Clifton the Only Peralta Trustee To Face Challenge In November

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday August 18, 2006

There will be no more massive turnovers in the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees, at least for now. 

Two years ago, four incumbent trustees chose not to run for re-election, leading to a majority of the board as first term members after the November, 2004 elections. 

This November, however, two of three of the remaining incumbents will be unopposed, with no one filing against trustee Bill Riley in Area 5 or Linda Handy in Area 3. In Area 7, two-term incumbent Alona Clifton is being challenged by educational consultant Abel Guillen. 

Clifton said in a telephone interview that among her major concerns “is being able to increase diversity among the faculty and classified staff and in our contracts; that’s one of my mainstays.” Clifton said that she will be “looking into how we might be most effective in use of the [recently passed] Measure A bond money to improve the educational environment at the Peralta Colleges. That will be really exciting. But the area that concerns most of us is insuring that we have student success. That means making sure students have adequate access to classes and facilities. Retention of existing students is also a big issue, probably more so with community college students. They are more challenged because many of them are working or have children, along with their student responsibilities.” 

Meanwhile, Clifton’s opponent, Abel Guillen, got a boost this week with endorsements from both the Peralta Federation of Teachers PAC and the Peralta Chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 790.  

Saying that “we need Peralta,” Peralta Federation of Teachers PAC Secretary Helene Maxwell said in a prepared statement that “Abel is smart and progressive [and] has a clear vision of how the Peralta Colleges can better serve students and our community. We are confident that, if elected, Abel will use his considerable skill and experience to help steer Peralta in a more positive direction.”