SCHOOL BOARD RACE PIVOTAL POWERFUL BACKERS HELPING GALATZAN, LAURITZEN BATTLE.Byline: RICK ORLOV
The struggle for control of the Los Angeles Unified School District The Los Angeles Unified School District (the "LAUSD") is the largest (in terms of number of students) public school system in California and the second-largest in the United States. Only the New York City Department of Education has a larger student population. will culminate Tuesday when voters go to the polls to decide between two political giants for the school board.
The race for the seat in the San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. has been one of the most contentious as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa (born Antonio (Tony) Ramon Villar, Jr. on January 23, 1953) is the mayor of Los Angeles, California. He is the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since Cristobal Aguilar in 1872. stakes his political future on the campaign of Deputy City Attorney Tamar Galatzan over incumbent Jon Lauritzen, who is backed by the powerful United Teachers Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. union.
The District 3 race is one of just four on Tuesday's ballots, and officials say the skimpy skimp·y
adj. skimp·i·er, skimp·i·est
1. Inadequate, as in size or fullness, especially through economizing or stinting: a skimpy meal.
2. Unduly thrifty; niggardly. lineup could fail to draw even 20 percent of the voters already battling election fatigue.
Tuesday's election will be the third in just seven months for Los Angeles voters -- after last November's general election and the March primary.
Meanwhile, the high-profile, big-budget LAUSD LAUSD Los Angeles Unified School District (Los Angeles, CA) campaign has eclipsed a low-key race in the Los Angeles Community College District The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) is the community college district serving Los Angeles, California and some of its neighboring cities. In addition to typical college aged students, the LACCD also serves adults of all ages. , where voters will be asked to decide between incumbent trustee Georgia Mercer and challenger Roy Burns.
Two former school administrators also are battling each other for the LAUSD board seat representing territory from the Harbor Area The Harbor Area is the area along the Port of Los Angeles. It contains neighborhoods of Los Angeles (including Wilmington & San Pedro). Los Angeles City neighborhoods in the Harbor Area
overseer, superintendent - a person who directs and manages an organization Richard Vladovic over educator Neal Kleiner.
Also to be decided is a race for the 39th Assembly District seat in the San Fernando Valley, which Richard Alarcon vacated soon after he won it last year. He gave it up after he was elected to the City Council.
There are five candidates for the Assembly seat, whose listing on a separate ballot could cause confusion for voters.
Leading the field of candidates in the Assembly race is Felipe Fuentes Felipe Fuentes is a Democratic politician from the San Fernando Valley in the U.S. state of California. He won election to the California State Assembly for the 39th district on a May 15 special election. He slightly exceeded the 50%+1 margin needed to avoid a runoff. , who had been chief deputy to former Councilman Alex Padilla Alex Padilla is a politician in California. He was elected as the State Senator for the 20th District of California in November 2006 and was inaugurated in early December. In order to enter the Senate he had to resign as Councilman for the 7th District on the Los Angeles City . Other candidates are auditor Jose Bonilla Sr., peace officer Eric Dwight Rothenay, retired administrative assistant Margie Carranza and businessman Felipe "Philip" Siordia. A July 10 runoff will be held if nobody gets a majority.
City Clerk Frank Martinez said his office has worked with county officials to try to avert confusion about the separate ballot for the Assembly race.
"We will have separate tables at the polling sites and have greeters there to help voters out," Martinez said, adding that voters in the 39th Assembly District also were sent letters explaining what to expect.
But it is the Galatzan-Lauritzen school board race that has captured the spotlight with board control at stake and more than $3.2 million spent by both sides on their campaigns.
Villaraigosa has continued to downplay the notion that he is trying to take control of the district, but he has been actively raising money for his candidates and his top political operatives are working on Galatzan's campaign.
Galatzan has extensively used mailers and has published her own book on the campaign, while Lauritzen has scrambled to compete.
Lauritzen has argued that he is all that stands in the way of a mayoral takeover of the district and an effort by Villaraigosa to get around the losses he has suffered in court over legislation that would have given him greater authority in the district.
Galatzan argues that she would be independent of the mayor and make her own decisions. The district cannot be allowed to continue on the same path of poor achievement, she says.
Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
To find your polling place:
See the back cover of your official sample ballot;
Call the City Clerk's office at (888) 873-1000;
2 photos, 2 boxes
(1) Jon Lauritzen
(2) Tamar Galatzan
(1) Tuesday's election (see text)
(2) LAUSD RACE
SOURCE: Daily News research
Gregg Miller/Staff Artist