CCSF Trustees: What is their role in the prosecution of Day, Herman & Blomquist?

March 18, 2011

From: Doronweinberg@aol.com

 To: mgomez@theguardsman.com

 Sent: Thu, Mar 10, 2011 1:54 pm

 Subject: CCSF Involvement in Prosecution

 We assume that members of the City College community would want to know when they are being misled by the administration or the Board on matters of importance.

As counsel for Phillip Day and Stephen Herman, we can attest that the quotes attributed to Board President John Rizzo in your February 23 article about the Board’s role in the prosecution of Day, Herman and James Blomquist are — at best — misleading. Mr. Rizzo apparently claimed that the Board “no longer [has] anything to do with [the case].” This is simply not true. In fact, the Board has taken up issues involving the case in at least three closed sessions, on October 28 and November 18, 2010 and most recently on February 24, 2011 — the day after your article appeared.

Contrary to its own Policy Manual and the Brown Act, the Board has not reported out any of its actions or recommendations, but has instead attempted to keep them secret from anyone other than the District Attorney’s Office. That office, however, has revealed that the Board inserted itself into the case by taking a position in support of the District Attorney’s demand that Day, Herman and Blomquist be required to pay $95,000 out of their own pockets for “restitution” to CCSF. It is difficult to characterize Mr. Rizzo’s claim that the Board is in no way affiliated with the case as anything other than disingenuous. Indeed, on February 16, 2011, CCSF’s Acting General Counsel contended, in a letter to Stephen Herman’s counsel, which was copied to Mr. Rizzo, that the Board was taking up the matter because “it involves a pending legal (litigation) matter which involves the District” and claimed that the matter was “agendized” to consider whether the District should initiate litigation.

This is hardly consistent with Mr. Rizzo’s characterization of the Board’s involvement. In fact, the Board’s insertion of itself into the criminal prosecution, and the insistence on monetary restitution, has undermined the possible resolution of that matter, and has instead insured that there will be continuing litigation in which City College and members of its community will necessarily be involved.

Very truly yours,

Cristina Arguedas, Julie Salamon, Attorneys for Phillip Day

Doron Weinberg, Attorney for Stephen J. Herman

Doron Weinberg Law Offices of Doron Weinberg

523 Octavia Street San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 431-3472

(415) 552-2703 Fax

CCSF Book Celebrates 75th Anniversary

April 9, 2010

 On September 13, 2010, Arcadia Publishing published a book to celebrate the 75th anniversary of City College of San Francisco.  This title in their Campus History series contains historical photographs and new photos of the stunning and functional facilities that have been completed, or are in progress, for the citizens of San Francisco.  Just think about what has been accomplished, thanks to the vision of Dr. Philip R. Day Jr., and the hard work of James Blomquist,  and Stephen Herman.  And thanks to the voters who supported many local bond measures to support the future of affordable higher education in San Francisco.  The book may be purchased at any CCSF Bookstore, or at Borders, or on Amazon.

An Important Response to the Charges

October 8, 2009

I have read the charges against “The City College Three” many times. They remind me of the story of the boy who was found busy digging through a large pile of horse manure. When asked why he was doing such a thing, he replied, “With this much ____, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere.” Is there? The District Attorney’s office and some local newspapers have put forth pages and pages (piles and piles) of accusations. Most of the charges are against Dr. Philip Day and Stephen Herman, and are grouped around the donations, routing, and some expenditures of funds from three vendors: Pacific Bell, Pepsi, and Bean Scene. (The single charge against James Blomquist involves changes in a fourth vendor’s rental fee contract, which were corrected years ago.) The donations by the three listed vendors were usually signing-bonuses in nature, not payments, services, leases, etc., and were made with recommendations towards scholarships, College bond measures, and/or the Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund. On those occasions when there was a routing question, and since bonus and other extra vendor-generated funds could be considered not public money per se, such funds were placed in private Foundation accounts while legal opinions were sought as to where the donations should most appropriately be placed. (Where’s the pony?)

 

During the last three decades, I’ve been a Faculty Representative on various CCSF Foundations including the current one. All have included a Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund; however, in the past, the money came primarily from “unrestricted” areas of scholarship investments. Actually, the encouragement and use of vendor donations seems a much more scholarship/student-friendly way to generate discretionary funds. But the big question, of course, is: may contributions be solicited and used to pass College bonds? The State Chancellor’s General Counsel Office is against doing so because of “appearances,” although it did not forbid the practice, maybe because it is completely legal to fund and run educational campaigns in support of College bonds and issues. (Where’s the pony?) Although most of the charges against former Chancellor Day and Mr. Herman involve accusations of political misuses of the vendor-generated bonus/extra funding, the fewer charges of misuse of the Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund seem particularly misguided. Many members of the College community have used the Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund over the years. It is supposed to be as flexible as possible. For example, the College has no parking areas for guests; so, sometimes we can reimburse their parking citations through the Fund. For events, fundraisers, receptions that involve food, we’ve been able to use the Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund to reimburse those costs as well. Should the Fund have paid for the Chancellor’s one-year business membership in City Club – an organization where connections through golfing with potential major donors can be made? Well, Willie Brown did point out recently that the most confidentially secure place to negotiate business is on a golf course. Do the Board Members of either the College or the Foundation have rules against such a business membership or against the past practices of flexible uses for discretionary funds? No? (Again: Where’s the pony?)

 

Some at City College are saying that we should not protest the charges against “The City College Three” because such protests may bring retaliation onto the College and imperil any future bond issues to help CCSF. Obviously, I believe the opposite. Political activity is messy and involves risks, and risk-takers. Chancellor Day, a charismatic leader, was a risk-taker, but always for the good of the College and the students. This was an administrator who worked 24/7 for City College and also who, the truth must be told, stepped big time on some big toes! So: NO PONY [criminal activity] at all, just a perfect storm of some ‘important’ people getting revenge, along with others gaining political opportunities, and still others selling newspapers. Although the three defendants may have to admit to something, if only for a variety of personal, health, and fiscal reasons, all of us—friends and foe alike—know that these men are not, and have never been criminals. Criminal charges should be dropped!

Madeline Mueller, Chair, Music Dept., City College of San Francisco

S.F. Labor Council

September 18, 2009

The San Francisco Labor Council has posted a link to the Letter of Support on their website.  Go to: www.sflaborcouncil.org to check it out. 

Many thanks to the Labor Council, and to Gus Goldstein, President, American Federation of Teachers, Local 2121.

Marisa Lagos article in SF Chronicle, with comments

September 1, 2009

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/article?f=/c/a/2009/08/31/BA6019GJUJ.DTL

Ling-chi Wang, Ed Murray, Myrna Lim on YouTube

August 31, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boIJhvLCDoM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqWfSENx124
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmpBDLuGjZ8

How to Endorse the Letter

August 18, 2009

Read the letter below, at the end of the letter, Click on Comments, go to the end of all of the posted comments, Leave a Reply.   Thank you all for your wonderful and supportive comments.  I know that the CCSF 3 are so very thankful. 

Many thanks,

Julia and Many Others

August 12, 2009

To: Friends of City College of San Francisco

From: Julia Bergman, retired City College librarian, and many others

We, the undersigned supporters, friends, students, alumni, and current and retired employees of City College of San Francisco, must express our outrage and sadness over the complaint filed by Kamala Harris, San Francisco’s District Attorney, against three City College administrators (former Chancellor Dr. Philip R. Day, Jr., and current administrators Stephen Herman and James Blomquist).  They are charged with felonies and misdemeanors related to the temporary misplacement of District funds, and the perceived misuse of  the Chancellor’s discretionary funds.  The three administrators received no personal benefit or gain from their alleged wrongdoings, and the funds that had been allegedly misused were repaid. 

City College serves over 100,000 students every year, many of whom are from low socio-economic backgrounds, people of color, recently unemployed, or immigrants.  The community college is the only hope for many people to obtain a college education, or workforce training.  As the often perceived stepchild of the California higher education system, it is well known that community colleges have been perennially under funded.  Over many years, due to the lack of state funding, City College facilities became dilapidated, and fell into disrepair. 

It is against this backdrop that our three administrators worked tirelessly to raise funds in support of two bond campaigns which would provide funding for the repair of existing buildings, and the construction of new ones.  As a result of their focused leadership, dedication, and passion for current and future students, the 2001 and 2005 bond campaigns were broadly supported by the voters of San Francisco.  This is a partial list of major renovations, new buildings and campuses, initiated, completed, or currently in progress, partially or completely funded by the bonds:

  • Student Health Center
  • Orfala Family Center
  • Health & Wellness Center
  • a new Mission Campus and
  • a new campus for Chinatown/North Beach
  • Practice Field
  • Joint Use Classroom Building
  • Performing Arts Complex
  • John Adams Campus Renovation
  • Science Building Renovation
  • Creative Arts Building Renovation
  • Evans Campus Purchase
  • Balboa Reservoir Infrastructure
  • American Disability Act Upgrades
  • Downtown Campus Renovation

For generations to come, San Franciscans in every corner of the City will benefit from these facilities.  The collective, professional efforts of former Chancellor Dr. Philip R Day, Jr., Stephen Herman, and James Blomquist, hard working administrators, transformed the morale of the College, and beautifully and dramatically transformed the places where people teach and learn.  Also note that the Day administration brought a historical level of collaboration among all the organizations within the College.

The District Attorney’s office has great discretion over cases it chooses to prosecute. Two grand juries did not indict the named administrators on similar charges.  The District Attorney filed the complaint on her own authority. By doing so, she damaged the reputation of City College of San Francisco, and jeopardized the future of affordable higher education throughout the Bay Area, and especially for the citizens of San Francisco.  

August 12, 2009 


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