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School Board Race : Busing Foes Ride Again for Romey

Times Staff Writer

It seemed like old times at Lanai Road Elementary School in Encino on Friday.

There at the birthplace of Bustop, the Los Angeles anti-busing group, was one of its founding mothers. Standing near her was the politician whose amendment to the state Constitution ended mandatory busing for desegregation in Los Angeles. And their cause also was familiar: to throw support to a school board candidate.

This time the candidate is Barbara Romey, who is running against Julie Korenstein in the June 2 election for the West Valley seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education.

“Eleven years ago, when Valley students, parents and taxpayers were threatened, we all pulled together for a common goal,” said state Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Van Nuys), who in 1979 wrote the ballot initiative that ended mandatory busing in many California school districts.

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“The threats are just as great today as they were then, so we are once again pulling together,” he said.

Also at Romey’s lightly attended press conference Friday was Bobbi Fiedler, whose political career began at the Lanai Road school and who progressed from angry mother to leader of the anti-busing group, the Los Angeles school board, the U.S. House of Representatives and an unsuccessful bid for the California U.S. Senate seat.

Romey has gathered endorsements from conservative leaders, and Korenstein has the support of many prominent liberal politicians, including U.S. Reps. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Los Angeles) and Howard L. Berman, (D-Panorama City). Korenstein also expects to have some “surprising” endorsements to announce soon, her campaign manager, Parke Skelton, said.

In the past, anti-busing forces have also supported successful school board candidates Roberta Weintraub and Tom Bartman, who was the attorney for Bustop.

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Campaigning Team

During the last few weeks, Romey and Fiedler have been campaigning shoulder-to-shoulder, attending luncheons, PTA meetings and other gatherings. After Friday’s press conference, the pair went to the Lanai Road campus for a little informal politicking.

Robbins said his endorsement will translate into volunteers and money for Romey. Robbins’ political associates have already contributed $10,000 to the campaign, he said.

Robbins stayed out of the West Valley race during the primary because, he said at the time, “there are a number of candidates in the race who I consider to be friends.” The state senator was referring to Romey and Bunny Field, who have both worked as paid fund-raisers for him.

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On Friday, Robbins had no problem throwing his full support to Romey, calling her “the candidate who will fight for the Valley.”

With Korenstein and Romey agreeing on so many of the issues, both candidates have been meticulous in picking up endorsements as a way to show voters which side of the political fence they stand on.

Endorsements In

Romey’s backers look like a Who’s Who of Valley conservatives. Some of them include Assemblywomen Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) and Marian W. La Follette (R-Northridge), Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and Fiedler.

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School board member Weintraub, who had supported Field in the primary, has also joined the Romey camp.

Korenstein also has a long list of supporters. In addition to Beilenson and Berman, they include state Sens. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara) and Herschel Rosenthal (D-Los Angeles), Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Tarzana), Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman and the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the largest teachers’ union in the Los Angeles district.


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