Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Chronicle endorses John Rizzo

In an editorial in Monday's edition, the SF Chronicle endorsed Thea Selby and John Rizzo for seats on the City College Board of Trustees.

Apparently the Chronicle's editorial writers don't read their own paper, which reported back in 2012 that Rizzo---who at the time had been on that board for more than five years---admitted to the Board of Governors that he and the other trustees were "clueless" about the college's financial condition (CCSF president: 'We were clueless'):

The heads of California's community college system hauled City College of San Francisco leaders up to Sacramento on Thursday to express concerns about the large and troubled school and to ask the question on everyone's mind: What went wrong? John Rizzo, president of the City College Board of Trustees, offered one candid explanation: "We were clueless." Even as Rizzo said he tried to steer the board toward fiscal responsibility, he and other trustees acknowledged that there was much they didn't know about overseeing the college's finances until they were required to take training as part of the effort to retain accreditation.

What went wrong with a college that had 80,000 students? The story in the Chronicle provides some clues:

Pamila Fisher, who has been interim chancellor at City College since May and leaves this month, assured the board that the college is working diligently to address the structural issues that led to its problems. "It's reasonable for you to say, how did this happen? Who was in charge? Where was the authority?" Fisher said. "We're starting to change that." Yet the most specific explanation Fisher offered was that "the college had a very big heart. It tried to do a lot for a lot of people. The college was very generous." 

She called the decisions that led City College to hire more employees at higher pay than comparable districts an example of "San Francisco values" that "can sometimes get in the way of making good decisions." To turn itself around, the college has been relying on a blueprint provided by the state's Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team, which identified numerous problems---including the college's lack of long-range planning and its reliance on raiding financial reserves to pay its bills.

Sounds familiar! "San Francisco values" means that public agencies in the city are primarily jobs programsserving the public is a secondary consideration. To hear city progs tell it, City College has been the victim of an out-of-control Accrediting Commission that for mysterious reasons wants to close the college.

Even a cursory examination of the issue reveals that the Commission found serious problems with the school's "big-hearted" management, as I wrote early this year.

The Chronicle editorial writer is apparently unaware of any of this. The problem at City College was supposedly about Phil Day and a flawed decision-making system. Rizzo's failure "experience" somehow qualifies him for re-election:

Rizzo is the lone incumbent to be endorsed. He was an early critic of prior City College chancellor Phil Day, who was forced from office as the system’s problems deepened. His experience as an informed critic will be vital in rebuilding the institution and pulling back from a chaotic system of “shared governance’’ that paralyzed decision-making.

As a trustee and a good San Francisco progressive, Rizzo, though clueless about the school's financial condition, pushed the bike agenda, which of course included screwing up Masonic Avenue:

As College Board Trustee, I have improved bike facilities at City College: increased bike parking, installing showers for use by bike commuters, and the Lee Ave extension. I also worked to get the college involved in Fix Masonic.

Recall that Rizzo was one of the Gang of Four, San Francisco progressives who abruptly abandoned the Green Party after the election of Barack Obama made being a Democrat fashionable in the city.

Before he was elected to the City College board, Rizzo was on the Concourse Authority's board of directors, where he did everything he could to obstruct the construction of the garage---passed overwhelmingly by city voters---under the Concourse in Golden Gate Park, including pushing a bogus complaint to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.

Rizzo supported Josh Wolf's phony cause

Tomorrow: The Chronicle's endorsement of Thea Selby

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At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Such a sad day for Rob!

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

If you're reduced to appealing to the State Supreme Court, lawyers understand that you've almost certainly lost the case, since that court accepts very few appeals. Such appeals are the legal equivalent to a hail-Mary pass in football.

But this is only one of many ongoing court cases against the high-speed rail boondoggle.

See page two of this document for a litigation list.

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, I see what you mean. At the bottom of page 2:

"Any Individual with a disability who requires reasonable accommodation to attend or participate may request assistance by contacting the Authority at (916) 324-1541. "

I think this might be the loophole that kills CHSR. Have some disabled person try to get into the meeting and injure themselves somehow. Then sue for 1 billion dollars.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Kathy Hamilton follows up on the Supreme Court decision: "It wasn’t really a surprise since the court hears only about 5% of the cases, which equates to 200 out of 5000 applications per year."


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