As of Friday afternoon, nobody had announced their candidacy for the Clatsop Community College Board positions representing Warrenton and South County, leaving the spots likely be chosen by appointment after Tuesday’s election.
Outgoing board members Esther Moberg, of Seaside, and Tessa Scheller, of Warrenton, decided not to run. Both encouraged others to consider applying.
Moberg, the director of the Seaside Public Library who was appointed to Zone 3, Position 7 representing South County in 2015, said she was too stretched for time between a full-time job and all her other obligations. She is president of the Oregon Library Association and involved with the Oregon Complete Count Committee working on the census, along with numerous other state and Seaside committees.
“I feel like someone with a lot more time could do a lot more,” she said.
Scheller, appointed to Zone 3, Position 6 representing Warrenton in 2010 and elected in 2011 and 2015, said she had been hearing people’s comments about term limits and thought it was time for someone else to contribute. During her time on the board, Scheller has focused on supporting diversity and health on campus. She helped push for a tobacco-free campus and punch in a trail uphill to the Astoria Column.
Both candidates reached out to potential replacements, but couldn’t find any takers. As of Friday, the county clerk’s office had not heard from any candidates mounting a write-in campaign. The college is a rarity among many smaller sanitary, water and rural fire protection districts that regularly have no candidates.
A write-in candidate would need at least half of all write-in votes to win. Many of the districts dependent on write-ins will end up appointing candidates after the election.
Both Scheller and Moberg admitted that the time commitment can scare many people away.
“I wouldn’t discourage someone who works full-time from serving, but they need to understand the time commitment,” Moberg said.
Andrea Mazzarella, appointed to the college board in January 2018 and running for election against former college board member Sara Meyer, commented at a recent candidate forum on her hesitancy to contribute, having not taken the traditional academic route or earned a degree. But other board members assured Mazzarella of the value of her contributions, she said.
Anyone who’s tried to enrich their professional or personal lives at the college knows what it’s about, Moberg said.
“I hope there isn’t any sense of elitism, like you need a college education,” Scheller said. “I would think that being a board member requires that they care about their community and care about the college. There’s no degree in caring that I know of. It’s not over anybody’s head, really.”