Thursday, November 8, 2007
This Hartnell College election night party looks more like a knitting circle. Professor Kelly Locke knits in her living room, which has shelves of yarn and a few looms stowed in its corners. Trustee candidate Pat Donohue and her campaign manager Alex Hulanicki lean back on the couch, awaiting the painfully slow delivery of election results. Several bottles of wine on the dining room table remain unopened. But when Hulanicki refreshes the laptop the party gets its second wind.
The crowd of teachers and Hartnell College Faculty Association members gather around the computer. Donohue has a solid 10 percent lead on nursery owner Steve McShane. She gives Hulanicki a high five.
“Let’s see how Jerry McCready’s doing,” Faculty Association President Ann Wright jokes, referring to the perennial candidate who ran for the North County trustee seat and two other posts. “Which race, Ann?” Locke asks, evoking more laughter.
Donohue, who recently retired as director of Watsonville’s Parks and Recreation Department, says she’s excited to serve on the Hartnell board. Looking around the room of teachers who helped her walk precincts and call voters, she adds “it will be great to work with all these wonderful people.”
The party clamors again as her stepson, Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue, walks in the door. “We’ll have a town and a gown in the family,” Pat Donohue says before giving Dennis a hug.
Preliminary results show Donohue winning the trustee seat by more than 51 percent of the south Salinas vote. (As of the >>Weekly’s press time, early Wednesday morning, Donohue still leads the race, beating candidates Steve McShane, Reynaldo Chairez Jr. and Josh Stratton.)
In the crowded North Monterey County race, Kevin Healy emerges as the winner, receiving about 39 percent of the vote compared to Polly Jimenez’s 32 percent. Trustee Bill Freeman keeps his North Salinas seat, taking in about 56 percent of the vote and defeating challenger Rick Giffin. In the community college’s closest race, Jeff Davis has a slim lead of 10 votes over Elia Gonzalez-Castro for the east Salinas seat.
This means at least two of the candidates endorsed by the teachers’ union will join the board. Hartnell faculty vowed to get more teacher-friendly trustees elected to the board after stalled contract negotiations led to a five-day strike in October 2006. “I think we’ve really helped start things in the right direction,” Wright says.