Bond from nowhere
City College is moving quickly to place a bond measure on the November ballot despite unanswered questions about how it spent the money last time

By Rory Brown

Some San Francisco City College trustees opened their e-mail accounts Aug. 3 to surprising news: College officials had decided at the last minute that they want to place a facilities bond on this November's ballot.

The board will vote Aug. 10 whether or not they should file paperwork to place a $245 million bond on the Nov. 8 ballot. Mayor Gavin Newsom urged college officials to consider floating a bond this year so they could avoid competing with other bonds likely to be on next year's ballot. But at least one City College trustee has concerns about getting behind a bond at this time.

Trustee Julio Ramos doesn't think the board should approve another before it's made clear how funds from 2001's $195 million bond have been allocated. "We need to show what has and hasn't been spent from the last bond," he told us.

City College has always planned to follow the 2001 bond with another measure. But the last bond stirred controversy when it became known that the $25 million that campaign materials said would go toward building the performing arts center were applied toward athletic facilities, portions of which have been partially leased to a private school (see "Field of Schemes," 9/22/04).

Board president Rodel E. Rodis told the Bay Guardian performing arts will be a focus of this year's bond.

"Putting the bond on this year's ballot is a backroom deal," said Ramos. "It was never discussed in a committee, an administrative report, a board meeting, or informal discussion between board members."

Rodis, who along with Chancellor Philip Day and Vice Chancellor Peter Goldstein met with Newsom Aug. 3, said the meeting was not behind closed doors, though he acknowledged that not all board members were invited. "We met with the mayor to discuss putting the bond on the ballot next year," Rodis told us. "The mayor suggested we put it on this year's ballot because next year looked pretty crowded."

Board member Milton Marks III is still on the fence, telling us, "It's difficult for me to comment if it's a good thing because I don't have the resolution yet."

The trustees meet Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m.; 33 Gough, SF. For more info, go to Tali Woodward contributed to this story.

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