Candidates race for seats on board of trustees

San Mateo County’s 2015 election is currently underway, with seven candidates running for the three empty seats on the district’s board of trustees, including a Skyline alumnus.

Karen Schwarz and Dave Mandelkern are previous Board Trustees, running once again for one of the seats.

Schwarz hopes to succeed even though she is an incumbent, just finishing her fifth term.

“I hope to just keep everything moving forward, expanding our funds, classes, and retaining students,” she said.

Dave Mandelkern was not able to be interviewed in time, but stands for making college education affordable and accessible to even more San Mateo County students. This includes increasing the student success rate, especially for job training and transfer to four-year colleges and universities and to ensure that voter-approved bond money is spent wisely and as intended.

New blood is also entering the race: Anthony Amistad, a professor of business administration at International Technological University is running for a seat for the first time this election.

“My first priority is to be an accountable and transparent trustee to you, the taxpayers and students, parents, learners and everybody involved in the educational organization, performing my duties, which is to be a trusted elected individual who is responsible for making sure that the budget and the money going toward the schools’ operation is well spent and to be on the lookout for waste and any mismanagement,” he said.

Amistad has also worked as a business educator at several other institutions, as well as an insurance and real estate broker.

The fourth candidate, Mark De Paula is a retired businessman who has previously run for director of the Sequoia Healthcare District in last year’s election.

“I would like to work with members to turn the San Mateo Community College District into a four-year program, where students can get a bachelor’s of science or bachelors of arts degree,” he said.

Ramiro Maldonado is currently director of development at Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center. The organization was formed in 1986 with the purpose of offering mediation services to community members and has launched several initiatives and campaigns centered on conflict resolution in a wide range of areas.

Alan Talansky currently serves as vice president of EBL&S, a development firm in San Mateo. He is also a council member on Urban Land Institute’s Responsible Property Investment Council, a group of real estate professionals who focus on the links between environmental and social issues and real estate development.

“The key mission is students first,” Talansky said. “I think over time people on the board forget about what they’re there for and we need some fresh blood on the board and I’m old but fresh.”

Talansky added that he wants more targeted degrees and courses that can focus on students’ goals and student retention, more continuing education, sponsored lectures for students of all ages and more repurposed education for people who have lost jobs.

Finally, candidate seven is Maurice Goodman. Goodman has completed degrees in administration of justice and paralegal studies at Skyline and went on to CSU East Bay where he received a bachelor’s of science in criminal justice.

“What I would like to achieve is to be able to improve on the student achievement at all three colleges, and improving quality as well as access and affordability for under-served communities,” he said. “That includes supporting the president’s push to make community college free, and I support that.”

Overall, Skyline President Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud said she is proud of Skyline alum no matter what, in reference to students finding themselves in the community by applying their career for the greater good.

The final elections for the campaign will occur on Nov. 3 through an all-mail ballot this year, for the first time.