Rafael Mandelman enters City College board race

After the really bad news that Community College Board member Milton Marks died, there’s some good news: Rafael Mandelman, an energetic, smart, progressive lawyer and member of the DCCC, has decided to run for that board.

City College badly needs the help. There’s a real chance that a state monitor could be placed over the district, robbing the board of much of its ability to set policy and spend money. And even if that doesn’t happen, the state — which disagrees with San Francisco on how community colleges should be run — is going to keep tyring to mess with CCSF.

So it would be nice to have someone like Mandelman, who has political experience but also works for a law firm that does a lot of public-sector work, around to help.

Marks’s untimely and tragic death leaves an open seat and he hadn’t filed to run for re-election. So the mayor has the ability to appoint someone to serve out Marks’s term — and if he does it before Aug. 15, that person can file and run as an incumbent. But for those of us who are getting sick of having so much of our government appointed for us, it would be nice if Mayor Lee would wait until after the filing deadline then name a real caretaker — Mandelman suggests former trustee Tim Wolford, who is now in the business of helping troubled nonprofits. The board will need help in the next four months, and someone qualified — and skilled in dealing with fiscal and political problems — would be an immense help.

But appointing a political hack who is pals with the mayor’s inner circle and sees a shot at running as an incumbent would be a big mistake.

Of course, Lee hasn’t done too well in the “caretaker” department. We’ll see what happens.