Seven candidates are running for three open seats on the Santa Monica Community College District board of trustees.
The election will be held Tuesday, November 2nd.
Dr. Margaret Qui”ones, current chair of the college board, is the only incumbent running for reelection.
Trustee Annette Shamey, a long-time member of the board, chose not to run for reelection and Graham Pope, who was appointed to his seat, chose not to run for election.
BOND MEASURE — Also on the November ballot is Measure S, a $135 million facilities bond measure which will, if approved by two-thirds of voters in Santa Monica and Malibu, help the college district build an early childhood development lab, a career opportunity center, a performing arts complex and other projects.
Measure S allows $25 million of the $135 million to be spent within the City of Malibu for a community learning center, sports fields and parks.
If Measure S is approved, the tax rate levied on a homeowner would average $77 per year and renters would pay an average $13 per year.
– Margaret Qui”ones, Santa Monica College board of trustees chair and El Camino College counselor/professor.
Qui”ones is a Santa Monica College graduate and earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership from UCLA. She was also a fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
College officials said in her candidate statement that she “is committed to ensuring that SMC always remains one of the best community colleges in California.”
She is running for a second term because she “wants to give back to the school that has given her so much in life.”
Qui”ones said she helped the college get $3.6 million annually in equalization funds from the state, increase financial aid and scholarships for students by more than $600,000 and build a state-of-the-art library.
This fall, student enrollment is up 13 percent and the college will operate on a $194 million budget for the 2004-2005 school year.
Her goals for a second term include “keeping SMC fiscally stable and strong, continuing SMC’s vital role as the number one [community] college in California to transfer students to four-year institutions of higher learning, and expanding innovative programs and opportunities for students.”
She said she plans to expand innovative programs for arts and entertainment, health and computers.
Efforts to study a variety of vocational programs were approved by trustees at a Monday, October 3rd, board meeting.
“We are looking at the hottest vocational programs and what the faculty needs for them. We will study those programs and find which industries offer good jobs to students,” Qui”ones said.
Prior to being on the college board, Qui”ones was elected to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board of education, where she served for eight years, including one year as president.
Her two children are SMC alumni and she has been active in numerous professional education and Latino community organizations. She has lived in Santa Monica for 28 years.
She has a bachelor’s degree in mental health research methods and a master’s degree in counseling psychology.
“Margaret is proud of the things she has accomplished on our board, but there is much more she hopes to do,” Santa Monica College officials said.
– Susan Aminoff, Pierce College sociology and gerontology professor and chair of the Los Angeles Community College District Joint Labor Management Benefits Committee.
“The community is aware of the leadership position Santa Monica College has earned among the 109 community colleges in California,” Aminoff said.
“I am dedicated to the expansion of both the academic and occupational programming that has made Santa Monica College such a vital community resource.”
At Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Aminoff created the Encore program, which enrolls 450 older adults interested in lifelong learning activities.
She and her Benefits Committee staff also won a national labor union award for their work designing and negotiating health benefits for 7,000 active and retired Los Angeles Community College District employees.
“As chair of the Benefits Committee, my work requires team building and cooperation between various constituents who may have conflicting desires,” Aminoff said. “We mediate to reach consensus.
“With these skills, I can make a contribution to Santa Monica College and bring a collaborative spirit to the board of trustees.”
If elected, she said she would reinstate the college’s vocational programs that administrators and trustees cut last year.
She said she will listen to the community and find out what its needs are, then determine which programs have “local priority” to be brought back soon.
She said she would also make decisions by engaging in “true shared governance,” which involves giving “faculty and students a voice” and “seeking advice from all stakeholders on both sides of an issue.”
Aminoff has been a Santa Monica resident for 21 years and is campaigning with candidates Rob Rader and M. Douglas Willis on the Santa Monica Education Team slate.
– Charles Donaldson, retired Santa Monica College professor of English and journalism.
“I have been committed to serving Santa Monica College students and staff for three decades, and I believe SMC must be responsive to its community, to its students and to its staff to retain the reputation the college has earned through the years,” Donaldson said.
His son graduated from the college with an Associate of Arts degree.
Donaldson has been elected to all executive offices of the college Academic Senate and Faculty Association.
If elected to the board of trustees, Donaldson will focus on making the college “better not bigger,” reinstating vocational programs for automotive technology and respiratory therapy, enrolling and retaining more full-time students, and addressing neighborhood concerns about traffic.
“Current board members are dedicated individuals and some of them are my friends, but they are feuding with the faculty,” Donaldson said. “I can’t understand why they did not take alternative action before they cut vocational programs.
“We as a community college are supposed to be meeting the community’s needs.”
He also said the college’s current practice of alleviating parking and traffic in the Sunset Park and Pico neighborhoods by encouraging students to take classes at satellite campuses is not working.
Students who attend the college’s Madison campus still have to drive to and park at the main campus to enroll in core classes, Donaldson said.
As a trustee, he would put a small general campus on the Bundy site to “take traffic pressures off of the main campus” or put two levels of parking under the college Corsair football stadium.
He has lived in Sunset Park for 11 years and taught at the college for 31 years. In 1997, he was named faculty member of the year.
– Tonja McCoy, founder and chief executive officer of Millennium Enterprises, a private business camp for third-to-12th-grade students.
“Santa Monica College needs a trustee who will be a listener, respects diversity, brings quality education to all residents, economic prosperity to the community and lead people to work together in harmony,” McCoy said.
McCoy lives in Malibu, has a master’s degree in political science and also works as a mediator for the Los Angeles County Superior Court system.
Her priorities if elected are to meet student needs first before making business decisions, to reinstate vocational programs and to create community partnerships.
She said the college should “engage in all kinds of fundraising activities to tap into previously unknown pots of money and not just rely on getting funds from the state.”
She said vocational programs such as automotive technology could have been saved if trustees had sought grant funding from large auto corporations.
McCoy is campaigning as the college board’s lone Malibu representative.
Malibu residents pay taxes to the Santa Monica Community College District, but there is no main campus in Malibu.
She is pleased that the $135 million bond measure on the November ballot includes $25 million for a satellite campus in Malibu, but she would like to see a full-service campus in the future.
“Trustees need to think outside of the box before making big decisions,” McCoy said.
– Rob Rader, Pepperdine University entertainment law professor and MGM Studios executive.
“Santa Monica College should serve the community,” Rader said. “My family worked and sacrificed so I could be the first to finish college. I pledge to ensure that local students have those same educational opportunities.”
He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a law degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree in sociology from Stanford University.
He has lived in Santa Monica for six years and has taken classes at the college. He is engaged to be married to a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher.
If elected, he promises to “preserve the college’s academic excellence as the top University of California transfer school, restore and enhance the college’s vocational programs and use my business/finance background to ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely.”
Rader said the skills he has in purchasing movies, negotiating contracts and looking at budgets in his work as a business affairs executive for MGM, will help him make decisions as a Santa Monica College trustee.
He said his work at Pepperdine University in Malibu would help him be “sensitive” to the needs of the city’s residents, who pay taxes to the Santa Monica Community College District.
Other priorities, if he is elected, include spending bond funds wisely, lobbying for more college funding and building community relationships.
He has been the finance chair of the Bayside District Corporation, chair of the Wilshire/Montana Neighborhood Coalition and has memberships on the SMC General Advisory Board and SMC Associates.
“SMC is ready for a new generation of leadership to guide it into the 21st century. I have the vision, determination, experience and ability to provide that leadership,” Rader said.
He is campaigning with candidates Susan Aminoff and M. Douglas Willis on the Santa Monica Education Team slate.
– Susanne Trimbath, economist and technical advisor to the California Economic Strategy Panel state commission.
“My goal on the Santa Monica College board of trustees will be to enable the college to offer the broadest range of services possible while maintaining fiscal responsibility,” Trimbath said.
She has a bachelor’s degree in business, an MBA in management and a doctorate degree in economics.
She lives in Santa Monica and has taken classes at the college’s main and Madison campuses and the Emeritus program.
If elected, Trimbath would like to “build recognition for SMC as the regional leader in lifelong learning.”
She said she worked full-time while earning two of her degrees and received her doctorate as an older adult, which helps her understand the “challenges faced by the typical SMC student.”
Other priorities include establishing an inter-government exchange for services between Santa Monica College and neighboring communities whose residents attend the college.
“Santa Monica residents currently bear the burden of taxes, traffic and tension,” she said. “There are more efficient ways to allocate costs and benefits within the region.”
She is also for reinstating vocational programs and is against the $135 million bond measure because she says the college does not have an appropriate plan to manage the debt service requirements.
– M. Douglas Willis, UCLA accountant and Santa Monica Rent Control Board member.
“I hope to bring my 27 years of business and finance experience to the Santa Monica College board of trustees,” Willis said.
“My top priorities are excellent education for students and collaboration with faculty and staff.”
Willis said college administrators need to be held accountable for the educational and financial decisions they make.
He also said the college should create a more reliable accounting system that will enable administrators to know exactly how much funding the college has and where those funds are located.
“The state education budget will always be an issue. In case the state has another crisis, college trustees need reliable information,” he said.
Willis believes the college should not have accepted a “worst case scenario” and cut vocational programs without adequate faculty consultations.
He said those programs could have been scaled back instead of being entirely eliminated and that he will reinstate them if he is elected.
“All students should be given the opportunity to learn and contribute to the community. Hope is on the way if people see new faces on the board of trustees,” he said.
He has been a Rent Control Board member for eight years and said “most people can trust me” because “I know the process of working with both sides of an issue.”
Willis is campaigning with candidates Susan Aminoff and Rob Rader on the Santa Monica Education Team slate.