Why in the world would the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) get involved in a consulting contract to help run two technical schools in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia? It is a crazy idea – and it is wrong on so many levels. Yet the scheme, which was hatched by the RSCCD Foundation, is moving forward – but not as was expected.
The potential profit from the deal has also been reduced from $8 million to $2 million after negotiations with Saudi Arabian officials finished, according to the Santa Ana College Newspaper, El Don.
But whether or not the RSCCD will actually make any money off this questionable deal is a very good question. Algonquin College in Canada, initially lost almost one million dollars with their ill-advised Saudi partnership, according to Barry Resnick, the the immediate past president of the District’s Faculty Association (FARSCCD). Algonquin has now cut off all ties with the Saudis and they are reeling in debt estimated to be $5.8 million.
Other than Trustee Phil Yarbrough who publicly opposed this agreement, the six other board members supported the Saudi deal. And on September 29, 2015 the RSCCD Foundation entered into a partnership agreement to commence work with the Saudis – five months after a Saudi government investigation was opened into corruption against the RSCCD partner, according to Resnick.
How is the Foundation feeling about this deal now? Well they cancelled their September board meeting and moved it to December. That’s right – they moved their meeting to AFTER the November election. It is quite possible that the Saudi deal has been an abject failure and that the district has squandered thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Why would the RSCCD even want to do business with the Saudis given how that fascist country deals with women, gays and Jews? It is completely unethical for the RSCCD to be doing business with these people!
There is a reason that the incumbents on the RSCCD Board who are up for reelection this November – Claudia Alvarez, Nelida Mendoza Yanez and Arianna Barrios, are all facing challengers this year. That by the way is unprecedented!
Barrios by the way is doubling down on her mistaken support for the Saudi project. Check out what she told the L.A. Times: “The foundation’s project with Saudi Arabia promotes education, cultural understanding and will facilitate progressive change.”
I wonder if Barrios knows that “the Saudi government had sanctioned the beheadings of 82 people in the first three months of the year. In contrast, the kingdom beheaded 158 people total in all of last year,” according to the International Business Times.
Saudis have also recently been exposed buying sex slaves from ISIS, according to the India Times.
Barrios, Mendoza Yanez and Alvarez should be ashamed of themselves for getting into bed with the Saudis!
I encourage you to vote for those who are running against these incumbents. Also note that the incumbents recruited Zeke Hernandez to run for the seat that was vacated by Jose Solorio. Please do NOT vote for Hernandez! Vote instead for his opponent, Matt Schauer.
Here are the challengers who are running against the RSCCD incumbents:
- Cecilia Aguinaga, candidate for Area 5
- Steven Nguyen, candidate for Area 5
- Rudy Diaz, candidate for Area 7
- Antonio “Tony” Tapia, candidate for Area 3
- Thomas Gordon, candidate for Area 3
The RSCCD Faculty Association has endorsed Aguinaga, Diaz, Gordon and Schauer. These challengers are all Republicans except for Aguinaga, who is a Democrat. Nguyen and Gordon are also elected members of the OC GOP’s Central Committee.