MPC Board 12-18 (copy)

Less than a year a ago, on Dec. 12, 2018, the Monterey Peninsula College board celebrated as Natalia Molina was elected as a new trustee. Now, she has stepped down. 

This evening, Aug. 29, the board that runs Monterey Peninsula College will select a fifth board member to fill a position vacated last month by Natalia Molina. 

The person who is chosen will become the board trustee for Area 1, which encompasses the cities of Seaside and Sand City, serving until November 2020 when the next MPC board election is scheduled to take place. 

The six applicants vying for the role will make presentations and members of the public will have an opportunity to comment ahead of the board’s selection vote.

The meeting will take place at 4pm on Thursday, Aug. 29 at MPC’s Library and Technology Center, 980 Fremont St. in Monterey.

Here are the candidates, with a link to the cover letter and questionnaires each submitted with their application:

Felix Bachofner, who ran unsuccessfully for the seat against Molina last year and is a former mayor of Seaside;

Karla Corres, a 2017 CSU Monterey Bay graduate who was active on campus in Latinx student advocacy; 

Steven Crow, who retired from the MPC administration in 2017, where he served as vice president of administrative services; 

Rosalyn Green, an MPC graduate and former administrator at the Fort Ord Reuse Authority and is a member of the local chapter of the NAACP;

Michelle Muller Overmeyer, who oversees local, state and federal grants at Monterey Salinas Transit; 

 Jason T. Yarbrough, pastor of Monterey Bay Christian Center and superintendent of Monterey Bay Christian School in Seaside.

The resignation of Molina in July came as a surprise to many in the MPC community, especially those who had celebrated her as someone who would champion the interests of the area’s communities of color. Molina is Latina. She stepped down in order to pursue a career opportunity in Arizona. 

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The selection of a replacement is being closely watched by the union representing MPC faculty as it prepares to negotiate a new contract with the college in a few weeks. 

The union’s president, Lauren Blanchard, declines to say which candidate she would prefer for fear of jeopardizing that candidate’s chances with some board members. 

“On the MPC campus, there’s a renewed sense of optimism,” she says. “It would not be the best choice for the college to return to policies and practices of the past.”

The union had a strained relationship with MPC’s outgoing president, Walter Tribley, who is leaving next month for a job at the top executive role at the Northern Wyoming Community College District. 

Blanchard said that morale among faculty has been boosted with the selection of David Martin as interim president of MPC.

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Asaf Shalev is a staff writer at the Monterey County Weekly. He covers higher education, the military, the environment, public lands and the geographic areas of Seaside, Monterey, Sand City, Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

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