MERCER AND BURNS IN TIGHT LACCD RACE.
A veteran incumbent and a political newcomer remained locked in a dead heat for a seat on the Los Angeles Community College District board, according to unofficial returns late Tuesday.
Trustee Georgia Mercer, who's been on the board since 1998, was forced into a runoff with retired sheriff's Deputy Roy Burns of Reseda, who was the top vote-getter among three challengers in the March primary.
In that election, Mercer received 46 percent and Burns got 32 percent of the vote. Mercer and Burns had each said they were disappointed they didn't capture more than 50 percent of the vote, which would have averted a runoff.
The Los Angeles Unified School District and the LACCD must pay a total of $8 million for opening Tuesday's polls.
Burns was one of four Republican challengers who ran against what they called the board's mishandling of bond measures that voters passed in 2001 and 2003.
The $2 billion in bond money is for construction and upgrading costs at the district's nine campuses, but critics said trustees have wasted both time and money. Board members had blamed the delays on high construction costs and bureaucratic red tape at the state level.