Sonoma County Voters Overhaul SRJC Board of Trustees

This past November, Sonoma County voters approved SRJC's Measure H, the largest construction bond in the county's history, and, more surprisingly, drastically altered the composition of the elected body that will oversee how over $400 million in bond funds will be spent over the next decade. Challengers Maggie Fishman, Dot Battenfeld, and Jordan Burns unseated three incumbents with over sixty years of collective service on the SRJC Board of Trustees, and while board President Jeff Kunde was uncontested in his bid for another four-year term, clearly, this election is a mandate for a shift in the board toward a more labor-friendly climate. In the months since the election, the newly elected Board members have also demonstrated an "in-touch" relationship with the students and faculty and a thorough understanding of the current climate at SRJC.

With the anticipated influx of bond money into the local economy, battle lines in three trustee races were drawn along management-labor lines. All three incumbents received the majority of their big-ticket campaign checks from Sonoma County builders and businesses, while the challengers were backed by smaller contributions from local labor-friendly organizations, including AFA and SEIU. The challengers were also endorsed by the SRJC Associated Students, the Sonoma County Democratic Party, and the Sierra Club. The election of Fishman, Battenfeld, and Burns signals an important commitment to fair labor practices, critical for healthy relations with faculty and responsible stewardship of the new bond funds.

The newly-elected trustees have also each acknowledged the importance of finding a redistricting solution for the 3-4-5 trustee area that would allow for more local representation. It is clear that the current method of representation for these areas does not lead to fair and balanced representation on the board. Fishman, Battenfeld and Burns have continuously voiced their openness to a more democratic restructuring for 3-4-5 representation, before and since the November elections.

AFA looks forward to continuing its close relationship with the new trustees and developing stronger relations with the Board. AFA also acknowledges the many years of the leadership and service provided by the three outgoing incumbents—Bob Burdo, Don Zumwalt, and Kathleen Doyle. On behalf of the faculty and our students, thank you all.

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