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Field Set for College, School Board Races

By Lookout Staff

August 18 – Four School Board candidates qualified in the race for three open seats in November, while seven College Board candidates will vie for another three seats in what should prove to be a hotly contested battle.

School Board incumbents Jose Escarce and Maria Leon-Vazquez and potential challengers Ana M. Jara and Kathy Wisnicki submitted the 100 valid signatures necessary to make the ballot.

Earlier this month, Escarce, Leon-Vazquez and Jara, a parent and administrative assistant, received the endorsement of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, which translates into thousands of renters’ votes.

Escarce and Leon Vazquez received the powerful group’s endorsement four years ago and have served as school board president.

Wisnicki, Malibu's only hope for representation on the seven-member board, was edged out in her bid for the group’s backing by Jara, who brought a considerable new voting block from her Pico Neighborhood to SMRR’s convention August 1.

While the sparse field could make for a tame race for School Board, the race for College Board could be up for grabs, with two incumbents out of the running and a third, Margaret Quinones, failing to win the SMRR nod.

Rent Board member M. Douglas Willis; Susan Aminoff, a benefits negotiator for LA Community Colleges, and Rob Rader, an attorney who sits on the Bayside District Corporation Board, won SMRR's endorsements for the three open seats on the College Board.

Aminoff and Willis both won the backing of Santa Monica’s Education Team, which is comprised of the Santa Monica College Faculty Association and the Santa Monica-Malibu Teachers Association, who brought a new block of voters to the SMRR convention.

Quinones, who is a member of the powerful California Community Colleges Board of Governors, was passed over by both groups because she voted to eliminate eight vocational programs at the college during budget cuts last year.

The decision to cut the programs contributed to a vote of no-confidence for SMC President Dr. Piedad F. Robertson and the board.

Also qualifying in the College Board race were Charles Donaldson, a retired SMC Professor; Susanne Trimbath, an economist, and Tonja McCoy, a businesswoman, educator and mediator who is the only candidate from Malibu.

With Willis in the running for College Board, the race for two open seats on the Rent Control Board will be uncontested. Incumbent Jeffrey A. Sklar, who chairs the board, is joined in the race by Joel C. Koury, a Deputy Public Defender.

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