John Paul Drayer takes another try for college board seat

DOWNEY - This isn't the first time John Paul Drayer has campaigned for a seat on the Cerritos College Board of Trustees. In fact, if the 50-year-old educator has his way in November, this won't be the last time either. Drayer, a resident of Bellflower and former Cerritos College student, is just one of the many candidates hoping to bring fresh vision and innovation to Cerritos College as a member of the board of trustees.

"I owe so much of my success as an educator to my wonderful experience of attending Cerritos College getting my A.A. degree," said Drayer. "So many memories at the college - I just want to come up with solutions to improve our education system."

Unlike previous board races, trustees this year will be chosen through smaller district contests instead of at-large elections. On Nov. 6, only the candidates running in those specific trustee districts will appear on the ballot in those five areas.

Drayer is running in Area 3, which includes portions of Downey, Bellflower, and Paramount. "The part of south Downey I hope to represent is south of Imperial Highway, west of Bellflower Boulevard, and east of Garfield Avenue," Drayer said. "I'm the only candidate that is a homeowner in the Downey Unified School District. I attended Downey High School...I know how to be a liaison between Cerritos College and the DUSD."

An educator for 27 years, Drayer started his teaching career in the Downey Unified School District after graduating from Cerritos College where most of his family attended college, including his father, former Bellflower Mayor Edward H. Drayer.

John Paul Drayer ran for the Cerritos College Board the first time in 1996, but lost in an at-large election.

"I did very well in Bellflower and Downey, I came in second," he said. "I came in third in Norwalk."

When Drayer was told no one was running against appointed incumbent Jeanne McHatton to represent Area 3, he decided to try again.

"No one else has the perspective I do as a student. I've been there - I got my degree from there," Drayer said. "As a volunteer, student, and taxpayer, I know how to work with the student government and find new ways for generating revenues."

If elected, Drayer has ambitious goals for the college and promises to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the board.

In addition to career training for 21st century jobs, Drayer is committed to increase the student transfer rate to universities, streamline college operations to save taxpayer dollars, and institute board member term limits, modeled after the Cerritos City Council, which allows council members only two consecutive terms at a time. After two terms, council members are not eligible to run for two years.

"People have served too long," said Drayer referring to the board. "It's not good for democracy or innovation. We need new blood."

Drayer also said he wants the college to complete its current $210 million capital improvement measure that was approved by voters in 2004. This November, current board members will ask voters living in the Cerritos College district to approve a $350 million bond measure to collect money that will go towards updating technology, math, science and computer labs, upgrading job-training facilities, providing classrooms and labs to accommodate growing demand, and acquiring, constructing, and repairing aging buildings and classrooms.

Drayer has publicly denounced the bond measure as untimely and too expensive.

"At this time, it is premature to add to the 2004 price tag," Drayer said. "Voters should get the best value for their tax dollars."

Over the last two weeks, Drayer has gone from door to door in Cerritos, Downey and Bellflower, asking voters for their support.

"I had a great experience at Cerritos College. I can get things done with a student's perspective," said Drayer. "It's important to have innovation and someone who will serve the taxpayers. As a local community leader, I understand the needs of our community."

Drayer has been endorsed by Cristina Garcia, Democratic candidate in the 58th State Assembly district, Bellflower Unified School District Board Member Debra Cuadros, former Bellflower Mayor Art Olivier, Cerritos College Board of Trustees Member Dr. Tina Cho, and Dr. Paul Helzer, president of the Bellflower Unified School District.

********** Published: August 16, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 18