Candidates promote their experience, share goals

Liz Meyer is running for the Copper Mountain Community College District board.

YUCCA VALLEY — Candidates running for the Town Council and public districts for health care and education made their cases to a room full of voters last week. The meet-and-greet was hosted by the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce and featured five-minute statements from candidates.

Town Council,

District 1

Number of seats: one

Candidates: Jim Schooler and Edmund Shadman

Schooler highlighted his experience in government and nonprofit work. He retired in 2013 after nearly 21 years as director of community services for Yucca Valley. He has been a board member of several nonprofit organizations, including the Basin Wide Foundation and the Yucca Valley High School Career Pathways Foundation.

“What I have learned is there is always more to the story than meets the eye, so as issues come up I know you have to listen more,” he said. “If you take the first piece of info that you get and act on that you’re missing the boat because there’s always more.”

Shadman said it’s time to bring neighborhoods together and address crime.

“I see and sense from people that they don’t feel the community is very safe. I run into a lot of people who have had burglaries at their home,” he said.

While the town spends nearly half its budget on the Sheriff’s Department contract, homes are still being burglarized, he said, and Shadman suggested holding a block party as one solution.

“If everyone knows each other in the neighborhood, then it builds up community. It also keeps neighborhoods safer,” he said. “Everyone’s watching out for each other.”

Town Council,

District 3

Number of seats: one

Candidates: Jo Ann Bollen and Merl Abel

Bollen went through a string of ideas for improving the town, starting with improving technology infrastructure. A more powerful and reliable internet would attract more small and medium-sized businesses that provide living wages and good benefits, she said.

She wants to see the town adapt abandoned buildings into low-income housing and homeless shelters “The local homeless people need shower and laundry facilities right away,” she said.

“I’d like to work with some of the small businesses to help make their storefronts more welcoming to tourists,” she added. “We could even get volunteers to help with weeding and small beautification projects.”

Abel, a member of the council since 2011, said he wants to continue to serve.

“My service to the community starts with my job as a teacher. I see first-hand the struggles my students and their families go through,” Abel said, citing poverty and addiction as examples.

“Secondly, my service comes in the form of serving here at Town Hall.”

He was on the first traffic commission when town incorporated and went on to serve on the parks and recreation and the planning commission.

If elected to a new term, he said he would like to continue to work with San Bernardino County on illegal dumping, the public library and a new fire station.

Hi-Desert Memorial Healthcare District

Number of seats: two

Candidates: Beverly Scott, Misty Evans and Marjorie Doyle

Scott said her passion is for improving mental-health services.

“Services are better in the Inland Empire, I admit that, but we need a whole lot more up here and if I’m elected to the board of the health care district, that is going to be my No. 1 agenda,” she said.

“I’m also interested in bringing drug and alcohol addiction services to the Morongo Basin,” Scott said. “If we don’t get an inpatient program, at the very least we do need a clinic where people can receive treatment for their drug addictions.”

Outreach to older people and a women’s health clinic are two other goals.

Evans, a nurse, is running after working a rotation in the home health program.

“A lot of what I discovered during that experience in my nursing career is that people are really lost within our medical system,” she said

She found that many were suffering with chronic wounds. “The smells of rotting flesh and limbs I was afraid they would lose was a wake-up call to me on the state of medicine.”

“I believe that every person has the right to health care. I believe we have to increase our outreach. I believe we have to do more for community education and resources,” Evans said.

Doyle, the incumbent, is a former director of nursing at Hi-Desert Medical Center. As part of the board, she approved funding for an assessment that found factors like poverty and food deprivation are affecting locals’ health. In response, they’re expanding services, starting with a mobile clinic that was delivered last week.

“Our community deserves not just adequate but great health care, and I am here to move in the direction of making sure we provide that,” she said.

Her three future goals: bring more primary care physicians to the Basin, provide tele-health services and continue to expand care.

Copper Mountain Community College District governing board

Number of seats: two

Candidates: Eva Kinsman, Liz Meyer and Ronald Alvin Stewart

Stewart did not participate.

Kinsman was a public school teacher and principal for 33 years. When she retired in 2001, she ran for the college board. “I’ve been on the college board for 17 years so I have the knowledge, I think, and the experience, and I hope I can continue to put that to good use,” Kinsman said.

During her tenure, the college has increased enrollment, added a registered nursing program and expanded health science, law enforcement and workforce development programs.

“A community college should and — does in our case — add value to its community,” she said.

Her focus is on student access and student success.

Meyer taught at Twentynine Palms High School for 39 years and is president of the CMC board of trustees, where she’s served 13 years.

“This college is the most powerful agent for change that we have out here in our desert community and it’s an honor to be part of the leadership of that,” she said.

During her tenure, the college has seen steady enrollment growth, begun an athletic program and “made great strides” working with Morongo Unified School District.

The board also oversees the budget. “We have consistently overseen a budget that is balanced,” she said.

Morongo Unified School District

governing board

Area 4

Number of seats: one

Candidates: L Hilary Slotta and Forrest McCracken

McCracken did not participate.

Slotta was first elected to the board of trustees in 2014. “I truly care about our communities and I have lived here, attended school here, raised a family here and worked here for 50 years and will continue to serve you,” she said.

Achievements of the board during her last tenure include new safety measures at all schools, dual-enrollment classes that offer college credit and the opening of the Academy of College and Career Access.

“I want our students to have the opportunity to graduate and be college bound or gain career or technical skills that will positively impact their future,” she said.

Area 5

Number of seats: one

Candidates: Jennifer Decker and Chris Proudfoot

Proudfoot did not participate.

Decker, retired from San Bernardino County administration, was recovering from a minor surgery and sent her daughter, Quenby Davis, to represent her and read a statement.

“I’m quite familiar with government funding, budgeting, regulation and reporting,” she stated. 

Decker started working when she was 10, earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz and has served on the American Red Cross board, the Community Legal Clinic board, long-term care commissions in two counties, and transportation advisory board in Santa Cruz and San Bernardino counties.

At large

Number of seats: one

Candidates: Kerri Condley and Donna Muñoz

Neither candidate participated. Muñoz has issued a statement that she filed to run when there was no other candidate, but now that there is, if elected, she will not accept the position. Condley’s mother was ill, according to the chamber of commerce.

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