Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New College of California

As a New College of California alumnus and former editor at the New College Independent Alumni Association, I — along with many others — was dismayed when our alma mater was closed by the U.S. Department of Education in 2007. Given the level of fraud and mismanagement of federal funds by the trustees of the school, it was inevitable but still heartbreaking for those of us who contributed to its finer points. 

In January 2008,  I published Waco on Valencia: Distressing Truths About New College, a compilation of selected articles, letters, stories and reports about the demise of New College of California. The documents in this anthology, publicly unavailable anywhere else in published form, tell the inside story of how the cabal of trustees, that comprised a cult of mismanagement under Peter Gabel, slowly over a fourteen year period managed to destroy what the community of San Francisco had so painstakingly constructed as a labor of love since 1971.

While the story initially broke in the San Francisco Bay Guardian in the mid-1990s, it took a bit longer for the cronyism and corruption under Gabel and his sycophants to finally do the school in. For historians and former students and faculty, Waco on Valencia attests to both the noble dream and sordid reality of a once marvelous institution. A copy is available for viewing at the San Francisco History Center.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Marketizing the Olympics

While San Francisco deliberates subsidizing the America's Cup sailing regatta, the International Olympic Committee has recommended the removal of wrestling from the Olympic Games. As absurd as this seems to fans of one of the world's oldest sports and one of the sports in the original Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896, it is consistent with the marketization of all things public. Offering a rationalization for its decision, the IOC says it is based on television ratings and ticket sales.

Friday, February 08, 2013

A Labor of Love

In their report Growing A Resilient City, Solidarity NYC examines possibilities for collaboration in New York City's solidarity economy. The ideas and insights of interviewees, who are first responders to the crises confronting their communities, form a pragmatic vision grounded in values of cooperation, mutualism, ecological sustainability, social justice and democracy. This report about another world -- coexisting with the dominant way of doing things -- is their love letter to you.