Lingering bitterness over the recently resolved parking war between Santa Monica College and the surrounding community has filtered into the Nov. 8 election to fill three open seats on the college Board of Trustees.
Incumbents Ilona Katz, Blyden Boyle and Pat Nichelson are considered favorites despite a challenge from Anita Walker, a Sunset Park resident. Walker says the college continues to create problems for neighborhood residents despite recent efforts to solve the parking problems. The top three vote-getters in the nonpartisan election will win.
The parking solution came when Sunset Park residents were granted preferential parking earlier this year. At the same time, the college moved to reduce the demand for parking by providing shuttle bus service to an off-campus parking lot and by leasing space for a 500-student satellite campus at Santa Monica Airport.
Walker, 42, a foster mother and former college teacher, agreed that “finally the dispute was resolved, but we still have problems.” She says there are still problems with parking and cars honking horns and alarms going off. “The board has been insensitive,” she said.
Katz, 55, who has served on the board for 11 years, disputed the charge that she or the board has been insensitive.
Goal Is Compromise
“I called the first public meetings on the parking issue in 1977,” she said, adding that the agreement came about after the community, the city and the college were able to reach a compromise. Katz said she intends to continue to work for compromises with the city and the community.
One of the goals she says she has for her next 4-year term is to work with the school district and city to see if the college can expand child care services for its students and faculty.
Providing more child care on campus is a goal of trustee Nichelson, 46, a professor of religious studies and president of the faculty union at Cal State Northridge.
Nichelson was appointed to the board in 1987 to fill the vacancy left by the death of trustee Anne Peters. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for the board in 1986, losing by only 80 votes.
Incumbent Boyle, 62, says he wants to find ways for the college to help deal with the drop-out problem.
“We should be reaching out to the elementary school children to show children what college life is about,” said Boyle, a pharmacist who has served on the board since 1983.
“We have very excellent programs at this college, but a lot of people don’t know that. More people should know that there is a good community college here and that more people should use it.”