SF Green Party College Board Endorsement Questionnaire 2022
Due Date: Saturday, September 3
Candidate Name: Jason Zeng
Phone Number: 415-528-8043
Web site: zeng2022.com
Name of Campaign Manager: Jason Zeng
How much do you expect to spend in this contest: Under $2000
Incumbent Board Member whose votes most reflect your values: Brigitte Davila
Incumbent whose votes least reflect your values: Alan Wong
1. What is your stance on COVID safety at CCSF? Under what circumstances might you support instating a mask or vaccine mandate, or canceling in-person classes? 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?)
Covid safety is important, especially for people of certain ages. Though, I do not think it requires a mask or a mandate from everyone, given the vaccination rate in the City. I would base my decision to implement a mandate primarily upon hospitalization rates. This is because Covid can be infectious, though at this stage of its evolution, it isn't necessarily deadly.
2. Why are you running for College Board?
Everyone has the right to their own body and a fair chance at a dignified life. Our country strives for equity, but many people do get left behind. That's why I believe City College should always be free for all San Franciscans, because it gives everyone in our city a chance to fight for a dignified life, no matter their background, age, or history. Removing barriers to education is the only way to help people out of the poverty trap.
To accomplish this, City College needs to meet its due diligence. City College isn't a destination, it's a stepping stone to the rest of your life. Investments in the fundamentals of academics and student services are key, but so is the growth of support staff such as academic advisors. Many people who first enter City College do not have an idea of what they want out of the experience, and having someone to guide them through will reduce the time spent at City College and more on enjoying a boundless life afterwards.
I intend to keep City College free for San Franciscans forever and always, streamline requirements for graduation, and increase access to physical and digital classrooms.
3. How are you currently involved in the Community College -- or how were you involved in the past?
Professionally, I'm a data engineer. I currently work as an energy analyst for PG&E in Energy Procurement. I ran for this position in 2015 during the accreditation crisis, and left San Francisco in 2016 for work and then graduate school in Montana. I've experienced severe poverty, including living half a year out of my car during the pandemic, and it's difficult to comprehend that predicament. The tools just aren't there for people to get out, and we have to give people an alternative than the streets of the Tenderloin.
I believe that education is a public good, but not when it's run by inept administration. It is inconceivable that with a $160 million dollars budget, City College has an abysmal 19.3% graduation rate in 2019. That's the city failing 4 out of every 5 students.
4. What is your stance on public and private partnerships within the College?
I brought up this issue both in 2015 and now.The budget crisis currently can be attributed to a mix of 1) reduced enrollment during the pandemic, 2) extended student tenures with no plans for their next step, and 3) inefficient administration in setting meaningless forward agendas followed by lopsided hiring up to the pandemic.
Point 1 and 2 can be ameliorated further with academic advisors, which will drive enrollment for quality education and reduce excessive student tenures. In addition, City College needs to build new sources of revenue. For example, people pay 20k for a Hackreactor or AppAcademy course so they can get the correct skills to get hired by Google or Apple. Yet, City College can build recruitment pipelines and partnerships to both generate revenue and help the San Francisco Bay economy by providing skilled talent.
5. What is your position on Free City College? How should it be changed, if at all?
City College will stay free, otherwise, we are removing a relevant option for people to get out of poverty. For people who did not have a strong start in life, they can either lock themselves behind a Mcdonald's counter for 40 hours a day, or stay homeless. Continuing adult education is the third option.
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?
Community College Board meetings need to be held at an appropriate time for the public to attend, even if they do post their budget timely beforehand. For all of this year, the Budget and Audit Committee meeting is held at 9 AM on a weekday. This completely excludes most people who have full time jobs who want to share their opinion with the board.
7. What is your position on selling campus properties?
I do not see the purpose of reducing long term investments where the rate of return could be double digits per annum for San Francisco. Especially as we start a new business cycle.
8. Do you feel there is enough transparency or public disclosure of the Board and the college? How would you change things?
No, because the discussion meetings regarding the College's future are held during the day on weekdays. This issue directly affects the disclosure of said documents, as the current leadership doesn't want to release disclosures that aren't ready. But it's idiosyncratic that such decisions are made during inaccessible public meetings.
9. Have you attended the Community College Board meeting? Would you
change public comment policy at the meetings: If so, how?
No, because I have work and the meetings start at 9AM on a weekday.
10. How will you increase quality child care at ALL campuses?
Childcare has been an ongoing issue in this current age, and can cause significant long term population issues. I believe that the public sector should offer either paternity (in addition to maternity) leave, or provide child care services starting at a younger age, similar to school. This issue is more complex than providing funding, because care for infants and toddlers is different from caring for young children of kindergarten age. Many toddlers don't understand life basics such as toilet training, or the meaning of Yes or No, and good and bad. As you can tell, I have had to take care of younger family members in the past. With that said, the general guidance should be that City College accommodates child care for its students, and at the very least, during class times and up to a few hours discretionary to complete schoolwork.
However, I'm not a parent myself, and I don't have the perfect solution. I simply don't know enough and would need further advice from others on this subject.
11. How will you work to counter and prevent profiling and police harassment on campus? What is your position on police firearms on campus?
I do not believe that police should have firearms on campus, because there shouldn't ever be a reason to use lethal force on campus. I believe that police/campus security/school officers have the same defined purpose, to protect San Franciscans. So if we remove police from stepping on campus, then another organization of security will take its place; thus we need to work with the police. Police do profile and harass, and we need to resolve that by building them into the community. We need them to understand what exactly they are doing wrong, and how it affects others. We need to build more trust, because their purpose is to protect us, and they need to start acting like it.
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?
Finally, an easy question. If you fit the definition of a San Franciscan in that you are eligible to attend City College for free, then you should be able to vote in local elections.
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?
I believe that the Muni should be free for all San Franciscans because it's a public benefit creating positive externalities to climate and congestion. Though extending free Muni citywide could be a stretch, it's possible to extend just to enrolled students. Another way to move around this issue politically, is to not enforce Muni bus fares.
14. What is your position on military recruiting on campus?
My sister is a medic in the army who joined right out of high school. She's been in the army for 3 years now and views her experience as very positive, though boring, and sometimes intensive. With that being said, military recruiters should only be allowed to recruit on campus when other corporations do so as well, during scheduled job fairs.
Due Date: Sat, Sep 3, 11:59 pm.
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