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THE Los Angeles Community College District generally has low-profile elections for its board of trustees, but they deserve more attention - especially after last year's benefit assessment tax debacle.

Three of the seven seats on the board of trustees will be on the April 8 ballot. All three will be selected at large, which means voters in every area of the college district may vote for all three seats.

The Daily News Editorial Board makes the following endorsements:

Office No. 2: Elizabeth Garfield.

Garfield, who is seeking a second term, has been a capable trustee and deserves to be re-elected. She has represented students and taxpayers well.

Garfield opposed the district's ill-advised attempt to raise property taxes without going to voters. A labor lawyer, she understands the importance of following a process that respects the voters and taxpayers. At the same time, she is aware of the educational needs of the district and also conversant with the financial constraints it faces.

She has two challengers: Charles Bergson, a civil engineer, and Andrew Kim, a lawyer.

Bergson wants to reverse the district's declining enrollment by opening admissions to undocumented immigrants. No doubt he is committed to making the district better, but his focus is limited.

Kim is dedicated to restoring a quality education but is short of specifics.

In this election, we think Garfield's experience is worth retaining.

Office No. 4: Marilyn Grunwald.

Grunwald, a small-business woman in the east San Fernando Valley, offers clear thinking and a strong, independent voice for community colleges. She attended Valley College and has a proven record of community involvement, including homeowners organizations, business and education activities.

We believe Grunwald would be an effective trustee with a commitment to listening more closely to the community and taxpayers, and making decisions based on what's best to meet the needs of students and their future employers. She also would insist on more businesslike budgeting and spending by the district.

Another excellent candidate is Patrick K. Prinster, a lawyer, professor of business law and businessman. Prinster has the polish, the background and the political savvy to work effectively as a force for change among a clique of insiders. But our nod goes to Grunwald for her grasp of issues based on her record of community accomplishments.

In terms of endorsements from political insiders, the front-runner in this race is Kelly Candaele, a community college teacher and union organizer. Although he is an articulate voice for community colleges, he is too much of an insider to be a forceful voice for real change.

Two other candidates in this race are Ross Moen, a police lieutenant currently working on a high-profile homicide case, and Richard Yanez, a children's social worker. Neither accepted our invitations to present their ideas about improving the district.

Office No. 6: Nancy Pearlman.

Pearlman, a community college teacher, is one of three challengers seeking to unseat incumbent Althea Baker, who is running for re-election.

Baker, who has been on the board for eight years, displayed an arrogant and imprudent attitude toward taxpayers and voters last year as one of the four trustees who pushed for the assessment district without a public vote.

Pearlman has the drive and determination to raise academic standards and lead the district to reduce administrative costs. She offers refreshing energy for change, and seems to have the ability to get things done - which she did as a highly ranked distance runner, and in her enterprising efforts to start and operate an information center about the environment.

An outstanding alternate choice is Woodland Hills businessman Stephen C. Brecht, an estate planner and author who formerly was a university administrator and a businessman.

Brecht is intelligent, and he shares our strong distaste for the property assessment fiasco and the district's poor stewardship of public resources. But we fear that his effectiveness on the board of trustees could be muted by his being too much of a hard-nosed critic, possibly hindering a positive orientation for change that Pearlman has in abundance.

The final candidate, Eli Green, did not present evidence of a serious campaign for trustee.
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Article Details
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Apr 1, 1997

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