District board seats are up for vote in November’s election.
By Cassandra Nava, Managing Editor
Angelenos can cast their vote between 11 candidates for four seats on the Los Angeles Community College District board, which oversees the nation's largest group of two year colleges.
The LACCD Board of Trustees is made up of seven members who each serve a term of four years, with an alternating election every two years. On Nov. 8, seats two, four, six and seven will be contested.
The role of a trustee is to create and administer policy measures. Notable district decisions include making the change to online courses due to COVID-19, implementing the (now defunct) Cleared4 system, signing the $25 million LA Sheriff’s Department contract and decisions specific to each campus.
Incumbent Steven Veres is running against Jason R. Aula and Glenn Trujillo Bailey for seat two. The trustee has been on the board since 2011 when he won with over 45 percent of votes. Aula is listed as a news reporter and business owner on the ballot. According to his official campaign website, Aula hopes to create NCAA football at City and Trade Tech colleges and resume Pierce College’s farm operations. Bailey previously ran for seat five in 2020, where he lost to current board member Nichelle Henderson.
Seat four of the board will see three candidates as well, with incumbent Ernest H. Moreno running against Sara Hernandez and Christine T. Lamonica.
Moreno has been employed with the district for over 40 years, and has held his seat on the board since 2013. He was the sole member of the board opposed to Measure LA, the LACCD’s $5.3 billion bond on the midterm election ballot.
Hernandez is an attorney and an adjunct professor at Valley College where she teaches constitutional law. Her priorities include housing, boosting enrollment and addressing racism, per her official campaign website. Lamonica, a Valley alumna, currently teaches at CSUN. The professor hopes to address homelessness, part time faculty rights and expand community college trade programs.
Two candidates are running for seat six; incumbent Gabriel Buelna and Robert L. Payne. Buelna, the board president, was elected with 60 percent of the vote in 2017. Payne — listed as a writer, researcher and educator on the ballot — advocates for equal pay for adjunct faculty, more in-person classes and environmental innovations within college renovations.
Seat seven has three candidates; Mark Dutton, Nancy Pearlman and incumbent Kelsey Iino. The incumbent hopes to focus on housing and food insecurity amongst students. Dutton, a producer and writer, actively opposes Measure LA and calls for transparency within the district’s funding. Pearlman served on the LACCD board (on seat 6) from 2001 to 2017. The anthropology professor stresses importance on sustainability and environmental issues, as she spearheaded the first Earth Day at UCLA in 1970.
The special election of the seventh seat is a two year term only, following a vacancy created earlier this year when previous member Mike Fong was sworn in as an Assemblymember for the 49th district. On April 13, the LACCD board unanimously voted to appoint Iino to fill the vacancy.
Due to their legislative work and responsibility to serve hundreds of thousands of Angelenos, board members oftentimes pursue politics outside of the education system. Former California politician Jerry Brown sat on the board in 1969, ahead of stints as governor from 1975 to 1983 and 2011 to 2019.
From now until Nov. 8, LA voters will determine the next group of board members, as the district grapples with wavering enrollment and overall student hesitancy in returning to campus. If Measure LA passes, the new or incumbent members will be responsible for overseeing the allocation of funds as planned.
Monarchs and Valley locals can cast their ballot in the cafeteria or use the ballot drop box in Parking Lot G.