Lynne Riddle

Name: Lynne Riddle

Age: 72

Birthplace: Los Angeles

Residence: Newport Beach

Occupation: retired federal judge

Education: juris doctor from UC Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, 1977; post-doctoral fellow at the  department of philosophy at UC Santa Barbara, 1972; doctor of education from School of Education, Syracuse University, New York, 1968  (in residence 1963-66); bachelor's and master's degrees from Cal State Los Angeles, 1963, 1960; associate's degree from Mt. San Antonia College, Walnut, Calif., 1957; high chool diploma, El Monte High School, El Monte, Calif., 1955

Experience as an educator:

For nine years prior to law school, I was a graduate and undergraduate instructor and professor in "teacher training" programs at Syracuse University, Cal State Long Beach, the State University of Iowa, UC Santa Barbara and Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

While on the federal court bench I developed, and taught in, an advanced paralegal studies certificate program at UC Irvine Extension. Moreover, during my 14 years on the bench I was an organizer, presenter and/or panel member in numerous continuing legal education programs for lawyers in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

There are two additional, and unique, "educator" experiences I’ve enjoyed. While a doctoral student at Syracuse I was appointed on a part-time basis to conduct/teach physical training and "host country games" to female Peace Corps volunteers headed for assignments in East Africa. In connection with that assignment, I spent the summer of 1965 in East Africa with Operation Crossroads Africa, learning about Kenyan schools and "development education." Additionally, sandwiched between my post-doc studies and law school, I was the women’s advocate (a UC employee position) to the Office of the President of UC at Berkeley working in the affirmative action unit and charged to represent all women –- faculty, staff, students -- on all UC campuses regarding employment fairness and practices.  

Previously elected or appointed positions:

In 1988 I was appointed by the judges of the United States Court of Appeals to a 14-year term as a United States bankruptcy judge for the Central District of California encompassing Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. I retired from that position at the conclusion of my term in 2002.

Following interviews, I was appointed by the AFL-CIO office in Washington D.C. to act for three months as its election protection coordinator for Oregon, a swing state, during the 2004 presidential election. I visited/studied the 15 or so largest county clerk/registrar of voters offices to assess the integrity of the election process, including overseeing handling and counting ballots. Over a three to four week period, Oregon votes entirely by mail; the system has some vulnerabilities. During that period I also worked with local attorneys to discern and report fraud in the referendum/petition process, like dead-folks signing their names.

Community organizations you belong to:

Traditionally, just one: Orange County Women in Leadership. But that doesn’t tell the story.

Since retirement, my life, and  "community organization" involvement, has been exclusively dedicated to students at Orange Coast College, where I've invested all day, every day, exclusively working to create a better, more transparent and inclusive college and student government.  

Following classes in photography and journalism, for three years I became a photographer and "cub reporter" for the student newspaper, Coast Report. Thereafter, I was the student body president for two consecutive annual terms, and served on the Associated Students budget committee and Fiscal Affairs Council for two years before becoming the student body vice president of Fiscal Affairs; the body that has primary "watchdog" responsibility over the student body’s $1.6-million annual budget and its multi-million in savings.

Working with a small band of other students, that service helped uncover and correct some substantial record-keeping errors, inaccuracies and misallocations, many of which have now been cured with new rules and safeguards in place.

While serving student governmen,t I worked closely, as well, with faculty, staff and management on several shared governance committees to resolve campus-wide issues, while at the same time attending, and working with, OCC’s Academic Senate, the OCC Foundation and the district Board of Trustees.  It’s from that in-depth service I’ve come to know, from the grassroots up, what the campus and district needs are -- for students primarily, but for staff, faculty and management, too.

In fact, I believe it’s that cross-the-board service that led to my candidacy being the only one in this race endorsed by the Coast Federation of Educators -- the representative of full-time (and many part-time) faculty in the Coast Community College District.
Why should constituents vote for you?

First, because I have already "stood up" for students for almost seven years now; and not for financial or personal benefit. I’ve stood up, from the grassroots and in the face of institutional resistance, for financial and factual openness.

Second, my 14-year judicial experience, and the elevated intellectual habits and temperament I developed and exercised there, are exactly the skills most needed to serve as a college trustee. The task of a college trustee is to be the public’s watchdog over its use of tax money and the success of its schools. My tasks as a bankruptcy judge were similar: to act as a watchdog over cases to assure they met the community’s standards, while at the same time working publicly in a multi-party environment, together and in concert with others, and under the law, to rescue financially failing entities and institutions.  Because of that long training, experience and habit of mind I know how to, and in fact love, working with many competing parties cooperatively to find ways to transform a system that’s not working into one that does. And too -- known as a "hanging judge" when it came to fraud, dishonesty or waste in a case -- I stood up.  I’d use the same skills as your college trustee.    

Third, in this race, too, I stood up when it didn’t seem safe to do so. While being questioned over a substantial pension-increase issue, the strong, 25-year apparent-incumbent gave no signs of stepping aside and looked unbeatable in 2010. Believing taxpayer money should be used to provide more classes, I was the only candidate in this race that timely-filed papers to directly challenge the ethics of the apparent incumbent’s use of a legal loophole at taxpayer expense. When, surprisingly, the incumbent didn’t run the filing date was extended and two new candidates then jumped in.

Real leadership, in my view, takes place when the circumstances call for it -- not when it’s comfortable. I have a conscience for right, a "nose" for waste, greed and abuse, and the courage where the facts dictate to stand up for students, for faculty, for staff, and for taxpayers.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing your district and how do you plan to address it?

Students can’t get the classes they need, when they need them, in order to meet core requirements and complete sequences for certifications, transfer or graduation "on time." This substantially delays their entering the workforce or reaching their other goals. It also drives up their costs. The remedy? More resources for more classes. How?

First, we must do everything possible to increase state funding to all community colleges -- including ours. But that won’t be immediately fruitful. Thus, at the same time we have to find better ways to maximize the resources we have by collaboratively economizing. These efforts will assure the current budget crises does as little damage as possible to students’ course and classroom opportunities, as well as their success.

At the same time, too, because of current job and economic instability, we must find ways to accommodate even more students and make more expeditiously achievable career, vocational and technical course sequences and certificates available.  And it’s precisely because of the poor economy we must do all we can to keep classes and textbooks affordable.

Equally important, I’ll work tirelessly toward employing more full-time faculty. Educational economizing by "gutting" our most precious resource - experienced, proven, qualified faulty -- is no economy at all; it simply weakens our whole effort now and in the future.

In the last year, what is one issue that you think the sitting board members handled well and why?

It hasn’t been just one "issue" the board has handled well, they’ve turned the old to-down managerial world upside down for the better. A revolution occurred in November 2008 when Trustee Lorraine Prinsky was elected to the board, joining Trustees Jerry Patterson and Jim Moreno to bring about change. Those changes from the old ways to new will take time, but with vigilance they will continue to evolve.  Against traditional managerial habits, the board is actually achieving transparency; making available the facts and information taxpayers, faculty, staff and students need to participate effectively and democratically in their colleges.

An example during the past year that openness is working is the board's insistence on, and new chancellor's careful guidance in, combining the efforts of the faculty Senates and campus management, staff and students, working jointly to recommend large budget cuts to cover decreased state resources. The chancellor hosted and led open, public meetings over the whole year that resulted in trimming millions from our annual spending. Those collaborative efforts resulted too in substantial campus "buy-in."

From an OCC student government perspective, the new board change has been a miracle as well. We’d been attempting for four years to get access to our own student body financial records and be permitted to have an audit of certain Associated Student funds allocations and transactions. Those efforts fell on deaf ears until this past year when the board, for the first time, supported our concerns and directed the chancellor to have an audit conducted. ASOCC concerns were vindicated in that audit and campus management and students are now establishing systems to recover "mis-directed" funds and to put new record-keeping requirements in place.  

In the last year, what is one issue the board got wrong and what would you have done differently?

I think over the past year the board has acted brilliantly, and got nothing wrong.  I’m no rubber stamp, but neither will I fail to give credit where credit is due, nor criticize noble efforts because I might have done something in a different way.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World