(NORTH COASTAL SAN DIEGO COUNTY) – Citizen taxpayers have established REFORM MIRACOSTA, a political action committee to promote transparency and accountability among trustees and to stop illegal, windfall buyouts at MiraCosta College.
“No one can dispute that the public’s trust in MiraCosta has been eroded by a trustee majority, which illegally misappropriated over $1.1 million of the public’s money,” said Jean Moreno, the Chairwoman of REFORM MIRACOSTA, and onetime trustee herself of MiraCosta (1976 – 2003). “We must re-build public confidence in this wonderful community college by electing in November new trustees who will provide strong leadership and put taxpayers and students first.”
In June 2007, the District’s Board of Trustees, including incumbent Trustees Post, Fernandez, and Adams, approved an illegal $1.662 million settlement with the College’s former President Victoria Munoz-Richart. Leon Page, a Carlsbad resident, successfully sued to challenge this illegal golden parachute which greatly exceeded the statutorily-sanctioned eighteen months of compensation maximum buyout. The California Court of Appeals agreed and held that the settlement caused the illegal expenditure of public funds, unjustly enriching Richart. Page now serves as treasurer of REFORM MIRACOSTA.
“Trustees Post, Fernandez, and Adams not only stubbornly supported the embattled president, but they also approved Richart’s $1.662 million settlement – and did so twice – and then wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on lawyers in a failed effort to defend this illegal expenditure of public funds. Removing Post, Fernandez, and Adams from the Board is not personal. It is simply a matter of taxpayer self-defense,” said Page.
The deep divisions caused by the Richart settlement continued to roil the District and its Board long after Richart’s resignation. In February 2008, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges criticized the Board’s infighting and warned trustees to correct problems in leadership, education and communication within two years or lose accreditation.
“The Board’s dysfunction was the direct result of the refusal of Post, Adams, and Fernandez to accept responsibility for their mistakes – first in supporting Richart and then in showering her with money in a bogus settlement,” said Moreno.
“Good government and good sense demand that we sweep Post, Adams, and Fernandez from office and install people of integrity, experience, and judgment,” said retired political science professor Leon Baradat, a leading supporter of REFORM MIRACOSTA.
REFORM MIRACOSTA (Campaign Identification No. 1327702) has already received more than $10,000 in contributions and will campaign to elect a slate of four (4) reform candidates – three challengers and one incumbent – in the November 2, 2010, general election.
**Challenging incumbent Rudy Fernandez is JEANNE A. SHANNON (Email: Jeanne4MiraCosta@yahoo.com), a certified public accountant, who provides tax preparation, consulting, and planning services for small businesses in San Diego County. Ms. Shannon, a resident of Carmel Valley, is a Past President of the San Diego Chapter of the California Society for Certified Public Accountants and has taught financial accounting at the University of Phoenix and the University of San Diego.
**Opposing Greg Post is Rancho Santa Fe resident RON RUUD (Ph. 858-759-3534), recently retired from the law firm ATKINSON, ANDELSON, LOYA, RUUD & ROMO, where, as a practicing attorney, he represented governing boards of K-12 and community college districts for thirty years.
**Taking on incumbent Charles Adams is Oceanside resident DAVID BROAD, Ph.D. (microbiology), (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) who currently serves as president of MiraCosta’s Foundation, which raises money for scholarships. Dr. Broad led the successful start-up and operation of Genentech’s Oceanside facility until his retirement in 2008.
**Asking voters for their support in his first election is Oceanside’s incumbent Trustee WILLIAM FISCHER (Email: email@example.com), who was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2009 to complete the term of Judy Strattan. Dr. Fischer taught English at State University of New York (Buffalo) and served for five years as the vice provost for faculty development. REFORM MIRACOSTA supports Trustee Fischer because of his concern for students and his sound, thoughtful judgment.
“REFORM MIRACOSTA is absolutely committed to reforming the district’s Board of Trustees,” said Moreno. “The election of these top-tier candidates who are committed to open and transparent governance can help make MiraCosta once again preeminent among community colleges nationwide.”
The MiraCosta Community College District, which stretches along the coast from Camp Pendleton to Sorrento Valley, is governed by seven trustees. Each board member must live in his or her trustee area, but all are elected by voters throughout the District. For more information about REFORM MIRACOSTA, please visit our website, www.reformmiracosta.org