Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Outgoing Antioch School Board trustees receive praise, offer a few digs in their parting remarks

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

Diane Gibson-Gray and Crystal Sawyer-White received praise and offered their farewell thoughts Wednesday night, Nov. 18, 2020. Herald file photos.

Board unanimously re-appoints Tony Tiscareno to district Personnel Commission

Allen Payton

During the Antioch School Board meeting Wednesday night, Nov. 18, 2020, outgoing Board President Diane Gibson-Gray and Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White offered their good-byes and received messages of thanks for their service. Both lost their races for re-election, this year. (See related article)

Gibson-Gray is completing three terms for a total of 12 years on the board, and Sawyer-White is completing her first. The winners in the election, Antonio Hernandez and Dr. Clyde Lewis, Jr. will take their seats during the first board meeting on December 16.

“I would like to thank Trustee Sawyer-White for her four years of service and Trustee Gibson-Gray for her 12 years of service. We wish you the very best,” said Superintendent Stephanie Anello. “It’s sometimes a thankless position. I know both of you have faced some very difficult decisions during your terms. So, I commend you.”

That was followed by several public comments, almost all thanking Gibson-Gray for her work as a board member.

“I’m overwhelmed by the comments,” Gibson-Gray responded.

The board members spoke, next.

“I would like to say thank you to each of you for being on the board and all that you’ve done. I’m a better board member for you being on the board and the kids are better in Antioch,” said Trustee Gary Hack.

“I feel the same,” said Trustee Mary Rocha. “It’s hard because I haven’t been here, that long. I appreciate you, Crystal for your commitment to special education.

“To Diane, we’ve been together a long time. When we’re leaving a position, as I have, it seems something is lifted off our shoulders. Head Start, Antioch-Pittsburg Head Start wanted to thank you for all the time you’ve given…for the families in this community. We were able to expand thanks to you.

Trustee Ellie Householder then read from prepared remarks, “I want to start off by thanking President Gibson-Gray for her service of 12 years to our school district. We haven’t always seen eye to eye. But that’s the beauty of our democracy. I wish you the very best.”

“I am so incredibly thankful to Trustee Sawyer-White,” Householder said. “She then spoke of “her lifting up marginalized voices…and lastly her warmth and compassion.”

“Trustee Sawyer-White, I want to add that we didn’t always agree on items, but during the meetings I believe we always treated each other with dignity and respect,” Gibson-Gray shared. “I wish you all the best, sincerely.”

“I agree we didn’t always meet eye to eye but it’s always about the students,” Sawyer-White responded. “Your 12 years on the board are to be commended.”

Staff then shared their thanks to both board members.

That was followed by Sawyer-White’s final response.

“I want to thank my husband, my mom, my dad, my family members and the community members who supported me during my entire term,” she said, and then congratulated the winners in the election, Dr. Clyde Lewis and Antonio Hernandez. “I recommend you always stay true to yourself.”

“Our effort to seek transparency will not be in vain,” Sawyer-White continued. She said her term has been “rewarding, humbling and tumultuous.  Some of the incumbents continue to allow the superintendent to disregard her accountability at the detriment of best interests of AUSD students. Based on the California School Boards Association, Superintendent Anello should have had four performance reviews and currently there’s only been one from, for the last four years, each year.”

“Although I didn’t have the opportunity to serve as president, but I would publicly like to state, Trustee Householder should fill my shoes,” she added.

“After 12 years of service, I am leaving with more knowledge of how school boards work on all levels and many more friends,” Gibson-Gray said in her farewell remarks. She mentioned her last four years were difficult and “the last two being the hardest,” “having my personal character and values attacked. I can assure you I am not a racist.” She then referred to a previous comment by Householder about her age.

“To those who disagreed with my decisions, I apologize,” Gibson-Gray continued. “But every one of my decisions were in the best interest of the Antioch Unified School District. I’m proud to say I attended every graduation during my 12  years. Antonio Hernandez and Clyde Lewis will do a great job replacing myself and Trustee Sawyer-White. They are younger, enthusiastic and have ideas to be explored.”

“Like Elvis, I am leaving the building and the school board will be in good hands,” she concluded.

Gibson-Gray later responded to Sawyer-White’s comments about Anello’s performance reviews explaining, “She received a performance review each year as is required. Crystal wanted us to give her four performance reviews each year.”

Other Board Action

The board then discussed the re-appointment of former Antioch City Councilman Tony Tiscareno to the district’s Personnel Commission to a three-year term.

Rocha made the motion and Householder seconded it. She then asked to hear from Tiscareno. How are we going to move forward without having people talk?”

“We had interviews, the last time because it was an open seat,” said Assistant Superintendent Jessica Romeo.

The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.

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Glover defeats Kramer handily for Supervisor, incumbents losing in college district races, Board of Education Area 3 race

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Supervisor Federal Glover won re-election to a sixth term in District 5. Unofficial results as of Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 at 11:44 pm. Screenshot from

Sandoval beating Enholm in college board Ward 5 seat; incumbent Gordon trailing former community college president Walters in Ward 2 seat;

Avila Farias leading incumbent in county Board of Education Area 3 race; incumbent Alleynne won’t claim victory yet in close race for Area 1

By Daniel Borsuk

Five-term Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors member Federal Glover won a sixth term of office on Tuesday, trouncing Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer by almost two-to-one with 34,649 votes to 17,861 votes for Kramer, according to the latest update from the Contra Costa Elections Division.

Glover told the Herald: “I want to thank the people for this opportunity to serve. I have to recognize the hard work that the people on the ground put into my campaign.  I want to thank the people for their support for me over the years.”

Glover said he will work to provide the resources to “keep people safe from COVID-19.”

Over the upcoming four years Glover, a retired Dow Chemical worker who had served five years on the Pittsburg city council before starting his Board of Supervisors career, said he envisions the rollout of the Northern Waterfront Plan that will help ignite economic development along the county’s waterfront from Pinole to Oakley.

The supervisor said the recent announcement that Amazon will operate a 150,000 square foot operation at the Contra Costa Logistics Center in Oakley is a prime example of what the waterfront plan aims to create.  The Amazon Fulfillment Center will create more than 2,000 jobs.

Kramer, who is currently involved in a Superior Court case for “willful or corrupt misconduct for making unwelcome sexual comments to people in his office” told the Contra Costa Herald about his election defeat. “I wish Federal well.  I thought that the citizens of Contra Costa County deserved a choice and that I made that choice for them.”

The runoff election pitting Glover and Kramer was called when neither candidate mustered more than 50 percent of the vote in the March election when a third candidate, Martinez businessman and Planning Commissioner Sean Trambley also ran splitting the vote.

Unofficial election results for Community College Board Wards 2 and 5 as of Tues., Nov. 3, 2020 at 11:44 pm. From

Sandoval Beating Enholm for Community College Board Seat Ward 5

In another election race, Fernando Sandoval in his second attempt is defeating two-term Contra Costa Community College District Board Ward 5 Commissioner Greg Enholm drawing 26,836 of the votes to 22,279 votes for Enholm.  Ward 5 includes Pittsburg, Oakley, and portions of Antioch, Brentwood, Byron, and Discovery Bay.

Sandoval, who campaigned for educational excellence and fiscal accountability, defeated the retired college professor Enholm. Sandoval said in a statement, “I’d like to acknowledge Greg Enholm for his service to the District.  I am grateful to all the voters and my supporters for helping me to achieve this victory!  I am excited to turn my policy platform of education equity, fiscal transparency, expansion of innovative online learning approaches and strengthening private/public partnerships into action. I plan to hold myself accountable to further these goals and to bring ‘Community’ back into the Community College District.  Our students, faculty, staff and residents deserve this type of leadership and I look forward to working with my fellow trustees to take our district to the next level of excellence.”

An enthusiastic Sandoval told the Herald he was happy with the results and thinks the gap in votes will be too much for Enholm to overtake him.

UPDATE: When reached for comment Enholm responded, “It is very clear to me that voters are expressing their frustration and even anger about colleges and schools not having in-person classes for students. Both College Board incumbents, both County Board of Education incumbents, and many school district (K-5, K-12, and high school) incumbents could lose when the final vote totals are released. None of us incumbents caused the pandemic and we all made difficult decisions to assure safety of our students, staffs, and visitors by minimizing the risk of illness or death from the coronavirus. The voters have the right to remove incumbents from office for any reasons they choose.”

Walters Beating Gordon for College Board Ward 2 Seat

Career community college professional Judy Walters of Martinez, won the Ward 5 seat to the Contra Costa Community College District, with 37,776 votes or 49.6 percent of the total votes cast for the seat held by incumbent Vicki Gordon of Martinez who has been on the College Board since 2012. She garnered 28,095 votes or 36.9%, so far.  John Michaelson also ran, collecting 10,270 votes for third place.

UPDATE: When reached for comment Walters responded Thursday night Nov. 5, “I am honored by the trust voters have placed in me to be their representative on the Contra Costa Community College Board.  As promised, I will lead with integrity and use my experience to ensure the educational excellence of our colleges while keeping student success at the core of my decision-making.”

Ward 2 encompasses Lafayette, Orinda, Walnut Creek, Martinez, Rodeo, Crockett, and parts of Alamo and Pleasant Hill.

Unofficial election results for county Board of Education Areas 1 and 3 as of Tues., Nov. 3, 2020 at 11:44 pm. From

County Board of Education Area 1 Race Too Close to Call

In the tight race for the Contra Costa County Board of Education Area 1 seat, incumbent Dr. Fatima Alleynne, had a narrow lead over challenger retired West Contra Costa Unified School District teacher Consuelo Lara, collecting 26,024 votes versus 25,586. “I do not feel comfortable claiming victory, as of yet,” she wrote in an email sent to the Herald. “Given the number of uncounted votes and how close the race is…I would prefer to wait for the process to conclude.”

The CCC Board of Education Area 1 includes Richmond, El Cerrito, Pinole, Crockett, and Hercules.

Farias Leading Incumbent Chavez for County Board of Education Area 3 Seat

In another County Board of Education race, AnaMarie Avila Farias was leading with 30,257 votes or 52.9 percent of the votes over incumbent Vicki Chavez with 26,871 votes for the Area 3 seat.  The Area 3 trustee represents Pacheco and parts of Clayton, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek. The former Martinez councilwoman, Farias had previously run unsuccessfully for Supervisor against Federal Glover in 2016.

Next Election Results Update Friday at 5:00 PM

The Contra Costa Elections Division is continuing to count the ballots that arrived by yesterday and will continue to arrive for as long as 17 more days including today. They have 28 days to finish the count and certify the election. So, final results may be as much as four weeks away. The next update of results is expected this Friday at 5:00 p.m.


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Both incumbents trailing in Antioch School Board races: Lewis has commanding lead in Area 3, Hernandez leading in Area 1

Wednesday, November 4th, 2020

Unofficial election results for Antioch School Board Area 3 results from and Trustee-elect Dr. Clyde Lewis, Jr.

By Allen Payton

In the race for Antioch School Board in Areas 1 and 3, both incumbents, Board President Diane Gibson-Gray seeking her third term, and Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White seeking her second, were trailing their first-place challengers. Newcomer Antonio Hernandez is in the lead in Area 1 by 240 voted with 1,579 votes to Gibson-Gray’s 1,339 and in Area 3 Lewis is ahead of Sawyer-White by 775 votes, as of the 11:44 p.m. Election Night update from the Contra Costa Elections office.

In a distant third place in Area 1 is Alexis Medina who dropped out of the race, but so far has 755 votes followed by another newcomer George Young with 548. In Area 3 former Antioch Planning Commission Chair Kenny Turnage is in third place with 1,167 votes trailing Sawyer-White by 657 votes.

Lewis posted on his Facebook Wednesday morning, “I was humbled to learn (this morning) that I had in fact won my race for Antioch School Board District 3, as last night I intentionally turned off all media and headed to bed by 8 30pm. Wow I’m still in shock.

I would like to begin today by thanking my family, friends, neighbors and community members for your wonderful support through this race. You are all awesome! This race was by no means a walk in the park.

It is said that a person is judged by their competition and both of you worked hard during this campaign and in that spirit, I would like to thank Ken Turnage II and Crystal White for a mostly clean race. I’m looking forward to working with everyone to bring the changes needed to support our kiddos, our schools and our community.

Now that the race is over and many on the campaign ran on creating unity, let’s keep that spirit and bring the supports needed to push #Antioch to where it needs to be.

Again, thank you for your support…now the work begins…

#TrusteeDrClydeLewis  #LetsGetToWork  #CommunityBuilding”

On his Facebook page on Wednesday morning, Turnage posted a congratulatory message to Lewis writing, “I would like to thank everyone who helped and gave support to my campaign it was very much appreciated. I would also like to congratulate Clyde Lewis on his victory in the School Board Race. I am sure he will do a good job for our students!” Turnage, in his humorous style later posted, “In true Mission Impossible fashion, this Facebook page will self destruct in 48 hours….Que(ue) Music!”

No message was posted by Sawyer-White on either of her Facebook pages nor did she call Lewis to concede the election or congratulate him. But Lewis said he did receive a call from Trustee Ellie Householder congratulating him.

Unofficial election results for Antioch School Board Area 1 race. From

Area 1 Race

Hernandez posted a semi-victory message on his campaign Facebook page Wednesday morning, writing, “We did it! The election night results are showing that when all is done I am likely to be the Antioch Unified School District Area 1 Trustee!

I am so thankful for all the support that I received. It’s not often that people like me run for local office. I grew up in low income household and was a first-generation college student. With 70% of our students on free/reduced lunch, I have been in the shoes of our students. I am excited to get to work on addressing the challenges that these students face and creating equity.

This race was not easy, it pushed me harder than I ever could have imagined. Thank you for making this such an exciting race Diane Gibson-Gray, Georgeyoung4change, and Alexis Medina. I know that we’ll continue to see your leadership and service here in Antioch, we’ll need it!

There are countless people to thank for this outcome including many family and friends, but I want to give a shout out to my campaign manager and political mastermind, José Parra.

Let’s get to work!”

Gibson-Gray posted a concession message to Hernandez on her Facebook page Wednesday morning writing, “Congratulations Antonio Hernandez Trustee Elect for AUSD District 1. Thank you everyone who provided friendship and support over the years. Diane”

In a post on his Facebook page Wednesday morning Young wrote, “Congratulations to Clyde Lewis (Area 3) and Antonio Hernandez (Area 1) for winning the school board race. I look forward to working with both of you over the next few years to make the needed changes in the Antioch Unified Schools.”

Next Update Friday at 5:00 PM

The Contra Costa Elections Division is continuing to count the ballots that arrived by yesterday and will continue to arrive for as long as 17 more days including today. They have 28 days to finish the count and certify the election. So, final results may be as much as four weeks away. The next update of results is expected this Friday at 5:00 p.m.

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Candidate for Antioch Mayor Makinano adds Library, Prewett Park amenities and completion to his Vision 2020

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Invites Antioch residents to add their ideas to the list

Gabe Makinano, announced additions to his Vision 2020 for Antioch, including the new, long-planned library at Prewett Park, the completion of the 115-acre park and a concrete pad at the park  for the annual Big Chill outdoor ice skating rink.

“Antioch is the second largest city in the county, yet Brentwood has a nicer, larger library, and Walnut Creek has two libraries. So, it’s time we have a nice, new, large library for our residents, too,” Makinano said. “The location has been planned for the open land next to the Community Center at Prewett Park.”

Location of the proposed new library at Prewett Park on Lone Tree Way in Antioch.

“The addition of this library to our community will help with the education of our students and all residents,” he added.

Makinano wants to complete the 115-acre Master Plan for Prewett Park – the west side remaining land, from the parking lot to Deer Valley Road, including the library. He proposes requiring the new homes in the Sand Creek area and other parts of Antioch pay for it, like the Mello Roos District homeowners paid for the other portion of Prewett Park, including the Antioch Waterpark and Antioch Community Center.

“This is one of the city’s Community Parks and is supposed to serve the entire city,’ he said. “It needs to be completed. The Disc Golf Course can remain in that area. But there’s room for much more on the west side.”

Map showing the western portion of Prewett Park included in the 115-acre master plan.

Finally, Makinano wants the city to build a concrete pad to accommodate an annual outdoor Ice Skating Rink at Prewett Park on the eastern end near the Skate Park. He will work with Big Chill owners who are looking for a permanent location. The pad can be used for other, outdoor and tent covered events during the rest of the year.

Site of the concrete pad Makinano is proposing be used for the Big Chill outdoor ice skating rink and other events and activities.

“Let’s have more fun things to do for our kids and families, all year long, throughout the city,” he said.

Gabriel Makinano

Makinano’s vision includes a variety of items under the six areas he is focusing on during his campaign and will work on once elected: Increased Public Safety; Local, Quality Jobs; Improved Education; Housing for All; and a Revitalized Rivertown – Antioch’s Historic Downtown, and now, Parks & Recreation.

He will take his leadership skills, community connections and what he’s already been working on, along with the rest of the city council and staff to make the items in his vision a reality.

Vote Makinano for Mayor, the only candidate with a vision for a brighter future for Antioch and a plan to make it happen. To see his entire Vision 2020 for Antioch visit If residents want to help add to the vision, they’re invited to email their ideas to Gabe at If their idea is included in his Vision 2020, they will get the credit and have their name mentioned with their idea.

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College District governing board approves new Chancellor contract for Dr. Bryan Reece

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Includes base annual salary of $315,000, with performance-based incentives

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, CCCCD

Dr. Bryan Reece. From his website.

At their October 14, 2020, meeting, the Governing Board approved the contract for Dr. Bryan Reece to become the ninth permanent Chancellor of the Contra Costa Community College District (District). The Chancellor Emeritus of California Community Colleges was hired by a board vote during their meeting on Sept. 22. (See related article)

“We are excited to work with Dr. Reece because the District needs a strong and visionary leader to meet the challenges we face,” said Governing Board President Rebecca Barrett.  “He brings an exemplary higher education background and experiences that will help us address the social justice and equity issues we face, particularly for our students. We look forward to the transformation and innovation our District will make under his leadership that will increase the success of our students.”

Dr. Reece has been working in higher education for over 30 years, with 15 years of academic and private sector leadership experience. He has taught Political Science as a tenured community college faculty member for 19 years and has a documented record of moving community colleges in directions that improve the academic success for students across all groups and has particular expertise with student populations from historically underserved communities.

Dr. Reece has been a transformational figure at three California community colleges, including Cerritos College, Crafton Hills College and Norco College. His most recent accomplishment came under his leadership as the President of Norco College where he organized college and community leaders into teams that implemented programs to improve the lives of students, community members, and college personnel.

“I am honored the Governing Board has selected me to lead this great District,” said Reece.  “Our future success can only happen if we all work together for the good of our students. I look forward to the challenge of bringing together our trustees, faculty, classified professionals and managers as we engage more deeply with our community and business leaders, and transform the lives of our students as they achieve their educational goals with us.”

Dr. Reece will start work on November 1, 2020, and receive a base annual salary of $315,000, with performance-based incentives. The contract will run through June 30, 2022, at which time the Governing Board can consider up to a two-year extension based on an evaluation that exceeds expectations.

Dr. Reece has a Bachelor of arts degree, Master of arts degree and doctorate in Political Science from the University of Southern California.

About the College District

The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.



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Community College District announces Spring 2021 will be online

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, CCCCD

The Contra Costa Community College District (District) has decided to offer predominantly online courses and student services for the entire 2020-21 academic year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A limited number of students will continue to be allowed on campus to attend hard-to-convert courses and labs — strict adherence to county social distancing guidelines will be enforced to ensure student and employee safety. The District has been operating remotely since March 16, 2020.

“We thought it was best to make this decision as early as possible to give our students, classified professionals, faculty and administrators the opportunity to plan accordingly,” said interim chancellor Gene Huff. “This has been a challenging time for many of our students who are taking online courses for the first time, and we want to thank them for their perseverance and flexibility. Our many support services like tutoring and counseling are ready to assist our students achieve their academic goals with us.”

Registration for spring 2021 courses begins in November and depends on a student’s priority. To view what classes may be offered, students should visit their InSite account or college website of their choice for specific details.

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Letters: Writer wants change, new community college board member for Ward 5

Saturday, October 17th, 2020


Ward 5 of the Community College Board needs change – Enholm must go!

Ward 5 of the Contra Costa Community College District, including Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Knightsen and Bethel Island, is badly in need of new leadership. The current Trustee for this area, Greg Enholm, has engaged in poor decisions, erratic behavior, and unethical acts that have not served the District, Los Medanos College in particular, very well.

This is not new, but enough is enough.

When the Board of Trustees approved in a 4-1 vote the building of the new Campus located in Brentwood, on donated land, with an approved Bond Measure E in 2014, Enholm continued to oppose its construction. An alternative site would have taken years for approval adding costs for acquisition of land and increased taxes. The new campus was needed as the existing leased building in a retail district of Brentwood was over-capacity. In 2016 Enholm also recommended the residents of the nearby Trilogy community sue the District to keep its construction at bay.

This opposition caused numerous delays, added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost due to litigation, and for a time imperiled the use of the approved Bond as expenditures needed to begin within an approved time. Covid-19 has impacted its opening, but the students will be served well by this new educational facility.

Especially troubling has been allegations of multiple ethics violations by Enholm that have recently come to light. He has not denied the allegations. The allegations were found to be true by an investigator of the District which included inappropriately trying to get a friend re-classified to be considered for a top-level position as well as ghost-writing an email to the District. As part of the investigation it was noted that Enholm went directly to the Chancellor to ask him to reconsider his friend for the position even though the person was already deemed to be unqualified for the position.

Of late, with the District facing challenges due to COVID-19, he also voted to terminate upper-level district managers, ignoring numerous requests from faculty and classified staff to reconsider that decision. Enholm has stopped listening to the faculty, staff, and his constituents and has engaged in recent actions that have put our District’s financial future at risk.

It is time for new leadership on the Contra Costa Community College District Board: Elect Fernando Sandoval.

Valerie T Lopez



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Candidate drops out of Antioch School Board Area 1 race, endorses Hernandez

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Screenshot of Alexis Medina post on her now deleted campaign Facebook page on Oct. 5, 2020. Provided by Antonio Hernandez.

By Allen Payton

Candidate for Antioch School Board in Area 1, Alexis Medina, announced on her now deleted campaign Facebook page on October 5, that she was dropping out of the race and endorsing her former opponent, Antonio Hernandez, instead. The Herald learned of the announcement in an email from Hernandez sent on Oct. 6 but not viewed until Tuesday. Medina did not contact the Herald to inform us of her decision.

“I noticed you published a candidate profile for Alexis,” he wrote. She has since dropped out of the race and has chosen to support my campaign. Thought you should know.”

In her Facebook post, Medina wrote, “During this unprecedented era of COVID-19 we have all struggled with our new normal. For me that means realizing that running a campaign and participating in distance learning, while also maintaining a balanced and healthy family life is a task to difficult to sustain. Therefore, I have decided to no longer actively seek the office of Antioch Unified School Board Trustee.

I am delighted to throw my support for Antioch Unified School Board Area 1 to Antonio Hernandez.

Thank you all for reaching out and supporting our campaign.


Alexis Medina”

“I’m excited and proud to have the support of Alexis Medina,” Hernandez stated when reached for comment. “Her campaign, like mine, was fighting for equity and community inclusion. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Alexis’ leadership in the future.”

An effort to contact Medina to verify her announcement was unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check later for any updates to this report.

Medina’s name will still appear on the ballot and she can still receive votes, and even win the election. Her withdrawal from the race leaves Hernandez, fellow challenger George Young and incumbent Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray remaining in the race. Voting has already begun and Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd.

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