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DECISION 96

Meet the Candidates : Ventura County Community College District

In all, there are more than 130 candidates running in key races in Ventura County this year. On the following pages, you will find capsule summaries of their backgrounds and their positions on key issues.

November 03, 1996

Four candidates are contesting the open trustee seat for Area No. 3, which represents Camarillo, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Ojai and Piru on the five-member governing body for the three-college district.

Bob Gonzales

Age: 45

Occupation: Santa Paula police commander

Education: Associate degree from Ventura College, bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of LaVerne

Background: He is president of the Santa Paula Union High School District and a former trustee with the Santa Paula Elementary School District.

Issues: Gonzales wants to increase student enrollment, thereby increasing funding for the college district.

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Lois Harrion

Age: 53

Occupation: Nursing teacher at Simi Valley Adult School

Education: Master's degree in management from the University of LaVerne

Background: Harrion has been a teacher in the Simi Valley Unified School District since 1983. She is a member of the Ventura County Commission for Women.

Issues: Harrion supports the expansion of educational programs and believes the district must take greater advantage of satellite sites.

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James E. Niles

Age: 45

Occupation: University of Phoenix administrator

Education: Bachelor's degree in history from Cal Lutheran University

Background: President of the Mesa Union School Board in Somis, Niles is a former community college instructor and administrator.

Issues: Niles believes the colleges in the district need to measure success on the quality rather than quantity of offerings. He believes the district does not do enough to place students in vocational programs or to send them on to four-year institutions. He plans to combat what he describes as a growing perception that the district is becoming less candid in its public discussions.

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T.G. "Tom" Stafford

Age: 63

Occupation: Substitute elementary school teacher

Education: Bachelor's degree in English from UCLA

Background: The politically active Oak View resident is a founder of the Green Party of California and a member of the party's county council. Stafford ran for the Ventura County Board of Supervisors in 1992 and the 35th Assembly District in 1994.

Issues: Stafford is critical of the state's community colleges, saying they are on a par with the educational system in some less developed nations. He contends that the cost of attending community college creates a barrier to some people seeking an education and believes tuition should be decreased. He maintains the job of the district board is to provide an education for anyone who wants one.

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