The LookOut news

Meet the College Board Candidates

By Constance Tillotson

Oct. 21 -- On November 5, voters will be given a choice between sticking with the "long and widely experienced" or bringing in "new blood and fresh ideas" when two challengers face four incumbents in the race for Santa Monica College Board of Trustees.

The League of Woman Voters of Santa Monica and CityTV gave the candidates a chance to discuss their positions on key issues and share their visions for the college. Each candidate had 60 seconds to respond to each of three questions. There was no exchange between the candidates.

Following is a summary of the candidate's views and qualifications:

Carole Currey (incumbent): A teacher in Culver City, Currey was an active member of the PTA and a community volunteer who believes in "improving lives through excellence in education." Currey, who has served on the board for 20 years and was board president last year, said she is "proud of her record" at SMC. Her "experience, knowledge, and consistency" will help guide the college during the current state budget crisis, Currey said.

Currey said she is addressing concerns with the ongoing growth of the college by "always looking for ways to alleviate traffic" and thinks the school's "master plan may be the solution" to the traffic problem. The current board's "track record" shows that the "college is working with the City of Santa Monica in a very collaborative way," she said.

Her "track record," Currey said, shows she doesn't "make promises" she doesn't keep. It is the board's duty to keep the "superintendent informed," although Currey said she recognizes "there are problems we don't understand." Currey said she "represents no special interests" other than those that serve the community and the students by "giving them excellence in education." She said her "leadership has contributed " to the board's success.

Nancy Greenstein: An administrator at UCLA -- one of her main duties is "campus safety" -- Greenstein said her first exposure to teaching was in a "two-room school house on a Navaho Indian reservation." She has spent the past twenty years dedicating her life to "civil and community service," said Greenstein, who is co-chair of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights.

The growth of the college, Greenstein said, should not come "at the expense of its neighbors." She said that she "tends not to make promises" but instead "makes commitments." The board, she said, should "look at the entire issue" to "decide the right decision." Her communication with SMC faculty and staff has brought out issues that are "reflective of a much deeper problem." To resolve the current problems with the college employees, Greenstein said, requires the new board to "look at the larger palette to provide leadership to work with faculty and staff."

An active environmentalist, Greenstein said she was concerned when she "went through the SMC handbook and noticed that there were very few classes that spoke to environmental issues. "Santa Monica is renown for its environment," she said, therefore the campus should provide "sustainable programs that need to be reflective in the curriculum of the college." Greenstein is endorsed by the college staff and faculty unions.

Nancy Cattell-Luckenbach (incumbent): Her qualifications include four college degrees, and experience as a teacher and counselor at SMC for 31 years, as well as serving two terms on the board. Cattell-Luckenbach said "the college finds itself in a challenged, difficult position with costs going up and income going down." The college's "unfunded students threaten" SMC's "efforts of diversity and (provide) access to all students." According to Cattell-Luckenbach, "Now is not the time to change leadership from long and widely experienced to raw and new."

She said that when it comes to the environment, the college is "technically improving" to "be able to have sustainable building." The board, Cattell-Luckenbach said, has "done a lot" to alleviate traffic by moving the parking entrance off of Pico Boulevard. She said the responsibility of the board is "to make selective policy" and to address the needs of its constituents. She sees the Superintendent's job as executing "policy" that the board "determines."

To combat current SMC employee dissatisfactions Cattell-Luckenbach believes a "dialog would improve moral." The board, she said, should "be approachable." She has been "committed to the college for 40 years" and has "seen how the college has changed lives."

Dr. Dorothy Ehrhart-Morrison (incumbent): Ehrhart-Morrison said she wants to "provide responsible leadership and commitment to student retention and academic success." A former member of the boards of the City's Convention and Visitors Bureau and Parks and Recreation, as well as the Ocean Park Community Center, Ehrhart-Morrison said she has "brought value to the board of trustees" and "communicates very well with different members of the community."

Ehrhart-Morrison thinks communication between board members and the college president is crucial and views the relationship as a "mutual collaboration." She believes the board "chose a very good leader seven years ago" in SMC President Dr. Piedad Robertson. The college, she said, is "working very hard for an environmentally safe campus." The Master Plan approved by the board, Ehrhart Morrison said, "made more room for open space" that will "increase air quality."

Herbert Roney (incumbent): An SMC graduate and a member of the college board since 1994, Roney said he served in the military and has spent the last 32 years devoting his life to education, including work as a counselor and vice president of student service. This year he was honored as Los Angeles Volunteer of the Year.

Roney said he hopes "to keep continued goals" and to "pledge to have open communication to all within the college community." Roney encourages "constituents" to communicate with the board so it can better "hear and understand their view." It is imperative, he said, to "reduce students on the main campus." To help with the ongoing traffic problems around the main campus, Roney said the board is "increasing parking on the campus" as well as "working with the City" to develop "new buildings with underground parking and a better bus system."

It is the board's "duty to express to the president (concerns) if regulations are not being followed," he said. Roney sees the staff as "very outstanding in what they do." His goal is to "meet with faculty and staff to help morale" and to "let them know we are open to their concerns." Roney said he wants to continue to serve on the board so that he can be a part of creating a "new college campus." He wants to see "full tenured" faculty, is an advocate for "senior citizens' right to education" and stands for the "rights of students."

Bill Winslow: "I am not going to talk about past successes that I may or may not have anything to do with," Winslow said. Instead, Winslow said he hopes to "bring new blood and fresh ideas" to the current board. Winslow said he hopes to see the school continue to grow while "mediating the impact on neighbors" and to "improve climate and mutual respect for good labor/management relations. A strong supporter of a "green building policy," Winslow said he is an active environmentalist and views "energy and water conservation" as "fiscally conscious" policies.

"There is a rift" that people don't talk about between the City Council and the College Board that "has a lot to do with everyone needing to grow," Winslow said. He added that he wants "to be prepared to walk in somebody else's moccasins for a while and try to work some of this out." Winslow views "public service" as "a privilege" and thinks it is "important for people who run for office to work hard and take initiative." He is a strong supporter of SMC President Dr. Piedad Robertson: "We're lucky to have a hard-charging president," he said.

List of questions:

1. Is there growth in the future of SMC?
2. Do you support the adoption of sustainable buildings and venerable energy standards for new buildings at SMC?
3. How would you address concerns of the following hypothetical voter:
Neighbor of the main campus, admirer of the college, voted for Measure U but is concerned with negative impact of traffic at SMC on the neighborhood.
4. Are the current lines of communication between SMC and other educational systems in the Santa Monica/Malibu School District sufficient to achieve the goal of access of all who may benefit?
5. You are making promises to the voters of Santa Monica. If elected you will be one of a seven member board. Decisions are made by the whole board. In light of cooperation, how to you plan on keeping your promises?
6. What values do you bring with you that would make you a good trustee?
7. What is the appropriate role for the board vs president/supervisor?
8. What would you do as a board member to improve administration services on the SMC campus? For example, issuing paychecks on time and for the correct amount have evidently been a long time problem.
9. What will you do to improve morale with staff and faculty at SMC?
10. What role should environment awareness education take at SMC?

Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 All Rights Reserved.