Monday, April 15, 2024

Election Winning City Council and School Board Members are Ready to Serve

With the election season nearly behind us (it’s still lingering in some areas), most are now concentrating on the fall season and the upcoming holidays that are fast approaching. There were definitely highs and not so highs in our local Coronado election season, but we had an outstanding field of candidates from which to choose for both City Council and School Board, and we commend them all for their dedication to this community.

Focusing on the highlights, we have to mention the time Mary Sikes stepped in for Derek Mundt at a Candidate Forum while he was briefly hospitalized. That’s the epitome of the true spirit of Coronadans. The newly elected City Council and School Board Members are ready to get to work on making Coronado, the city itself and its schools, the best for everyone. The newly elected chime in to answer a few post-election questions.

Bill SandkeIncumbent City Councilmember Bill Sandke

CT: What would you like to say to the voters?
Sandke: Sincere thanks for your continued confidence in both our Community and myself as your Councilmember.

CT: What are your top three priorities for the near future?
Sandke: Local control for safer streets. And then water, water, water….. press hard on clean beach waters, address storm water issues and improve our sewer infrastructure and at the same time move forward on a locally produced source of irrigation water for our golf course, parks and medians.

CT: What was your favorite moment of the election?
Sandke: I have two favorite moments from the election. First came during the last forum when Mary stepped up and did Derik’s speech, and the second was the zen moment around November 1, when I got internally peaceful with any election result.

CT: What is your favorite time of day?
Sandke: Early morning – I am up and reading peacefully or walking my dog along quiet neighborhood streets.

Marvin Heinze

New City Councilmember Marvin Heinze

CT: What would you like to say to the voters?
Heinze: Thank you for the warm reception most Coronado voters gave me when I knocked on their door. I know it can be intrusive, but I really appreciated those people who took a few minutes to share things they like about Coronado and their concerns. By walking every street in our community, I again learned about the subtle differences between various parts of our island community.

CT: What are your top three priorities for the near future?
Heinze: Study the ordinances and regulations on City Council legal powers and obligations to ensure I am ready to effectively govern when sworn in, renew relationships with our Navy and build new relationships with those citizens whom I do not yet know.

Review the capital improvement plan to find opportunities to expedite the renovation of our underground infrastructure, (water, and sanitary system) and the further undergrounding of utilities.

Assist current Council efforts to move forward on getting control of all our city streets.

CT: What was your favorite moment of the election?
Heinze: Talking with voters one on one in their homes, followed closely by the moment the results were posted!

CT: What is your favorite time of day?
Heinze: Morning, because our community is so beautiful and fresh at sunrise.

Newly Elected School Board Members

Captain Lee Pontes

Returning School Board Trustee Lee Pontes

To the voters, I say thanks for expressing confidence in my ability as a trustee to make good decisions in a position of such gravity where the future of the children of Coronado is concerned. I appreciate their faith in electing me to a second term where I can continue to use my experience to ensure CUSD students receive the best possible education our funding can support.

My top priority is always student achievement. If our students are going to continue to excel, we must continue to scrutinize our spending and budgeting as we navigate a spend down of reserves that allows us to reach Basic Aid without breaking the bank. I have a huge fiduciary responsibility, not just those that voted for me, but to all constituents, one that I do not take lightly. Nonetheless, I am committed to working with both classified and certificated staff to determine a usable, equitable, and acceptable “market rate” upon which to base future salary and benefits. The long-running, terse negotiations between the Board and ACT, whose genesis was in our inability to find common ground on salary and benefits, unfortunately resulted in harsh words and hard feelings between the two groups. What is left is a fractured relationship which will not be repaired overnight. But I know this, our district will never reach its full potential until this riddle can be solved. The bickering has to stop, the sides must find common ground, and we must get on with the business of teaching and learning.

My favorite moment of the election?  When it was over!

Esther Valdes

Returning School Board Trustee Esther Valdes

CT: What would you like to say to the voters?
Valdes: Being elected to a second term as a Trustee for the Coronado Unified School District, is not only a privilege but also a mandate by the people of Coronado to continue to focus on student learning and safety. I am grateful to have been re-elected and will continue to work hard to ensure that the District remains fiscally sound, without Valdes: compromising student learning.

CT: What are your top three priorities for the near future?
Valdes: In this second term, I will endeavor to engage the community more in terms of communication, access, as well as greater advocacy for student needs, including their emotional and mental health. Recent events have again shed light on the importance of mental health, and that includes our students’ well- being.

CT: What was your favorite moment of the election?
Valdes: The candidate forum: it was particularly important to face our community members to ensure that we communicate directly with the voters.

CT: What is your favorite time of day?
Valdes: The morning: I wake up in beautiful Coronado, focused, optimistic about the day, and ready to work on behalf of the citizens of Coronado. I read my Bible, and gather strength to face the day, whatever may happen.

New School Board Trustee Helen Anderson-Cruz

Dr. Helen Anderson-Cruz

Coronado School Board Trustees are tasked with supporting an environment under which excellent teaching and learning can take place. I am honored to serve as a Trustee for the Coronado Unified School District to continue the tradition of providing students with opportunities to actualize their full potential.

Congratulations to all elected officials and to all those who stepped up to run for a position in hopes of making Coronado even better!

Jennifer Velez
Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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