Stop the land grabs at Our City College!

accreditation bulliesEducation is not for sale!

Background

Over a month before the accreditation bombshell dropped on City College, the SF Chronicle ran this headline on June 1, 2012:  “S.F. City College can’t afford all its campuses: Trustees may have to close sites to save money, academic standing.” The article quoted the then-president of the college’s Board of Trustees, John Rizzo, saying, “I think we’re going to have to close some. They [the accreditation team] think we have too many campuses.” The Chronicle made no mention of the fact that it was highly unusual for an accreditation agency—charged with assuring educational quality—to advocate that a college “recoup its academic standing” through shutting down campuses, and later repeating in dozens of articles that the college was too “huge,” “a behemoth,” needing to “slim down” (read: serve fewer students on fewer campuses). All this suggests that a leading goal of the accreditation attack has been to downsize City College, justifying a takeover of irreplaceable public land by SF’s powerful real estate/finance industry. What’s hitting City College:

  • Moves to lease 33 Gough for 75 years to build luxury condos, directed by Sen. Feinstein’s huge CBRE real estate corporation. This process was started under complete secrecy during the state takeover, and continues today;
  • The disruptive closure of Civic Center Campus on a half-day’s notice in January 2015, evicting 1700 new immigrant students from their English classes, and clearing the way for real estate development (news alert: our students are not disposable!);
  • Mayor Lee’s railroading through a gentrification plan for the Balboa Reservoir, seeking to remake Ocean in the image of Whole Foods and Avalon. The mayor’s plan—though always hard to pin down—seems to be to build 500 units of mainly luxury condos, destroying many of the existing 1800 parking spaces essential to City College students and teachers, and not addressing the affordable housing crisis at all seriously. Furthermore, this 500-unit monstrosity would disrupt the neighborhood.  The mayor’s planners continue to ignore City College as the centerpiece of this area, as well as the need to complete our Performing Arts Education Center, twice approved by SF voters. See http://sf-planning.org/balboa-reservoir
  • And watch out for possible moves on (1) the Downtown Campus, to benefit the huge 5M real estate development of Hearst Corporation, also owners of the SF Chronicle—the newspaper that is the lead attack dog against CCSF; (2) the Southeast Campus, which the PUC may want to convert into an office building, possibly displacing 400 City College students and teachers.

In 2013, the then-chair of the Democratic County Central Committee, Mary Jung, was hired on as chief lobbyist for the SF Realtors Association, til she was voted off in June 2016—what could be more blatant?

We demand that our Board of Trustees advocate vigorously for these principles:

Public land for the public good, forever!
Our great- great- grandparents paid for and have built up Our City College since 1935.  It rightfully belongs to our great- great- grandchildren, not to the special trustee or the real estate industry! (Doesn’t the 1% EVER have enough?)

Parking is NOT optional at a commuter school!
We need all 1800 existing parking spots to re-build Our City College to full enrollmentcount them, it’s 1800, not 1000; plus we need parking for the Performing Arts Education Center, and 1:1 parking for new housing units. The idea that the tenth-richest city on the globe “just can’t afford” a parking structure would be laughable, if it weren’t drilled into our heads until we believe it.  Parking is not in the plans of the real estate developers, whose priority is to cram hundreds of thousands more people into our small city—that is the real dynamic.

Complete the Performing Arts Education Center!
Twice approved by SF voters, outrageously cancelled by a single man under the state takeover.  (Around the country, state takeovers with their special trustees/emergency managers, are tied to the stripping out of public assets into private hands.)

100% truly affordable housing is possible!
We want to see real affordable housing for teachers, staff, and long-time community residents, including students. Mixed-income construction should be mainly “moderate income” and “low income” units. We oppose even one more luxury condo in Our San Francisco, and we call for far less density than the mayor’s plan for the Reservoir! We seek full participation in real grassroots public planning by legitimate representatives of City College, the Communities United for Health and Justice, the Council of Community Housing Organizations, and all neighbors.

If SF, California and the feds would roll back all the corporate tax breaks and marginally legal tax evasion schemes, we could easily afford 100% affordable housing. Twitter’s epic tax break alone was worth tens of millions of dollars.  Thanks to its tax evasion strategies, Apple—the most valuable corporation in the world–pays only a two percent corporate tax rate, far less than every single person reading this statement.  Can SF find the money to rebuild City College enrollment, assure parking, and make a real advance on affordable housing?  It’s all about political priorities—and what we ourselves will stand for.

LandGrab Flyer v9 FINAL

This flyer was prepared by the Research Committee, based on material from the forthcoming Race, Poverty and the Environment special section on City College. For more information contact Allan Fisher: afisher800@gmail.com