Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Randolph secures seat
on SF college board


City College trustee Alex Randolph spoke to supporters at an election party Tuesday. Photo: Khaled Sayed
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Gay incumbent City College of San Francisco trustee Alex Randolph handily won his race Tuesday to hold on to his seat on the oversight body for the troubled community college district.

His victory is an early wedding gift, as Randolph is set to marry his longtime partner, Trevor Nguyen, next week in Hawaii.

Tapped by Mayor Ed Lee in April to fill the board vacancy created when longtime trustee Natalie Berg stepped down due to personal reasons, Randolph received 47.53 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial returns Wednesday morning. He was seeking to serve out the remainder of Berg's term, which expires in 2016.

"I am excited about the win but I am also excited about my wedding," Randolph told the Bay Area Reporter Wednesday morning.

His victory also sets him up as the frontrunner in the race next fall to win a full four-year term on the college board.

"I think getting to work on day one, working really hard and running a true citywide campaign," said Randolph when asked what he felt led to his victory in his first bid for political office. "Meeting with everybody and really showing people that I am genuinely interested in moving City College forward."

The race had pitted two gay men against a straight woman who came up short last year in her bid to serve on the oversight body for the community college.

Tom Temprano, a gay nightlife promoter and Mission bar owner, placed second in the race with 23.52 percent of the vote.

Landing in third was Wendy Aragon, who works in the construction industry, with 19.11 percent of the vote. A fourth candidate, Jason Zeng, came in fourth with 9.25 percent of the vote.

At his election night party Temprano told the crowd that Tuesday would not be "the last time you'll see my name on a ballot." In an interview Wednesday with the B.A.R. Temprano would not commit to running again next year for a college board seat.

"I haven't made any decisions about the future. I do know I have an incredible group of supporters and volunteers ready to go," said Temprano.

He also congratulated Randolph on running "a great campaign. It was a very civil campaign focused on issues. I am looking forward to seeing what he does in the next year on the board."

In a Facebook post Wednesday morning, Aragon thanked her supporters for once again assisting her in the "hard fought" race for a seat on the college board.

"This campaign wasn't just for me, it was for the faculty, the students, and the communities whose lives are impacted by our City College every day. These are the people who I ran this campaign for," she wrote.

Since 2013 City College has been in a bruising battle to remain open after the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges threatened to revoke the community college's accreditation. The decision set off a fierce political fight that reverberated throughout California and caught the attention of lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year the accreditation committee granted "restoration" status to CCSF, giving it two years to fully comply with the requirements needed to be in good standing. In the meantime, a city lawsuit against the commission has brought judicial scrutiny to it and legislative calls to replace the body with a different commission.

The college's elected oversight body only recently regained the authority it was stripped of two years ago. Gay board member Rafael Mandelman, who remained neutral in the race, is now serving as president, working with interim Chancellor Susan Lamb, a lesbian, to address City College's ongoing fiscal and enrollment issues.

Over the next year Randolph said his focus will be working with the board and college leadership on fully regaining its accreditation.

"Our top three goals are: one to make it through accreditation and make sure City College stays open and accredited," he said. "Number two to raise our enrollment and really focus on getting people back to City College. Number three is to make sure we are in a good place with our finances."

The more moderate Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club backed Randolph, who served on its board, while the progressive Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club had endorsed Temprano, its former president. Aragon had the support of a number of local unions and won the endorsement of the San Francisco Labor Council.

One question Randolph faced in the race was how long he plans to serve on the college district board. Should he be elected, Randolph had pledged to run next fall for a full four-year term on the board.

Yet there is a chance that Randolph could land on the Board of Supervisors come 2017. Should gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener be elected next November to the city's state Senate seat, many suspect that Lee would tap Randolph to succeed Wiener and serve out the remaining two years of his supervisor term.

Asked about such a possibility during an editorial board meeting with the B.A.R., Randolph sidestepped the question. He repeated his pledge that he intends to seek a full four-year term on the community college board in 2016.

"Where I can best serve my community right now is on the City College board," said Randolph.

Asked this week how he liked being a candidate for political office versus his previous role as managing other candidate's campaigns, Randolph said he had a "a wonderful experience" on the campaign trail this year.

"It is definitely different," he said. "The last six months were really enjoyable spending time out on the campaign trail and talking about our vision for city college; how I am and the other trustees on the board are working together to ensure we serve our students."

It was also "humbling to meet students out there and listening to their concerns and stories," added Randolph. "It reinvigorated me about why I was running. City College is such a special place for a lot of people in San Francisco."



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