|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.
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?
|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.
|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.
| 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.
Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:33:00 pm
On March 12, 2013, San Francisco for Democracy members were treated to an excellent discussion of the moral and legal issues raised by the increasing prevalence of unmanned aerial drones, both abroad and domestic. First, Linda Lye of the Northern California ACLU talks about the increasing use of drones for domestic surveillance and what can be done to protect our privacy. Then John Arquilla, defense analyst at the Naval Postgraduate School, describes the astonishing proliferation of drones on the battlefield and their use in invading the sovereign airspace of countries we are not at war with, and offers his moral and ethical perspective, as well as a peek into the future. Video here.
|Happy Birthday, SF4Dean!|
Sat Mar 2, 2013 12:36:00 pm
Hard to believe it was ten full years ago this March that the governor gave his famous speech at the California Democratic Convention, and a few days later the madness that was San Francisco for Dean was born. How different were things back then folks?
And then there was that other anniversary...
Adjust numbers upward as appropriate.
|Hostile Takeover of City College|
Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:39:05 pm
The Accreditation Commission for Community & Junior Colleges, funded by the Lumina and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, has used a flawed accreditation process to drastically lower the salaries of staff and faculty at CCSF. It has issued an arbitrary "show cause" order which is being used by Acting Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman and Special $1,000-a-day Trustee Bob Agrella to unilaterally alter the institutional structure of City College of San Francisco, sometimes without the knowledge of our elected College Board Trustees. It is doing this in the name of "productivity".....Lumina foundation's buzzword for producing more work-ready college grads in less time and at cheaper labor costs. Their long term agenda includes:
--drastically lowering the costs of providing higher education by slashing the salaries and benefits of the faculty and staff.
--diminishing the time allowed for completing a Baccalaureate degree by lowering unit requirements & replacing the traditional 4 year degree with a 3 year one.
--replacing class room instruction with "distance learning" which is code for on-line instruction.
--reducing the role of a professor to that of a moderator who presents TV instruction produced by a for-profit corporation.
--creating a public perception that the hard-working faculty at public colleges are over-paid and are part of the problem rather than the solution.
|Let's make transit effective|
by Jeff Whittington, Thu Dec 5, 2013 1:58:00 am
The major part of the December 3 MTA meeting was devoted to a public information hearing on the Transit Effectiveness Project, the first comprehensive review of the municipal transit system in thirty years. TEP Manager Sean Kennedy was on hand to make the presentation.
Kennedy lists three basic “obstacles” MUNI faces: aging infrastructures (including one of the oldest fleets in the country); a dense, crowded city; and having to operate in a constrained right-of-way (which I interpret to mean thar's a lot of hills and such). Public complaints tend to revolve around reliability, overcrowding on certain routes, and reliability.
by Jeff Whittington, Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:47:00 am
In this time of the ever-widening income gap, it's great to hear about low wage workers experiencing success at bettering their conditions. That's just what I heard at a November 21 program presented by the San Francisco Progressive Democrats. Called “Fighting Back,” it focused on the worlds of fast food and domestic workers.
Andrew Dadko is program director for the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. EBASE brings workers together with religious and other community organizations to work for good jobs and healthy communities in the East Bay. Among their accomplishments is the passage of living wage legislation in Oakland, Hayward, Berkeley, Richmond, San Leandro, and Emeryville.
|Prisons into Jails|
by Jeff Whittington, Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:19:00 am
|CURB's Emily Harris
The San Mateo County DFA hosted a thoughtful program on prison reform in early November. Called “Why California Can't Buy its Way Out of the Prison Crisis,” the event featured Emily Harris of CURB (Californians United for a Responsible Budget), James Lee of Occupy Redwood City, and Silvia Ramirez from a group called the United Parents Committee.
Harris, who is CURB's first fulltime staff member, began with some statistics. There are currently about two million prison inmates throughout the U.S., half a million more than China, which has five times the population. We claim 25% of the entire world's prison population; to quote California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” And this is a recent development: between 1972 and 2000, the number of inmates grew from 300,000 to over two million.
|Through the Syria Looking Glass|
by Jeff Whittington, Wed Nov 6, 2013 2:05:00 am
Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix is a Carmelite nun of 22 years. Born in Beiruit to a Lebanese mother and a
Palestinian refugee from Nazareth, she grew up a hippy and ran into God while hanging out in the Himalayas. Some years after joining the order, she fell in love with the Antiochian church, and moved from Lebanon to Damascus, Syria to help restore the ruin of a sixth century monastery. She has a startling story to tell.
I went to hear Mother Agnes Monday night at the Rebuilding Alliance in San Mateo (the Rebuilding Alliance raises money to rebuild Palestinian villages bulldozed by the Israeli army before the settlers can move in). Before the night was over, it became evident just what sort of emotions her presence evokes. Some consider her naiive, some a government agent; Human Rights Watch calls her a liar; the Syrian American Council has called for her excommunication. The BBC calls her the “detective nun.”
|Save CCSF Coalition raising funds for lawsuit|
by Tom Brown, Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:29:38 pm
Copied below is an email I received from Wendy Kaufmyn, one of the Coalition leaders. They are getting close to their goal of raising $15,000 to pay minimal legal fees for a coaliton-backed lawsuit. The other $3,000 is to defray costs for coalition folk going to DC in December to testify against the ACCJC at the Dept of Education hearing. This is a good cause and if you can afford to contribute even a litte that would be much appreciated. Thanks! Tom
Hi Save CCSF Supporters,
Hooray!! We’ve raised almost $10,000! Only $8,000 to go!
I am fairly confident that we can raise the entire amount by the end of October. So I am happy to announce that we will be going forward with our legal avenue. I have been updating the funding website daily. So if you like to watch numbers rise, check it out. And please continue to help make the number rise by letting people know of this opportunity to help save CCSF.
For those of you who have already given - THANK YOU!!
For those of you who have pledged but not yet sent checks or donated online, please know that it would be good to get the funds ASAP. I understand that it takes time to raise the money and I want to be considerate of people's needs. The absolute latest deadline to collect the entire $15000 is November.
For those of you who have not yet pledged, please let me know. If you want to not hear about this anymore, let me know that too.
Some people have asked the question, "In light of the recently announced teachers union lawsuit, is this one still necessary?" The answer is YES! Our lawyer has been talking to both the union's lawyer and the city attorney. They all agree that the 3 suits are complimentary and strengthen each other.
Checks can be made out to Save CCSF Coalition with “legal” in the memo line and sent to:
Save CCSF Coalition
2132 Prince St.
Berkeley, CA 94705
Or you may have people donate online:
For almost daily updates on the amount we raise, go to:
Date of letter: 9/28/2013
|Jake Sigg's Nature News|
by Jeff Whittington, Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:08:07 am
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY:
Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. -Ernest Hemingway
All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State. Albert Camus
1. Vegetation Ecologists (4) positions in Sonoma County
2. Bay Area Natural Soundscapes at the Randall Museum July 18
3. Audubon program: South Georgia and the Falklands on July 18
4. I’m interviewed on Pacifica Community Television
5. Summer Evening, by John Clare
7. Lichens and Knowland Park
8. Business and conservation - thriving together?
9. How Democrats and Republicans use language
10. Say it ain’t so, Joe...’sexting’?
11. 4th of July grasshopper?