ELECTION '89 : 3 Candidates Vie for 2 Seats on Policy-Setting Library Board

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three candidates are vying Nov. 7 for two vacancies on the Palos Verdes Library District Board of Trustees.

The library board serves without salary and sets policy for the three-library system serving the Palos Verdes Peninsula cities of Rolling Hills Estates, Rolling Hills, Palos Verdes Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes.

Seeking the two seats on the board are incumbent trustee Janet C. Smith, 55, a community volunteer; Frances M. Bolton, 46, a demographer, and Teresa Sun, 54, also a community volunteer.

Incumbent Robin Hinchliffe is not seeking reelection, so there will be at least one new face on the five-member library board.

Alex Rennie, 72, a retired general contractor, will be on the ballot, but he has withdrawn from the race because a business venture may take him out of the area.

All three candidates say the quality of the library is not an issue in the election, nor are there major problems to tackle. The biggest community gripe--no Sunday hours--was largely resolved last fall when the main library at Peninsula Center was opened Sunday afternoons during the school year.

The candidates--and the library--are awaiting the results of a study examining library use with an eye toward the changing peninsula population and whether modifications in services are needed. Library district Director Linda Elliott said the study, which is to be completed this month, was authorized by the trustees. Among the changes on the peninsula is that its youth population is declining, the older population is increasing and there is a burgeoning Asian community that now accounts for 20% of the population, she said.

Although she is seeking a second term, Smith is facing an election for the first time because she and Hinchliffe were declared winners four years ago as the only contenders for the two seats.

A Rancho Palos Verdes resident, Smith is emphasizing her experience and knowledge of the community. "I've lived for 26 years in the community and have been fairly active in groups since 1980," she said. "I have a pretty good feel for the community." She added that she is "open to change . . . and responsive to the changing demographics" of the peninsula.

Bolton, a resident on the Rancho Palos Verdes east side for three years, believes that her activity on area issues--particularly her membership on the board of the East Peninsula Educational Council--gives her name recognition. The council has been at the center of a bitter fight over keeping Miraleste High School open despite a decision by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District to close it because of declining enrollment.

A first-time seeker of public office, Bolton said: "I think I'd be a good representative for the public. I do believe the taxpaying public's opinion is very important. We need to listen and serve."

Sun, who came to the United States 30 years ago from Taiwan and has lived in Rancho Palos Verdes since 1971, believes that she could provide the board with the perspective of the peninsula's growing immigrant population--particularly its Asian residents. The former college professor has been involved in several community groups, and has served on the multicultural committee of CAP, the Community Assn. of the Peninsula.

While praising the present quality of the library, Sun said she would like to see the collection and programs provide "a wider view of the world and of different cultures." She said the library could be instrumental not only in helping immigrant people become a part of the community, but in making the community more receptive to them.

Both Smith and Sun are working on advanced degrees, Smith a master's in English and Sun a doctorate in education.

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