Rio Hondo Community College District

The major issues in this election for the Board of Trustees are how to reduce the college budget in light of expected state cutbacks, while maintaining quality of services, and how to make the college more responsive to community needs, especially in the area of vocational education.

Enrollment: 15,167

Areas served: Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, South El Monte and portions of El Monte, Norwalk, La Mirada, Downey, La Puente and Industry

On the ballot: An incumbent vs. challenger in Area 2, which covers Pico Rivera and a small portion of South El Monte. In Area 4, serving south Whittier and Santa Fe Springs, incumbent Ralph S. Pacheco is not seeking reelection.



Bill Hernandez

Board member since 1983

Age: 43


Profession: equipment maintenance worker for the Southern California Rapid Transit District

Residence: Pico Rivera

Remarks: “The college is financially healthy. For the past 12 years we have had a balanced budget with a reserve, but (with state cuts) we need to readdress our budget matters. I believe I have a vision of what is needed in the community. The college is in a changing mood; the vision I see includes new forms of teaching, and new forms of programs to meet the challenges. We no longer compete among ourselves, we compete globally. We have to take the lead as community colleges in California to address these issues. My career and community involvement have given me that expertise.”


Maria Elena Martinez

Age: 43

Profession: acting dean of academic affairs at East Los Angeles College

Residence: Pico Rivera


Remarks: “There will be more cuts to our budget and anyone on the board needs to make informed decisions. After 13 years in administrative work at community colleges, I think I can do that. My focus is always on students. It’s going to be a very lean time and we have to make sure that we don’t cut so severely that we can’t rebuild. There has to be some perspective on what we’re doing. Services have to be as comprehensive as possible and should be coordinated with the educational program. The college needs to focus on the reality of its own community. It needs to look at its service area and work with those communities to strengthen programs that are viable.”


Alex Morales

Age: 40

Profession: Elementary school principal, member of Little Lake City School District board

Residence: Norwalk

Remarks: “Basically I want to improve the entire college program. I want to develop an on-campus child-care program, improve communications between local high school districts and the college, improve multicultural programs and assist in the development of business and educational partnerships. Basically I want to provide close collaboration between the faculty, administration and students to enhance the working and learning environment. I am an experienced educator, have taught at the community college, and am a product of the community college system. I think that my experience in education lends itself to providing leadership at the college.”

Edward Ortell


Age: 72

Profession: retired Air Force colonel, part-time lecturer in astronomy

Residence: Whittier

Remarks: “Education has been very good to me. In my family I have nine teachers, and I feel that in this day and age I have some ideas that could be instituted into the community college. I feel that we should (be teaching) marketable skills, especially in electronics. We should introduce some ethical and moral values in our sciences. We should be certain that our transfer students do well at four-year colleges. We should make efforts to see that our college is as drug-free as possible. And since the college is in rugged terrain, we should make a little more effort to make it more easily accessible to handicapped people.”