Running for the board of trustees, candidate Bill Thomson isn’t promising change so much as to help build the relationships that make change possible.”To me consensus is extremely important,” Thomson said. “My impression is that the board is very well run, and I’m not coming to the board to change things.”

Thomson believes this low-key approach has served his community well. “I’ve got a proven record of getting things accomplished,” he said. “My relationships with the city council and the city staff will help.”

As a Pasadena councilman representing PCC and its neighbors, Thomson worked with current trustee Susanna Miele to resolve parking complaints. In the past, he said, “Students were parking in driveways.”

Now Thomson believes the moment is right for PCC to play a vital role in rebuilding the local public school system.

“I’m optimistic,” he said. “Public education is at a critical time in this country. In the past, my frustration with the PUSD is that they were closed to outside influence. Now, I think there’s more of an openness on the PUSD than at any time I can recall. They recognize that they can’t do it alone.”

Thomson endorses PCC’s collaboration with councilman Victor Gordo to help expand vocational opportunities for young people.

“These are good paying jobs and we need to reach these kids who are going nowhere and set them up with these opportunities,” Thomson said.

“I think the timing is right to do these types of things. I think people are now at the point where they say this has to happen. Kids aren’t finishing school.”

Thomson credits former councilwoman Joyce Streator for another idea: bringing a local PCC presence to other parts of the community.

“You’re dealing with a lot of young people,” Thomson said.

“You kind of have to go where they are to have effective contact. I would like to have the board have meetings in different parts of the community, particularly in the northwest district. You have to have a board that’s able to listen to people.”

With his son now a student at PCC, Thomson said, “I’ve got a personal tie to the college, and a history of keen interest in public education. The record is there.”

It’s his record that he’s running on, and the way he’s built it, over decades of public service.

“I think one of the biggest complements you can give to a public official is that ‘I didn’t always agree with you on outcomes, but I really respected the process of how you came to those decisions.’

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