Letter from Brett Cole

We are indeed, locally and nationally, in the midst of election season. A time where controversy, finger pointing, and accusations abound. It seems one of the biggest negative points from Mr. Barber, in his Milestones column, and from the current police chief, is the fact that Pat Nikolai does not have his Bachelor’s degree. The current chief paid a fee and received his degree online. Pat Nikolai spent three years with his hind end in a chair in classrooms at a well regarded university, California Polytechnic State University, aka Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Only leaving because, he and his wife started a family. Does this really deserve the disparagement he has received from Mr. Barber and others. If a college degree was a necessity, would it not be a requirement to run for Chief of Police. It is not. Nor is it a requirement for the County Sheriff. The California Government Code does not require it and it is the law of the state. Let me mention a few others who did not finish college, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Richard Branson. Is this really an important issue? Or a simple grasp at political straws of no substance.

Editor’s Note: We looked into this question and requested a transcript from Michael Sellers’ alma mater, California State University Long Beach. Sellers received a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Human Services in 2003 from CSULB, according to his transcript. Seller’s major was Occupational Studies, which has been offered in the CSU system since the mid-1990s, was early adopter of online learning in its “extended university” program (CSU-EU)

The program is designed for mid-career professionals and in conjunction with employers.


“To be educationally effective, programs for mid-career adults often require additional features that are not part of most on-campus programs,” according to their 2003 program brochure.