Sunday, November 20, 2005

UC: Greed and lies

Those of us who involved in the struggle to prevent UC from turning the old UC Extension site on lower Haight St. into a for-profit, 420-unit housing development haven't been surprised to read in the SF Chronicle about that mega-institution's financial folly and chicanery. After all, a UC representative told a Hayes Valley neighborhood meeting earlier this year that if they weren't allowed to turn the property into a massive housing development, they would have to raise fees for UC students and economize by cutting classes out of their schedule.

We were told that UC simply can no longer afford to maintain the property---which they've had tax-free from the city since 1958---to keep it suitable for use as an educational facility. Later we found out, however, that UC is now paying $1.26 million a year to lease two huge floors at 425 Market St. and two floors on 95 Third St. for $846,000 a year to house the extension operation that used to be at the facility on lower Haight St. $2 million a year would go a long way toward rehabbing the 5.8 acre property---property that UC deliberately allowed to deteriorate in the first place.
A letter from two retired UC employees contains an expert description of how UC is presently carrying out its education mission:
As recent UC retirees, it has been obvious to us for many years that UC's top administrators are not really interested in education, public service or providing reasonable compensation for rank-and-file employees. In fact, their primary interests are maintaining and increasing their enormous salaries, obscene perks and plentiful retirement packages. The university administration's culture of lying, concealing and screwing the lowest-paid staff members is a perfect reflection of our times, and we are grateful to the Chronicle for obtaining and revealing information that the university would prefer to hide. (Letters to the Editor, SF Chronicle, Nov. 15, 2005)
Couldn't have put it better myself.


Civic Narcissist of the Week

Many city residents are continuously congratulating themselves for living in San Francisco. The implication seems to be that mere residency in our fair city puts us in a higher moral strata than our less fortunate countrymen who live in Oakland and other heathen outposts. Yes, this is a fine city, but we need to get over ourselves and the pretty city we live in to achieve a reality-based political perspective. In a Nov. 15 letter to the SF Examiner, Neil Hamilton is our Civic Narcissist of the Week for providing us with a perfect example of this bullshit:

The wonderful thing about growing up and living in a city like San Francisco is that you really know how right you are. The more you travel and learn about other parts of the United States and globe, the more you realize how lucky we are to have such a righteous place to come back to.