Candidate Name: Anita Martinez
Phone Number: (415) 810-2231
Web site: anitamartinezforcollegeboard.com
Name of Campaign Manager: Leslie Simon
How much do you expect to spend in this contest: $15,000-$18,000
Major Endorsements: AFT 2121;Latinx Young Democrats; Chinese American Democratic Club; Jackie Fielder for State Senate; various faculty and department chairs; Vick Chung, Student Trustee; Angelica Campos, Student Chancellor; and various other students.
Incumbent Board Member whose votes most reflect your values:
It's not just about votes, its also about actions (inaction, e.g.,allowing massive course cancellations without prior planning or consideration of the long-term impact) (actions, e.g., hiring the last permanent chancellor, renewing his contract, and not acting as a check on his actions such as a nonsensical administrative organization, consistently overspending the budget, and lack of administrative support to request temporary funding from the City in Spring 2020.)
While I can and will work with all Board members, I would work for more considered action based on deliberation so that votes (and actions)are reflections of not just my values, or theirs, but of what is good for City College.
Incumbent whose votes least reflect your values:
Please see above.
1. What is your stance on resuming in-person classes in the time of COVID? What would be the main basis on which you make this decision? (e.g., would it be based on your gut feelings, or whose advice would you listen to?)
My stance is that we should first listen to well-respected epidemiologists and public health professionals who base their recommendations on relevant science and the analysis of pertinent data before resuming in-person classes. Faculty, staff, and others who would be the front-line workers must also be heard, especially when it comes to how to return to in-person instruction. CCSF may need to adjust class size and perhaps schedule (to allow for additional passing time), improve HVAC, ensure that appropriate cleanings are done, and anything else needed to ensure the environment is safe.
2. Why are you running for College Board?
I am running for the Board as a grassroots activist because faculty and students asked me. I bring 28 years of CCSF work experience as a teacher, a faculty leader, Vice Chancellor of Instruction, and Dean of Students as well as 12 years as a dean or vice president at nearby community colleges. My supporters and I believe that I bring a unique set of experiences, knowledge, and wisdom to a Board that had its authority stripped during the accreditation crisis and undermined by the last administration. On the campaign trail, we are asked to identify critical issues and their solutions; that's easy: overspent budget with a structural deficit and three years of over-spending, recruitment/selection of a permanent chancellor, how to improve outcomes for Black and Brown students, how to diversify the college, coping with the pandemic, planning for accreditation. All can be addressed, but it takes the appropriate expertise.
But the overarching challenge is that City College is at a critical juncture and could go either way. It could be downsized to a junior college (10,00 students) - its current trajectory OR
rightsized with appropriate budget planning as the comprehensive community college it has always been.
I favor the latter, but it will take the right permanent chancellor and the right Board to lead the way.
I have the expertise needed on the Board to overcome the issues and the overarching challenge. I have faced and overcome such issues in my work; I believe San Franciscans want City College to remain a community college
3. How are you currently involved in the Community College -- or how were you involved in the past?
I taught at CCSF for 15 years, in both credit and noncredit and at almost all the campuses. I was part of the faculty group that won representation rights for AFT 2121, subsequently drafting and bargaining the first contracts and being elected its president for three terms. I was also president of the Academic Senate and an officer on the statewide Academic Senate.
In 1990, a new chancellor was appointed and directed to respond to an accreditation recommendation regarding the structure and organization of the college. I was appointed Interim Vice Chancellor to undertake and recommend that re-organization; the chancellor and Board knew I knew how to read the budget and knew the structure and employees across the campuses. In nine months and working with a team, we reorganized the college from two divisions with a central administration to the structure you see today, albeit with a much flatter administrative organization chart. In addition, my team put into place the processes and committees for participatory governance, including linking planning to budget. I had wanted to enter Cal's Community College Leadership Program doctoral program, but waited to take a sabbatical until our work was done. I returned a year later to the Dean of Students position where I served almost a decade. (The Chancellor knew of my three years in student services at San Francisco State in recommending my appointment.)
4. What is your stance on public and private partnerships within the college?
I believe that if they benefit students, they can be very helpful as long as they don't take resources from our primary missions. I also believe that such partnerships could also be tri-partite (SFUSD, CCSF, private) or quadri-partite (SFUSD, CCSF, SFSU, and private).
5. What is your position on Free City College? How should it be changed, if at all?
I support Free City College, but perhaps it should be extended to students who work in San Francisco.
6. If elected to the Board, how would you ensure that you and the public would receive the college's draft budget with sufficient time to review it thoroughly before adopting it?
Planning should precede budget so the process should be more than a one or two-time presentation to the Board from the budget office late in the current fiscal year. (This is also the view of accreditors.) At one point, CCSF discussed having multi-year budgets developed in a multi-year participatory governance planning process to include a large enough reserve for unforeseen circumstances. CCSF's revenue is overwhelmingly from the state, is generated by student enrollment in previous years, and is determined by the funding formula in place. Most of these factors are predictable but can be upset if expenditures are not monitored to remain within the allocation, if enrollment drops when the college is in crisis or when classes are cut, or when the formula changes.
Regular reports about the future year's budget development during the entire current fiscal year from the Chief Budget Officer (CBO) at public board meetings along with hearings or webinars as needed should allow for sufficient time for both the Board and the public to be informed.(City College has had two senior administrative positions for the past years but neither was for a CBO. The new interim chancellor's administrative re-organization recommendation just corrected this lack as of July 30 but it may take a while for a new CBO to be hired.) I was privileged to work with one of the most well-respected CBOs in California while I was Vice President of Student Learning at College of Marin. If I were on the Board now, that is the type of professional I would hope would be recommended for appointment.
7. What is your position on selling campus properties?
I am against it. Enrollment ebbs and flows depending on external circumstance (goes up in a recession, down in a good economy; goes by up with large numbers of immigrants and other new San Franciscans, suffers when immigration policy tightens). City College will not be in position to buy new properties to meet expanded demand if it sells its current campuses nor may it be able to use effective educational planning to increase enrollment and to serve nearby communities at its current campuses.
8. Do you feel there is enough transparency or public disclosure of the Board and the college? How would you change things?
I do not. I think the Board needs to be better prepared to share what it can from closed board sessions; as VP Student Learning at College of Marin, I sat in on closed sessions and observed how to thread that needle. As a CCSF administrator, I presented items at closed board meetings and saw how prior administrations and boards did that. A caveat, the last administration appeared to hamstring the Board in many ways. Good legal counsel and a good chancellor can provide guidance.
In public meetings, the Board seems not to discuss items very much, other than to agree with one another. I understand that this may have stemmed from history by an earlier board. The Board seems not to ask as many questions as other boards. I think the public learns when there is thoughtful, respectful deliberation perhaps asking and getting information that the community might also like to know. The Board gets the agenda at the same time as everyone else. They cannot discuss it among themselves outside of the public Board meeting (Brown Act). How can they gain insight from their Board colleagues without publicly discussing items? If they do have questions and get information individually from the chancellor outside the Board meetings in response, might it not be useful to share it? Perhaps a few changes would lead to the perception of greater transparency. If there remains concern about discussion turning to debate, the use of parliamentary procedure or the skillful chairing of the meeting can ensure or bring back civility. (Teachers do that all the time in the classroom, and in faculty meetings.)
The lack of apparent discussion is also in contrast to what is supposed to be a keystone of undergraduate education: the lively and respectful exchange of ideas. City College is undergraduate education, among its other missions. Might it not be a good idea to model that as a Board.
9. Have you attended the Community College Board meeting? Would you change public comment policy at the meetings? If so, how?
Yes, for four decades and at four community college campuses.
Specific to City College, there are two concerns: All public comment is placed at the beginning of the agenda for items both on the agenda and items not on the agenda. This may be because it allows community members to speak without having to sit through an entire Board meeting. However, when comments are separated from the item, especially during a long meeting, it requires memory to link a comment to an item late on the agenda. It gives the appearance that comments are heard in a pro forma way not meant to encourage or learn from discussion
At City College, public comment is limited to one minute per speaker. It is challenging to present a cogent, persuasive argument on a position in that short a time, frustrating the speaker who may take it out on the Board. The agenda is packed, so the natural inclination is to place limits. However, there is no time limit on the eighteen committee reports, stakeholder reports, constituent reports, or Board member reports. (Some reports are supposed to be submitted in writing.)
If I were a Board member now, I would request that we review time limits on all comment, perhaps with an eye to providing sufficient time to all while balancing the need to keep Board meetings to a reasonable duration. I would also like consideration of placing comment before its agenda item in service to memory, if for no other reason.
10. How will you increase quality child care at ALL campuses?
This is a funding issue. In order to provide quality care, it must become a budget priority through planning and budget. It is my priority because I know that the lack of childcare can be a barrier to education; I will advocate for its inclusion as factor for student success.
11. How will you work to counter and prevent profiling and police harassment on campus? What is your position on police firearms on campus?
City College has its own Campus Police with whom I worked while I was Dean of Students. Then, they were more like school resource officers who used words, not weapons to resolve disputes. As I was just starting my job, one of the officers told me that a bookstore worker had the habit of calling campus police to pull a student out of class for an allegation of nonpayment. He knew that wasn't right, so I spoke with the employee saying that student discipline was my responsibility and authority. The worker was to stop pulling students out of class and instead refer the matter for me to look into. (Students have due process rights to have allegations proven before any discipline is undertaken.) Another of my office's responsibilities was student complaints of any nature. I couldn't resolve the complaint (one was in a collectively bargained contract), but I and the associate dean advised students. In my nine years in this deanship, not one complaint was filed about Campus Police. Campus Police were not armed; I do not support arming them now. I also cannot say how they function on campus now.
12. What is your position on allowing noncitizens the right to vote for College Board and other local elections? Did you take a public position on previous ballot initiatives on the subject?
I support this. The majority of students taking noncredit classes are in ESL classes (immigrants). More students from noncredit classes enroll in credit classes (as soon as they acquire sufficient English) than all the students who come directly from San Francisco high schools. This may change; administration laid-off 60 ESL teachers for Fall 2020; the ESL Department is 13% of the faculty but has absorbed 35% of the lay-offs, an action that not only cut jobs but also limited access to CCSF for adult immigrants.
13. What are your views of transportation and pedestrian safety to, from and around City College campuses? What, if anything, would you change, and how would you go about making those changes?
City College's Ocean Campus is in a vehicle heavy area, from traffic flowing of from Highway 280 to the nearby transit and BART Lines. Students coming from BART have to use crosswalks that cross vehicle freeway off ramps. One way to mitigate this would be a shuttle from BART, especially when it is dark, to and from the Ocean Campus. This is dependent on budget unless there can be communication with Muni or BART about sharing the cost.
The other campuses have varying challenges. The Downtown Campus is easily accessible by public transit but with fewer people using transit due to pandemic safety concerns, the amount of transit has diminished. The same can be said about all the other campuses. Close communication with the transit agencies to inform them of our concerns and to work together to identify solution is required.
Pedestrian safety can be enhanced with longer crossing times at the traffic lights.
14. What is your position of military recruiting on campus?
We faced this situation once before at the Ocean Campus. Jennifer Biehn who was Dean of Student Activities when I was Dean of Students worked together with Trustee Tim Wolfred. We could not deny access to campus without jeopardizing the largest inflow of federal dollars, student financial aid. So, after including stakeholders' input, we developed visitor conduct guidelines which all campus visitors had to abide by, identified tabling space in the plaza near the student activities building, and invited student groups which might be interested in providing their own materials. Jenn and I took turns monitoring the space. We protected financial aid, allowed the military to recruit in a defined space, but also allowed those opposed to the military and military recruiting to have space.
At College of Marin, I supervised the Dean of Admissions and Records who was opposed to military recruiting so she decided not to share any information at all with the military jeopardizing federal financial aid. In response to letters from the federal government reminding us that we had no choice but to comply, we developed an opt-in box (and process) on the admissions application for students who wanted to allow their information to be shared. That worked fine.
15. What criteria will you use in deciding whether new cell phone antennas will be installed on top of City College buildings?
I would request information about what is being requested and why along with what the pros and cons are. Not knowing a lot about such installation, I would ask what other community colleges have done in similar situations. I imagine that if there were an active proposal for such installation, the associate vice chancellor, facilities, would have background. Working through the chancellor, I would request a written or oral report. If there might be an impact that needed to be identified, I would request that a formal public report before the Board be made with a process to allow and consider public comment.