26 File Papers to Seek 4 L.A. School Board Seats
Motivated by a growing dissatisfaction with public schools and by the decisions of two veteran trustees to bow out, 26 candidates filed papers Tuesday to run for four Los Angeles Unified School Board seats.
The field of potential candidates--the largest ever to vie for the board--also is wildly disparate, united only by a common concern for the plight of public schools and a dream of doing something about it.
In all, 15 people want to try for the Eastside seat vacated by Leticia Quezada, while six plan to run for Warren Furutani’s South Bay district seat.
Of the two board members who are seeking reelection, Jeff Horton faces three challengers. Only Barbara Boudreaux, who in 1991 beat a teachers union-backed candidate to represent South-Central Los Angeles, remains unchallenged.
All of the candidates must return at least 500 valid signatures from voters in their district by Feb. 6 to qualify for the April 11 primary election.
District 5: (Parts of East Los Angeles and the northeast San Fernando Valley)
The seat occupied by Quezada for eight years has attracted the most interest among candidates. In making public her decision to return to private employment, Quezada expressed confidence that a Latino with similarly liberal opinions about immigration and bilingual education would take her seat.
Among those who have filed forms indicating that they plan to run are Quezada’s former aide, Ernest Delgado, who works for Los Angeles City Councilwoman Rita Waters. He is joined by a bevy of teachers with political aspirations: Kitty Hedrick, a Republican who ran for the state Assembly in 1992; Gonzalo Molina, a Democrat who ran for U.S. Congress in 1992; Theresa Montano, a union activist; history teacher and political activist Lew McCammon; David Tokofsky, one of the earliest participants in local school reform, and Boyle Heights elementary teacher Ron Rodriguez, who was the named plaintiff in a lawsuit that sought to equalize spending between richer and poorer district schools.
Other candidates include pharmacist Ed Okorocha, businessman Sigifredo Lopez, who is with the district’s bilingual-bicultural advisory committee, community education volunteer Gilbert Carrasco, artist Joyce Jodon-Durand, Lucia V. Rivera, Alban Casillas Calzada, Sam Kimura and Pansy L. Wing.
District 7: (Watts, Harbor area, Carson) When Furutani announced last week that he would not run for a third board term, he endorsed Gardena Adult School Principal George Kiriyama. Furutani also said he would throw his support behind a breakaway of Carson schools, a movement sure to be controversial during the election.
Kiriyama plans to retire from his administrative post.
Other candidates vying for the seat are Carson education consultant and school activist Roye Love, who has opposed the school split; retired Los Angeles Unified administrator Sidney Brickman; middle school business teacher Oliver Metcalf of Los Angeles; San Pedro businesswoman Laura Ann Richardson and Kathleen Fleming Dixon, also of San Pedro, a parent and school reform group leader.
District 3: (Echo Park area, Hollywood area, North Hollywood)
Horton is running for reelection with a promise to continue his push for education reform through further expansion of the district’s LEARN program. Horton’s challengers are Valley Village nurse Linda Jones, business owner Peter Ford of Los Angeles and record company executive John M. Souchack of Studio City.