Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
November 8, 2016 — California General Election
We depend on your support.
Invest in unbiased information

Text VOTE to 52000 to donate $10.

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.


City of San FranciscoCandidate for Member, Community College Board

Photo of Rafael Mandelman

Rafael Mandelman

177,436 votes (22.05%)Winning
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Our first priority must be to keep the College open and accredited.
  • We have to competently implement policies that will grow our enrollment in the years ahead and align our schedule with our actual enrollment.
  • Other priorities include preserving access to City College’s amazing diversity of programs; building the Performing Arts Center; and improving the traffic, transit and pedestrian access situation around the Phelan Campus.



Profession:Deputy City Attorney, Office of the Oakland City Attorney
President, member, City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees — Elected position (2013–current)
Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee — Elected position (2006–current)
Commissioner, San Francisco Board of Appeals — Elected position (2008–2010)


University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law Juris Doctor, Certificate of Specialization in Environmental Law (2000)
Harvard University, JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT Master in Public Policy, Housing, Urban Economic Development and Transportation (1999)
Yale University Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, History (1996)

Community Activities

Board Chair, San Francisco LGBT Community Center (2012–current)
Board Member, Livable City (2006–2012)


San Francisco has been good to me.  Growing up here as a kid living with foster families, lots of people stepped up to help me make my way.  With their help and generous financial aid, I was able to attend and graduate from Lick-Wilmerding High School and go on to earn degrees from Yale, Harvard and UC Berkeley.  Today I am a Deputy City Attorney in Oakland.  In my free time I try to give back to the City that gave so much to me.  In 2010, I ran to represent District 8 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and although I did not win that race, it was a great honor to earn the votes of nearly 15,000 voters who shared my vision of San Francisco as a city that leaves no one behind, a place where every child has the same opportunities to survive and thrive that I did.  

In 2012, as City College of San Francisco was descending into an accreditation crisis that continues to threaten the survival of one of San Francisco’s most vital institutions, I ran for the College District’s Board of Trustees and won.  Within six months of my joining the Board in January 2013, the ACCJC announced it would be terminating City College’s accreditation and shutting the institution down by July 2014.  Following on that announcement the State Chancellor suspended the locally elected Board and replaced us with an appointed Special Trustee.  As a trustee-in-exile over the next year and a half, I joined the fight for fair accreditation in California and worked tirelessly to reverse the ACCJC’s termination decision.  In addition to traveling across the State to explain our fight at other community colleges, I urged the City Attorney to sue the ACCJC and worked closely with his attorneys to strengthen their case, and I lobbied local, State and Federal elected officials to build support for City College and for accreditation reform.  No member of our Board of Trustees was more outspoken or persistent in fighting back against the injustice of what was happening to City College. 

Since the State Chancellor began restoring the Board in late 2014, I believe that my leadership has helped hold the Board together and prove that locally elected leadership can govern the college responsibly and progressively.  I am proud of the work I have done to save City College, restore local control and help the College begin to recover from the accreditation crisis.  However, significant challenges remain: our enrollment is down by a third, our financial future is consequently uncertain, and after nearly a decade of crisis (first the recession, then the accreditation debacle) the institution is in need of a lot of healing.  I am running for re-election because I believe I have the right skills and values to continue to champion the College and help assure its recovery.  

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Harvey Milk and Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Clubs
  • San Francisco Democratic Party
  • San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Bay Guardian, Bay Area Reporter

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.