Joseph Brady is running to retain his seat on the Victor Valley College Board of Trustees. He is one of three candidates and two incumbents. All three candidates were offered an interview. So far only Brady has completed the interview.
Q: When were you appointed to the Victor Valley College Board of Trustees and why do you deserve to be elected to a full term?
Brady: I applied in January of 2011 as did 24 candidates. An independent committee selected 11 finalists of which 10 gave oral presentations on the night of February 1, 2011. On a 3 to 2 motion (Range, Denison, Henderson) I was humbly selected to fulfill the vacated position left by Former Trustee Angela Valles.
What I bring to a full term of service is continuity of leadership with a fresh perspective. As a local business owner and regional leader, I am a job creator who understands the importance of education and business.
I understand the critical importance of education in a community such as the High Desert given our high unemployment (real unemployment rate of nearly 27.7%), large numbers of welfare and food stamp recipients (35%), and the tremendous numbers who leave the High Desert on a daily basis (approximately 80,000 plus) – that represents nearly 60% of our workforce! Too many people are seeking employment in areas outside of the High Desert region, leaving very few people available to be hired within our region by local employers.
Q: How large of a reduction has Victor Valley College’s budget taken over the past (6) six years and what do you expect in the near future?
Brady: Over the past 5 years or so, the State has imposed a “workload reduction” which means they have decreased the maximum amount of students they will reimburse for as part of our base apportionment. While it may only be 2% to 3% every year, over time those annual reductions add up – at this point, it amounts to 8% to 10% in total reductions.
The Board of Trustees held a budget meeting on June 21st, 2012 and it became very clear that based on the assumptions that have been made by our expert staff, we could be looking at annual deficits over the next (4) four years that may reach $11,000,000 by year 2015-2016, with a cumulative deficit of approximately $29,850,000 – that is, if we do nothing now.
I believe that we need to assume that the proposed sales tax by Governor Brown will not pass, so that we can make prudent decisions about projected cuts; but more importantly, we need to ensure that we continue to offer those classes that are needed for students to move forward to graduate and/or transfer.
Q: If elected to the Victor Valley College Board, how will you deal with the issue of state budget cuts and the rising student population?
Brady: The state budget cuts are not temporary – none of the cuts over the past few years were posed as temporary, rather budget cuts will be part of our reality for many, many years. The State of California has a structural deficit problem, caused by irresponsible leadership and that has an ongoing impact on the entire community college system (112 colleges in 72 districts served).
Besides attempting to find additional funding through local sources, donations, grants and outreach to corporate America, I think that we need to look at our structure and our entire costs to the services we provide. We must do whatever is needed in a collective, collaborative fashion with all of our bargaining groups, to find a solution that minimizes negative effects on our students. The job training and educational programs we provide must be our top priorities.
Q: What is the college doing to deal with the large unemployment in the Victor Valley with respect to job training? Has this increased recently, and if not what are your plans?
Brady: I believe that Victor Valley Community College is doing everything it can with some of the great programs we have – including nursing, welding, automotive repair, aviation, computer technologies, just to name a few. Programs like these equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the 21st century marketplace. The job training programs we provide are essential. Many of our neighbors are out of work, attempting to start second or third careers in different industries. They rely on the College to provide certification and training programs that let them compete for and obtain these jobs. We cannot let them down.
Q: Do you support or oppose the Tamarisk Market Place project near Spring Valley Lake and Victor Valley College? Why? Also, do you believe that it will have a positive impact on the regional job growth, and how will it impact the college?
Brady: Everyone has a different role in this situation. The city must determine, honestly, what the impact to traffic and infrastructure is going to be from any given project. Residents and nearby constituent entities should provide input as to what the impact will be for them. VVC will definitely be impacted by this project.
Our traffic and infrastructure must be protecting and any costs to adjust should be carried by the new development. No property owner should be treated better or worse than any other, and our review of the project must be fair, fact based and assure that the interests of our students are protected. I strongly believe that the Victor Valley Community College Board of Trustee’s needs to hold its own hearing on this issue. There are clearly some potential issues that could affect Victor Valley Community College, its students, its teachers, its faculty, its employees, its leadership and the Board of Trustee’s.
The flooding issue is a clear issue that I believe can be mitigated, but I think that we need to understand the seriousness of the issue. Traffic circulation needs to be reviewed. I don’t want to have to see one of our students, faculty members, or employees hit by someone speeding over to the TMP Project if there is some way that we could elevated that potential hazard
I am also concerned that due to what we charge to park cars at Victor Valley Community College District, that we may have students that would park their cars in the TMP project, potentially bring harm to themselves if they were struck by another vehicle. These are the type of concerns we must consider.
To learn more about Joseph Brady, visit his website at www.JoinJoeBrady.com.
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