From the number of email messages in my inbox, many of you already know the AWESOME news! Our very own, Bonnie Deister, has won the election for CR Board of Trustees in Area by 14 percentage points!
And if that wasn’t enough . . . Dan Kelley, backed by Indivisible Fortuna, won the election for CR Board of Trustees in Area 2 also by 14 percentage points!
I believe this proves the point: If you want to make change happen, then get out there and make some of your own. We raised money. We made phone calls. We wrote letters to the editor. We walked the precincts. We made it happen! And now it’s time to celebrate!
If you haven’t heard, Bonnie doesn’t even know she won. She had planned a birthday trip to the Hawaiian islands months before she made the decision to run for the CR board. She is literally on a “slow boat from Hawaii” and will not be back in Ferndale until Wednesday, November 15.
So . . . Barb and I want to host a celebration for Bonnie and Indivisible Ferndale. The party will be the during the weekend of November 17th. The date and time will be announced soon.
In the meantime, you can add a comment to this post and thank the following members of Bonnie’s campaign committee: Stuart, Karen, Jeanne, Clyde, Barb, Mary Ann and yes, me.
Together, We are Stronger and We are Indivisible!
Last, but not least, if you have not read the story in today’s Times-Standard, here it is.
Challengers pull ahead of longtime CR board incumbents
By Will Houston, Eureka Times-Standard11/07/17, 11:30 PM PST
Two incumbents who have held seats on the College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees for over 20 years are trailing against their two challengers, according to early election results from Tuesday.
The eight-member board is the governing body for the Redwoods Community College District, which consists of College of the Redwoods’ campuses in Eureka, Crescent City and Fort Bragg along with its satellite programs. The board of trustees is responsible for appointing and evaluating the college president; ensuring the college meet its accreditation standards; and ensuring the college remains fiscally stable.
With all precincts reporting in Tuesday’s final unofficial 10:24 p.m. report, CR Area 1 trustee challenger Bonnie Deister of Ferndale, a registered nurse and former health services teacher at the college, was leading with about 57 percent of the vote over Ferndale dairy farmer and Area 1 incumbent Tracy Coppini.
Deister was unavailable for comment Tuesday as she was on a cruise ship trip that was planned nearly a year ago.
Coppini, who has held the Area 1 trustee seat for 20 years, gave the Times-Standard a statement after the second report showed him trailing by about 380 votes.
“Everything has a season, and this is the end of my season as a board member of College of the Redwoods,” Coppini said. “I want to thank all the people that endorsed me and reached out for support and wrote letters. And I want to congratulate Bonnie and wish her the best. It’s a board made up of really good people to work with.”
The Area 1 trustee represents the communities of Bayview, Pine Hill, Kings Salmon, Fields Landing, Loleta and Ferndale.
In the Area 2 trustee race, challenger Dan Kelley of Hydesville, a business analyst for Thomas Reuters, was leading with about 56 percent of the vote over incumbent and Ross Insurance Agency owner Thomas Ross of Fortuna.
Reached Tuesday evening, Kelley said he was encouraged by the mail-in and absentee ballot results.
With Deister also leading over Coppini, Kelley said he thinks the election shows that the community has yet to move on from the issues the college has faced in the past, specifically issues with accreditation and what he called “mismanagement” of the college’s Garberville campus.
“I think that this race has not been about the failings of the incumbents,” Kelley said Tuesday evening. “I think these problems are complex. It probably takes a lot more proactive strategic effort to really see them through. It’s going to take a concerted effort.”
Reached at his Fortuna home after the second report was released at 9:30 p.m., Ross said he does not expect that he will obtain enough votes to overtake Kelley. However, he said that he heard some encouraging news at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting from the student services director and a faculty organization about the college’s future.
“CR is probably in the best position it has been in for a long time,” Ross said. “Things I think are very positive and I only wish the school the best.”
A College of the Redwoods alumni, Ross was first elected to the college board in 1997, which he said was around the time he graduated.
If elected, Kelley had previously stated his priorities would be to strengthen career-technical education; ensure students have supportive services such as counselors, advisors and a more supportive financial aid department; and deliver on the “basic human right of affordable education for all, regardless of economic status.”
The Area 2 trustee represents the communities of Fernbridge, Fortuna, Rohnerville, Hydesville, Carlotta, Rio Dell, Scotia, Redcrest, Petrolia and Honeydew.
Among the various issues discussed in the campaign were ensuring the college retains its accreditation. The college had been given a sanction in 2012 and was placed on probation in 2007 by the Accrediting Commission For Community and Junior Colleges after failing to meet accreditation standards on institutional planning and student learning outcomes. The college’s probation status was lifted in 2014.
Another shared issue among the candidates was finalizing a proposal to create a nursing bachelor’s degree program with Humboldt State University. Humboldt County has not had such a program since HSU ended its nursing program in 2011.
Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.