Nearly two weeks after being told she made a miracle comeback, Marsha Croninger still has a hard time believing that she won a seat as a Santa Barbara City College trustee.
Croninger, who rode a surge of provisional and mail-in ballots after finding herself more than 800 votes behind Desmond O’Neill in the District 3 race on election night, was sworn in alongside challengers Marty Blum, Peter Haslund, and Lisa Macker on Monday afternoon in the school’s Administration Building courtyard.
“I didn’t think [the provisional and mail-in ballots] would fundamentally change the votes,” Croninger said. “I’m still surprised.”
Santa Barbara Judge Thomas Anderle swore in the four fresh faces that will replace more than 100 years of experience in the form of Kay Alexander, Desmond O’Neill, Sally Green, and Joe Dobbs.
The crowd erupted in laughter after Anderle, who has worked with the college since he arrived as a lawyer in 1965, joked about giving advice to City College students who come through his courtroom.
“I tell students every time they come to me, ‘keep attending, because this is what’s going to get you ahead,’” Anderle said. “Thank you City College, for sending so many of your students, and even your instructors, to my courtroom.”
Morris Jurkowitz was the only incumbent to attend the ceremony. Luis Villegas and Joan Livingston were out of town on business.
Jurkowitz said that although he still maintains much respect for the former trustees, moving forward with a new slate was just a matter of time.
“I still have the greatest respect for the former trustees who put in a lot of good work here,” Jurkowitz said. “[The upcoming months] will be interesting times, but they’ll be productive times…It’s going to be a learning process.”
A two-day orientation is scheduled for the trustees during which each of the college’s vice presidents will brief them on a variety of issues. In January, Superintendent-President Andreea Serban will accompany the newly inducted to Sacramento, where the four will attend workshops to learn the ins, outs, and responsibilities of holding a trustee position.
“We look forward to working with the new trustees,” Serban said. “It’s going to be a great collaboration.”
Serban said that finding ways to maintain a positive student experience within tight budget constraints is a top priority for the group.
“This is a challenging time for colleges — ours included,” Serban said. “We know that [the new trustees] are all dedicated and we will move forward as a whole.”
Blum, who served as mayor of Santa Barbara for eight years before winning one of two seats in District 3, is excited to begin her new job where she plans on shaking things up a bit. Among the changes she and the new group would like to see is transparency of board agendas by getting the Thursday trustee meetings on public television. Blum also holds firm to the new idea of board members keeping weekly office hours and making their email addresses available to the public.
They are: Marty Blum, email@example.com; Marsha Croninger, firstname.lastname@example.org; Lisa Macker, email@example.com; and Peter Haslund, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We want to make the community feel welcome,” Blum said. “We want them to know that they are being listened to.”
Lisa Macker, an accountant and local business owner who won the District 4 seat from Katherine Alexander, is looking forward to using her experience with nonprofits for the college’s benefit.
“What we’re bringing is experience and background,” Macker said.
Like Serban, teacher emeritus Peter Haslund — who taught political science at City College for 40 years — is focused on crafting a strategy for the college to succeed within economic constraints.
“We’re all about the same thing,” Haslund said. “And that’s benefitting the college.”