What better place to feel the power of democracy than at the local level. We have 85,000 local governments in the United States that are comprised of democratically-elected officials. A short Wiki description of the word democracy states: “a system involving distribution of political power in the hands of the public which forms the electorate, representative government, and freedom of speech.”
Elected officials serve the will of the people in a representative government and this is the heart of a democratic system; one that America staunchly pushes outward to other nations in turmoil. As America flouts democracy proudly for the world to see and emulate on this day, democracy in my own personal sphere and that of thousands of citizens around me at the local level has been pushed aside for the rule of one unelected official, a Super Trustee “With Extraordinary Powers” who forces his will at my college.
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors sets policy and provides guidance for the 72 districts and 112 colleges that constitute the system. This Monday, three days after we celebrate American Democracy, the following Board will meet to vote on a resolution that seeks to continue the rule of one at City College of San Francisco. President Manuel Baca, Arnoldo Avalos, Jena Barrera, Geoffrey L. Baum, Natalie Berg, Joseph J. Bielanski Jr., Thomas Epstein, Lance T. Izumi, Danny Hawkins, Deborah Malumed, Henry A. J. Ramos, Gary Reed, Nancy Sumner, and Colin Van Loon along with State Chancellor, Dr Brice W. Harris will meet on Monday July 7th, 2014 to vote on several items brought before them, one of which concerns a very undemocratic resolution recommended by State Chancellor Dr. Brice Harris: Action Item 2.1 Reappointment of a Special Trustee for San Francisco Community College District. You can read the resolution here. The college has already experienced more than a year of the autocratic rule of one unelected official whose “extraordinary powers” denied the college public viewings of official “board” meetings. In non-public meetings, rules and regulations were passed that included a huge salary increase for the top-tier administrators just months after denying faculty by continuing pay cuts at a pre-2007 level salary in what is arguably the most expensive city in America.
The web page of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office states the following under the heading, The Governance Process: “Each of the 72 community college districts has a locally-elected board of trustees. These individiuals are responsive to members of their community. Trustees also oversee the operations and budgets of local colleges within their districts.”
So, you can see that although the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on a resolution “Urging State Community College Chancellor Brice Harris to Restore City College of San Francisco’s Duly Elected Board of Trustees” and the citizens of San Francisco demand the return of the democratically-elected Board, a group of appointed Board of Governors has the power to deny democracy on Monday, three days after we celebrate America’s most prized holiday.