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    Good News for City College, District 3 Blues, Changing of the Guard at Alice and Milk

    Rafael Mandelman

    Rafael Mandelman

    Restoration Granted to City College

    The new year has brought good news for City College of San Francisco. On January 14, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced that it was granting the College two additional years to come into compliance with accreditation standards. The timing of the Commission’s announcement, nearly a month earlier than expected, led some to speculate that the Commission was trying to influence Judge Karnow’s decision in the lawsuit brought against the Commission by the City Attorney. “Judge Karnow,” the Commission seemed to be saying, “no need to trouble yourself; we have this City College thing under control.”

    Whatever the motivation, the announcement was cause for celebration at an institution that has not been doing much celebrating of late. And whatever Judge Karnow’s ultimate decision, it is clear to me that without the intervention of the City Attorney and heavy pressure from others including Congresswomen Pelosi and Speier, the State Chancellor, and the Department of Education, City College would not have been given this opportunity.

    Welcome as the Commission’s announcement was, serious challenges for City College remain, with the continuing decline in enrollment perhaps being among the most serious. An institution that once boasted more than 100,000 students annually now appears to be on its way to a number closer to half that. Most of the problems identified by the Commission in 2012 have by now been addressed, but surely there should have been a better way.

    A New Supervisor for District 3

    The Mayor’s decision to appoint Julie Christensen to the District 3 Supervisor seat was disappointing to me. I know Planning Commission President Cindy Wu and I thought she would have been a fine Supervisor, with the right politics for a relatively progressive district like D3. Rose Pak apparently agreed, but the Mayor and some of his supporters in the business community felt that she would be too liberal. Still, by appointing Christensen, who supported the 8 Washington project (you remember, the Wall on the Waterfront) and opposed Proposition G (the anti-speculation tax on November’s ballot), the Mayor all but ensured a strong progressive challenge to his appointee. Former D3 Supe Aaron Peskin has not filed yet, but all indications are that he will, and Pak, peeved that the Mayor passed over Wu, has indicated she just might support him. This just might be a fight the Left could win. And how sweet to do it in coalition with Ed Lee’s base.

    New Leadership for the Clubs

    Congratulations to the new leadership of our LGBT Democratic Clubs. At Alice, the position of male co-chair has passed from one very good guy, Deputy City Attorney Ron Flynn, to another very good guy, attorney and self-described politics nerd Brian Leubitz. Leubitz will join returning female co-chair and San Francisco Bay Times columnist Zoe Dunning in leading a Club celebrating the recent election of its endorsed Assembly candidate David Chiu and gearing up for the 2016 Senate candidacy of former Co-Chair and current Supervisor Scott Wiener.

    Meanwhile over at Milk, incoming male Co-President Peter Gallotta will be joining returning female Co-President Laura Thomas. I first met Peter during my race for D8 Supervisor in 2010. He became one of the campaign’s best volunteers, and it has been a special treat to watch him deepen his involvement in local queer politics. I look forward to seeing what wonderful mischief he and Laura can get the Milk Club into during the coming year.

    Finally, a word of praise for outgoing Milk Co-Prez Tom Temprano. This is unquestionably a dark time for progressives in San Francisco. But for the last two years, Tom has helped make the Milk Club a light in the darkness.  Tom, Laura and their team have attracted talent, run the most robust programs Milk has put out in years, and generally kicked ass, even if their strong efforts have not always translated into electoral wins. Eventually, the tide will turn, and when it does, I have every hope and expectation Tom will be there to ride the wave. Many thanks for a great two years, Mr. Temprano.

    Rafael Mandelman was elected to the San Francisco Community College Board of Trustees in 2012. He is a partner at Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP.