Incumbent Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees Desperate, Reform Candidate Slate Emerges
Update: Mark Isler for Seat 3: also Ron Kaye Clean Sweep endorsed. See below.
As a reform slate of candidates emerges in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board of Trustees race, incumbents are pulling their hair out amid an L.A. Times expose uncovering fraud and misuse of horrifyingly large chunks of $5.7 billion in voter approved bonds for construction within the district -- just in time to provoke voters to strike back in tomorrow's election.
CHECK OUT this classic desperate political move -- it elicits that 'I'm embarrassed for you' feel:
The SMALL print kindly reminds us this is a nonpartisan race and the mailers are officially un-official.
Sending out double partied, misleading mailers is hardly out of character for this overly self-entitled, craven group. Yay, reform candidates:
The Ron Kaye L.A. Clean Sweep endorsed slate of reform candidates consists of: Jozef "Joe" Thomas Essavi, Joyce Burrell Garcia, Lydia A. Gutierrez, Erick Aguirre and write-in candidate Mark Isler.
As put by Ron Kaye L.A.:
In every seat up for election, voters have the power to hold those who have failed in their sworn duty to serve the public interest and elect a new breed of officials who are not part of the political system, people who are part of the solution, not the cause of the problem.
Polls conducted by the incumbents themselves show many of these races are too close to call.
For Seat 1: Jozef "Joe" Thomas Essavi
Essavi is the Los Angeles County Commissioner.
To L.A. Weekly Essavi says: "We bring a fesh approach ... The reform slate is not paid for by any special interest, unions or contractors ... A lot of people have been saying the same thing: There is something smelly in the state of Denmark. If we elect the same people, I can assure the voters of L.A. that they will get nothing, no change, they will just conceal more and more."
The incumbent up for seat 1: Mona Field: Field has been on the board since 1999, is largely blamed for the abuse of a disturbing amount of $5.7 billion in voter approved bonds, accepted $9,000 toward her campaign from bond program contractors.
Also running for seat 1: Oswaldo "Ozzie Lopez, Gwen Walker, Derrick Mims.
For Seat 3: Joyce Burrell Garcia
One of her strengths is as a mediator. In the corporate world she has worked in that capacity at companies such as Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
The incumbents won't like this experience she has under her belt: she has mediated cases in L.A. Superior Court -- one dealing with fraud and construction.
"I have always been interested in collaboration, the best ways to communicate," Burrell Garcia tells L.A. Weekly. "Open dialog rather than shutting down."
She's into graduation rates: making them go up. The current numbers she calls "disheartening," and she says she was inspired by the "next level" of success that she witnessed while teaching at a progressive university in China.
"If you have never traveled," Burrell Garcia says to the Weekly, "You don't know what people are doing, you can't get fresh ideas."
Along with he rest of the reform slate, she is not happy about the cost to students for text books. They will look to collaborate with vendors to reduce prices -- Students need to be able to afford Red Bull too.
There is no incumbent up for seat 3: But, campaigning with the bums, and up for the seat: Steven Veres.
Also running for seat 3: Mark Isler, a write in candidate who is also endorsed by Ron Kaye L.A. Clean Sweep.
For Seat 5: Lydia A. Gutierrez
An interesting Gutuerrez tidbit: She spent almost a decade working with children in Colombia, seven of the years with orphans -- on her own dime.
"The type of children I was dealing with were street children," Gutierrez tells L.A. Weekly. "An orphanage would take them in and help them try to get back into a normal lifestyle. I would come in and test them for their learning disabilities and give them assistance in how they could improve academically ... These were the cast-outs because they don't have social security -- they don't have a system like we do here in the United States. They are left to fend for themselves."
"You don't spend nine years of your life flying back and forth to Columbia to see how you can get up on the political ladder," Gutierrezz,
a single mother(oops), says to the Weekly of her dedication to students and children.
In a stint outside of education, Gutierrez oversaw multi-million dollar contracts at Hughes Aircraft.
"Unlike Larry Eisenberg [the man in charge of the fraud-ridden, mishandled bond construction program at LACCD], I can be an accountable supervisor," Gutierrez tells the Weekly.
Currently she teaches at Long Beach Unified School District -- she's been there 13 years. She's spent five years at Hawthorne Unified School District also.
There is no incumbent up for seat 5: But, campaigning with the bums, and up for the seat: Scott Svonkin.
Also running for seat 5: Mark Lee, Manuel "Manny" Aldanaa, Jr., Nicole Michelle Chase, Pamela R. Bolin, Octavio Pescador.
For Seat 7: Erick Aguirre
A small business entrepreneur, the former vice president of North Hills West Neighborhood Council in San Fernando Valley gained a rep for being very strict with fiscal accountability.
Aguirre is big on communication. "In a recent visit to one of the nine [LACCD] campuses," Aguirre tells L.A. Weekly, "When I asked one of the people in administration when the last time they were visited by a trustee to talk to them one-on-one, I was told: never."
He wants to "Increase outreach efforts among communities to allow them to be more involved with the district's decisions ... and make myself accessible to the general public."
Of his opponent Miguel Santiago: "I have heard the guy is just arrogant, he's not connecting with the public. And he is out of touch with the community."
(Note: this is NOT something the incumbent trustees are known for -- in fact they are infamous for being unreachable and secretive to the public.)
The incumbent up for seat 7: Miguel Santiago: Santiago has been on the board since 2008 and accepted $85,450 toward his campaign from bond program contractors.
Only the two candidates are running for seat 7.
The only one on the board who hasn't accepted money from bond program contractors? Tina Park, who is not up for election this year.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.