City College owns a good deal of land in San Francisco. A distressing amount of this land is surface parking lots. Do you think this is a good use of this land? Would building student, educator, staff or other kinds of housing on these lots be a better use? How important is this issue to you?
We are re-doing our Facilities Master Plan, which is the strategic document that guides our decisions for building and maintaining property. I am on public record trying to fight the addition of parking for our students. Those who want to keep/make more parking use this argument: we need enrollment, and if we take away parking, we will lose students. These arguments are not wrong because it is an equity issue; students have to drive because our public transportation is terrible and expensive. It is actually much cheaper to park ($50/semester) than it is to take BART or Muni. If we are to beat the argument in favor of keeping or building more parking, we have to offer viable alternatives. This is why I am working on getting a subsidized or free Rams Transit Pass for our students. I am also working on getting SFMTA to step up and improve their services to/from our campuses.
More and more students attending City College suffer from homelessness and high housing costs. What do you believe the College Board should do to address this problem?
The lack of housing and consequent high housing prices are untenable for students, especially those with no help from their parents. I have had two opportunities to increase access to housing since I have been on the CCSF Board. In the first instance, we negotiated a 50% affordable housing rate for the building at 33 Gough Street that we leased for 75 years. We have gotten the developers of Balboa Reservoir to agree to build 500 beds on the same plot of land that the Reservoir is located on.
I would like to see us get our fair share of Proposition W, which passed in 2016 and allows us to have free tuition for students in San Francisco. We only receive about 10% of the funds from Prop W; I think the voters voted YES to FREE CITY because they thought the majority of the funds were going to go towards CCSF students, so I would like us to get at least 51% of the monies collected. We can do that if we get the Board of Supervisors to do a charter amendment to Prop W that dedicates 51% of the money to the students. That money could also go towards things that FREE CITY does not pay for now. This would potentially include funding to:
-Create discounted transit passes for the 57% of students who currently use public transit.
-Ensure that FREE CITY is a permanent program that may include books and transportation in addition to tuition.
-Keep our social services strong.
-Build housing for homeless students and create ways to subsidize housing that already exists for students.
More and more CCSF educators struggle with the cost of housing. What do you believe the College Board should do to address this problem?
We have also gotten these same Balboa Reservoir developers to agree to up to 200 units of affordable housing for teachers. This is a win-win, as we are not paying to build them.
Getting to and from City College is a problem for many students and educators. Do you see this as a problem? What solutions do you think the College Board could pursue to address this? Please feel free to discuss transit, shuttles, protected bike lanes, etc.
I have recently been alerted that if you live in the Richmond, it is practically impossible to get to the Mission or Ocean campus without a car. As part of the campaign for a Rams Transit Pass, we also need to prioritize improving transit to our campuses and centers. I’d like to see a shuttle around the Ocean campus to Balboa BART, esp. for our older and disabled students. I have also advocated for Frida Kahlo Way to be car-free so that pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit riders can get around better. In addition, we need protected bike lanes along Ocean or Geneva and a crosswalk where the BART exit onto Ocean is located. People cross there all the time, dodging cars and the M train. We should just put a crosswalk there so people can cross safely.
Housing at the Balboa Reservoir is a critical issue. Are you committed to ensuring at least 1500 units of housing are built as quickly as possible at the Balboa Reservoir, especially considering that the project is 50% subsidized Affordable?
They are up to 1100 units plus 500 beds for students. I’m less happy with the parking situation. See responses above.
We have a major labor shortage in the building trades. There are fantastic careers in the trades, but many people are not aware of this path or view it with prejudice. How do you see the role of City College in getting more people finding out about and pursuing these career paths?
We have a program called City Build in conjunction with the City and County of San Francisco. The program takes local people, trains them, and gets them into apprenticeship programs with unions. It is fantastically successful, but way too small in today’s market. We graduate about 100 students per year, and I’d like to see it grow as long as our boom market continues to grow significantly larger than that.
We have made great strides in promoting our Career Technical Education. It allows you to come to City College to get specific training in a particular trade or skill. I recently met with the Department of Industrial Relations Apprenticeship program. They should be working with us as they work specifically on the jobs part of CTE. I introduced them to the Chancellor to facilitate that.
Is there anything else you think our members should know about your candidacy? Links, references, endorsements, etc?
I am a product of public schools and have sent both of my children to public schools here in San Francisco. I have taught at a college and regularly take classes at City College to keep in touch both with students and faculty.
I have been a Trustee over the last four years and we have turned CCSF around; we hired a permanent Chancellor, reaffirmed our accreditation for seven years, and, with the support of the those who voted for Proposition W, implemented FREE CITY. If re-elected I would continue implementing improvements by further increasing enrollment, adding a Rams Transit Pass, creating a permanent and safe home for our Diego Rivera Mural in the new Performing Arts and Education Center, and ensuring that our facilities are rehabbed in a sustainable way.
I know that I can take what I have learned over the last four years, governing City College at a very difficult time, and help guide us to fiscal stability and strong enrollment once again.
I have also had the absolute honor of receiving widespread support for my re-election to City College Board, including most recently the San Francisco Democratic Party and AFT 2121. Please see a full list of my endorsements at: http://www.theaselby.org/endorsements.