As the school board campaign winds its way to Tuesday’s general
election, four candidates are busy shaking voters’ hands and
appearing on the coffee klatch circuit.
Businessman Larry Applebaum, retired teacher Ted Bunch, attorney
Paul Krekorian and real-estate agent Mike McDonald are on the stump,
each hoping to amass enough votes to win one of two open seats on the
Retired Burbank High School teacher Dave Kemp is the only
candidate in a starting field of 15 to win one of the three school
board seats in the Feb. 15 primary. Incumbents Elena Hubbell and
Richard Raad lost in their bids to return to the board, which had
come under fire from some residents upset by the group’s handling of
the budget deficit and the dismissal of former Supt. David Aponik.
Applebaum, who received 29.6% of the primary vote, said it is
easier to reach some people now that their candidates are no longer
in the running.
“Previously when we phone-banked people, they said that they
weren’t supporting me. Now they’re willing to find out more about
me,” Applebaum said.
Bunch qualified for the runoff with 28.7% of the vote, and is
optimistic about his chances of winning. However, he was not endorsed
by the Burbank Teachers’ Assn., which backed Applebaum, Kemp and
Krekorian, the top three vote-getters.
“There are three possible scenarios,” Bunch said. “One, the
competition blows me away; two, I blow the competition away; or three
and probably most likely, it’s going to be a close election.”
Running for office this time is different for Krekorian, who
received 38.7% of the primary vote. He campaigned unsuccessfully for
state assembly three years ago.
“This time it’s a lot more personal,” Krekorian said. “People in
Burbank are so much more aware of the issues that affect our
But Krekorian admits that less attention might be paid to the
election this time around, since two of the three incumbents have
lost their reelection bid.
Incumbent Mike McDonald, fighting an uphill battle in his third
try for office, admitted that in this campaign the teachers’ union is
a formidable foe.
From his years playing football, McDonald said he lost some of his
vision and hearing. Now, he quipped, friends are telling him that he
surely must have lost his mind to be running again.