By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Are Smith’s pre-Bernson days even worth mentioning? For the record, Smith once ran a formalwear store, and, as an errant young Republican, he spearheaded the drive to retain Spiro Agnew as Richard Nixon’s vice president.
The better choice is current school-board member Korenstein. Her strengths are a respectable match in an area where many voters feel alternately ramrodded or neglected by City Hall on development and quality-of-life issues. Control of runaway development has become a prime local concern, and on the school board, Korenstein, 59, has been a staunch environmentalist and never a particular friend to developers. Another Korenstein strength has been her attention to local school issues brought forward by parents. They weren’t always happy with the results, but she made it her business to give them a fair hearing. That approach should sit especially well with the disenchanted local electorate.
On the school board, Korenstein displayed her pro-union proclivities to a fault, but consistently lacked the forum that City Hall would provide to pursue her progressive political views. Don’t expect her to exert citywide leadership — that may be beyond her grasp — but she’d certainly prove a reliable ally to causes championed by Council Members Eric Garcetti or Antonio Villaraigosa.
She’d also provide a helpful link between the city and the school district. As a school-board member, she successfully championed the need for including a school in the Porter Ranch development. As a council member, she could keep the city focused on the need for new schools and on the importance of integrating them effectively into neighborhoods.MEMBER, LOS ANGELES SCHOOL BOARD
5th District — David Tokofsky
Two-term incumbent David Tokofsky, 42, faces Nellie Rios-Parra, 35, who is a well-educated teacher, parent and preschool-program administrator in the tiny Lennox school district. Perhaps because her career has been outside L.A. Unified, her knowledge of district issues does not compare well to that of Tokofsky, who is a master of detail.
Rios-Parra is backed by the fund-raising of Coalition for Kids, controlled by former Mayor Richard Riordan and billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad. Tokofsky has the backing of the teachers union, and pulled the nifty trick of getting endorsed by the two primary opponents who didn’t make the runoff. He needed it, given that these former opponents, like Rios-Parra, are Latino and that this district was drawn to elect a Latino.
Alas, Tokofsky deserves to thwart that Latino-empowerment goal once again. Latino students would be among the beneficiaries. A number of district advances in recent years have his stamp on them — including setting up an Inspector General’s Office to serve as a watchdog on spending, improving the way legal advice is obtained and ensuring environmental safety at schools. He’s ever willing to ask uncomfortable but often-necessary questions, while contributing a thoughtful, lively brilliance to questions of policy.
Two incumbent school-board members lost in the primary, which means that a victorious Tokofsky would be called on to exert leadership as he never has before. We’re hopeful that he’s up for the challenge.MEMBER, LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD
OFFICE NO. 3
Incumbent Mona Field knows state politics well enough to have written a book about how it works. She uses this handy reference in the course she teaches at Glendale Community College, where she’s been a faculty leader for years. She possesses an innate understanding of governance, and her Glendale position allows her to apply the insights of another system to Los Angeles. She also has a sensitive ear for the much-abused part-time faculty members upon which the community colleges rely. And she makes a point of attending school-bond oversight meetings. She’s worth keeping on the job.
COUNTY MEASURESLOS ANGELES COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
Wait a minute, you say. Didn’t voters just approve a $1.245 billion bond measure for local community colleges two years ago? Yes, they did. And was there even a hint, at the time, of another bond measure coming so soon? No, there wasn’t.
Okay, maybe it isn’t fair, but get over it. The community colleges need the $980 million this bond measure would provide to repair and build facilities. These schools have long been neglected by the state, to the detriment of the masses of students who depend on them as a first step to a better life. Oversight committees at each of the nine campuses will try to make sure the money is well spent.
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