Bartman Wins Favor for Vacant School Seat : Board to Appoint Armor’s Successor

Times Staff Writer

Tom Bartman, who decided more than a year ago not to seek reelection as the West San Fernando Valley representative on the Los Angeles Board of Education, may be the one to succeed his own successor, some board members acknowledged Tuesday.

Bartman, 40, is being talked about for appointment to the seat vacated by David Armor. Armor resigned last month after less than a year in office to take a Department of Defense job in Washington.

Board members decided unanimously Monday to appoint someone to fill the seat until the next regular school board election in June, 1987.


Others Express Interest

They said the appointment, which they hope to make by the end of the month, is the quickest and cheapest way to fill the vacancy.

Among those who have publicly expressed interest in the seat are PTA leader Betty Blake, George St. Johns, an administrative aide to state Sen. Ed Davis (R-Valencia), and Elizabeth Ginsburg, who finished second behind Armor in the school board election last June.

Bartman had little to say about the matter--at least for the moment.

“I’m not going to comment on anything for a day or two,” he said Tuesday.

But several school board members said Bartman is definitely under consideration.

‘He’s Up to Speed’

“It’s my understanding that he’s seriously interested in coming back,” Eastside representative Larry Gonzalez said.

“I understand he’s a serious candidate,” said Jackie Goldberg, who represents Hollywood and the Central City area.

“He’s the logical choice,” added Roberta Weintraub, the East Valley representative, who is a longtime Bartman friend.

“He’s up to speed on the issues. He knows the district and he doesn’t want to run again,” Weintraub added.

Serve Just 1 Year

The Bartman possibility apparently has not been formally discussed among board members, however.

During the Monday debate on how to fill the West Valley seat, several board members said they wanted to appoint someone who would serve for just the one year remaining until an election could be held, and who would not run in that election.

Under city election codes, the appointed member could only serve until June, 1987, when a special election would have to be held to coincide with regularly scheduled board elections.

Several board members said in interviews Tuesday that they believe Bartman would agree to serve for just a year and then return to private life.

‘Need More Than a Caretaker’

But Goldberg said she is not interested in appointing someone who may never be answerable to the voters.

“I don’t think a caretaker has much accountability,” Goldberg said Tuesday. “When you have as many volatile issues as we have coming before us right now, you need more than a caretaker representing people’s interests.”

When announcing his decision not to run last year, Bartman said that he joined the board “with the idea that this would be an avocation, not a vocation.”

Bartman was the attorney for Bustop, the anti-mandatory busing group, when he was first elected to fill an unexpired board term in 1980.

Parents Antagonized

After winning a full term in 1981, Bartman become one of the more effective behind-the-scene players on the board.

But he antagonized many West Valley parents when, after opposing the closing of low-enrollment schools, he changed his mind and voted to close some schools.

Bartman said he supported the closures because he had become convinced that they were in the best financial interest of the district.