David C. Andrus: A time for change

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Rarely does a new candidate for public office emerge that possesses the experience, expertise and overall aptitude to step in and capably serve the community right out of the gate. Dr. Edel Alonso is such a person. As her former colleague at College of the Canyons (COC), I urge those in her district to cast their vote for Edel and elect her to the Santa Clarita Community College District Governing Board of Trustees.

Edel has dedicated her professional life not only to teaching, but to understanding and shaping education at all institutional levels. She possesses a doctorate in educational and organizational leadership and has put that to good use at COC where she served in multiple leadership roles, helping to positively shape the campus and its functions. Most importantly, being a lifelong educator, she is passionate about student learning and achievement.

As a professor of political science, I can attest to the need for strong, competent elected officials who understand the role and duties of public, representative office. Her opponent, Bruce Fortine, has sustained a long career as a member of the Governing Board. He should be commended for his service. However, maintaining a 30-year tenure does not by and of itself validate a return to office. The same longevity that often serves one well in the performance of duties, at some point, ends up working against the person as complacency sets in. It is time for new leadership and change on the COC Board of Trustees.

If the voters of Santa Clarita do not elect Edel as trustee, they will have lost a golden opportunity to replace Fortine with the most qualified of candidates, not often seen at the local level. The success of any governing Board is the diversity of its membership. At present, Board membership reflects an imbalance of business and legal backgrounds. Edel will bring to the Board a dynamic and perspective it currently lacks. She possesses the experience of a long-standing educator and community member who understands, first-hand, the needs of students, administrators, and teachers as well as the intricate workings of the District and its obligations within the California Community College system.

The College has become an impressive institution that is recognized for many achievements. All institutions, however, can, and must, improve. For this to happen, a healthy and competent transition of leadership is necessary. Having worked side by side with Edel for many years, I cannot think of a more qualified individual to assume the duties of a Board member. An important aspect of public service is to ask all the right questions to create public discourse as an official record for the community. Edel is a probing, inquisitive and methodical professional who will model appropriate representative service our students and community can be proud of. To that end, she has continually advocated live streaming and televised board meetings to increase awareness, accountability and transparency in public decision-making. This is in line with other colleges and elected bodies and would ensure that “civic engagement,” an initiative currently being promoted on campus at COC, will be promoted by example at the highest level of the District.

The bounds of this public endorsement do not allow me to fully convey the confidence I have in Edel to serve the community as a member of the COC Governing Board of Trustees. While local elections rarely capture the attention of voters, as do matters of state or national significance, it is local governing decisions that often make the greatest impact on a community. Therefore, I urge you to do right by your community and vote on November 8 for Dr. Edel Alonso for the Santa Clarita Community College District Governing Board of Trustees.

David C. Andrus, Professor
Chair, Department of Political Science
College of the Canyons

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