Should community colleges build housing?

By Felicia Mello : calmatters – excerpt

…Think of a community college, and you’ll likely picture a commuter school with low-slung buildings and massive parking lots. And you’d be right—out of California’s 114 community colleges, only 11 offer on-campus housing. But some of those parking lots could soon become dormitories as community colleges look to build their own solutions to the state’s affordable housing crisis…

“Our thought was to have some housing on campus so our students can just concentrate on learning without worrying so much about, ‘Can I make rent?’ or ‘Where am I going to live?’ ” said Juan Gutierrez, public information officer for Orange Coast College.

Surveys showed the overwhelming majority of Orange Coast students was interested in living on campus, Gutierrez said. Half of the student body comes from outside Orange County, he said, with many avoiding the area’s steep cost of living by commuting from as far as San Diego or the Inland Empire. The project is set to open in the autumn of 2020…

Finding affordable solutions

Community college students facing similar dilemmas without the option of on-campus housing are increasingly resorting to couch-surfing or living in their cars. As state lawmakers debate measures that would allow homeless students to park overnight on campus and provide them with housing vouchers, building dorms offers an alternate path, one that colleges can pursue on their own…

Colleges as social service agencies

Despite the challenges, some advocates say providing housing is simply part of community colleges’ expanding mission. With rampant income inequality darkening the prospects for many young Californians, they say, colleges must play the role of social service agency if they want to remove the obstacles that can prevent students from graduating… (more)

This appears to be the crux of the matter. Should colleges get into businesses outside of their role and educators and take on social services and housing as well? Is this the proper use of administrators time and energies? How will expanding the role effect the primary purpose of providing education for community residents? Should this not be part of a larger conversation that informs the public and allows for more public involvement? Are these new roles taken on by administrators responsible for the outrageous increase in college tuition? Are these deviations in priorities not responsible for creating the problem they are trying to solve?

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Potrero Bus Yard Project meetings turn up many suggestions, little consensus

By Gisela Pérez de Acha and Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt

After four public meetings on a development project that could add nearly 1,000 new units atop the Potrero Bus Yard, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will review the comments from the 100 or so people who attended the gatherings and try “to figure out consistency and trends, if they exist,” said Licina Iberri, one of the planning managers.

The project, now in the planning stages, seeks to not only upgrade the 100-year old bus and Muni transportation facility but to add as many as 900 new units – at least 25 percent affordable – as well as add ground floor retail space. The market rate housing would help finance the project(more)

Projects like these, that are opposed by the public, are forcing many people to leave San Francisco and the state. New figures on population exits from Silicon Valley are showing zero population growth. We don’t need more houses in the pipeline when there are already over 40,000 NOT being built. SFMTA staff is supposed to run the Muni not build future housing for non-existent residents.

If SFMTA staff managing the Muni system they would not have time to develop 1,000 market rate units and they would not need the money to support the Muni system if they quit tearing up the streets.

SFMTA staff who do not want to manage the Muni system, but prefer to design the future are in the wrong business. Voters should loudly oppose all future development projects that are built to hold investor dollars and add to the cost of living in this city for everyone who is stuck here. Quit treating San Francisco residents like cattle to be moved about in crowded containers. No wonder ridership is going down. and people are leaving.

The department that can’t keep the trains running on time now due to major switching problems can’t wait to put in more switches. The department that can’t provide a safe ride on the monster buses wants to hire security guards for bigger buses, instead of hiring more drivers to for smaller buses that hold fewer riders, with comfortable seats for everyone. Where is the humanity at SFMTA?

An ethics pledge for the district attorney race

By Larry Bush : 48hills – excerpt

Two candidates agree not to take money from DA Office employees, bail bonds companies or corporate PACs. It’s a start.

Two candidates for district attorney, Chesa Boudin and Leif Dautch, have created an ethics pledge for the campaign, and it takes us further toward making the city’s chief law enforcement office less susceptible to the influence of pay-to-play politics that can affect everything from who gets hired, who raises money for DA candidates, and special interest corporate money… (more)