Until they all appeared together under the banner of “Santa Clarita Republicans” in a magazine, I thought that Fred Arnold, Michele Jenkins and Tony Watson were running as non-partisans for the non-partisan positions available on College of the Canyons’ board of trustees. Hmm…Could that banner be the reason that The Signal chose to endorse all three?
Since The Signal has provided no information about them, let me introduce you to three candidates who are also running for a seat on COC’s board, candidates who put students above partisan politics and who represent many different segments of our community.
A lifelong educator, incumbent Edel Alonso (Area 2) has taught at the high school, community college and university levels. She began her career in Santa Clarita as a counselor at Hart High School, transferred to newly constructed Valencia High School, and was soon selected to lead its counseling department. The last 16 years of her career were spent as counselor, department chair, professor and president of the Academic Senate at COC. Edel brings to the board an up-close and personal understanding of the way the college works. For the past four years, she has kept her promises to focus on student needs, fiscal responsibility for taxpayers’ money, student support services, including mental health, transparency and accountability to our community, and campus safety and emergency preparedness. It was she who, at a packed board meeting, recommended the meeting cease and emergency protocols be put into place when there was suspicion that an active shooter was on campus. It was she who, last February, recommended (and was rebuffed) that COC develop a plan to deal with COVID-19. Edel is a leader!
Former COC Associated Student Government president, Sebastian Cazares, has been involved in community service since his days at Saugus High, where he served as president of the Rotary Club and his astute perception of civic duty led to his being chosen by SCV’s American Legion to represent our community at one of the most respected and selective programs of government instruction for high school student, Boys State. He works tirelessly to involve community youth to become civically involved. Now an American politics major at UCLA, Sebastian will spearhead the improvement of response time to campus emergencies and champion the development of a multicultural center — a Dream Center — that will foster a vibrant, inclusive COC once elected to the board.
Composer, lyricist, educator and Grammy gold record winner for production, small business owner Jerry Danielsen is home-grown; Hart High, COC and Cal Arts prepared him well for his career! Jerry will bring a much-needed perspective to COC as a board member as his background in the entertainment industry and his 32-year stint as a music educator are unique and will help to expand our already amazing fine arts program. His passion for working with and educating our youth, coupled with his desire to increase board transparency, assure fiscal responsibility, and create a culture of equity and inclusiveness will hold him in good stead on the board. As father of rock star Sean Danielsen, whose band, all from Santa Clarita, secured a major record contract and also won a gold record, Jerry may even convince Sean to play at our PAC!
Sure, all three want to give back to the college as their opponents do. But Edel, Sebastian and Jerry bring fresh, original perspectives and actually have platforms that will benefit the entire community.