Although ballots are still being counted by election officials, updated results for the Nov. 6 election have the likely passage of Gavilan College’s $248 million Measure X bond as well as the election of three new members to the school’s governing body.
“This is a very exciting event in the history of Gavilan College and a great way to head into our centennial anniversary next year,” said Gavilan President Kathleen Rose, who was confident that even with votes yet to be counted, Measure X would pass. “We are grateful to everyone who was a part of this effort—especially the voters who showed up and voted for Yes on X, as well as the campaign volunteers and donors.”
A combined 59 percent of Santa Clara and San Benito county voters who reside within the boundaries of the Gavilan Community College Joint District were in favor of Measure X, which needed to reach the 55 percent threshold to pass, according to the most updated unofficial results of the Nov. 6 election.
“Measure X will give us the opportunity to get to work on our Facilities Master Plan,” added Rose, directing residents to the FMP link at gavilan.edu/administration/Bond/index.php and imploring them to apply for the Measure X Citizen’s Oversight Committee.
Santa Clara County voters did the heavy lifting with a nearly 62 percent approval rate, according to the updated results from the county’s registrar of voters. In San Benito County, however, voters were at just over 53 percent in favor of Measure X, which is earmarked for upgrades to Gavilan’s main Gilroy campus as well as the building of a new San Benito satellite campus and expansion to the Coyote Valley site.
New trustees focus on rebuilding trust in San Benito County
Helping to make those important decisions for Gavilan will be three new trustees on the seven-member board. Retired school administrator Edwin Diaz, 64, handily defeated incumbent Walter Glines in Trustee Area 3. Diaz, a first-time candidate and former schools superintendent in both Pasadena and Gilroy, received more than 66 percent of the vote, while Glines came in at nearly 34 percent, according to Santa Clara/San Benito County Registrar of Voters.
“That low approval rating (of Measure X) in San Benito County, given the fact that a major focus of the bond is to provide a satellite campus there, that creates a reason for concern,” said Diaz, who has provided oversight for over $500 million in school bond projects. “Throughout my campaign, I’ve been hearing about some of the discontent with how the last bond was allocated. …Even though (Measure X) passed, for me, we have work to do as a board to reach out to San Benito residents and engage them in a way that improves their level of support for Gavilan.”
Also new to the Gavilan board are Jeanie Wallace and Irma Gonzalez, who both came away as winners in their respective San Benito County trustee areas on election night.
In Trustee Area 5, Wallace, a 60-year-old teacher at Ann Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill, ran away with more than 60 percent of votes compared to small business owner Richard Perez’s 39 percent.
In Trustee Area 7, 60-year-old website designer Irma Gonzalez received a late-night surge to surpass 56-year-old project manager Mike Alcorn in what was a very close race. According to the latest updated results, Gonzalez has more than 44 percent of votes, while Alcorn has under 41 percent. The two were separated by 269 votes. Another challenger, 37-year-old Jason Hopkins, who pulled out of the race too late to have his name removed from the ballot, got just under 16 percent of votes.
“I’m eager to join the board (but) I also am just remaining cautiously optimistic until all ballots are counted,” said Gonzalez, a Gavilan alumna whose family has a long history as student leaders at the community college.
Gonzalez also addressed the strained relationship between Gavilan and voters in San Benito County.
“With the passage of Measure E and the promises that were broken, it’s going to be a long process in order to get trust back up from our community,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t believe anything was done intentionally. It’s just a lack of trust that we have to build again. … We do have to fulfill promises that were made.”
If the election results hold after all ballots are counted, Diaz, Wallace and Gonzalez will join attorney Laura Perry (TA1), who ran unopposed and was not on the ballot, President Jonathan Brusco (TA2), Vice President Mark Dover (TA4) and Rachel Perez (TA6) on the Gavilan dais.
Gavilan Trustee Area 3
Edwin Diaz 6,168/66.66 percent
Walter Glines 3,085/33.34 percent
Gavilan Trustee Area 5
Jeanie Wallace 3,596/60.61 percent
Richard Perez 2,337/39.39 percent
Gavilan Trustee Area 7
Irma Gonzalez 2,939/44.31 percent
Michael Alcorn 2,670/40.25 percent
Jason Hopkins 1,024/15.44 percent
Gavilan Measure X
Yes 33,213/59.39 percent
No 22,713/40.6 percent
Santa Clara County
Yes 24,710/61.84 percent
No 15,246/38.16 percent
San Benito County
Yes 8,503/53.24 percent
No 7,467/46.76 percent