As election day draws closer, it is becoming obvious the great lengths Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) incumbents will resort to in order to retain their control over a district that is reeling in controversy as a result of one bad decision after another.
Incumbent Nelida Yanez gladly accepted $3000 from the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. On the surface, this is nothing unusual unless you dig deeper and find that Yanez and her colleagues supported approval of a contract just weeks before with this organization. And who is employed by the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters? None other than RSCCD board kingmaker, John Hanna who obviously is seeing the possibility of his decades long control over the RSCCD board slipping away.
Yanez’ acceptance of the contribution appears to be a quid pro quo. While it may not be illegal, it’s certainly unethical. Ethics, of course is something that has been absent from the RSCCD board for quite some time. It was Yanez who supported sending taxpayer funds to Saudi Arabia to manage two colleges while RSCCD students were selling hot dogs to earn money to add classes that had been cut at Santa Ana College.
Incumbent Arianna Barrios’ desperation drive to retain her seat has taken a different form. Along with Yanez, Barrios was widely quoted in support of RSCCD investing to improve Saudi Arabia’s educational system. Barrios seems to have changed her tune with her election near. Now she advocates for funds to remain locally in order to improve our community schools. She is now a staunch supporter for Measure S, the bond measure that will use taxpayer dollars to improve schools locally within the Orange Unified School District.
I used to think it was just the power the incumbents lusted over. I now find it’s the health insurance they are desperate to retain. Taxpayers pay over $50,000 annually to provide health insurance just for Yanez and Barrios’ and her family.
Whether it’s pay for play or selling one’s soul, these RSCCD incumbents have now added a lack of conscience to their lack of ethics. With the election near they will do whatever they can to retain their seats…and keep those health benefits.
Rudolph “Rudy” Diaz is a retired county of Orange engineer. A taxpayer advocate, Diaz is involved with the Concerned Orange Taxpayers group and is a former Governor George Deukmejian appointee to the California Library Services Board.
Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.
Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org