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Four seats on school board

Editor’s note: This corrects the spelling of Linda Sneen’s name.

COSTA MESA — School’s out but the school board race is in session. A small group of candidates have taken out papers to run in the Nov. 2 election.


As the 5 p.m. Aug. 9 deadline looms at the Orange County Registrar of Voters, there are four open seats on the seven-member board.

Incumbent Judy Franco said if anybody wants to witness chaos, they should head to the registrar about an hour before its Santa Ana offices close.


“If there’s no opponent, then as an incumbent you don’t have to file anything,” said Franco, a veteran school board member who’s served for nearly three decades. Franco might go up against Loretta A. Zimmerman, who unsuccessfully ran against Franco four years ago.

Zimmerman, a Corona del Mar PTA member, took out papers for Franco’s seat in Trustee Area 5, which serves West Newport, the Balboa Peninsula, Balboa Island and other neighborhoods. Franco has represented the territory for 28 years, receiving 41% of the vote to Zimmerman’s 31% in a four-way race in 2006.

But anything can happen in an election,

something Linda Sneen, a former Newport-Mesa school board member, demonstrated after she took out papers but decided not to run because she’d potentially face Katrina Foley, a Costa Mesa city councilwoman, in a bid to unseat incumbent Michael Collier, who is seeking a second term.


Collier represents Area 2, which includes the area surrounding Costa Mesa High School and Orange Coast College.

“Katrina and I have a bunch of the same friends on Facebook, and I don’t want people to have to choose between us,” Sneen said.

Collier said he’s a little puzzled as to why Foley is running for the school board, although he wished her luck.

“She’s a good community watchdog, but to be a board member on a board of seven, there’s a lot of collaboration that goes on. It’s a different kind of governance working as a school board member versus working as an individual as a city councilor.”


Foley could not be reached for comment. If she were to win the seat, she would have to resign her position from the City Council midway into her second term.

At least one race so far has only one candidate. School board President Karen Yelsey is unopposed in Corona del Mar’s Area 4.

Area 7, the West and Southwest sides of Costa Mesa, which is represented by Walt Davenport, has two candidates to date, the incumbent and challenger Gloria J. Alkire.

Davenport, who is seeking a second term, said he felt like he had some unfinished business to complete, especially after the district had to reduce $12 million from its budget and lay off more than 100 teachers.

“I want to see us through the financial crisis, and work on providing an educational path for every student,” said Davenport, 74, who was a Costa Mesa planning commissioner for 23 years. “I think the entire district has a lot of strength, from the top down. The hardest thing we had to do this year was vote on the layoffs.”

Davenport owns a small water-softening manufacturing company in Costa Mesa.

Alkire is a lifelong educator and Newport Beach resident who spent much of her career as an administrator and teacher in the Santa Ana Unified School District.

Most recently she became a course developer for instruction for William Howard Taft University.