Four vie for Sierra College board seat
Two-term incumbent Nancy Palmer again faces three challengers for her seat on the Sierra Joint Community College board of trustees in November, but won the endorsement of the college’s faculty association (see sidebar).
The four candidates are running for Trustee Area 6, which represents part of Nevada County on the seven-member board.
James A. Hinman, 54, began teaching at Silver Springs High School when the school started in 1987 and it was called the Young Parents Project.
The 25-year resident of Grass Valley said he ran eight years ago because he “had some real issues with adjunct faculty,” or part-time instructors.
“Unfortunately, (the commuting between campuses) takes its toll on people,” Hinman said.
College districts in recent years employ “freeway fliers” to avoid having to pay benefits to which full-time professors are entitled.
Hinman said he had $50 in his campaign chest and won 17,000 votes.
A trustee of the Pleasant Valley School District board of trustees from 1989 to 1993, Hinman said one of his primary goals is to expand courses for concurrent enrollment, where high school students can gain college credit for courses they take at the college while still in high school.
David Hodder, 45, moved to Penn Valley from Reno four years ago to improve the quality of life for his two children.
He’s been a full-time professor of electronics and computer technology at Yuba College ever since.
Hodder has headed his own electrical engineering business, Advance Concepts – which employs two to four people – for nine years. The business designs power and communications systems for businesses and offices, and lighting systems for parking lots. Hodder sits on the board of the Illumination Engineering Society of North America, a standards-writing group which makes recommendations to industry and legislators, and whose guidelines are often adopted by municipalities. He has also served on the corporate board of Houston-based Telecommunications Group, Inc.
Hodder says his experience gives him insight into education and into running a business, “and these are tied together at that level,” he said, referring to the college’s board of trustees.
Hodder said he would like to see Sierra College expand in Truckee and Grass Valley. He’d like to see more classes related to training employees for local businesses. Hodder hopes trustees will consider “if you have a manufacturing business here, what training do the employees need?’
Hodder cites his experience of working in a team environment, working in industry, running a company and his educational business experience as reasons people should vote for him.
Jim Perkins lists his occupation as community college professor and Grass Valley as his residence. Perkins could not be reached over a period of several days for an interview or a photo.
Nancy Palmer, 64, a retired accountant and a 29-year resident of Grass Valley, ran for the board for the first time after she heard about a proposed new college at an American Association of University Women meeting. She watched the groundbreaking for the new college and was one of the speakers at the college’s opening in 1996.
She’s running for a third term because she’d like to see the Nevada County campus completed.
“They thought it would take years to fill up classrooms, but we’re busting at the seams,” Palmer said.
She points to the Grass Valley Fire Department station built on land the college owns as a primary accomplishment of the board.
A member of the Nevada County Republican Women’s Club, Palmer is also secretary and membership chair for the Grass Valley Rotary Club, which built the playing fields at the college’s Nevada County campus.
An AAUW and Business and Professional Women club member, Palmer is also the photographer for Music in the Mountains, a 19-year member of Friends of Hospice, a member of the Sierra College Foundation and the Patrons’ Club. She is endorsed by the Placer County Republican Assembly.
Candidates paid no filing fees to run, but can run up a bill of $3,227 if they choose to place a statement of qualifications on the ballot in the four counties – Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Nevada – the district covers. College board trustees run from one trustee area, but are voted on district wide. Hodder and Palmer paid to have their statements of qualifications in the voter booklet, which will be available Monday.
Trustees are entitled to a $400-a-month stipend, but must attend all scheduled meetings in a month to collect it. If there’s more than one meeting a month, the stipend is determined pro rata among the number of meetings. For instance, if a trustee misses one of four meetings slated in a month, $100 is deducted from that trustee’s stipend.
Trustees are entitled to medical, dental and vision benefits for themselves and their families as long as they are on the board, said Sue Drennon, benefits coordinator in the college’s personnel office. The benefits are worth about $8,000 a year, she said.
The Union will profile more political races today and in coming issues.
Today: Sierra College trustee candidates
Monday: District Three supervisor candidate Bruce Conklin
Tuesday: District Three supervisor candidate Drew Bedwell
All political stories that have already run since Sept. 25 and that appear today1s paper can be on our Web site, http://www.theunion.com.
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