Viewpoint - November 9, 2011

Election 2011: Endorsements

Larry Moody for Sequoia board


As a chaplain and community activist, I'm pleased to support and endorse Larry James Moody for the Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees.

Mr. Moody has a proven track record in caring for, teaching, coaching, and advocating for students. He has a clear vision and the skills to advocate for a better life and quality education for all students.

As a parent of a Sequoia High School student-athlete, director of a local nonprofit organization and clergy member, I've watched Mr. Moody literally give his life and resources to care for students from all backgrounds. He backs up his words with action and has a first-hand knowledge of the challenges our high school students face.

I'm confident that Mr. Moody is the right leader for the Sequoia Union High School District board at this time, and I'm honored to endorse him.

Rev. John Liotti, East Palo Alto

Former member backs Moody for Sequoia board


I have worked with Larry Moody during the years when I was a member of the Sequoia Union High School District board and that is why I am supporting and voting for Larry Moody for the Sequoia board in this election.

The Sequoia board needs a member to represent the community of East Palo Alto. Larry lives there and works with and contributes to the community. He knows its problems, concerns and needs, and works with others to solve them.

Larry is concerned about the achievement gap and can help solve the issue because he brings his experience from East Palo Alto and Menlo Park with his willingness to work with other board members for solutions.

I urge you to vote for Larry Moody on Nov. 8.

Sarah D. "Sally" Stewart, Los Charros Lane, Portola Valley

College bond is too much to ask


I never expected to see an education measure I could not support, but I will be voting no on Measure H because I have no confidence that the money will be spent wisely.

A case in point. In its mission statement, the San Mateo Community College District says it is committed to supporting "green" areas of study and careers. Nothing could be more "green" than the 60-year-old CSM Horticulture program (the study of all things related to living plants).

Recently, the plan was to invigorate this program, but now we learn it is being eliminated and the valuable facilities bulldozed, to be replaced by a parking lot. This short-sighted and wasteful decision was made at a trustees meeting last summer with only short notice, but nevertheless many knowledgeable, thoughtful, and eloquent citizens showed up to speak to the longstanding importance of the CSM Horticulture program to the Peninsula community, and its value in a world facing the threats of climate change.

Interestingly, the college avoided the legal requirement for a public review period where possible impacts of such a decision could be examined by simply declaring that this decision had "no environmental impact." And when that was appropriately challenged, instead of doing the required environmental assessment and public review, the college tried another avoidance tactic. But that also was challenged and now has resulted in a lawsuit.

How much better if the college had followed an open process, so they would have had the benefit of dialogue with the larger community before making such a far-reaching decision — that is the purpose of environmental review.

Garden space is usually seen as an easy target by those bent on new construction and its required acres of parking lots. The current financial crisis will pass, but climate change and its effects are permanently with us. Now is not the time to destroy greenhouses, established gardens and trees, and eliminate a critically important area of study.

It is time for the college district trustees and administrators to take a break from the headlong rush to build new, expensive buildings. And it is past time for them to comply with the grand jury report calling for more open, honest communication, and to start listening to the citizens who have much wisdom to share about the future direction of our community colleges.

Maybe a no vote on Measure H will get their attention.

Virginia Warheit, San Benito Avenue, Menlo Park

Mandelkern for college district board


Please vote for Dave Mandelkern for re-election to the San Mateo County Community College District board. Under Dave's leadership, our three local community colleges (Canada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College) are working very efficiently and effectively, which is amazing given the huge budget cuts that our schools have faced over the past three years.

Dave has the proven experience of balancing the district's $100 million budget year after year, as well as managing the district's capital improvement program that has revitalized all three campuses. He's got proven leadership and management skills from his successful Silicon Valley business career.

I know that Dave will spend our tax dollars as if they were his own money, and make sure that our local community colleges serve as many students as possible with the best educational programs possible.

Please vote to re-elect Dave Mandelkern as a San Mateo County Community College District trustee.

Kathy Engelmann, Menlo Park

College board: Best choices are incumbents


I support Dave Mandelkern, Patricia Miljanich, and Karen Schwarz for re-election to the board of the San Mateo County Community College District, overseeing Canada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College.

The college district's recent accomplishments reflect their leadership skills. Despite state funding cuts of over 20 percent in the past three years, they have been able to avoid any layoffs of full-time teaching staff and have increased enrollment significantly, providing quality higher education and job training to thousands of local residents who have been shut out — or priced out — of the University of California and Cal State University systems.

The three colleges are consistently ranked very high in student success as measured by rates of transfer to four-year colleges and job certificate completion. There are serious challenges ahead for community colleges, given the likelihood of additional cuts in state funding.

We need to retain experienced trustees who can effectively manage our three local community colleges. I hope you will look at the impressive record of leadership of Mandelkern, Miljanich, and Schwarz and vote to re-elect them on Nov. 8.

Susan Alvaro

Half Moon Bay and President, San Mateo County Board of Education


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