In 2010 having just finished eight years as mayor of Santa Barbara, I was elected to serve on the SBCC Board of Trustees, along with Marsha Croninger. We ran as part of a reform slate in response to policies which were supported by the board then in place. The issues that we ran on have improved greatly with a new president, new mission and vision statements, and an education master plan. However, there are now new challenges at SBCC — challenges I don’t believe Marsha is equipped to deal with and issues that she may have actually exacerbated. That is why I disagree with the Independent‘s endorsement to re-elect her. I have endorsed Darcél Elliott for SBCC Trustee.
Board tensions with faculty, staff, and students are at an all-time high, due largely to how they are treated by our board, including by Marsha. She stated her view on students quite clearly during a recent episode of Newsmakers with Jerry Roberts, when she said that she did not believe students to be constituents of the Board of Trustees. Her dismissive attitude diminishes and demoralizes the very population that she should be supporting and encouraging. She also is dismissive of staff time and meddles in everyday issues, which caused accreditation to take notice, a first for SBCC.
In contrast, I have known Darcél Elliott for 10 years and have seen how she empowers constituencies around her. I worked with her in 2011-12 when she helped organize my Mesa neighborhood to transfer Cliff Drive from a state highway to a city street. After 20 years of unsuccessful efforts by the neighborhood, I watched Darcél work masterfully with the city and Caltrans to get it done in two years. She is collaborative, committed, and just the type of leader Santa Barbara City College needs at this time. I urge Area 5 residents to vote for Darcél Elliott for SBCC Trustee.