By Caoilinn Goss
Proposition A on San Francisco’s March 3 ballot requests $845 million in bonds to renovate City College facilities.
The bond measure, if it passes, will fund wide sweeping repairs and the construction of new facilities, including a Science, Technology, Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) building, a permanent home for Diego Rivera’s Pan American Unity Mural, and a long-awaited Performing Arts Center.
Safety improvements include flood damage repair and prevention, improving accessibility, and updating dangerous electrical and plumbing conditions in campus facilities.
Roughly 10% of the funds will go toward seismic retrofitting and other necessary earthquake safety enhancements.
According to the proposition, 70% of Ocean Campus buildings are in need of urgent safety improvements as City College’s facilities have not received major repairs since the school first opened its doors in 1935.
The City College Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of putting the bond measure on the ballot.
Student Trustee Bryan Daley, who has made sustainability and the city’s zero waste goals a priority of his tenure, endorsed the bond measure.
The proposition also states that improvements would reduce the cost of upkeep for facilities, ideally making room in the College’s already strained budget.
The San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board recommended a yes vote on the bond measure as well, stating that while the College has made many day to day operational spending mistakes, it has a proven track record with similar bond measures.
The San Francisco Bay Guardian also urged voters to look beyond the current political turmoil at the college and vote yes.
The only organization to voice opposition to the measure, the San Francisco Republican Party, has not mobilized a campaign or spent any funds to defeat it.
City College’s faculty union (AFT 2121) voted to endorse the Proposition after “a lot of debate and soul searching,” Political Director James Tracy said.
“We are understandably angry to be asked to endorse the measure during a time of mass layoffs and lost health benefits,” Tracy said. “We are fighting to restore our college and when we win, we want to make sure we can come back and teach in some modernized classrooms because that’s what our students deserve.”
“This should not be interpreted as a free pass for the Chancellor,” Tracy added.
The proposition includes strict accountability standards prohibiting the use of funds for faculty or administrator salaries and requiring annual audits to ensure that all funds are used as promised.
An independent citizen’s oversight committee, to be comprised of representatives from a senior citizens’ organization, a business organization, and a taxpayers’ association, will conduct the audits.
The bond will cover about half the needed facilities projects laid out in the Board of Trustees’ 2019 Master Plan, according to Trustee Alex Randolph.
Prop A is a special district tax measure that will need 55 percent of voters to approve it in order to pass.