Peralta Board of Trustees November 2010 Election Preview

Three of the Peralta Board of Trustees seven seats will be up for reelection on Tuesday, November 2. With three incumbents running, one trustee is running unopposed while the others each face one challenger.

In Area 3, two-term incumbent Linda Handy faces a challenge from Monica Tell.

Handy, who served as board president in 2006, defeated the embattled trustee Brenda Knight in 2002, with major support from Peralta’s labor unions.

“Despite diminished funding and other challenges, my absolute dedication to student success and our local community is producing results,” Handy said in her candidate statement. “While Board President, I demanded quality service delivery, accountability and employee acknowledgement; fought for transparency and standardized reporting systems; pushed for for an indepdent auditor, and instituted a Board civility policy.” She also cites her work at getting local businesses contracts from Peralta’s $390 million bond Measure A (2006) and Peralta’s Student Health Clinic.

Tell, a former aide for then-Assembly Member Don Perata, lists her occupation as a Public Relations Specialist and Community Liaison. She is currently employed by PG&E.

“The Peralta Colleges need to be critically reviewed and dramatically improved,” writes Tell in her candidate statement. “Earlier this year, the Alameda County Grand Jury criticized the Peralta College trustees and highlighted various concerns, including: inadequate management and oversight; wasteful spending; [and ] excessive travel and improper use of credit cards.” She pledges to “focus on fiscal responsibility, strict management accountability and improved educational services.”
Area 3 includes parts of the Laurel, along with the Fruitvale, Brookdale and Fairfax districts in Oakland.

Trustee Dr. William “Bill” Riley (Area 5) was first elected to the Board in 1998. He’s served as president twice and is currently board VP.

“When I was first elected, Peralta received adequate state funding to support every student enrolling in our colleges. Today, we’re challenged with serving 5,200 more students than the state pays for,” Riley writes.

“I pledge to continue monitoring District completion of Measure A’s $390 million expenditures for college improvements, improving fiscal accountability, fighting for local business participation in capital projects, collaborating to secure our fair share of state funding and mot importantly, strengthening student support services.”

The three-term incument Riley is being challenged for the first time, (unopposed in2002, 2006) by William J. Mattox, a human resources consultant.

“I am a candidate of reform,” writes Mattox. “I am determined to make sure this board is accountable to the community for fiscal responsibility, effective employee management, focus, vision, and purpose.” Mattox cites his experience in HR as sufficient for budget analysis and monitoring employee performance.

Area 5 includes Oakland’s Rockridge District and the City of Piedmont.

Incumbent Abel Guillen (Area 7), the current board president is running unopposed. His name will not appear on the ballot.

“We are on the frontlines of college access and career training in growing industries,” Guillen writes in his candidate statement. Guillen was elected in 2006, defeating two-term incumbent Alona Clifton with major support from Peralta’s labor unions. “I have fought to hold Peralta’s management more accountable through a series of financial reforms and cost-saving measures; and a national search for a new chancellor is under way to build upon these improvements.

Area 7 includes West Oakland, Temescal, Uptown, Lake Merritt and most of Oakland’s Chinatown.

The Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT), representing the District’s faculty, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, the union representing classified staff, have yet to make any endorsements for the contested positions. PFT endorsed Guillen in June.

Photo Credit: Peralta Colleges' SmugMug

Editors Note: This article is the first in a planned ten part series covering the Peralta Board of Trustees elections taking place Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Do you have questions for the candidates? Leave them in a comment below, or email us.

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