NCPA Votes Unanimously to Endorse Candidates for College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees

This is a press release from the North Coast People’s Alliance:

North Coast People's AllianceEUREKA, CA (Sept. 28, 2017) – The North Coast People’s Alliance (NCPA) voted unanimously at their general meeting on Sept. 24 to endorse Dan Kelley and Dr. Bonnie Deister, RN in the November 2017 election for the College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees.

Dan Kelley is a small business owner, business coach, and former community organizer who has helped empower students from both CR and HSU to start new businesses through his company, Edge Caliber. He is also a father, husband, and resident of Hydesville. He is running for the Area 2 seat on CR’s board, which includes the communities of Fortuna, Rio Dell, Scotia, Petrolia and Carlotta.

Bonnie Deister holds a doctorate in education and leadership. She is a Registered Nurse as well as a former CR employee of 17 years. She has spent 28 years as an educator at community colleges, and has mentored students for over 28 years. She is a mother, grandmother, and resident of Ferndale. She is running for the Area 1 seat on CR’s board, which includes the communities of Ferndale, Loleta, King Salmon, Humboldt Hill and portions of Eureka.

The two seats will be determined in the Nov. 7, 2017 election.

“These two candidates can help create a stronger CR, one that will better serve students of all backgrounds,” said Carrie Peyton-Dahlberg, vice chair of the NCPA steering committee. “Education is our future, and if we’re going to build a healthy future, we need everyone who is eligible to vote in this election.”

“Please mark your calendar now and make time to vote by mail or in person on Nov. 7!”

The North Coast People’s Alliance evolved from Northern Humboldt for Bernie, a grassroots campaign that helped to secure a local landslide victory for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. After the primary, NCPA was formed as an organization to empower ordinary people to become engaged in political processes. NCPA is not aligned with any political party; rather, it serves as a place where progressives of all stripes can work together on issues that transcend partisan politics.



  • Mr. Kelley may not claim affiliation to any party, but the language in his candidate statement has many dog whistle phrases that an informed voter will catch. What is he a CEO of? He boasts his wife’s local roots, but what about his roots? In his candidate statement, he avows to be a strong conservative steward of CR resources and values. It seems innocuous, but it signals a lot to the right and alt-right. Discussions about the debt weighing us down is another dog whistle that signals austerity. I prefer Mr. Ross because he has listed his accomplishments in acquiring funding for CR and his vision and commitment for the students of CR. Thank you Kim for publishing this. I hope to see balanced reporting because it will be easy for this to slip under the radar.

  • The North Coast Socialist People’s Alliance doesn’t give a rat’s ass about C/R, education or what is best for the students or the taxpayers of Humboldt County.

    The NCSPA cares only about getting far left wing nuts elected to any & every office and it doesn’t matter if they are qualified or care. Stay away from Kelley and Deister if you want our best qualified people serving the taxpayers.

  • Having worked at CR for the past 7 years, I have seen Mr. Ross at work as a Board member and President of the Board of Trustee’s. There have been many meetings where Tom’s voice was the voice of reason. The President of the College is bound by two different negotiated labor contracts, by Cal Ed Code, by directives from the Chancellor’s office and by the direction given this office by the Board of Trustees.
    Every Time a new Trustee is elected, they have to be trained in the job. There is a great deal of knowledge that has be obtained before a Board Member is able to really contribute.
    The best way to help CR become more than what it is today, is to figure out how to point more of our local High School graduates to CR. CR is funded from the State by Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES). Since a great deal of our Students are eligible for the BOG wavier, Tuition cost do not make up the bulk of our funding. Apportionment does. That is what the State pays us per FTES.
    If we increase enrollment, we increase FTES, then we increase funding to CR. Then the Board of Trustees can begin changing what CR is and does. Right now we need stability. Not trainees.

  • It’s time for a change! Over the decades I have attended and taught at College of the Redwoods. A couple of decades ago, it was a thriving community college with a very talented and energized faculty. In more recent years, as a local, I have witnessed CR’s slow and painful decline. Both Tom Ross and Traci Coppini have occupied their board seats for the past two decades, sitting back on their laurels, collecting their sweet CR Board healthcare packages AND monthly stipends …. all the while building up walls by alienating CR faculty members (remember the faculty picketing outside CR recently???) Neither Coppini or Ross has offered any solutions to the dropping numbers of CR student enrollment. ZERO. The citizens of Humboldt have witnessed what was once a vital community college that offered integral vocational programs now, in recent years, the programs have fallen into the abyss. No offer of any action regarding this on Coppini’s or Ross’ part! What REALLY gets me is the League of Women Voters are willing to offer a venue and extended an invitation to all candidates to publicly debate on local public KEET TV …. providing all voters a chance to become informed on each individual’s platform. Traci Coppini simply will not agree to set a date to debate. Why? Both Bonnie Diester and Dan Kelley are more than willing to attend the debate. An informed voting public is what it’s all about! Furthermore, BOTH Bonnie and Dan have promised the voters that they will pass on the costly CR Board healthcare package! Additionally, BOTH Bonnie and Dan have promised the voters, if elected, they will set up a scholarship fund account and deposit the ENTIRE, total amount of their stipend compensation into the scholarship fund. As the stipend compensation is set up at CR, board members can not pass on the stipend. They must accept it. So both Bonnie and Dan have committed to a very solid solution! A scholarship fund! It is sooooo refreshing to see two people who understand what civic duty means…. dedicating their time and energy towards the betterment of the local community! Tired, uninspired Old Guard OUT! Time for some refreshing, new energy! VOTE Bonnie Diester or Dan Kelley for CR Board of Trustees!

  • Being relatively new to the area and wanting perspective on candidates for College of the Redwoods’ Board of Trustees, I did some research. Anyone who has lived in Humboldt for more than a few years already knows that under past presidents Crabill and Marsee, CR nearly lost its accreditation. Much work has been done to undo the damage they caused, and I am proud to be on staff at CR today. However, in considering the upcoming election, I learned that both Board incumbents who are up for re-election, Tracy Coppini and Tom Ross, have held their seats for many, many years; both were on the Board for the selection and tenure of those past Presidents who nearly destroyed CR.

    Board Policy states clearly that Trustee duties and responsibilities include, among others, “Appoint and evaluate the President/Superintendent” and “Delegate power and authority to the President/Superintendent to effectively lead the District.” Based on everything I have heard and read, they (and the rest of the Board) did not faithfully execute those duties, but rather, turned a blind eye to the abuses of power and funds.

    People tend to sit out these odd-year elections for a number of different reasons. But this year, those of us who live in Areas 1 and 2 have an opportunity to solidify positive changes happening at College of the Redwoods by voting in two vibrant new candidates for the Board of Trustees – Dan Kelley for Area 2 and Bonnie Deister for Area 1. Both have solid plans for strengthening enrollment and ensuring that CR makes decisions that serve all of our students well and support community educational needs. More information about their priorities is available at,, and

    Please check out what they have to say, and vote wisely on November 7th.


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