By Kevin Sotello
By Kevin Sotello
It’s election time again, and the race is on. With three seats available on the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees, nine candidates are competing for your votes on Nov. 7.
There will be ten names on the ballot, but challenger Keith “Cordoba” McCarter has been ruled ineligible in Riverside County because he was registered in two counties concurrently Kathleen Daley and Grace Slocum will not be running for reelection.
Jose Medina, current Vice President of the Board, is however, seeking to continue his run of more than nine years on the Board.
Medina says that selecting a new Chancellor will be the most important decision made by the new Board. He is also “dedicated to a smooth transition for the communities of Moreno Valley, Norco, and Riverside.”
Gloria Willis, a retired teacher, is running for her third time. And having come very close in the past, says that the community needs to be represented. She says the fact that she’s gotten so close means that she has been noticed.
When asked why she wants to be a part of the Board, she said, “Because RCC is very close to me. I’ve been a resident of Riverside for 30 years and I’m very involved in my community.” As a resident of Riverside’s Eastside she feels that she can bring better representation of the community to the Board.
“As a community activist, RCC is very important to me. It is a community college. RCC has gone as far as Asia to recruit students. She said there are so many youths in Riverside that are not even aware of the opportunities RCC that has to offer them.”
She said effort needs to be exerted by RCC to reach out to potential students within the community, eventually keeping more jobs and people, along with money in Riverside.
“We need change,” she said. “Trustees need to be public figures. They need to be accessible. When can you go to the Cafeteria and see a Board member talking with students? Finding out what they want, letting them know that they are being heard.”
As of her priorities and goals, if elected, she would like to take an active approach to assessing the concerns of the students, teachers and staff on all three campuses.
Another candidate, also very concerned about safety on our three campuses, is willing to go a little further to ensure the security of everyone at RCC.
Janet Mary Green, a long time educator and now Professor Emeritus, feels that a shuttle, or escort service might be worked out.
“I certainly feel that the extra level of security is needed, especially for evening classes. We could possibly work out a deal with the local police department to escort students safely to their vehicles.”
As a “student advocate,” said Green “We need to provide internships. Relationships should be established with local businesses so that students can train for their careers locally, while they earn their degrees at RCC.”
When asked her motives for running, Green replied, “I’m a retiree, a Professor Emeritus. I worked my way up; from the classroom as a student, to a teacher, and finally to a dean. And I want to continue working within the education system.”
She says she wants programs developed to appeal to parents to get their students into RCC. She sees “students as an investment”, and wants to establish a working relationship between high school counselors and the counselors here at RCC.
Also a long time educator, Horace David Jackson, is running for one of the seats on the Board. He too, feels that more should be done to help the students get all the help possible.
“I think we need more tutoring. Students should be allowed 15 hours of free tutoring per semester,” he said.
Jackson also hopes to establish peace amongst the Board. He says that they should conduct themselves as professionals and perhaps “settle your differences before Board meetings”.
When asked why he should be elected he said “I’ve been in Riverside since 1959, and I’ve been involved with RCC since 1960. I actually moved out of Riverside for five years, a while back. I moved to San Bernardino, but it didn’t suit my needs, so I moved back to Riverside, and I’ve been here ever since.” he said.
Another Candidate who is a Riverside lifer is Virginia Blumenthal. Blumenthal graduated from RCC and continued her education at Cal State Northridge; finally she obtained a Law Degree from California Southern Law School.
She opened her own law firm here in Riverside and considers herself a “successful businesswoman.”
She is concerned with stomping out student’s deficiencies before they even get to RCC. That way, they’ll be prepared for a higher education. She also hopes to establish relationships with local businesses, and feels that they should “…go both ways, between the Board and the community”.
“I am a consensus builder,” She said, “with love for the community and campus.”
While she acknowledged the fact that “not all students are going to graduate”, she suggested “special training programs” to train students for specific lines of work.
Samuel Davis, a dentist and educator, who couldn’t be reached for an interview, stated at a Board Meeting that he is excessively concerned about the “60 percent of students who never graduate from RCC”.
Also unavailable for questioning, David St. Pierre, he says that his number one priority is the finalization of the Riverside School of the Arts. He also wants to see what he calls, “Occupational Education for residents who want specific training and higher level courses for employment advancement.”
Last, is Ricki McMaunis. She is the Vice President of Altura Credit Union, and a graduate of RCC. McMaunis feels strongly about establishing business relationships.
“First of all, I’m interested in opening doors, talking to industries. I think Trustees should be ambassadors and open communication is critical.”
She says that she would “push our story in Sacramento to try and get our fair share of funding. Like UCR, we could seek out a partnership with RTA where students ride free.”
She is an advocate of expanding modern technology and wants to be sure that RCC evolves along with the times.
Larry Conn, who was also unavailable, did not appear at either of the candidate forums; hence his stance is not known.
The three open Board seats will be decided when the public votes on Nov. 7.