Board of Trustees election candidates

Alicia Edquist, Advertising Manager/Lab Aide

With the Nov. 4 election around the corner, Cerritos College will be apart of the election with 12 candidates running for school board.There are only four seats open on the board of trustees for the Nov. 4 election.

Out of the 12 candidates running for the board, three are incumbents. Mary Loya who is a current board member will not be running for re-election.

Since Loya isn’t running, the doors opened and more candidates filed then what was expected.

What makes a person a good candidate for the job?

Robert Arthur, too many on campus known as Bob is a current member and running for re-election. He has been on the board for eight years and is a former mayor and councilman of the city of Norwalk.

Arthur has been involved with several committees on campus including the Cerritos College Foundation and Golf Committee that has a golf tournament to raise money for the foundation to give scholarships and grants out to students.

“I am just one that enjoys serving my community,” Arthur said.

While serving on the board Arthur has been involved in using the college assets to make Cerritos College a well-run and established institution. By that, he is referring to the strawberry patch, that college leases out.”We knew that the property and use was more valuable than just for strawberries. We wanted to expand and make it a place where students would be able to learn, and so came Avalon at Cerritos,” he said.

The main point of Avalon was to help the community, but also give students a chance to be able to learn in the environment. The board hopes to have the Culinary Arts, Nursing, Cosmetology and Business management students soon go there to get some hands on experience.

Arthur still wants to use the rest of the strawberry patch to make a possible deal with Southern California Dealership Association to give students the opportunity to learn hands on.

Though Arthur wants to expand on the property there are other issues that are more important to the college community. “The most important thing that college is now facing is the fiscal crisis,” he said.

The board has been working hard on addressing the budget and all the concerns without impacting the students, faculty and staff.

Some important board decisions will be coming up with the election around the corner such as hiring of a full-time college president. “We want to find an individual capable and qualified to know how to run an institution and relate to student life,” Arthur said.

When talking about who he thinks should be elected to the board of trustees, he said that he believes that a board member must be invisionaries so the college will grow and expand for future generations.

Another candidate running for the board is Tom Jackson. Jackson has taught accounting and finance for 26 years here on campus. He also recently retired in 2002.

Jackson has been affiliated with the college long before being faculty member. His brother was one of the first nine hired to teach at the college.

He has been club adviser to various clubs, along with being on committees. Jackson loves to fish and travel.

He feels that he can be of service to the college community. Also based on his education and work experience.

“I think I can be independent and a clear thinker on the board. With all the experience, I feel that I am very qualified to be a board member,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s first and primary concern is to ensure that the school is offering programs that are needed in a timely fashion, with the latest technology available.

Second, to make sure that the “staff” in general is that they are the best and are treated as the best.

Third, is with the uncertainty of the fiscal and state budget. With his background in analyzing budgets, charts and graphs. He would make sure that the most resources are available and use contract education to find additional funds.

“I want to make sure that the district is making prudent use of the available funds.

Ted Edmiston is also a current board member and running for re-election. He has been on the board for 12 years.

Edmiston has been a member of the Lions Club in Bellflower for 25 years and is involved with the Leos Club, which is a service club for high school students. He is also a member of the Cerritos College Foundation.

Edmiston has been focused on the interest of getting education online through distance education.

“People are not using education like they should. I want to provide more education opportunity so that people that have internet can use it and that will free up class space for those that can’t access the internet from home,” Edmiston said.

Also Edmiston wants to celebrate opportunity and believes in celebrating excellence is important to the college and the students.

“We want to create the opportunity for the students and the faculty by keeping the technology current with computers and programs,” he said. “Sometimes life gets in the way of opportunity. That is a part of why students with children can sit down and study online while the children are napping,” Edmiston said.

Another point that Edmiston made was that the students need to be the center not the teacher.

Fiscally, he wants to be extraordinarily prudent with the reserve money.

Leonard Zuniga is a businessman in Downey. He has his Bachelors degree in Social Work and is currently in the Masters Program at Cal State Long Beach.

Zuniga is active with the Downey Rose Float Association and the Downey Coordinating Council. He loves to help others. “I find my career very rewarding,” Zuniga said.

Zuniga’s interest in helping people is what has led him to filing for the election. Zuniga has also worked for the state in the Employment Development Department, trying to help people get job interviews.”I found that public service was my niche,” he said.

Zuniga’s whole focus is to give back to the community and that is what he wants to do with the school board.

As a child Zuniga was told that he wouldn’t be able to go to college, so he went into the military and received his education there. “I had many obstacles to over come, I want to make sure that there are scholarships for the students to receive so they don’t have to go through the same thing I did,” Zuniga said.

He feels that by giving students the chance to receive grants and scholarships, it will make more productive citizens that can go to college and become leaders in the community.

He also feels that we need to communicate with the public and inform them about the programs that are available. The programs are geared toward the community and having it help the community in the long run. One of the changes Zuniga would like to see is that the Board of Trustees need to be more involved with students. When classes are cancelled it holds back student success. The board needs to listen to the students and give them intelligent information of the reasons why certain things can not be done or classes not taught.

Zuniga has two passions in life:One is education for all and second helping others help themselves.

Zuniga is a close friend of Mary Loya and is very surprised that she wasn’t going to run. “If Mary ran for re-election, I would have not ran. I would be helping her on her campaign,” Zuniga said.

He believes that he can bring an open mind and be non-judgmental to the board.

One of the things on his list is to understand students needs and be available for them. Also understand why students don’t know about the programs and opportunities that are available to help them get through college.

Lastly, Zuniga believes is that a new majority to the board would be necessary or almost required to be more sensitive toward the students and community.

The candidates look to be getting their campaign on a roll after the recall election. Most want to get the distractions of the recall out of the way before campaigning in the cities begins.

Editor’s Note: Talon Marks made attempts to contact all 12 candidates for the position and only four responded in the time frame that was set. To be fair to all candidates that are running for school board, you may contact the writer to make an interview time.