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Five hopefuls begin run for Glendale Community College board of trustees

In the race for a seat on the Glendale Community College board of trustees, three newcomers are running to represent District 4, while two incumbents will run unopposed to represent the areas in which they reside during the college's first district-based election.

In order to run, candidates had to file papers by Jan. 26, and city officials verified signatures this week. The election will be held on April 4.

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Current college trustee Ann Ransford is running without opposition to represent District 2. She was first elected to the board in 2009, following a 36-year career at the college as director of communications, marketing and foundation.

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"The reason I want to continue as a trustee is because I've had a long-term relationship with the college, and I enjoy being part of the policy decisions that we make," she said. "I know my experience and my background give me the insight to make good decisions."

Fellow incumbent Armine Hacopian, a candidate for District 3, is also running unopposed. First elected to the board in 2001, she said her experience will play an important role on the board.

"I'm very pleased there's no opposition," Hacopian said, adding that the election process helps start a dialogue between candidates and residents about the issues that are important to the community.

"I think continuity is very important at this time. What I bring is institutional memory," she said. "The thread has to be woven from the past to the future."

She said she's intent to focus on decisions surrounding how the college will spend $325 million in Measure GC bond funds, which voters approved with overwhelming support in November.

The bond is also key for others who are running for a board seat for the first time — all of them living in District 4.

For Rondi Werner, bringing her experience as a construction contract administrator could be helpful on the board, she said.

"I have something to bring to the table that isn't already there," she said. "Having that extra piece will help me ask the right questions when projects are being put through."

Werner, who's also president of the Adams Hill Neighborhood Assn., said she has been touring the campus and listening to board of trustees meetings.

In his run for the board, Victor Garcia Jr. said he's also intent on figuring out how the college will tap into the bond funds to further the institution's innovation.

A 21-year-old student who's finishing his studies at UC Santa Barbara this year and commuting from Glendale to that campus, Garcia said he was inspired to run for a seat during the 2016 presidential election.

Among his priorities would be changing the perception Glendale residents have of the college.

"I really want to transform the way we look at the community college so it becomes a center role in the community," he said.

The other candidate running for a seat in District 4 is Yvette Vartanian Davis.

"[Glendale Community College] has a reputation for being a top college in the area, and I want to fight to maintain that well-earned status," she said.

Among the groups and organizations on which Vartanian Davis has served, she most recently was president of the Glendale Rotary Club and is currently treasurer of the Glendale Educational Foundation, which supports the Glendale Unified School District.

"I am running because I want to give back to the community that has given me so much," she said.

Members Tony Tartaglia and Vahe Peroomian will serve the next two years on the board of trustees as the last members elected as part of the college's former at-large voting method. Districts 1 and 5 will be open for election in 2019.

A forum with the Glendale Community College candidates will be held at 5 p.m. on Feb. 28 in Kreider Hall on the college campus, 1500 N. Verdugo Road.

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Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan

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