Candidate Profile: Marty Blum

KYLE ROKES, News Editor

Marty Blum served 8 years as Santa Barbara’s mayor before running for Trustee.

She said she wants to bring her years of public service to the college so she can help change, among other things, the way Trustees vote. In her opinion, the board’s voting history is alarmingly consistent.

“If two people always vote the same, one of them isn’t thinking,” she said.

Blum offered an example of how at least voting would be different if she and the other challengers win seats.

“There are going to be days we won’t vote alike because we’re thinking,” Blum said.

Blum also said that “there isn’t just one kind of student” and recognizes there are many different groups, each with particular needs, she thinks the board isn’t working hard enough to address.

In fact, the cuts to continuing education in parent child workshops that prompted her to get back into a political race last spring.

Blum said the public kept asking the administration for reasons why the program, which she described as loved in the community, was endangered. But they gave vague answers.

She also said there were mistakes in what the administration claimed needed to be changed about it. The school said the workshops had to, by law, be “for credit.” But a lawyer representing the workshops said the Chancellor’s office said the opposite.

Blum also doesn’t feel it makes sense to keep the Parent Workshops on the City College’s time schedule. And although hardly any “for credit” students take the classes, Blum thinks they’re important enough to the city’s young, low-income families.

“Keep it on the elementary school calendar. It makes no sense for a 2-year-old to be out of school for a month instead of a week,” she said. “It’s not developmentally sound.”

Blum is concerned about the working environment as well. From what she’s been told and has observed, it’s “top-down decision-making.” Although she said nobody has come out and said anything, Blum has noted some unusual behavior.

“Sometimes they whisper on the phone,” she said, referring to many conversations she’s had with staff and faculty.

She holds the president and other officials culpable for that climate.

“If you disagree with them, you are automatically on (that) negative list.”

And she suspects the president’s office exercise too much control over what issues from the community get on the Trustees’ meeting agenda.

“I don’t know what else is going to come from up on high.”

Blum reserved discussion about the budget until after she can see the real numbers. She said too many different figures are out there right now.

Groups that endorse Blum include the Instructors’ Association, Planned Parenthood Action, Democratic Women, Democratic Central Committee, and the Women’s Political Committee.