Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fireside Chat #2

     South Orange County Community College District Chancellor Gary Poertner has issued yet another of his “Chancellor’s Perspectives,” which, coming within memory of his predecessor's 8-year reign of (essentially) Republican misrule (see The Wrecking Crew), come across like goshdarn Rooseveltian fireside chats. I present an abridged version. (Do use the link to read the whole thing.)
     The upshot is that, in the last year, substantial steps have been taken to remove obstacles (apneas?) to what I’ve called the “ATEP dream," i.e., the flowering of fancy and impressive technical whizbangery, including partnerships with Big Money People, out where the Marines used to keep their helicopters in Tustin. 
     Perhaps most crucial were the two acts of clarification—regarding ATEP “ownership” (between the two colleges)—that occurred at Monday’s meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees. 
     For IVC, it was a "good news/bad news" development. On the one hand, the notion nurtured at the college that IVC has special ownership of ATEP is now, officially, toast. On the other hand, Poertner's Solomonic decision to cut ATEP in half--each college gets half of the baby, including matching pink and blue buildings of equal square footage!--really favors IVC, given that Saddleback College is twice IVC's size. (On the third hand, there's so much space out at ATEP, each college can pretty much pursue its own projects and programs; but the money's still gotta come from the district, and it's hard to imagine that that moola will be equal. It'll likely go to whoever's got the tastier plans to sell to the BOT. Am I wrong?)


     It has been 13 months since I became Chancellor and promised in my first opening session to facilitate a resolution on issues related to ATEP, including what its focus would be and whether it would involve one or two colleges. Over the past several years, the district and colleges have struggled with ATEP issues that caused unnecessary friction district-wide. I have worked diligently to facilitate discussions with the college presidents and board of trustees in order to resolve these issues that impede progress. I am happy to report the following accomplishments and outcomes.

     There were many policy decisions that needed to be made in order to pave the way for progress. Over the past year, the board of trustees:
     Reaffirmed their values and commitment to all students in the SOCCCD service area by reiterating that ATEP is, and always was, intended for both colleges to develop career technical education, workforce development and advanced technology training in order to meet the priorities set by the Board of Governors and State Chancellor’s office and contribute to the economy. At the board meeting earlier this week, the board approved two agenda items related to this. The first was to re-affirm the colleges’ original service areas and to identify ATEP as an independent service area for use by both colleges for career technical, workforce development and advanced technology training. The second agenda item specified that the land at ATEP would be available to both colleges in equal proportions.
. . .
     Reallocated and approved $12.5 million in basic aid to help pay for the next buildings.
. . .
     Supported discussions with the City of Tustin and County of Orange to facilitate land swaps of equal proportion that will provide an improved land configuration and allow for increased square footage build-out and better traffic flow. It is estimated that we could build between 900,000 and 1.7 million square feet on the 68 acres. That is enough square footage for the two colleges to do just about any programs they want, and it will also provide the district with ample land to develop partnerships to help pay for it….
     Heard presentations from the colleges in September and December about proposed programs and partnership development for the site….

No fireside chats for Mathur, unless
he was roasting someone on a spit
     At this point, policy decisions have been made, barriers have been removed and the board has signaled its support to accelerate the development at ATEP. Who will be responsible for what? District Services will continue to oversee site development, facilities planning, future partner ground and space lease agreements and funding efforts as is the case with other district/college development projects. The colleges will be responsible for identifying instructional programs, developing curriculum and offering classes at ATEP through their own planning processes. The college presidents are providing leadership to collaborate on a mutual agreement that will define the programs each college will offer at ATEP. As soon as this is accomplished, architectural programming, site planning and pending funding pursuits for the next buildings can continue.
     The work that was appropriate for District Services, putting the foundation in place for the project to proceed, has been accomplished for the initial college building phases. Now the responsibility lies with the college presidents, academic senates, faculty and staff to make this goal and board direction a reality.
     Everything is now in place for real progress to be made at ATEP and I hope that resolving these lingering issues will pave the way for increased cooperation and collaboration district-wide so we can move forward to better serve the needs of our community….

     In his “OC Politics” blog, occasionally self-destructive and routinely off-the-wall local politico, Art Pedroza, has written a semi-critical (and vaguely laudatory) “good-bye” to Tom Fuentes: O.C. Republicans Fuentes and Royce, Sr. wrap up their political careers. You might find it semi-amusing. Probably not.


Art Pedroza said...

LOL! I didn't mean to be laudatory towards Fuentes - and the thrust of my post was that his party is headed for doom...

B. von Traven said...

I see the thrust, but I think you were vaguely laudatory. At any rate, you never mentioned Fuentes' participation in the folly of Republican alienation of Latinos. But I'm glad you got a kick out of it, Art!

Anonymous said...

I applaud the chancelor for his openness. The board has spoken. ATEP is a go. Get over it and help make it a success.

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