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College Board Endorsements

The Los Angeles Community College District is at a turning point. It has a new chancellor, comparative labor peace and an opportunity to put into effect far-reaching reforms passed by the Legislature. The decisions made by the districts’ board of trustees, including three members up for election April 11, will determine how well the nine local community colleges respond to these changes, in the way they write their budgets as well as in the approaches they use to help both vocationally oriented students and those who want to go on to four-year universities.

We are endorsing the following candidates:

Office No. 2 --Rose Ochi has demonstrated as one of Mayor Tom Bradley’s assistants that she gets things done. She has shown commitment to the community colleges both by seeking appointment for an earlier vacancy and by serving on the screening committee that helped select chancellor Donald Phelps. Ochi is a graduate of Los Angeles City College who transferred to UCLA and later earned both master’s and law degrees. She understands the vital transfer role of the community colleges and their importance as an entry point for immigrants.

Her opponent, Mary Louise Longoria, has solid education credentials, but we think Rose Ochi has already proved her leadership and her concern for community colleges.

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Office No. 4 --Attorney Lindsay Conner, running unopposed for a third term, has helped the district develop better relations with its teachers’ union. He also has tried to tighten the performance of each campus in recruiting and retaining students, and deserves a vote of confidence.

Office No. 6 --Althea R. Baker chairs the counseling department at Mission College. An attorney as well, she served as chief negotiator for the American Federation of Teachers local in its bargaining last year with the trustees. That union is widely perceived as having heavy influence on the college trustees, but it is a union that seems now to want to work more smoothly with the college administrators while still standing strongly for better pay and working conditions. Baker and her colleagues successfully negotiated a new contract in six weeks instead of the six months of confrontation that had been the norm. All seven of the current college trustees have endorsed her for this election.

Baker’s principal opponent, Patricia Hollingworth, a teacher at L.A. Trade Tech, has good credentials, especially in the area of community college financial management. But Baker has a track record of commitment.

We believe that with the addition of Rose Ochi and Althea Baker and the reelection of Lindsay Conner, the community college trustees will gain strength for tackling the changes they face in the coming years.

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