Ward II candidates hold forum in DVC Trophy Room


Keith Montes

Vicki Gordon discusses issues with the district she would like to improve. Gordon is running for the Contra Costa Community College governing board as a candidate for Ward II.

Aidan Herrick, News editor

As excitement and tension for the presidential elections begins to ramp up, local elections are also taking place, and many of them will directly affect Diablo Valley College.

On Oct. 3, a forum was held in the DVC Trophy Room between two candidates, Vicki Gordon and Tom Cleveland, who are running for the College Board directly governing our educational district.

Gordon, a DVC alumnus and long-time Martinez Education Foundation board member, and Cleveland, a Stanford graduate and professor at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, participated in a low-key Q&A to explain their positions and platforms.

The candidates both agreed on several issues, such as having a large reserve in case of fiscal emergencies and in borrowing the practices of districts performing better than ours. They also agreed that the current board was not as hands-on as it could be, and that budget cuts should be a last resort. Gordon even went so far as to say that “Sacramento’s priorities are misguided” when it comes to the education budget. “We need to make them make (education) a priority.” Gordon said.

On the subject of a college’s accountability for the success of its students, Cleveland posed the question “what is success?”, elaborating that measurements for success tend to be “quantitative rather than qualitative”, and Gordon touted DVC as a college that provided an education, as compared to some private institutions where graduating is merely a matter of paying tuition.

The forum also addressed the large influx of international students at DVC, and whether or not they posed a threat to the education of local students. Gordon claimed that international students help the college and over time are key to “bring(ing) back the economy”, though she at the same time condemned caps on local students put in place by Sacramento. “The government makes demands of us that we can’t meet without funding”, Cleveland said.

The candidates were at ends however on matters like how to raise money from places outside of Sacramento, Gordon wanting to raise funds through energy conservation and management and Cleveland supporting local bond measures and local donations, feeling that community colleges have a strong base in East Bay that they don’t enjoy in other parts of the state.

Tomi Van de Brooke, another candidate for the position who unfortunately could not make the forum, was contacted but was not available for interview