The bond

Posted: November 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Being consistent supporters of school bonds, we are happy for the students, faculty, and staff who will have improved facilities and equipment as a result of the passage of Measure L; clearly they are necessary.  As we said in our Tribune “Viewpoint,” a vote against the bond would be a difficult one.

Regarding the points we made with respect to leadership issues, our stand is unmoved. We believed it important that they were brought to light, and they were. Many of these issues are internal to the campus and must be remediated there.

We look forward to the campus improvements and congratulate those who worked on a winning campaign.

Voter Lookup

Posted: October 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

ccsf2By Seth Sandronsky

October 20, 2014 in Education

Take the state law on fair competition. Add the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges‘ actions to shut down City College of San Francisco (CCSF). What will these ingredients amount to in a court of law?
That will be determined by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow  following a non-jury trial that begins October 27. Last year San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit on behalf of the people of the state of California (not CCSF) alleging the ACCJC’s evaluation of CCSF was unfair and unlawful under the state law for business competition.
“We have alleged that the ACCJC’s actions, specifically with respect to the evaluation of CCSF, were both unlawful and unfair,” Sara Eisenberg, a San Francisco Deputy City Attorney, told Capital & Main by phone. The ACCJC is subject to California’s Unfair Competition Law which prohibits any business from engaging in unfair, unlawful or fraudulent business acts or practices.

The ACCJC says it followed the state’s Unfair Competition Law in evaluating CCSF, which has a current enrollment of about 80,000 students. “ACCJC believes its accreditation decisions with respect to CCSF have been valid and warranted and that it will ultimately prevail in the lawsuit,” a September 23, 2014 statement claimed.
More specifically, Herrera’s lawsuit alleges the ACCJC “allowed political bias, improper procedures and conflicts of interest to unlawfully influence its evaluation of the state’s largest community college.”
The ACCJC’s evaluation of CCSF found it lacking in several areas. These range from leadership and governance to “significant divisions in the faculty and the wider institution,” Commission President Barbara Beno wrote in a letter of July 3, 2013.

Crucially, CCSF’s accreditation allows it to operate with federal and state funds. Without them it would be forced to close. The commission’s critics allege that CCSF’s “open access” educational mission and spirit of political debate were what the ACCJC’s evaluators found objectionable. In response to the school’s threatened closure, CCSF students, faculty and the wider community have mobilized and organized to keep its doors open via groups such as the Save CCSF Coalition.
The ACCJC, a Novato, California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, one of six regional higher education accrediting agencies nationwide. The commission has a monopoly on accrediting the Golden State’s post-secondary institutions that award associate degrees.
Herrera’s lawsuit asks the court to void ACCJC’s attempt to terminate the accreditation of CCSF, effective July 31, 2014. Further, the lawsuit requests that the accreditors begin anew an evaluation of CCSF, this time obeying state law to the letter.
“The judge has given us five days for the trial,” said Sara Eisenberg. “There will be, finally, a substantive review of whether the ACCJC’s actions on CCSF’s accreditation evaluation were legal and appropriate.”
On October 8, in a ruling that may not augur well for the ACCJC, Judge Karnow denied the commission’s request for summary judgement – a motion to dismiss Herrera’s lawsuit outright. The ACCJC’s motion, in part, claimed a violation of its First Amendment rights – i.e., its Constitutional protection of free speech.
“The ACCJC has virtually exhausted the playbook in terms of trying to shield its actions from judicial review,” said Herrera in a prepared statement.
Capital & Main asked the ACCJC to comment on Judge Karnow’s refusal to dismiss next week’s bench trial. An unofficial spokeswoman for the ACCJC directed a reporter to its website for comments on the October 8 ruling.
“If Judge Karnow rules against the ACCJC, it’s more likely for him to issue a specific decision pertaining to CCSF than a challenge to the accreditation process more broadly,” said David Levine, professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. “However, I am unsure the plaintiffs [people of the state of California] will prevail.”
A ruling by Judge Karnow against the ACCJC would hold its president, Barbara Beno, and her husband, Peter Crabtree — an ACCJC evaluator involved in the commission’s sanctions against CCSF — and other officials connected with that process immune from damages, said Deputy City Attorney Eisenberg, adding that the ACCJC faces liability as an entity only.
“I look forward to finally litigating these issues at trial on October 27,” said City Attorney Herrera, “and to making our case as to why CCSF – a cherished institution that has been a cornerstone of educational promise for generations – deserves a fair and lawful accreditation process.”

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Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, which is a local office of the Newspaper Guild, a part of the Communications Workers of America.

Why, thank you

Posted: August 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

Today, We’re What’s Left surpassed its highest number of views in 24 hours.  Our previous daily high was 266.  Today, we went well beyond that with 308 views: 307 from the U.S.; and, one from the Republic of Korea.  We’ve gone international!  We also received a new follower today.  Welcome!  You can follow We’re What’s Left, too. It’s easy.  That way you will get an email every time we publish a post, which, by the way, isn’t that often.

Thanks to all of you.  This seems to show that faculty are interested in what WWL has to say even though you may not always (ever?) agree with us.  Truly, we’re the only game in town.  No one else does what we do.

So, take it to the next step.  Action.  I’ve been repeatedly told that faculty are afraid of losing their jobs and ruffling feathers and just want to keep their heads down.  Others tell me that the faculty are just apathetic.  What will it take to move the faculty once again?  Might it come with the next paycheck when you see how much less you are bringing home? Are you not in enough pain yet?

Educate.  Agitate.  Organize.  You can do it again.  Let’s talk.

Very interesting blog post

Posted: August 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

The below link was sent to me this morning from a Cuesta faculty member.  Check out the comments to see how Cuesta is viewed throughout the state.  So very sad.

http://dissenttheblog.blogspot.com/2013/12/profile-of-linda-fontanilla-ivcs-vp-for.html

Welcome to Cuesta

Posted: August 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

As you know, the Executive Board voted unanimously to change the composite rate to the tiered rate for health insurance.  The voting EB consists of 3 officers and 2 Council liaisons: Debra Stakes, President; Nancy  Mann, Vice President, Secretary; Mark Tomes, Treasurer; Tom Patchell, Council Liaison; and, Cynthia Wilshusen, Council Liaison, Part-Time Council Liaison.  This decision was communicated to faculty on May 22.

The single faculty are cheering, I’m sure.  Because their fringe amount will pay for their full medical insurance, they will be able to take home money while their married (or domestic partners) and married-with-kids counterparts will be paying significantly out of pocket.  How in the world could the union have let this happen–now.

The current and fairly new EB VP has been pushing for this for many years and has apparently influenced the president because as we know, Debra had been opposed to tiered rates.  I believe faculty had been told that the union way was “one for all, all for one.”  Perhaps.  But, that isn’t the crux of the matter here.  Unions are about taking care of working families–especially now when same sex marriage rights and protections have happily allowed more couples to marry.  So, now we can say the following to the new, young married faculty member (gay or straight):

“Welcome to Cuesta.  You will now be broke having to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket every month to insure your family.  Further, you will be broke because Cuesta’s beginning salary for faculty is the lowest in the state. And, in addition to that, you will be really broke because Cuesta faculty have not had a raise in almost seven years. Welcome to Cuesta.”

To impose this change in insurance now is, well, unconscionable.  When the first union voted for the composite insurance rate, it was probably the hardest decision we had to make.  But, it was the right one.  Sure, we heard the “breeder” argument (did you ever think that if there weren’t any breeders, none of us would have jobs?). But, nothing could convince us that any Cuesta faculty member should pay out of pocket for health benefits while other faculty took money home.

The union wants the district to approve a pool for insurance.  That is a good idea.  But, the union and the district are at impasse on 2013-14 negotiations, and as you heard Gil Stork say (in the same email that asked for a public apology from the union president (!), the district would not entertain a pool idea until the next round, which could be quite some time.  Someone please enlighten me about why in the world this new tiered rate would be imposed now.  Why not wait until faculty get a decent raise?  Why not wait until the insurance pool is agreed to?

Faculty have called me to ask wth is going on.  It was May 22 for goodness sakes, they said, that we heard about this–as the semester was ending and faculty were a bit distracted.  Faculty in some departments never heard about it from the Council Reps prior to that time.  These faculty should be outraged.  And, they should act on that outrage.  But, I don’t see that happening.

Cuesta faculty rights embarrassingly continue to plunge with no end in sight.  Single faculty should do the right thing–tell the union that the tiered rates should not be implemented until no faculty are paying out of pocket.  Tell the union to take increases for large lecture classes off the bargaining table (another favorite of the union VP and her colleagues on campus who teach large lecture classes) and apply that asked-for money (if agreed to by the district) to an insurance pot for all faculty.  No playing favorites for some faculty while others suffer. This shouldn’t be a single faculty thing or a coupled faculty thing.  This should be an equality thing.  Strength through unity.

Mother Jones says: Unions Should Brace Themselves for a Major Supreme Court Loss

| Thu Jun. 26, 2014 1:04 PM EDT

It’s official: The Supreme Court will wait until Monday, the final day of the current term, to issue its decision in Harris v. Quinn. As I explained in May, Harris is a blockbuster case that could, in a worst-case scenario, wipe public-employee unions such as SEIU and AFSCME off the map. And the chances of a damaging decision in Harris just increased—here’s why.

Heading into Thursday, the Supreme Court had Harris and three other cases left to decide. The justices chose to issue their opinions concerning presidential recess appointments (Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board) and so-called buffer zones keeping protesters at a distance from abortion clinics (McCullen v. Coakley). Justice Stephen Breyer, a liberal member of the court, wrote the Canning opinion; Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, took the lead in McCullen.

This makes it more likely that Justice Samuel Alito, who we’ve yet to hear much from, will write the opinion in Harris, which points to bad news for public-employee unions. “There’s almost no question [Justice] Alito has this opinion unless he lost his majority along way,” tweets Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine law professor. “Anti-union is his signature issue.”

Labor officials can only hope Hasen is wrong. Alito is strongly anti-union. In the 2012 case Knox v. SEIU, Alito essentially invited labor’s foes to challenge the basic model of public-employee unionism, in which non-union employees can be made to pay dues to a union for bargaining on their behalf, representing them in grievance issues, etc. Harris makes such a challenge; it’s what Alito asked for.

Unions like to call those non-member payments “fair share” dues. If it’s the union’s job, they reason, to represent all members and nonmembers in a unionized workplace, then all those workers should pay their fair share for that representation. Conservatives—and Alito—say fair-share fees violate the First Amendment rights of non-union workers.

The outcome in Harris could cut a number of ways. The Supreme Court could uphold the lower court’s decision dismissing the suit—a big union victory. It could strike down fair share fees—the equivalent of Congress passing a national right-to-work bill. (Right-to-work laws ban unions from collecting those fair-share fees from non-members.) Public-employee unions would survive that decision, but it would be a blow. The court could also effectively enact right-to-work nationwide and kneecap a union’s ability to exclusively represent employees in a unionized workplace. That would be catastrophic for public-employee unions.

If there’s any judge who might go that far, it would be Samuel Alito.

Link  —  Posted: June 26, 2014 in Uncategorized