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October 19, 2009: The hot seat on Election Day

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There’s a general election in Santa Clarita coming on Nov. 3, when voters will have a chance to elect two new members to the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees. Board seats Nos. 1 and 3 are up for grabs.

In the race for seat No. 1, Ernie Tichenor is stepping down, and there are four candidates vying for votes. This web site has no position on the race for seat No. 1.

However, it’s a different story with seat No. 3, where 16-year incumbent and board president Joan W. MacGregor is going up against accomplished local community and business leader Randy Moberg.

In this one, Moberg is our clear choice. We’ll explain why, with a little help from an editorial published in today’s edition of The Signal.

The newspaper’s op-ed piece summed up MacGregor’s candidacy this way: “No question, after 16 years of service, MacGregor has a thorough understanding of the college’s budget situation. But if institutional knowledge were the sole qualifier for office, John McCain would be president today.”

Moberg is CEO of LBW Insurance and brings more than 30 years of business and financial experience. According to The Signal, Moberg’s “leadership in the business community is widely recognized, having been elected chairman of the board of the Valley Industrial Association. He also serves on the COC Foundation board.”

But beyond this, Moberg wants to resurrect COC’s journalism program. Here’s how The Signal editorial summed it up:

The demise of the Canyon Call newspaper was only one step in scaling back the journalism program and folding it into the media arts curriculum.

We’re realists. Print journalism is not the be-all, end-all it once was. But news gatherers, quality writers and editors will be needed to generate trusted content no matter how it is delivered — in print or online.

We know this.

That’s why The Signal now publishes on multiple delivery platforms, including an exact digital copy of the newspaper at www.TheSignalEedition.com. We plan on remaining the SCV’s top choice for local news, sports and entertainment for a long time to come.

But we digress.

Our concern is not with the preservation of a school newspaper. That’s only the delivery method. What concerns us is the preservation of a program that teaches young people how to become competent and qualified truth-seekers and truth-tellers.

The program is called “journalism.”

Sadly, COC cut it — ostensibly because only seven students enrolled in it.

No. We are not advocating the salvation of programs with seven enrollees. The college can’t afford that.

What we are advocating — and what we want to see on the board — is the basic understanding that market needs will dictate that some programs must continue.

The alternative is to live in a community where nobody knows how to write a competent news story.

You got a problem with the reporting in The Signal today? Imagine not having it at all.

We’re already been forced to do more than just imagine what life at COC would be like without the Canyon Call. If you’re one of the 25,000 students who attend the bustling community college and want to express a written opinion in an open forum, lots of luck to you. There’s no way to do it.

The newly formed Media Entertainments Arts Division — made up of the RTVF Department and the remnants of the old Journalism program — has an online publication, Cougar News, but it won’t have an Opinion section until the spring semester, at the earliest.

COC administrators have made it abundantly clear they have no intention of bringing back the Canyon Call, saying the shift to Cougar News was intended to provide students with what they characterized as an “up-to-date journalism education.”

We take that to mean a broadcast-oriented watering down of journalism. Whether Moberg or anyone else can reverse the college’s decision remains to be seen. But unless we elect him, we’ll probably never know.

Click here to go to the complete Signal editorial.

Click here to go to an exact digital copy of The Signal.

Click here to sign the online petition to save the Canyon Call.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 57

2 comments

1 Publius { 10.21.09 at 5:03 pm }

“In this one, Moberg is our clear choice. We’ll explain why, with a little help from an editorial published in today’s edition of The Signal.”

What a bunch of sheep. we did it because the signal did!! That fact alone should clue you into voting for MacGregor.

2 admin { 10.21.09 at 5:29 pm }

Actually, the coalition decided to endorse Moberg a week earlier when one of our members spoke with him about his position on the Canyon Call while he was campaigning at Cougar Stadium before the start of a COC football game. The Signal’s editorial simply made it easier for us to get our message across. In any case, the election process is alive and well, and we appreciate your weighing on the subject. No doubt MacGregor is qualified, and her service to the school and local community is well documented and appreciated … we just feel that Moberg is the better choice specifically as it relates to bringing back the Canyon Call.