Letter writer explains why she supports Sandoval for community college board


We need to do a better job in creating career pathways for our students.

In 2014 our county taxpayers narrowly passed Measure E authorizing the district to increase its debt by $450 million through issuing general obligation bonds in that amount. This money was designed to be used to work towards the expansion and modernization of school facilities urged by the district’s Master Plan. Specifically, the proposed bond money was earmarked for increasing facility access to those with disabilities, improving campus grounds and updating classroom and lab technology.

The new 17-acre Brentwood Center as an extension of Los Medanos College (LMC) will add more capacity to the Contra Costa County Community College District and is planned to open in 2020. Enrollment trends and the use of on-line facilities indicate that having a smaller center is the best use of tax dollars. A feasibility study was conducted which looked at alternative sites and size of the future center.

However, new buildings alone will not prepare out existing and future students.

AB288  which was passed by the legislature late in 2015 and signed into law by the Governor  established the College and Career Access Pathway partnership and expanded student eligibility and offers high school students the opportunity for concurrent enrollment for college courses.

However, many core issues still need to be addressed.

It takes on average a little over seven years for students to graduate/complete community college due to a variety of reasons which impacts their ability to transfer to a 4 year institution in a timely fashion or have marketable skills in the local community for earning a decent wage. Students cannot get the courses they need at LMC in some cases. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is the future however LMC students need to take required classes at Diablo Valle College (DVC) for the transfer requirement. There are not enough internships for all students who need them available.

The local labor force in Contra Costa County has an approximate  28% non-participation rate for those aged 18-28. This severely impacts those students who attend community college as a means to a better life with decent wages and indirectly the community in which they live.

Greg Enholm, the current incumbent governing board trustee for our community voted to approve the Bond for the construction of the new 17 acre Brentwood center; however, he continues to advocate for a 110 acre campus which would increase taxes on working families.

Mr Enholm pits Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood against each other for the new Super-campus. He has also advised some citizens to seek legal action to block the building of the Brentwood center. He indicated that the reason he won his first election was in part because he advocated for the building of the larger campus to those cities. He continues to promote the larger campus, knowing that the State College Board only approved the smaller 17 acre campus, just to get obtain votes.

Fernando Sandoval has a much broader focus than just administratively advocating Governing Board policies. He has listened to the community and understands that we need to do more to help our students. His background in business, finance, technology and education can provide new insights for preparing the students of today and the future. His expertise in consulting and successfully driving change will be a positive for the community.  As a Vietnam Veteran he has been at the forefront of ensuring that what needs to be done, gets done.

Fernando understands that the students need to engaged with the faculty and is promoting inclusion and diversity as an enabler for new ideas and improved graduation rates.

Fernando has talked to many community business leaders and understands that new skills need to be in place in order for students to have the opportunity for local jobs quickly.

Fernando is an advocate for the inclusion of Innovative and Emerging Technologies for the jobs of tomorrow today. He will be working with information technology recruiters and major technology companies to look to the East Bay sourcing future jobs. Many of these jobs can be done here.

Fernando understands that having a diverse and well educated work force can be a catalyst for driving well paying jobs locally and improve the value of community assets.

Fernando is bilingual with English being his second language. This will allow him to connect more easily with the growing Hispanic community to hear their concerns and promote education as a priority.

Fernando has a wide base supporters include John Marquez; existing Board member, Enrique Palacios; Pittsburg USD Deputy Superintendent of Schools, Mary Rocha; Antioch City Council, Kevin Romick, Mayor of Oakley.

Fernando is a fiscal conservative and serves on the Contra Costa County Taxpayers Association, and is member of the Pittsburg USD Citizens Bond Oversight Committee

Valerie Lopez


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