Six Make Final Cut for College Board
By Olin Ericksen
August 25 – Six candidates for College Board qualified this week for what promises to be a hotly contested race that will likely focus on the campus’ relations with the neighboring community and strained relations between faculty and the administration.
Board Chair Nancy Greenstein is the only incumbent in a field that includes three high-profile candidates with long ties to the community and two newcomers to local politics vying for four open seats.
Qualifying for the November 7 ballot are Tom Donner, the college’s chief business officer for 30 years and interim president before he retired last month; David Finkel, a retired Superior Court judge who served on the City Council, and Louise Jaffe is a co-founder of the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS).
Rounding out the field of contenders are two first-time candidates -- Andrew Walzer, a former college teacher, and Kim Bracke, a Harvard-educated investment banker and financial advisory.
As Santa Monica college has grown, some in surrounding communities have said the school is encroaching on their quality of life and home values -- an issue the candidates acknowledged in their statements.
“I will maintain Santa Monica College's commitment to education while strengthening its partnerships with neighbors and the community it serves,” Greenstein wrote in her candidate statement.
Like many of those running, Greenstein says she would work to resolve some of the problems the college faces both on campus and off.
“I am dedicated to upholding Santa Monica College's tradition of excellence -- its outstanding teachers, valuable community programs, and mission of student success,” she said
For Jaffe, working to smooth faculty relations – which have come to the brink of a strike in recent years – is a goal, and she promised to “communicate with all members of our community - faculty, employees, students, residents, and local businesses.”
Through his work as a mediator, Finkle said he will work to “promote respect and fairness between faculty, staff and administration.” The former council member also hopes to “improve SMC’s relations with neighbors, find parking on the Bundy Campus…and eliminate beach parking.”
A community college professor, Walzer promised to work to stop the elimination of vocational classes, some of which cut during a budget crisis.
“Just three years ago our students suffered as courses were cut and important vocational programs were eliminated,” Walzer wrote in his statement. “I will work to prevent this crisis from happening again.”
The Harvard-educated Bracke said she will bring her “liberal arts education and professional financial experience to the table to help keep Santa Monica College a great institution of higher education and a good citizen and contributor to our local community.”
While Donnor promised “a report card for the community showing results of student services and instruction,” as well as “positive relations with the communities” the college serves.
Greenstein, Finkel, Jaffe and Walzer all won the endorsement of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights this month. (see story)
Of the four incumbents whose terms were up, Carole Curry is retiring
after 27 years, while Herbert Roney and Dorothy Ehrhart-Morrison are leaving
the board after serving 12 years.
Copyright 1999-2008 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.