Six candidates raced for a 4-year term representing Palomar College’s Areas 1 (San Diego, Del Mar, Encinitas), 4 (Poway, Pala), and 5 (Oceanside, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Valley Center), which could change the direction of the governing body. With the two incumbents Norma Miyamoto and Kartik Raju running for Areas 4 and 5 against newcomers Jacqueline Kaiser and Michelle Rains. There was no incumbent for Area 1 after longtime Palomar College Governing Board Mark Evilsizer’s retirement opened the seat up for candidates Judy Patascil and Frank Xu.
Candidate Judy Patascil surpasses opponent Frank Xu in the Area 1 election which includes Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, and San Diego. According to the unofficial results posted by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters website, Patascil holds 56.81% of votes (13,735), while Xu holds 48.02% (12,733).
Patascil has served community colleges for around 30 years and currently teaches Ethnic studies at Miramar College. She also has a doctorate in psychology and a passion for higher education.
In an interview with The Telescope, Patascil said she wants to help implement Asian American and Filipino Studies. She also said that she wants to make more people aware of Palomar’s Middle College program in an effort to boost enrollment. Patascil said, “The Middle College, for example, for high school students to be able to take college-level classes, that would increase enrollment while they’re still in high school.”
She also stated, “I think my vision involves supporting the students and making sure that students have the access and the success to meet their educational, their career, and their personal goals. I’m deeply committed to students.”
Patascil looks to continue supporting students and making sure students have all resources necessary to succeed.
Patascil’s opponent Frank Xu is a software engineer, father of two, and committee member for the Poway Unified School District. Xu was born and raised in China before coming to the U.S. for work. In an interview with The Telescope, Xu said, “I came from a country where no dissenting voices are allowed. And you even have life-threatening risks, if you express different opinions, and that’s why I moved to this great country.” He ran on a platform for equal rights regardless of race, sex, gender, or age.
Xu advocated for the Palomar College Governing Board to spend more time discussing why the school faces lower enrollment rates. When talking with The Telescope about the Governing Board before the 2022 election he said, “They talked about how to improve the employment rate, instead of trying to do real research on why we are having problems with enrollment rates.”
Xu said in an email that if elected, “The first thing I would like to do is to review the vision and mission of Palomar Community College. The leadership team (including the board, the cabinet, and the leader of PFF) need to list the challenges and opportunities the college will be facing in the next several years, to list what students and families expect us to deliver. After we reach the consensus, we will be able to conduct the business in the following years with more agreements instead of fights.”
As of publishing, Judy Patascil holds the lead in the race for Area 1’s seat.
Candidate Michelle Rains exceeds opponent Kartik Raju in the Area 4 election which includes Valley Center, Ramona, Hidden Meadows, and Poway. According to the unofficial results posted by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters website, Rains holds 56.8% of votes (16,751), while Raju holds 43.19% (12,733).
Rains is a mom, and chef, and runs a local restaurant and bar, Cheers of Ramona. She also serves on the Ramona Community Planning Group and believes in representing the average citizens of the community.
Rains stated in an interview with The Telescope that she wants to make classes available more frequently saying, “I would like to see the classes being offered more days a week. I think they’re cutting them down to like four days a week and this is a massive school. If you can work with the students and staff and have a more flexible schedule, I think that would be nice.” Rains also talked about establishing a culinary program at Palomar saying, “I went to a culinary school that operated three restaurants within a very small school. So I would like to see a restaurant operated by students and staff and have that be an income for Palomar as well.”
Another subject that Rains plans to focus on is improving Palomar College’s education centers outside of the San Marcos campus. Being a part of Area 4 which stretches as far out as Poway and Pala, Rains wants to make more classes available to students who can’t make it to San Marcos. During the interview, Rains said, “Not everybody can get down to Palomar, especially in my district, which I don’t know if you guys have ever driven out to Borrego Springs or Julian. It took me a greater part of an hour just to get here. So I think opening more opportunities to the whole community, not just centrally around here.” Rains plans to work to offer more opportunities to students and make sure new opportunities are accessible to all Palomar College students.
Rains’ opponent Kartik Raju has worked in Aerospace/Defense and has managed large budgets and diverse teams of employees. He currently serves as an appointed Trustee on Palomar’s governing board. During his interview with The Telescope, he discussed his love for learning and being a part of the Palomar community. “I haven’t seen a more engaged and better community than I have seen at Palomar. Everywhere from the students, the faculty, the staff, the administration, every single person, and the board. Every single person cares deeply about the success of the school, not just short-term, but really the longevity of the success of the institution,” he said.
Raju wants to expand engagement and be more connected with students, faculty, and other community members. He believes that “getting an idea and a perspective of what students, faculty, and staff are actually going through at the time I think are really key.”
As of publishing, Michelle Rains holds the lead in the race for Area 4’s seat.
Candidate Jacqueline Kaiser has the lead over opponent Norma Miyamoto in the Area 5 election which includes Oceanside, Bonsall, Fallbrook, and Camp Pendleton. According to the unofficial results posted by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters website, Kaiser holds 51.73% of votes (13,625), while Miyamoto holds 48.27% (12,716).
Kaiser is a regional director for MetLife and has experience working with a wide range of different institutions. She is an enthusiastic learner and believes she will bring fresh ideas to Palomar’s governing board.
One of Kaiser’s goals is to work with local businesses to set up programs that will help students get work during or after attending school. Another goal of hers is to offer more specialized training programs to help students attain the skills needed to go into different careers. “In some of the high tech areas, some of the sciences areas, the law enforcement, the firefighter, EMT route, partnering with people in the community to really bring some specialized training and course work to the college. I think that would be really beneficial,” Kaiser said in an interview with The Telescope about what training she’d like to see offered at Palomar.
Kaiser stated in an email to The Telescope, “At this point, I am feeling good about the slight lead I have thus far and am hopeful this will continue as more ballots are counted.” If elected, the first thing she will do is celebrate, adding that “it’s vital to take time to enjoy and relish the victories in life – both the large and small.”
Kaiser’s opponent Norma Miyamoto was the incumbent for the Governing Board seat after serving on the board for four years. Miyamoto has a long history with Palomar College having worked at the school for over 20 years. She also served as the Instructional Dean at Palomar College before retiring and being elected for Area 5’s seat. One of Miyamoto’s main goals is to increase the number of staff working at Palomar College saying in an interview with The Telescope, “We need that person sitting at that front desk when you enter the doors of student services. We are down. We are lacking some of those people, we’re lacking people out in the instructional departments, academic department assistants, we call them. We need people, and that too is a first priority.”
As of publishing, Jacqueline Kaiser holds the lead in the race for Area 5’s seat.
Updated election results are expected tomorrow, 11/10, by 5 pm. Visit the San Diego County Registrar of Voters for more information.
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