The winner and loser of this week’s special Inglewood Unified School District board election both see the same thing on their political horizon: another election.
Although former Inglewood Police Chief Joseph Rouzan won a convincing 78% of the vote against insurance underwriter Jewett Walker, he will be up for reelection in April. Rouzan will serve the remainder of the term left vacant by the resignation this year of Rose Mary Benjamin.
And despite his loss, Walker said he intends to run again in April, this time against board President Caroline Coleman.
Rouzan said his first priority as a board member will be to define the relationship between the board and superintendent, in order to keep individual board members from interfering with the administration of the district.
“The pettiness is going to cease,” said Rouzan, 56. “Individual board members shouldn’t be asking for surveys and reports on issues they are personally interested in. That’s not the proper way to manage.”
Rouzan’s election leaves the board with a full complement of trustees for the first time in a year.
But the seats of Rouzan, Coleman and board member Larry Aubry, who was elected in a June special election to another vacant seat, will be up for election in April. Thus, despite a new spirit of unity among its members, the often turbulent board may not be immune from politics in the coming months.
Rouzan had the backing of the Inglewood Teachers Assn. and a slew of endorsements from local and state politicians, including all board members except Zyra McCloud, who campaigned actively for Walker.
Rouzan said he felt as if he were running against two people in the race, but added that he hopes to work with McCloud.
Walker, a PTA activist, said he considers his first effort in politics a building block. He has wasted no time in declaring a new candidacy, against Coleman in April.
“She has been at the center of every controversy we’ve had over the years,” Walker said. “It’s time for a change.”
Coleman, a 10-year veteran on the school board, could not be reached for comment.
Rouzan served briefly on the board last year after trustees appointed him to replace Ernest Shaw, who died last September. But he was ousted by a petition drive mounted by activists angry at the secretive nature of the appointment process.
Rouzan was the clear favorite because of his fund raising, his name recognition and his credentials as former city police chief and assistant city manager.
County officials said the latest campaign reporting forms show that Rouzan raised $22,200 and spent about $18,000 in the race. Walker said he spent about $8,000, although he had filed a short form indicating that he would not spend over $1,000.