Milton Marks, City College defender, dies at 52


Milton Marks III, the son of a state senator who for 12 years tried, often against long odds and strong opposition, to clean up the San Francisco Community College District, died Aug. 9 of complications from a brain tumor. The whole city -- particularly the college district and its community of teachers and students -- should be mourning a genuinely good guy who stood up to corruption and secrecy and was an honest progressive on the College Board back when that was a lonely position.

"Of all the public servants I've known, he was the one I really admired most," his colleague, board member John Rizzo, said. "For all the shit he took, he never wavered. He was the nicest guy in politics, but he never backed down."

Marks was elected to the board in 2000, when it was a snake pit of sleaze, and he fought valiently -- often against the board majority and the administration -- to bring accountability and openness to the district.He's been re-elected twice, and would have been a shoo-in for another term this fall. (Unlike many College Board members, Marks wasn't constantly running for higher office. He loved City College and saw his role right there on the board.)

With all the problems the college is facing today, Marks and his voice of reason and credibility will be sorely missed.

The mayor will appoint a new member to that seat, and the person will have to run in November.

I don't know all the details about memorial arrangements; I'm still waiting for the formal statement from City College. The school paper, the Guardsman, has a solid obit you can read here. I'll fill in more details when I have them.

Meanwhile, we'll all miss you, Milton. You gave it the good fight.






Seems like it's always the good people who die young. John Rizzo summed it up well -he really was one of the nicest people in politics, but he didn't compromise his principles. What a terrible loss for City College and the whole community.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 10, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

Milton Marks III was one of the rare public servants who put the public first in public service.

Milton was one of the few elected officials who was not an "operator" who was always "operating" and who objectified San Franciscans as fuel for his operation. He'd found a place where he could do good and got down to business.

I'd not characterize Milton as a progressive. He was part of a marginalized non-machine coalition that was kept in the wilderness for years. He was a San Franciscan who worked hard to ensure honest, non-corrupt delivery of government services. And he played a major part on building that non-machine coalition into a governing majority that put criminals in jail and ended corruption.
The accreditation issue we're facing is the hopefully the last bit of dung from the criminal Phillip Day era that Milton helped end.

Progressives are weaker in San Francisco today because professional progressives have no place for normal, unaffiliated, non-doctrinaire but conscientious straight San Franciscans who are not of color like Milton.

Posted by marcos on Aug. 11, 2012 @ 8:11 am

And father Milton was a Republican...

"He was part of a marginalized non-machine coalition"

Good definition for the Pubes in San Francisco.

Posted by Trolll the XIV on Aug. 12, 2012 @ 9:50 am