Recent Comments


    Financial Uncertainty and Labor Unrest at City College, Fighting Democrats, and Soiree 2016 in Review

    1-Photo-Columnist-Mandelman_Rafael_housesZ (1)City College Update

    On April 4, the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) released its report on City College’s revenues. FCMAT had prepared the report for the State Community College Chancellor’s office as required under SB 860, Senator Mark Leno’s legislation that secured additional funding to help cushion the financial blow to the College that would have otherwise resulted from its unprecedented loss of enrollment during the recent accreditation crisis.

    Leno’s bill provided for three years of so-called “stabilization” funding, but his colleagues in the Senate had insisted that the third year be contingent on the College successfully demonstrating it had achieved a set of specific financial benchmarks. Specifically, the College had to demonstrate that it: (1) had implemented effective fiscal controls and systems; (2) had adopted prudent fiscal policies and practices; (3) is applying resources in accordance with an approved budget; (4) is maintaining appropriate fiscal reserves; and (5) had adopted a plan to address long-term liabilities, including post-employment benefits.

    The good news is that FCMAT found that the College has met the required benchmarks to qualify for a third year of stabilization funding. The bad news is that stabilization funding will end after the 2016–17 fiscal year, at which point the College will be facing the loss of approximately $25 million dollars each year going forward unless and until it can significantly restore its lost enrollment.

    Meanwhile, the College and its faculty union remain distressingly far apart on terms for a contract. There is certainly agreement on all sides that the College needs to increase faculty and staff compensation, but the two sides appear to be nowhere near agreement on what the College can afford in light of the looming loss of so much State funding. After the California State University system recently settled its faculty contract through a fact-finding process, I was optimistic that City College might be able to follow a similar path to a negotiated agreement. With the faculty union now calling for a strike on April 27, prior to completion of fact-finding, I am a bit less optimistic, but still hopeful that the two sides will soon somehow find our way to resolution.

    The Battle for the DCCC

    The local Democratic County Central Committee election is getting a little more media attention than usual this year, largely because of all the big names running for a seat on the body. California Democratic Party Chair John Burton is running, as are former Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, former Supervisors Angela Alioto and Sophie Maxwell and nine of the eleven current members of the Board of Supervisors. And, for good measure, there are four current School Board members running and two College Board members running as well, including yours truly.

    With control of the local Democratic Party (and its much-coveted endorsement) at stake, the pro-business and progressive factions of the local Party have both clearly gone all out to recruit candidates with high name recognition in hopes, on the “moderate” side, of retaining control of the Party, and on the progressive side, of shifting control to the Left. The Democratic Party endorsement is arguably the most influential in our one-party town, and was an important ingredient in the successful 2008 Supervisor campaigns of Eric Mar in District 1, David Campos in District 9 and John Avalos in District 11. With term limits opening up those seats again this year, the Democratic Party endorsement could again be the margin of victory in one or more of those races.

    Soiree 2016 a Success!

    The LGBT Center’s Soiree 2016 at Terra Gallery on April 9 was a smashing success, raising more than $100,000 for the Center’s programs and services. The entertainment, curated by the one and only Juanita MORE!, was delightful, and the speaking program was, in my view, just about the right length. Senator Mark Leno reflected on the efforts of