WHO SHOULD REPLACE THE INCUMBENTS?
1. Norma Hernandez spent 31 years working for Southwestern College as a counselor, faculty member, administrator, and the president of the college. She is respected and loved by members of all the departments – and the public – and has made her belief in the importance and value of education known. In her words, “I am committed to restoring the vital educational contributions that Southwestern College can provide to our region.”
2. Tim Nader is a former mayor of Chula Vista, and a two-term city councilman. He spent seven years working as a criminal prosecutor for the Attorney General’s office. After his term as mayor he ran two different non-profit corporations. He spent time in Central Asia with a foreign aid program after 9/11. He returned, spent six years working as a child support attorney, before returning to the Attorney General’s office. He has vast experience in working with complex legal issues and understands how to oversee a multi-million dollar budget. He grew up in a family of educators and believes education to be a cornerstone to a strong community.
3. Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez is the CEO of the San Diego Learning Center, one of the fastest-growing supplemental education centers in the region. She has spent more than 15 years in the education field and founded SDLC in 2001. She has been a member of the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for seven years, and was elected Chairwoman of the Board in 2010. In 2006, she was honored as Entrepreneur of the Year. She is also active National Latina Business Women Association/The Latina Chamber. She has opened five different SDLC locations, and implemented new, unique strategies to create a positive, individual atmosphere for the students she serves.
WHY SHOULDN’T I VOTE FOR THE INCUMBENTS? ACCORDING TO THEM, THEY’RE GREAT. WELL, TO START WITH… THERE’S THE INCUMBENTS’ DISHONESTY –
4. SWC is not in the worst financial crisis of its history. This is the refrain that the incumbents (Yolanda Salcido, Terri Valladolid, and Jorge Dominguez) used to slash classes and lay off employees. They estimated that without those cuts, that the school would be broke. Instead, the school ended up with a $14 million balance, and the “savings” caused by the class cuts could only be estimated at $500,000. What happened? The school was not in the financial crisis they claimed. It was making money.
5. Classes have been cut. Though the incumbents insist that no classes were cut, hundreds of adjunct faculty members were let go and their classes removed from the catalog. These included Basic Skills classes, core classes, classes necessary for students seeking certification, and – most troubling – dozens of classes necessary for students seeking to transfer to a four-year school.
6. Contrary to the incumbents’ continual lie, there were layoffs. Jorge, Yolanda, and Terri insist that “there were no layoffs.” Ask them who Linda Gilstrap, Silvia Lugo, Elisandra Singh, Nevada Smith, Fernando Poveda, and Richard Tibbits are. These are some names of laid-off faculty that I know off the top of my head. There are more – hundreds more.
7. Not only were there layoffs, but at least one employee was screwed over twice. Elisandra Singh challenged the board’s decision to lay her off and replace her with a Los Angeles-based contractor who got paid more and worked less than she did. An impartial arbitrator heard the case and said that the school, without question, should return her to her job and give her the back salary she had lost. The board voted to say “hell, no” to Ms. Singh and refused to give her her job back. They not only laid off employees, but they went out of their way to make sure they stayed laid off.
8. The incumbents are falsely claiming that SWC is “fully accredited” and that there are no problems. The truth is that it will be next spring before WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) makes any decision on the school’s status. SWC is “on track” to make the changes necessary, but they are not complete yet. Considering that much of the work left to be done must be done by the Board, we believe that a Board willing to participate in shared governance will succeed where this one will likely fail.
9. All three of them have lied and lied and lied about many different facts. They have done so in public, at fundraisers, in board meetings, to the press, and in paid advertising.
THE INCUMBENTS’ INCOMPETENCE –
10. The incumbents don’t know how to run a board meeting. Incapable of handling literally the most basic part of their positions, the Board has to hire a paid parliamentarian to tell them if they can do this, do that, say this, say that, vote this way, or hear what someone has to say.
11. Jorge Dominguez can’t stay awake for the meetings. I’ve shown you the pictures of him dozing through Governing Board meetings; you’ve seen them. What you may not know is that this happens so often that it has become a joke among the teachers and those of us who attend the meetings.
12. The incumbents don’t understand “shared governance,” a foundation of running a college. With shared governance, the faculty is allowed to participate in decision-making. At SWC, they are often locked out of the process entirely. Committees are usually headed by an administrator and a faculty member. At SWC, they are often headed by two administrators and no professor.
13. The incumbents believe that their 10:00 pm “bed time” is more important than getting work done. At board meetings, unless the press or a lot of the public are there, they simply end discussion at 10:00 and call it a night. Even if there are reports to be heard, work to be done, or problems to solve, they will simply push it back to another month.
THE INCUMBENTS’ DISRESPECT –
14. The incumbents have no respect for the members of the public, the students, or the teachers that attend governing board meetings. When members of the public speak to them, they can often be found doodling, looking down, looking away, whispering, or spending some time in the washroom.
15. The incumbents have no respect for the voters who looked forward to seeing them at the Candidates’ Forum in October. Every candidate for every seat was invited to an impartial candidate forum in October. The only ones who showed up were challengers – Tim Nader, Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez, Norma Hernandez, and Bud McLeroy. Not one of the incumbents thought their presence at the SWC Candidate Forum was important.
16. Yolanda and Terri don’t respect fellow Board member Nick Aguilar. Aguilar, who often opposes the others, is often ignored, alienated, and insulted by Yolanda and Terri – who seem to simply not want to hear what he has to say.
17. Yolanda Salcido and Terri Valladolid don’t even respect Jorge Dominguez. Last year, a voting bloc of Salcido, Valladolid, and fellow board member Jean Roesch overturned the traditional position of Board President – which was supposed to be Dominguez’s position. Instead, they voted to give Salcido the position, and began their program of building an empire for themselves.
THE INCUMBENTS’ LACK OF CHARACTER –
18. Yolanda Salcido faked an endorsement from student government president Manny Lopez, and when he insisted at a board meeting that he did not endorse her, she refused to comment, apologize, or even look at him.
19. Yolanda Salcido has collected $100,000 in campaign contributions from contractors that come to her looking for million-dollar contracts.
20. Terri Valladolid was fined $1,200 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to file six required semi-annual campaign statements.
21. Jorge Dominguez was late filing various campaign statements and numbers, but wasn’t fined. At least he got his done eventually.
22. Jorge Dominguez announced his retirement last winter then ran for mayor of Chula Vista. Receiving only about 11% of the vote, he “forgot” that he was retiring.
23. The incumbents allowed administration higher-ups to fundraise for them, in a blatant show of conflict of interest. Superintendent Chopra held fundraisers for Yolanda Salcido and Jorge Dominguez. Vice President Alioto held a fundraiser for Yolanda Salcido and Terri Valladolid.
24. Superintendent Chopra used official campus literature to help campaign for the incumbents. Using the “News from SWC” newsletter, Chopra attacked Norma Hernandez (without naming her) and tried to rebut (badly) every single point the challengers had brought up in the past two months.
25. The incumbents blame Norma Hernandez for their troubles. Norma was Superintendent of SWC a few years ago. At the time, the Board was micro-managing her at all levels. After they fired a vice-president, which they couldn’t do, she resigned from office – due to the constant interference she was getting from the board, also known as the incumbents. WASC issued a list of several things the school needed to do to keep accreditation, and most of them were laid at the feet of the board itself. Their response? To blame Norma, who wasn’t even involved.
26. Yolanda Salcido claims that Norma “sneaked away in the night.” Untrue. Norma Hernandez received a farewell celebration from members of the administration, student body, and the faculty before she left.
THE INCUMBENTS’ CONTINUAL SUPPORTING OF A CORRUPT, FAILED ADMINISTRATION –
27. The incumbents continue to support Superintendent Raj Chopra and Vice-President Nick Alioto, even though incidences of their malfeasance, corruption, and base stupidity continue to come to light. Chopra has been known to scream – literally, scream – at employees, including one (Elisandra Singh) who reported that he screamed into her face so close that he spat on her while doing it. They also gave him a $15,000 raise during their financial crisis (unlike Norma Hernandez, who took a pay cut during her tenure at SWC). And Alioto has come under fire time and time again for influence peddling, conflicts of interest, shady financial dealings, and more. Many of these can be found on this blog, and I’m not going to list them again.
28. The incumbents supported Chopra’s budget plan – the one that slashed classes, laid off teachers, and sent a couple thousand students home for the last time. When Nick Aguilar asked for a special meeting to discuss any other possible solutions, the rest ignored and supported Chopra’s apocalyptic vision of education.
29. The incumbents supported the administration’s attack on four professors who were deemed to have “incited a riot” during a student-led budget protest (even though one was nowhere near the place). This led to massive national media attention that reflected badly on the board and administration.
30. The incumbents participated in a bogus “investigation” to cover up the administration’s actions at that time. This “investigation” still claimed students and faculty responsible, though they were seemingly unable to find a witness who was there, not a student, not an administrator, and not a teacher – me.
31. The incumbents supported the administration’s plan to “expose and isolate extremists” – those being people that opposed them: students, members of the public, teachers, civic organizations and so on.
32. The incumbents supported the administration’s plan to shut down the Southwestern College Sun newspaper. Not one word was ever spoken by the board to condemn the administration’s actions to attack Freedom of the Press. This was the second time in one year that national media attention focused on the school, again reflecting badly on the board and administration.
33. The incumbents cobbled together an “evaluation” of Chopra, when it became clear to the public that he was incompetent. In doing so, they removed the faculty from the evaluation process – the first time that had been done in the history of the school. Even Jorge Dominguez denounced the evaluation – allegedly created by Yolanda Salcido – as being “totally unquantifiable.” He described it as, “how do you feel about the job he is doing?” and so on.
34. The incumbents ignored the faculty’s concern about that evaluation. They are on record as dismissing a faculty-created evaluation (one more similar to the one that SWC used before this) as ‘just a few malcontents.’ Those few malcontents were approximately 95% of the few hundred professors who participated and gave him a failing grade.
35. The incumbents continue to support Nick Alioto, even though he doesn’t qualify for his job. A requirement of his position of Vice-President of Business and Finance is a CPA license. He has never been licensed in California, and has let his Wisconsin license expire.
36. YOU CAN HELP BRING POSITIVE CHANGE! Change to Southwestern College and to the South Bay. You can make this happen today by voting for Norma Hernandez, Tim Nader, and Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez.