Candidates vie for open position

Fahima Paghmani

The San Diego Community College District will elect a new board of trustees member in November to fill the position left by the resignation of Bill Schwandt.

Schwandt served on the board for 12 years as the District B representative for the Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Kearny Mesa, Allied Gardens, Linda Vista, San Carlos neighborhoods.

Both of the candidates hoping to fill the position stress that they want to see changes in the district.

Candidate Bernie Rhinerson, an SDSU alumnus with a master’s in public administration, said, “I have always been passionate about the importance of public education in our society. I graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. and an M.P.A and have continued to be active in the Alumni Association and have served as Alumni President. Also, I teach in the Public Administration Department at SDSU so I work with students every week helping them prepare for their future careers.

“I also work as Chief of Staff at the San Diego Unified School District where I work to improve the K-12 educational system so that students are prepared for college and careers. In my work over the last five years, I have seen first-hand the damage that budget cuts have had on our education system for kindergarten through the college level. I decided to run for the Community College Board because I want to be a strong advocate for students and help to restore classes, restore summer school and keep tuition affordable for all students.”

When asked what would make him a great leader if elected, Rhinerson said, “Our college board needs leaders who will stand up for our students in Sacramento and in Washington where funding decisions for education are made. I have experience in public education, that makes me the best choice to serve as a strong voice for students on the college board. As I college instructor, I work with students who struggle to work their way through college and have a hard time getting classes they need because of budget cuts.”

“I encourage voters to become informed and to choose the most experienced candidate for this position,” Rhinerson advised future voters. “I have experience in private business and experience in public education. As a college instructor, I understand the needs of students and will be a strong advocate for our community colleges and for more job training and college preparation classes.”

On the opposite side of the ballot is Scott L. Hasson, who holds a bachelor’s from the University of Oklahoma. Hasson boasts a great amount of knowledge and experience in budgeting and accountability, is a profit and loss expert, and a contract negotiation expert. His background and experience qualify him as a promising candidate, and his straight-forward answers don’t leave voters guessing.

Hasson was asked what drew him to run in this election and he replied honestly.

“There was an open seat,” he said.

“I am a middle of the road person,” Hasson said. “I have been leading people in the private industry for more than 25 years. The numbers are truth. Reality is we have these cut backs from the state. We don’t have the money that we used to have. It is painful to give up a program that they love, but reality is that we can’t have it, we don’t have the money to support it. I want to bring the rational support that will make it work for students. Some of the board members may be bothered by this action, but we need to do all that we can to survive and make it work for the students and the tax payers.

“I am a parent and I have a child. I am very involved in school education. I know when I was in school I paid my way through school. I sat in those seats and I worked my way through school. I can relate to students since I can make decisions sitting and thinking how I am going to pay my tuition, how am I going to pay my rent. I can relate to students. I have been down this road,” he said.

“The reason why I am going to get elected (is) because I am a real person, and I will vote for what is best for students and what is best for tax payers. That makes sense. Everything has to make sense. This board is responsible for this budget, this budget is responsible for the taxpayers and we need to make sure we get every dollar from this budget that will bring great value to the students.”