Yes on Prop. A rally urges support for City College parcel tax measure

Alex Tom leads a chant as a diverse crowd chants, "I am City College" in four languages

Those who work at, attend and support City College of San Francisco have a lot of work ahead of them. The school’s budget has been regularly slashed, losing $20 million last year alone. The school cut 700 classes this semester. After receiving notice that they faced losing accreditation, students, faculty, staff and administrators have been working tirelessly to save the school.

A rally yesterday highlighted one issue of importance to City College: Proposition A.

Prop. A would create a parcel tax of $79 per year for eight years for San Francisco tax payers. The revenue, estimated at $15 million per year, would go to City College.

Prop. A will be one of three ballot measures that increase taxes in November, including Prop 30 and Prop 38. The second two are statewide measures that also raise taxes to fund schools. 

If both Prop. A and Prop. 30 pass it would restore much of the funds cut from City College. If either measure doesn’t pass, the college would face a large deficit.

Several members of the board of supervisors, the school board, and candidates for those seats spoke in support of City College. 

As Community College Board President John Rizzo mentioned at the rally, the school has cut 700 classes this semester alone. For many of those classes, the school still offers the subject but in far fewer class sections, lengthening wait lists and making it more difficult for students to get into the classes they need to graduate.

“This does not restore all the funding, but it goes a good way forward,” said Norman Yee, president of the board of education. Yee attended City College before going on to UC Berkeley, and taught ESL classes at City College for 10 years.

“If it wasn’t for City College I would have gone down a different path,” said Yee.

Alex Tom, Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association, emphasized that support for Prop A should be a citywide issue. He also pointed out that supporting City College “Is a big issue for Asian Americans.”

“Most people don’t know that half of the population of City College is Asian students,” said Tom.

Students, labor, and Democratic Party members also lended their voices to support Prop A. “It’s so important and critical for students to have this resource,” said Shanell Williams, president of the Associated Students organization at City College. 

Sup. John Avalos told Guardsman reporter Joe Fitzgerald that the accreditation process is related but separate from the need to pass Prop A. 

“We need to actually fund it, and make sure it’s around,” said Avalos. “If the parcel tax fails, we’ll see a real diminishment of the effectiveness of City College, and that’s something that I think would further deteriorate its ability to get accredited.”

Video by Joe Fitzgerald


so badly then why don't they create a special assessment in Chinatown and pay for it themselves!

Posted by Troll II on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 10:37 am

You are way off the mark and out of line on this comment. So ignorant it hurts.

Posted by D.native on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 11:13 am

means it should receive more support is racist on its face. I could care less that the racial makeup of the student body is - I'd like to see the proposal debated on its merits. Of course in SF that is never very likely around an issue like this.

Posted by Troll II on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 11:44 am

gain support for an initiative. Ideally you want to be able to say that something "disproportionately" helps blacks or hispanics, as they are routinely modeled as minorities who are "under-represented.

Asians, on the other hand, typically out-score white both academically and in terms of income, so helping them is deemed lower priority.

In SF's topsy-turvey political landscape, white and asian = bad; blacks and hispanics = good.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

"Topsy-turvey," right?

(I note in passing that on the raddled SFGate site, this facetious post would have been censored by some duplicitous troll.)

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 4:55 am

Your report misses two important details:

1) Do these props need a 2/3 majority or just 50% plus one?

2) Does it include a passthru so tenants pay as well as property owners?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 11:27 am

My understanding is that it will take a 2/3 supermajority to pass. Can someone from the Guardian confirm this?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

I can't see any parcel tax passing. They routinely pass in Oakland and Berkeley but their proportion of renters is even higher.

To pass a parcel tax in SF there has to be a passthru for tenants. And even then it is marginal.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

Who in their right mind would give Natalie Berg, Lawrence Wong, Rodrigo Santos and Anita Grier any more money to restore City College to its previous role as money launderer for the 1%?

Posted by marcos on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

You should never throw more money at losers and failures. City College has failed and lost.

You invest in winners and centers of excellence, not half-assed amateur colleges for third-rate students.

Close City College and invest the funds somewhere that works. No on A.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

City College was being pulled up out of of the cesspool of Willie Brown's corrupt team of elected officials. The
evidence that this really happened is written in court findings including convictions for illegal mixing of public funds and campaign spending.

Milton Marks III death and replacement with a developer lobbyist Rodrigo Santos, brings that reform project to a screeching halt.

We need for a strong City College. We need to make up for the fact that the population has doubled over the past 35 years while the number of (non scam) college slots has increased by a few thousand.

But the way to build confidence in public education is to withhold resources from the corrupt until they relinquish or are defeated and to reward reformers with resources.

Anyone who thinks that the Berg led board would spend any of this money on anything related to frontline educational expenses has another thing coming.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

This is fascinating. Given the price of SF real estate, the parcel tax is imposed on the relatively affluent and directed toward those of more modest means, students who want to improve their lives through education. You, curiously oppose while stating that you are siding with the 99% majority.

Frame of reference: I am a SF homeowner, and I have no personal stake in any community college. For Pete's sake, it's $79 per year or save our City College. I hope that the people helped by this will make some money some day, buy a home, and support the next generation.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 09, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

CC's are what good government does.

Most tax hikes just go to line to pockets of our way too may government employees. City College seems to be trying to the right thing, while tax hikes like the Avalos beer tax are just throwing good money down the drain on an ass-holes stupid idea.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

invariably are directed to something like "sick kids" or "old people" or some other nasty attempt to manipulate your heart strings when the real point is that it takes the pressure off the general fund, which the pol's can then spend on lard and pork.

So the simplest approach for right-minded, fiscally prudent voters is to always vote NO on any revenue measure regardless. Period. The beast must be starved if it is to be controlled.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

For all the reasons mentioned.

Progressive policies are to make SF a Mecca for wastrels. If they build it they will come, it was built, they came, and John Avalos thinks they are using up too many resources, so we needed a new tax.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

CC's are what good government does.

Most tax hikes just go to line to pockets of our way too may government employees. City College seems to be trying to the right thing, while tax hikes like the Avalos beer tax are just throwing good money down the drain on an ass-holes stupid idea.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

In 2001, Day used $50,000 from a Pepsi vending contract with the school to support a local bond measure to raise funds for campus construction projects, prosecutors said. In 2005, $20,000 was diverted from another vendor, the Bean Scene, to a similar local bond measure. And in 2006, $28,000 in Pepsi money was used for a state bond measure to raise funds for the California community college system, according to prosecutors.

As part of the plea deal, Day will pay $30,000 in fines and restitution to the school, in an amount to be determined by a judge at a later hearing, Stillman said. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 1.

Day was chancellor of City College from 1998 to 2008.

Stephen Herman, 63, a former associate vice chancellor at the school, also pleaded guilty Sept. 19 to two felony counts of using public funds to support a political campaign, in connection with the 2001 and 2006 diversions, Stillman said. He has been ordered to pay $20,000 and restitution as well.

Both Day and Herman avoided any jail time.

Another former associate vice chancellor, James Blomquist, 64, still faces one felony count of using public funds to support a political campaign and is due in court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 11, Stillman said.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 11:56 am

The idea that you can promote the general good by singling out property owners as the ONLY source of revenue in a city where only 30% of the population owns property is absurd and just plain wrong. The asumption that All propery owners have liquid resources and all renters don't is absurd. The mean income in SF is well over 50k. So why not spread this increase cost over the whole city? Because its much easier to get folks to vote on a tax icrease that DOESNT AFFECT THEM. It is relatively easy to pass tax increases when 70% of the voters are not affected borders on political evil. This is the ghost of taxation without representation. and the fact that is going to an incompetent group of self entitled assholes who are more interested in feathering their own nest then actually improving education. One just has to look at all the studies pointing to the incompetence and greed of the city college administrators, and you realize why they chose this path. Its because they are what is wrong with the current state of government beurocracies and why we are all going to hell in a hand basket

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

Also from this author

  • Privatization of public housing

    Many residents feel they're moving from the frying pan of Housing Authority control into the fire of developer and nonprofit management

  • Homeless for the holidays

    Changing demographics in the Bayview complicate city efforts to open a shelter there

  • Betting on Graton

    Newest casino targeting Bay Area residents promises to share the wealth with workers and people of color