On Nov. 4, San Ramon Valley voters will get a chance to cast their ballots for the governing bodies of two special districts, the school board and the fire protection board.
For the San Ramon Valley Unified School Board, three incumbents and one newcomer will vie for three seats. Current school board President Rachel Hurd, board Vice President Denise Jennison and Ken Mintz are all running for new four-year terms, while attorney Jerome Pandell has also entered the race.
Seeking her third term, Hurd said her priority is maintaining the district's fiscal solvency and offering students a broad range of options in education, preparing them for individualized success.
"Proven leadership, experience and problem-solving skills are critical to the continued success of our school district," the San Ramon resident said.
Jennison, of Danville, is trying for her second term. She said she believes in "strong fiscal accountability, collaboration, complete transparency and high standards to keep out district strong."
And due to her long-standing involvement in parent-teacher associations for 20 years, she's formed strong relationship "by bringing people together and finding common ground."
Mintz is in his tenth year on the board. The Danville resident said he will continue to bring his skills in "fiscal management, consensus building, strategic planning and policy setting" to the board.
He said it's important to understand that, even post-economic downturn, the district's fiscal uncertainty will continue due to unfunded pension liabilities, so "the budget is something we have to keep a very close eye on."
Pandell, an attorney, says he wants bring a fresh voice and new ideas to the board, especially since he is a product of the San Ramon Valley school system. The Danville resident says he has experience in finding new avenues of community and financial support from serving on the board of governors of UC Hastings College of the Law and the Northwestern University Leadership Circle's board of directors. And he aims to find innovative way to partner with businesses and foundations to help provide career and technical education.
San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District
In the fire district, one incumbent and three challengers are running for two board seats. Current board President Glenn Umont, of Alamo, seeks his second term, while director Jennifer Price did not seek re-election.
Chris Campbell, Donald R. Parker and Dale A. Price (no relation to Jennifer Price) are running for office.
Umont said he wants to continue to ferret out "fiscal extravagances" at the district, after being elected four years ago, he said, noting he had promised to "pursue reform within the system."
The district since then has brought in a new board, new fire chief and a new labor contract and reined in a significant budgetary shortfall, he said. Yet, "While I feel proud of what we have achieved, I know we have a number of tasks ahead," including paying down the district's unfunded pension liabilities.
Two years ago, Alamo resident Campbell became a firefighter for the city of San Francisco, and his background as a businessman and firefighter helps him to understand" what it's like to run a fire department that is fiscally responsible, so its level of service is not compromised," he said.
He also says that he wants to "put an end to the mismanagement and divisiveness" he said has plagued the district in the past.
Parker, a retired Vallejo fire chief and former Oakland assistant fire chief, touts his more than 40 years experience managing the day-to-day operations and budgets of fire departments. He also cites expertise in coordinated response and recovery efforts for emergencies and natural disasters.
"I have a strong base of knowledge in the job, and I've been a longtime resident with a strong connection to the community," the Danville resident said.
Price, a past president of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce, said that he would adhere to fiscally responsible long-range plans, such as the district's 12-year capital improvement plan and other policies, that have enabled the district's current balanced budget. The Danville resident also has the endorsements of current board members, such as H. Jay Kerr and Matt Stamey, who have pushed for fiscally responsible policies.
"I will never lose sight of my fiduciary duty to the district's citizens," he said.
Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycetsainews.