- Q&A: Tammy Silver. Heat Wave Retail Politics
- Q&A: Sasha Renée Pérez. Looking At and Beyond the Immediate
- Q&A: Rick Cole. Aspiration / Inspiration
- Q&A: Ryan Liu. From PCC to Yale, Oxford & Back Again
- Q&A: Kathryn Barger. Making Progress on Homelessness Despite Legal Handcuffs
- Q&A: Elizabeth Wong Ahlers. Sacramento can Keep Families in California
- Q&A: Judy Chu. Best Intentions, Meet Political Reality
- Q&A: John Doyle. Energy, Housing & the PPD
- Q&A: Ben Savage. Real Consequences, Close to Home
- Q&A: Jonathan Horton. All About Community
- Q&A: Jed Leano. Social Change, at Scale
- Q&A: Phlunté Riddle. Perspective is Everything
- Q&A: Brandon Lamar. Build-in Diversity Through City Processes
- Q&A: Laura Friedman. Reject Polarization, Hold Government Accountable
It’s hot in East Pasadena. Afraid to touch the steering wheel without an oven mitt hot. Late July hot.
And there’s a knock at the door.
You calculate the odds. They come up 50-50. It’s either a duo of overheated church women with a magazine to hand out or a blond realtor wondering if you know someone thinking about selling.
Your left arm is in a sling and you crave some variety. So you open the door a crack.
Oh great, someone new. With a clipboard.
“Hello, I’m Tammy Silver,” says the woman running unopposed for Pasadena City College’s Board of Trustees, Area Four.
Damn, you think. This is door-to-door retail politics, Pasadena style.
Q. I’m encouraged by you running unopposed and yet still hitting the pavement in the heat to make sure your enthusiasm gets conveyed to the people you’re representing. Why are you so passionate about about this office?
A. Well, education runs deep in my family. My Mom and Dad were both elementary school teachers. And then they opened a store called Warren’s Educational Supplies in West Covina.
I grew up in a playpen in the back of our store surrounded by school supplies and teachers. Later, my Mom and I started a business selling reading and language arts materials for the K-6 level. My son taught third grade for a number of years. And so education is important and it was the path to a better life for my family.
Q. So it’s in your DNA. What are things that you want people to know about PCC that that you’re advocating for?
A. PCC is a community jewel. For example, I love we offer an honors program that gives students rigorous courses. They are truly honors courses at the college level. There’s regular calculus and then there’s honors calculus. Students in the honors program transfer to four-year schools at incredible rates.
PCC students have incredible success being accepted into the UCs. We send students to Yale. We have a connection with Smith College. We have students going to the Pomona colleges and Stanford.
Q. That’s fabulous.
A. And a community college supports their students. It’s what we do. I’ve heard from parents of PCC students when I’ve been knocking on doors that students at PCC get more support than at four-year colleges.
It’s our mission. We want our students to succeed. We want them to succeed however they define success. So if a student tells us they want to transfer to a four-year college, we work with them to do that. If a student tells us they want an Associate’s degree, then that’s what we do to help them. And if a student wants to get a certificate in a skill, or a trade, that’s what we do.
Q. Give me an example of a certificate program.
A. We have a fantastic program with Honda. We train Honda technicians, and our students that graduate from the Honda tech certification program go on to very good jobs. They’ve got their certification to work at Honda dealerships. They become technicians, not repair people.
Another thing I want people to know about is the opportunity for dual, or concurrent, enrollment. That’s where we bring college faculty to a high school campus for students to take college level classes. The benefit of this is when students apply to college, they have actual college-level classes on their record. It shows a very rigorous academic schedule. So if UCLA requires two years of a world language and you’ve taken Spanish at PCC, you’ve taken your first semester or first year of your world language requirement. And that opens up your schedule to take some electives or to continue more quickly through UCLA compared to if you take an AP class in high school.
Q. I heard you have a satellite program at one of the local high schools.
A. At Muir High School. It’s an outstanding program. It’s robust and has an incredible selection of courses.
Q. How’s your fundraising going?
A. I am having awesome support.
Q. You know, our purpose is to make sure people get local information.
A. It’s so important. We need it to keep everybody honest, you know, and keep the politicians honest. I wish people would subscribe to newspapers like they would give to a charity because it’s so important.