Board hits the ground running

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By David Morris

By David Morris

The Riverside Community College Board of Trustees is gearing up for the future with two new members to its table, Virginia Blumenthal and Janet Green.

Incumbent Jose Medina returned after two previous terms and is looking forward to working with the new members, feeling that they can bring fresh ideas, and their past experiences will benefit the board.

Medina intends to work on improving cordiality and civility among the Board members while working on new programs for the school such as improving the Nursing Department and the new Riverside School for the Arts.

Newly elected Virginia Blumenthal has a passion for RCC that led her to run for Board of Trustee. She is an alumnus of RCC and also taught speech here.

She credits her law firm success with her upbringing at RCC. She states that she understands adversarial proceedings and believes that it belongs in the courtroom and not on the Board, where the focus should be on the success of the students.

She has intentions on following up on Measure C, so the monies from the bond will be properly used. Developing the Fine Arts program and the Ben Clark Training Center are her priorities.

The second open seat on the Board was taken by Janet Green. She wanted to run on the board to get her questions answered. Having spent 30 years in the system on various boards for education throughout the state she wanted to enact change with RCC.

She is looking at getting students more counselors, state of the art equipment, improved scheduling to avoid cancellations and to encourage more of the community to be involved with Board meetings.

Green states that she has many questions which need answering.

The two members that decided not to run for re-election were Kathleen Daley and Grace Slocum. Both served on the Board for 14 years.

Daley’s term on the Board started in 1992 and she was president for two terms, and was the chair of the finance and audit committee.

She remembered tough times in the 1990s, with the development of two new campuses and other facilities like the Ben Clark Training Center.

She regrets not getting Riverside School for the Arts finished, when it was started in 1998.

Daley feels that she is leaving the board and college in good hands, and that Blumenthal and Green, a businesswoman and college advocate, brings a balanced force to the Board.

She leaves the Board to spend more time with her bookkeeping service.

Slocum came to the board in 1992 and served as president for a term as well. She feels that working on the planning and development committee was one of her accomplishments, along with getting equalization from the state that forever increased monies coming into the college.

She shares the same hopefulness for the new incoming members as Daley did. She feels that Blumenthal and Green are strong women who won’t allow them to be shut out. She regrets that the Board felt agitated by her, but she felt that she was elected to ask questions and represent the community.

She is also looking forward to the selection of the new chancellor and that it’s going to be a marked improvement.

She is excited about the weight of responsibility that has been lifted from her shoulders now that she has left the Board.

“With a budget comparable to the city of Riverside, (Board members) need to be vigilant, and the community needs to be involved,” said Slocum.

After 14 years on the board, her intention now is “to get into my car and see where it ends up, up north I think,” said Slocum.

Board of Trustee’s President Mark Takano hopes the new members bring new ideas and fresh perspective, while the members leaving helped build Riverside’s history.

Chancellor Salvatore Rotella feels that efficient Board members need wisdom, the ability to come up with good policy and steadfastness with the college facing many changes. The new members need to be engaged and to be ready to hit the ground running.

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