Merchants
by Jeff Whittington, Thu Jan 9, 2014 10:38:12 pm

Despite nearly a century of effort and a first-world investment approaching three trillion dollars, some 2.7 billion people worldwide still live on $2 or less per day, the generally accepted benchmark for poverty. Most lack the most basic necessities of life: clean water, healthcare, adequate food, electricity. What accounts for this colossal failure to make a dent in world poverty, and what, if anything, can be done about it?

Mal Warwick

Addressing this question has been the life project of Paul Polak, who left his Denver medical practice in the mid-70s to try and solve it. On January 8, the World Affairs Council featured a presentation by Mal Warwick, co-author with Polak of The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers. A cofounder of Business for Social Responsibility in 1992, Warwick more recently chaired the Social Venture Network for five years, and has several social ventures of his own, as well as having authored a number of books and magazine articles on the subject.


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Event:

Meetup: NSA Spying Panel / Adventures with ALEC
Tuesday, Apr 22
Northern District Police Station, 7:00PM,
1125 Fillmore, SF

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