City College Halloween Rally Asks Mayor for Support
By Sara Bloomberg
Angels, dinosaurs, witches and the undead marched to San Francisco City Hall on Oct. 31 to deliver thousands of postcards to Mayor Ed Lee and to ask, once again, for his support in the struggle to save City College of San Francisco’s accreditation.
“We need a public face in the media. …If he’s not willing to do it, then someone on his staff [should] do it. Because without that, our enrollment is going to drop in the spring.” — City College student Aiyana Vargas
Around 200 people gathered at the college’s Civic Center location, on Eddy Street near Polk, as a brass band serenaded them with Klezmer Nova. Then they marched three blocks south to City Hall, where a few dozen people were waiting to join the rally.
A group called The Great Tortilla Conspiracy served up corn tortillas grilled with melted cheese. They were also screen-printing — yes, screen-printing — tortillas with chocolate sauce messages, including a portrait of Lee with the words, “Mayor Ed Lee, speak up! Support quality public education for all.”
While people listened to a handful of speakers about their desire to make sure City College stays open and accredited, a small delegation prepared to enter City Hall for a meeting with the mayor’s office.
Their efforts were delayed momentarily when a security guard sent them back outside and around to the back of the building to have their large bag of postcards X-rayed. Once inside, they met with the mayor’s education adviser, Hydra Mendoza, who accepted the postcards on the mayor’s behalf.
Over the course of an hour, Mendoza listened to the concerns of the delegation. She assured them that the mayor has been working behind the scenes to support the college, not only by working with the state chancellor and the special trustee but also with private philanthropists who invest in the college.
“There’s been a couple of different conversations that I’ve had with people that have invested in City College and trying to reassure them that we want [them] to continue to invest,” Mendoza said. “We reminded them that if they pull their money it’s going to have even more impact on the challenges that we have ahead.”
While the delegation thanked her for those efforts, they pressed her for more visibility from the mayor.
“We need a public face in the media. Period. If he’s not willing to do it, then someone on his staff [should] do it. Because without that, our enrollment is going to drop in the spring,” City College student Aiyana Vargas said.