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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Dept. of Public Health: Accidents "vastly under-reported"

From a thread on SF Weekly about street design, a response to my comment (below in italics), apparently from someone in the Dept. of Public Health:

@Rob Anderson: You'll get what you wish for, at least this time. The discrepancy between police reports of crashes and EMT pickups and hospital ER intake has been huge such that it's apparent that crashes have been vastly underreported. The SF Dept. of Public Health is in the process of compiling new data and it will be posted here as it becomes available: www.transbasesf.org

And let's distinguish 'City Hall' from individual police officers who chose not to or don't know about reporting. Will leave it to you to locate online the city's repaving schedule and associated street redesign plans---if numbskulls don't block progress.

Right. A city government that can't even count the accidents on city streets is making "progress" in redesigning our streets. People are beginning to understand who the real "numbskulls" are. Good to know that the city is repaving city streets, since they are among the worst maintained in the country.

And you can't blame the city's accident count problem on city cops. They've just been operating in a flawed system created by City Hall.

As I pointed out several months ago, the Dept. of Public Health knew it needed a better counting system more than ten years ago but obviously failed to follow up on it. From the Framework Document of the version of the Bicycle Plan that was litigated in 2005:

For the last several years, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has been working on an injury data linkage project using hospital admission data. Currently, San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) is not obligated to report bicycle injuries to the SFPD. This is left up to the injured parties. EMS (ambulance services) is supposed to report bicycle injuries, but many are not reported. Comparing police collision reports with SFGH emergency room visits or hospital admissions shows that approximately 20 percent of pedestrian injuries (caused by a collision with a motor vehicle) did not show up in police collision reports in 2000 and 2001. The rate for bicycle injuries is probably similarly under-reported (page 6-12, SF Bike Plan: Policy Framework, September 2004).

My comment that "multimodal" is responding to:

Still waiting for you bike folks to tell us which streets in San Francisco you want to put separated bike lanes. We know about Masonic---a fiasco waiting to happen next year---and Polk Street. But where else?

City Hall can't even be trusted to count injury accidents on our streets, as that UC study found. Nothing but silence about that study from the Bicycle Coalition, Streetsblog, City Hall and the Bay Guardian.


Sooner or later the MTA is going to have to publish a Collisions Report dealing with the count issue. The last one was issued in August, 2012.

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