Redondo Beach residents living south of 190th Street will vote Tuesday for the District 5 representative to the El Camino College board of Trustees. South Redondo’s 34,000 residents are a part of the reconstituted El Camino College District 5, which also includes South and West Torrance. The district has 104,607 residents and approximately 69,000 registered voters.
The District 5 vote is the only measure on the Redondo ballot. Torrance residents will also be voting for Torrance school board candidates.
Three candidates are vying for the position. District 5 incumbent Maureen O’Donnell is retiring.
Torrance city councilman Cliff Numark is the CEO of Red Cross of Southern California Blood Services. Rick Marshall is also a Torrance resident and works in information systems at the University of Irvine Medical Center. Aria Shafiee is a business owner. Shafiee could not be reached by press time for this article.
Marshall said his work at the UC Irvine Medical Center has prepared him for the trustee position.
“I have an understanding of staff and faculty and the university environment and a background as an independent thinker, with the ability to get along with colleagues,” he said.
Marshall said he was motivated to seek the District 5 seat in part by his 20-year-old daughter Kirsten’s experience at El Camino.
His daughter was waitlisted for a crowded trigonometry class, which she was admitted to only after the teacher drew names to decide which waitlisted students to admit.
“A worse problem,” Marshall said, “was that one month into the class, half the students had dropped out.”
Marshall said he’d like to improve the process by which students are admitted to oversubscribed classes.
Part of the solution he said, is to improve the overtaxed student counseling services. He noted that the school’s financial aid program was similarly overtaxed until its system was overhauled.
Marshall also said he would like El Camino to take over administration of SCROC (the Southern California Regional Occupational Center), whose future state funding is uncertain.
“I don’t want the South Bay to lose vocational training. I talked to a guy the other night who worked on the Space Shuttle. He learned to weld at SCROC,” Marshall said.
Marshall noted that he is the only Republican on the ballot in a district that slightly favors Republicans. He is endorsed by the California Republican Assembly and the Los Angeles County Republican Party.
Marshall’s wife Janice tutors at Classical Conversations, a private school in Hermosa Beach, which their daughter Victoria, 15, attends. Daughter Kirsten currently teaches ballet at an orphanage in Bangalore, India.
Numark has served two terms on the Torrance city council. He has a B.A. from Pomona College, a masters in public affairs from Princeton, a law degree from UC Berkeley and a Masters of Science from the University of Sussex Engineering School.
Numark said he was motivated to seek the El Camino trustee position by his family. Both of his parents were teachers, a brother is a university professor and a sister teaches in the Torrance School district. He will resign his Torrance council position if elected to the El Camino board.
Numark noted that the 1,100 Red Cross employees he manages demonstrate that he knows how to run an organization the size of El Camino, which has 1,300 employees.
Like Marshall, Numark would seek to see improve El Camino’s woefully undersized, 30-person counseling staff.
He also hopes to improve class placement for recent high school graduates by giving them preference over students who have been at the school for several years.
He said he would work with local Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi and State Senator Ted Liu to standardize classes required of El Camino students for admission to the state’s four year universities.
As a Torrance councilman, Numark said he helped established the South Bay Entrepreneurial Center in Old Town Torrance, which provides work space for start-ups. He noted that El Camino’s welding program has a job placement arrangement with Robinson Helicopters at the Torrance Airport and that SpaceX in Hawthorne also recruits welders from El Camino.
“I’d like to have business advisory committees for all of El Camino’s departments so there is synchronization between what is taught and what businesses need,” he said.
He also said he would focus on helping students obtain funding to attend El Camino.
Numark and his wife Diane have two children, Lincoln, 3-1/2, and Pearl, 1.
Numark is endorsed by retiring El Camino Trustee Maureen O’Donnell, Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto, retired Torrance Mayor Dee Hardison, Redondo Mayor Steve Aspel and all members of the Torrance and Redondo Beach school board members.
For more information on the candidates visit the League of Women’s Voters site SmartVoter.org.
The candidates’ sites are: GRickMarshall.com and CliffNumark.com. ER