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San Diego County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Smart Voter

A CANDIDATE TO RESTORE THE PUBLIC TRUST AT SOUTHWESTERN COLLEGE

By Mitch Thompson

Candidate for Board Member; Southwestern Community College District; Seat 1

This information is provided by the candidate
We need term limits, campaign contribution limits, a Board that doesn't meddle in adminitrative matters and that looks at things with a critical eye. We need a Board that only represents students and families of the district above all others, especially the special interests that are financing the current Board members. We need a Board that will respond to the Grand Jury Report and one that can embrace the concept of "Shared Governance". WE NEED CHANGE.
As a local businessman, former banker, long-time community volunteer and Southbay resident, I have grown increasingly concerned at the conduct of this Board in its governance. Decisions are often based on personal relationships and hidden agendas without proper public notice and citizen review. A stinging County Grand Jury Report criticized the conduct of the Board and far too little has been done to change things.

When elected, I will work hard to do the following:

1. Utilize my best judgment to make decisions that improve student success and further the public good.
2. Utilize my many years of experience in business, banking, and public finance to keenly monitor the college budget so that maximum funding goes where it belongs Va focus on the teaching and training of our students.
3. Uphold the highest standards of transparency and openness.
4. Push to have term limits put on the next ballot.
5. Push to limit campaign contributions particularly from special interests groups.

COMMITMENT TO HIGHER EDUCATION; I served on the UCSD Undergraduate Scholarship Council; assisted the City of Chula Vista in negotiations with developers regarding the transfer of the 4-year university site in Eastern Chula Vista to the City; was a critical part of the development of the MAAC Charter High School for At-Risk Students in Chula Vista. I am an experienced problem solver and someone who can govern for effective outcomes & results without micro-managing!

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT & LEADERSHIP: My 32-year career is marked with many positions of leadership and governance in the Southbay including:

Chairman, City of Chula Vista General Plan Update Committee. Boardmember, local non-profits - South Bay Community Services & the MAAC Project. Senior VP, Bank of America Community Development Bank. Chula Vista Housing Coordinator, County of San Diego Development & Finance Manager Member, City of Chula Vista Housing Advisory Committee. Member, UCSD Undergraduate Scholarship Council & UCSD Alumni Assoc Board. Trainer, US Federal Reserve Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Proposition R, $389 Million bond Measure

I have not taken a position either for or against the Bond Measure. I believe the bond measure is somewhat larger than it should have been due to high estimated costs. The voters need to decide if they can afford this new property tax at a time when our economy and jobs are faltering.

Do you realize that the bond measure is a tax of over $3,500 per household in the district? They estimate that it will add $19.60/$100,000 of valuation. The trouble with that estimate is that the valuation assumption is at least a year old, so if you reduce property values in the District by about 20% based on what has happened in the last year, then you are talking about $24 per $100,000. All this is on the coattails of a very sizable bond measure a few years ago (Prop AA) and a huge facility expansion to three new sites that has yet to be fully absorbed. The board voted for this bond measure on a 24-hour emergency notice basis without any real scrutiny by my opponent or the rest of the Board before making the vote. There was not adequate analysis of the impact of building all those new facilities on the ability of the college to balance a budget in the future. No operating budget scenarios were provided based on student and revenue projections of the college as a whole with expenses updated for all the new facilities. Instead, most of the analysis covered the anticipated construction activities under the bond measure as being consistent with the adopted facilities master plan it is like you are doing it blindly. The average house will have at least an extra $100 (probably more like $150) per year in taxes for 25 years at a time when real estate values are depressed, growth is slowing and incomes and jobs are very stagnant. The authorization was something bordering on totally irresponsible behavior in my judgement. My question for the incumbent is "what scrutiny did you perform before approving one of the largest bond measures in Southbay history? I support some new facilities to meet expansion needs but I feel this is excessive. I am pragmatic and investigate things thoroughly before deciding on something like this bond measure.

The voters should know that if I am elected and if the bond measure passes, I intend to oversee its expenditure like a hawk. I plan to ask for some of the information that I mentioned above and may push to skew expenditures toward fewer facilities that are more economical to run if that would ensure more money for teaching versus potentially underutilized facilities. We don't need a bunch of facilities that add significnat operating costs unless they are being fully utilized. Ultimately, the voters need to decide on this bond measure.

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ca/sd Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 12, 2008 17:15
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