Three Seats Open in District Race

Posted on October 22, 2008

As the whole world watches the presidential elections, the Coast Community College District’s Board of Trustees election is also approaching the finish line—three of the five seats on the Board of Trustees are up for grabs.

Bumper stickers, emails and endorsements are all ways the Coast Federation of Educators, the faculty union, is showing its support for the three Ps— incumbent Jerry Patterson and newcomers Lorraine Prinsky and Charlotte Pirch, in this year’s board of trustees election.

There are a total of five seats on the board, one for each of the five areas the district covers.

Board members oversee everything in the CCCD. They direct change in policies and budget plans which affect the number of teachers hired, the number of classrooms on campus and the number of classes available said Dean Mancina, the American Federation of Teachers Union spokesman.

Eight candidates with diverse backgrounds and ideals are campaigning for the three seats on the board of trustees.

Area Two:

Jerry Patterson: An incumbent who is running for a spot on the board of trustees because he said he has unfinished business to take care of.

“(Being on the Board is) probably the best thing for someone like me that is interested in the future, youth and making sure we meet the challenges of the future. It’s all about education,” he said.

Patterson said he wants to complete many things including keeping the CCCD first rate and utilizing excess lands on district property and at Golden West College to ensure the land is generating long-term revenue.

In order to retain accreditation at OCC, Patterson said that the board is asking staff every month to give updates and that progress is being made but not as quickly as he’d like.

There is more urgency now to get everything done because the accreditation committee has given OCC until March to comply with its recommendations, he said.

Long-term revenue, Patterson said, could have been achieved by keeping things like public television station KOCE within the district. He said he never wanted to sell the station.

Patterson added that most importantly, he wants to induce ethics.

“We need to have the highest of ethics here as board members, and not all of us have had that,” Patterson said.

Joseph Dovinh: The owner of a construction and a language consultant company said he believes being business friendly will help OCC .

“These are economic hard times for our students and their families,” Dovinh said.

Dovinh said he wants to focus on finding alternative ways to help students get through college without raising taxes, admission costs or cutting programs. According to Dovinh, partnering with local businesses can help.

Local businesses, he added, will add employment services and job internships for students.

“I want to create a business friendly environment,” Dovinh said.

He said the district needs to woo corporations because businesses provide, in addition to job training and internships, monetary support and scholarships for students.

Some plans Dovinh has for the district are upgrading the campuses’ infrastructure and creating low-cost room and board for students around campus.

“There are plenty of millionaires out there willing to give back, especially to education,” he said.

Area Three:

Armando Ruiz: An incumbent who said he is running because he has the experience “especially with difficult times like these.”

Ruiz was first elected in 1983 when more than 100 faculty members were being laid off. He said his commitment was that lay-offs would never happen again and he wants to keep the district in good financial condition.

“Through my efforts and two other trustees we were able to bring back all the faculty members that were laid off,” Ruiz said. “We’ve had some difficult times during those years but we’ve never lain off another person.”

He said he’s been committed to students and there are responsibilities to help students.

“Sometimes the unions aren’t in the best interest of students,” he said.

Ruiz said being a life long educator, counselor and working with people, especially students, is why he is running again.

Lorraine Prinsky: Currently teaches at Cal State Fullerton and was asked to run by faculty and community members involved with the Coast Community College District.

“I’m an outsider right now,” Prinsky said.

One of her main concerns is defeating her opponent Armando Ruiz.

“Let’s see if I can say this in a nice way,” she said. “He has conducted himself unethically and has cost the district hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Ruiz has been criticized for using a loophole to get an inflated retirement pension.

Ruiz went on numerous expensive trips to attend conferences at the district’s expense she said.

The accreditation warning Orange Coast College received is another one of her concerns.

“I am unhappy with the fact that the discussion of the accreditation issue wasn’t brought up until the Oct. 1 meeting,” she said.

Prinsky said she plans on transparency, allowing anyone to talk about the budget, accreditation and other sensitive issues openly.

“By talking about issues openly, something is being done,” she said.

Don Apodaca: The optometrist and part-time wrestling coach at Segerstrom High School decided to end his campaign and endorse Lorraine Prinsky.

“Here was a person who shared my enthusiasm for our local community colleges while also having the desire and energy to do something about them,” he said regarding Prinsky.

Area Four:

Mary L. Hornbuckle: Hornbuckle has been a board member for the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees for the last two years. Hornbuckle couldn’t be reached.

According to Hornbuckle’s website, she is a strong believer in community service.

She was selected from a pool of 40 applicants to fill the trustee seat vacated by Paul Berger upon his death in 2005, and has served since then on behalf of the students and the community, according to her website.

David L. Boyd: Boyd is an attorney who wants a voice after what he called the fiasco involved in selling KOCE.

In 2004, the board of trustees decided to sell the money-losing public station KOCE to the KOCE-TV Foundation which promised to keep it a public station.

He said that if the district had handled the sale differently, it would enough money to fund cancelled classes.

“Whether the actions of the board are criminal in nature or just incompetent is up for others to decide.  But today the board should take whatever steps are necessary to mitigate this loss,” he said.

Charlotte Pirch: An attorney who has taught part-time in local universities, Mancina said Pirch is the former the chair of the League of Woman Voters.

Pirch wants to improve transparency and integrity in the Coast district, according to Mancina.

Mancina said Pirch has been interested in the Coast Community College District for years and was in fact a finalist when a member was appointed to the board.

Local union representatives have announced their choices.The Coast Federation of Educators and the Classified Union are supporting the three Ps while the part time faculty union is supporting two of the three Ps, Jerry Patterson, Lorraine Prinsky, in addition to Mary Hornbuckle.

“We need to have trustees who are advocating financial resources,” Mancina said.

A forum introducing the eight candidates will be held Thursday in the Student Center Lounge beginning at noon. There will be a question and answer session.

Originally published in the Coast Report, Orange Coast College’s student-run newspaper.

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