Fresno Bee voter guide

Welcome to our guide for Election 2016 races. Compare candidates' views side by side, then create your own ballot, which you can print or email.

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State Center Community College District Area 2

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  • Candidate picture

    Catherine Amador

  • Candidate picture

    Paulina Miranda

  • Candidate picture

    Cherella Nicholson

  • Eric Payne

  • Candidate picture

    Pao Yang

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Biographical Information

The district has undergone a major leadership shift, with a new superintendent and two new college presidents taking over this year. What part would you play in ensuring these leaders are taking the district down the right path?

Many majors and programs within the district are impacted. The Fresno City College nursing program, for example, has hundreds of potential students on a waitlist. How would you address this?

In your opinion, what should be the primary focus for the recently passed $485 million bond?

How important is it to you to use a bidding process for awarding contracts from this bond?

Do you favor or oppose Proposition 55, which would extend by 12 years the temporary income tax increase enacted in 2012 to support schools and colleges?

Why should voters pick you over your opponent? (Text or video)

Age 57
Residence Fresno
Family Married, 3 children
Education B.A. from UC Berkeley, J.D. from Hastings College of Law, and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English and Social Science from National Univ.
Occupation Licensed as an Attorney in 1989, currently with Pascuzzi, Pascuzzi & Stoker, practicing Probate and Family Law.
Public service experience 3 terms on school site councils in FUSD, 2 terms on FUSD Measure K Oversight Committee, 3 years on the Board of the Infant of Prague Adoption Agency, and 3 years on the Board of local Club, including serving as President.
Facebook/Social media Catherine Amador for SDDDC Board
Law school Hastings College of the Law
Years practicing law 25
I would ask leadership to identify changes in past policies and programs and to explain the reasons for the change as an integral part of their presentations to the Board. The SCCCD did well under the guidance of Dr. Stewart and Dr. Crow in general. Recent history, following Dr. Stewart’s first retirement, was not so successful. Hence, a discussion of the reasons for a change in direction by new leadership is certainly warranted. I expect this will eventually become less necessary, but for the foreseeable future, I believe it should be an integral part of presentations to the Board by staff and leadership regarding programs and policies.
I believe the problem of impacted programs is often two-fold. The District doesn’t have adequate space or faculty to serve the numbers of students who wish to enroll in many majors and programs. Obviously, judicious use of the funds which will soon be flowing from Measure C will help to ease that portion of the problem associated with space limitations, including those requiring specialized training facilities. However, the District might also be able to partner with existing facilities elsewhere in the area to provide alternative learning locations until new or improved facilities can be constructed. In the case of the nursing program, partnering with local hospitals might provide alternative learning spaces along with exposure to real world work environments for SCCCD students. Additionally, the District must do everything it can to increase its faculty numbers in impacted programs, making the best use of the facilities it has now and any that might be added through partnerships such as I described above. Again, the nursing program is a good example. There are relatively few people teaching in this critically important area, as compared to the demand for classes. Certainly the District could start encouraging its own students to consider continuing their education and teaching in this field. Collaboration with other Districts and, to the extent possible, using online classes to allow access to more students might also be helpful.
I believe the District’s focus should be to use the bond funds to upgrade and expand its facilities so as to be able to provide state of the art education in its STEM classes, vocational programs, and public safety/first responder/health sciences programs. The District’s facilities are, in many areas, too small and often outdated, making it difficult to train and teach students in these programs. Making the best use of the bond funds, which is a long term undertaking, will be both complex and challenging. Expanding the District's capacity to serve its students is the ultimate goal. Building smart, not just fast, with collaboration from urban planners to determine the best way to ensure that what is built will serve both our students and the community well for the long term must be a part of the process. Similarly, collaboration with people working in the industries and programs for which the District’s students are training, will be important for identifying what needs to be taught and how.
I think a competitive bidding process is important. However, I also believe it is critical to understand what is meant by the lowest reasonable bid and to evaluate all bids with 2 things in mind. First, an unreasonably a low bid often leads to costly change orders after a contract is awarded or unnecessarily costly maintenance after construction is completed. These issues must be addressed in every phase of the work, from general planning, to design, to construction. I believe it is also important to ensure that local businesses have the opportunity to participate in the bidding process, and that the District not restrict the awarding of contracts to union shops only. Bidding can be a terrific way to go, as long as the District ensures a level field and the bids themselves provide the District with adequate information to truly assess the bids and determine the viability of each.
On its face, I would support Proposition 55. However, I have some concerns that the fine print may allow the State to use these funds for purposes other than to support education. Careful monitoring of budget proposals for the use of these funds will be necessary to ensure that they are used as intended.
I understand the high standard of integrity required of a person acting as a fiduciary and my service on two non-profit boards has given me practical experience in serving as a board member. I am also a credentialed teacher. I am acutely aware of the need for affordable, accessible higher education for veterans, foster kids, AVID students, and many who cannot afford college otherwise. I served 2 terms on the Measure K Oversight Committee for Fresno Unified. I am familiar with the process of maximizing bond money through careful and thorough planning and oversight. My personal, professional and public service experience gives me the ability to understand the perspectives of the District’s many constituent groups. I am often able to identify areas of consensus and find compromise. I listen more than I talk, but I listen critically and ask questions when I find information is lacking. I believe Eric Payne is hurting the District. His record speaks for itself. The District cannot afford to have a Board member whose actions require censure, embarrass the District, and puts its Accreditation at risk.
Residence Fresno, CA
Family I live with my husband, Mario. We have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren. my mother is also living with us.
Make agreements and set up the goals for the SCCCD, regarding the increasing in the graduation rate of the students, in the optimal period and accordance the Laws that regulate the SCCCD. Fist able, I wish to participate in an organized “team base effort.” Collaborate to put all our strengths together, giving the needed responses to our demanding community, set up, and accomplish our goals for the benefit of the people. I am putting my proposal at the table: I wish to see accomplished optimal graduate rates in the corresponding programs times. Improving the actual numbers, offering a counselor program with a focus in “one by one base -student.”

Considering that each student should have the same opportunity of been graduate on time, for example, if the student select a 2 years program, he should finish and graduate in two years and should have an assigned counselor to help and guide the student to accomplish it.
We should do a diagnostic of the real necessities and issues that are stopping the growing of the nursing subsystem program, so we can move forward producing the quantity of graduates needed in the State Center Area, and/or CA. We can help to cover the demand for the nursing work force in the next five years, since the necessities of our people is growing, for example, considering the diminish in the actual rate in mortality for men and women. In addition, taking in consideration other factors {The Law of Offer and Demand, an open communication with our health market, the economic development in our area, student attrition, faculty recruitment} with the purpose of reduce the waiting list of the student, with a great interest in the nursing program, doing an adaptation to the necessities and responsibilities in our community.
My primary focus will be to assure the resources are spending according with the Law, and in the most effective and efficiency way according with the “actual” necessities of our served community. As well as, set up the priorities for the proper use of the resources taking in consideration the peculiarity of the social factors (poverty, diversity, advantage and disadvantage communities) related to the educational sector in our geographical area. It should be implicit evaluate and satisfy, in a priority order, the most important areas and the needy support of the providing community Also, aloud the continue advance of the SCCCD, in covering the educational necessities and goals of the students in accordance with our Mission. Finally, the use of the resources should be reflected in an amply collaboration to the development of our economy in the Central Area, for the benefit of our community.
We should apply the legal process contemplated in the allocation of the found.
I favor it.
You should vote for me because I am the most qualify candidate for this position. For my educational, global professional manager, volunteer, mother, and politician experience. English-Spanish speaker: Area 2: A highly populated Latino Spanish speakers parents and students I have been working in the educational sector in several rolls: a)Student: Graduate Student, B.S. School of Chemistry, UNAM, Mexico City Master Industrial Administration, Candidate. School of Chemistry, UNAM, Mexico City. Paulina Miranda, Emerge California, Certificate of Completion, San Francisco, CA, 2012 Alumna, b) Educator: in the areas of Mathematics, Physics, Analytical Development, and Immunology, at University level. c)Volunteer, leader, and Honoring Recognitions presented to Paulina Miranda: SELPA, Committee Member, Changed the A, B, C qualification system for Special Ed 1994 Certificate of Appreciation Sweetwater Union HS District, Department of Categorical Programs, District Advisory Council, San Diego CA. 1998-1999 Certificate of Appreciation, Gloria Simpson, Principal Castle Park High School.1999 Paulina Miranda PTA President. Castle Park High School, 1998-2001 Nominated, Paulina Miranda Woman of the year, Mary Salas. City of Chula Vista, CA, 2001 Treasurer, Middle School, Buchanan Complex, Clovis CA Certificate of Appreciation, St. Joseph’s Indian School. 2011 10 Certificatesof Recognition, from the California Legislature, Assembly, 2012
Age 33
Residence Fresno, CA
Education California State University, Fresno - Social Work; Merritt College - Paralegal Studies
Occupation Project Coordinator/Educator
Facebook/Social media
The first step is building a respectful relationship and understanding boundaries. A good relationship between college presidents, chancellor and trustees sets the tone through the rest of the district, including campus climate, culture, image and mission. To ensure the district’s leaders are headed down the right path, I plan to work collaboratively, as I strongly believe good interpersonal and consistent communication is vital to move the district's priorities forward. Additionally, it is important to share common goals and philosophies with mutual respect. This solid foundation will not only add value to the district’s foundation, but it will also create a healthy space to handle difficult situations and tough decisions. It is vital to be partners in the process such as policy development, budget development and educational planning.
The impacted nursing program at Fresno City College is a complex problem to solve. I understand that there is a high demand for nurses and not enough capacity to educate all of the students seeking admittance into the program. To begin closing the gap on this issue, I would like to see a collaborative effort between financing and governing health professionals, including Kaiser and Community Regional Medical Center to expand constructing facilities where instructors can teach.

Measure C bond funds could expand the already existing facilities.

Title VII, federal funds can help increase the number of instructors. Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development funds could help nurses currently in the field to get their Master’s Degree and go into teaching.
The primary focus for the recently passed $485 million dollar bond would be to repair and upgrade Fresno City College, Reedley College, Clovis Community College and the two centers. Provide upgraded and/or new infrastructure is important to remain competitive.

I understand that there is a very high demand of nurses and skilled workers, especially for green tech jobs. Bond monies should be used to expand the nursing program and train the demanded workforce for career technical jobs.

Further, there is a great need to have a new educational facility in southwest Fresno. This particular area has one of the lowest education attainment rate and high area of concentrated poverty. The district should meet the needs of the community and nearby institutions willing to work together.
It is critical to use the bidding process to be in compliance of California's Public Contract Code for fairness and transparency of bidders, to avoid conflicts of interest. Additionally, many of the projects may fall under Labor Compliance Program, that could include prevailing wage provisions. The bidding process formalizes the legal procedure and sets a high bar for business interested in doing business with the district.
I support Proposition 55.
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Age 45
Residence Fresno
Family Married, five children
Education Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering Technology, Masters in Business Administration
Occupation Educator
Public service experience Board Vice President - Fresno Center for New Americans, Advisory Board member - Asian Business Institute Resource Center
Facebook/Social media
• The State Center Community College District is going through a historic transition of new leadership beyond the new Chancellor and presidents at Fresno City College and Clovis Community College. There are also several senior leadership positions in Executive Cabinet that still needs to be filled.

• In making sure that our new and current leaders will take the district down the right path is to first: ensure there is clarity among the governance team Chancellor and Board on district goal which should be aligned to the districts numerous accreditation applications that are due in the upcoming months.

• Secondly: As a trustee, I would be fully engaged in ensuring trustees, senate faculty, labor leaders and the public have all the necessary information in advance of any decision making. This will ensure transparency and collaboration takes place at the heart of our decision making.

• Third and finally, I believe evaluation of the Leaders and Board Members is a critical process in order to accomplish self-improvement. As a trustee I would advocate for annual evaluation of the governance team which results in the actions such as updating of board policies.
I would pursue cost saving measures that result in more funds directly with programs instead of administrative cost.

o For example, the expansion of dual enrollment programs in the health field with K12 would allow SCCCD to reduce the amount of time it takes students to successfully complete the nursing programs.

o Joint-use facilities with K12, Police, Fire and Business allowing us to direct more funds for student programming instead of duplicating public facilities.

o As each college conducts its review for accreditation I would require they evaluate any dated programs that are no longer relevant in the local job market thus allowing us to reprioritize those funds for high demand jobs like nursing and public safety.
Since the projects on the bond have already been identified in the bond, I would ensure all CTE (Career Technical Education) facilities are prioritized first.
I see public bidding to be very important. Equally important is the public bidding of the architectural and project management contracts as well. These contracts are currently given out by SCCCCD without a bid process allowing for the same contractors to receive the majority of the contracts.
As an educator, I always support money for our students but making sure their is clarity of the bond projects. As a trustee I would ensure the prop 55 funds are only utilized for one time funds given the expiration of the bond in 12 years.
I am a parent of 5 kids ranging from 2 to 24 years old. They are in elementary, Middle School, High School, and College. I am a product of the education system and a champion for education. I have 17 years of experience in higher education in different positions: •Admissions Advisor •Outreach Director •Director of Admissions •Adjunct Faculty These experiences had allowed me the opportunities to help thousands of students achieve their education and career goals. I accomplished this by mentoring, advising, and educating students to understand their motivation, desire, and interest. This allowed them to achieve their Associate, Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate Degrees. Many choose the Career Technical Education route and are skilled hard-working citizens. I also have experiences in managing and operating of educational campuses and centers. I was part of the team that opened DeVry University, Fresno Campus in 2005 and the DeVry University, Bakersfield Campus in 2007. I have led, trained, and managed a team assisting and educating students and others on the importance of education. I am a current board member for Fresno Center for New Americans and a board advisory member for the Asian Business Institute Resource Center. I’ve sat on the search committee for community college president and also serve on Bond over site committee.I want to bring these private sector and civic service experiences to the State Center Community College District.