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George McKenna unopposed for L.A. school board; other races in flux

George McKenna, left, shown with community activist Larry Aubry, center, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in January, will face no opposition in March in his bid to remain on the L.A. school board.
George McKenna, left, shown with community activist Larry Aubry, center, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in January, will face no opposition in March in his bid to remain on the L.A. school board.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Four months ago, George McKenna won a difficult, expensive race to serve out the brief remaining term of a Los Angeles school board member. His bid to win a full, four-year seat will be easier.

McKenna, a retired senior district administrator, will be unopposed in District 1, which covers much of south and southwest L.A.

In all, four of the seven Board of Education seats are on the ballot for the March primary election.

McKenna had faced potential opposition from Daymond R. Johnson, a union officer for nonteaching employees at a local charter-school organization. Charter school advocates had been a primary funding and organizing source against McKenna in the August election; he filled the seat vacated after the death of Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte.

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But this time, the well-funded movement stayed on the sidelines. Charters are independently managed and exempt from some rules that govern traditional campuses; most charters are non-union.

Johnson failed to turn in a petition with the signatures of registered voters from District 1 by the Wednesday deadline.

Candidates pay a filing fee of $300 and must provide petitions with 500 valid signatures. They can qualify without paying the fee by collecting 1,000 signatures.

The other seats up for grabs on the Board of Education will be contested, but the exact field was not immediately available because the signatures on some petitions still must be verified.

In District 3, in the west San Fernando Valley, incumbent Tamar Galatzan and challengers Elizabeth Badger Bartels and Ankur Patel have qualified. Three others have turned in petitions.

In District 5, incumbent Bennett Kayser will face challengers Andrew Thomas and Ref Rodriguez. All have qualified for a winding district that includes southeast L.A. County.

In District 7, incumbent Richard Vladovic has qualified, as has Lydia A. Gutierrez. Another challenger awaits word on her petition for the district that covers the harbor area and portions of South L.A.

Twitter: @howardblume

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