BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Two newcomers will face off for a seat on the San Mateo County Community College District board of trustees.
Menlo Park resident John Pimentel and Redwood City resident Lisa Hicks-Dumanske will vie for District 5, which covers Redwood City, part of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.
In 2017, the college board, under threat of lawsuit, switched the way its five-member board of trustees is elected. Previously, the board was elected through “at large” elections, in which all voters could vote on all five members, two in one election and three in the next election two years later.
Under this new system, the county-wide college district has been chopped up into five wards, and each board member must represent a geographical ward.
Now, instead of voting for all five trustees, voters only get to select one trustee every four years.
Trustee Karen Schwarz lives in District 5, but has announced her plans to retire after 24 years on the board.
She has since endorsed Hicks-Dumanske, the candidate said.
The winner in November will oversee a district that has been rocked in scandal. The board fired longtime chancellor Ron Galatolo in August and District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe announced his investigators were looking into Galatolo handling of contracts and claims of harassment. In 2019, Galatolo kept the board in the dark about an error that prevented the college district from collecting $140 million from an FCC auction of its TV station, KCSM. Prior to that, the public was outraged when it was revealed that a new recreation center, funded with bond money, had become a private athletic club.
About the candidates
Hicks-Dumanske is the executive director of the Redwood City Library Foundation, and was on the city’s library commission for seven years. She received her associate’s degree from Canada College in Redwood City. Among her goals for the district is to strengthen the relationship between the high schools in the district and the colleges, and letting students know that community college is a viable choice after high school.
Pimentel has worked in the renewable energy business for about 20 years. He is also a graduate of a community college, San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, and later got a bachelor’s degree from Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard.
His primary goal is to increase the transparency of the district. He said it is “unconscionable” that the district does not televise its board meetings and believes that the board needs to move away from the enterprise functions that have taken over the district and make the district much more student focused.
Mandelkern running again
Two current board members, Dave Mandelkern and Maurice Goodman, live in District 3, which spans from southwest South San Francisco to Hillsborough.
Mandelkern said he is planning on running, while Goodman did not return a message from the Post.
So far, no one has announced that they are running for District 1, which represents the county’s coastside south of Daly City, and includes San Carlos, Woodside, Atherton, Portola Valley and part of Menlo Park.