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Re: Cerritos College Trustees Settles Election Lawsuit


 

Dear Editor,

The Cerritos College Board of Trustees through its spokesperson leaves the impression that a lawsuit was not needed to bring about changing the Board elections from at large to trustees areas. The impression was that there was no need for a lawsuit as they were aware of the California Voting Rights Act and they intended to implement it without a lawsuit.

However, the issue of changing the election method was brought up at the April 6, 2011 Board of Trustees meeting. The minutes of that Board meeting state the following: THE BOARD AGREED THAT THERE IS CURRENTLY NO INTEREST IN MOVING TOWARD CONDUCTING TRUSTEE AREA ELECTIONS. That statement should speak for itself.

As no action was taken even for a study of the issue, I appeared before the College Board on June 8, 2011 and asked that a study of district based elections be placed on the agenda of the next Board meeting. There was no signal that this would happen and legal action was the alternative.

As an aside, on the Agenda for that meeting was appointing a replacement for the late Bob Epple. As a very qualified Latina was one of the three finalists to replace Mr. Epple, this would have been a perfect opportunity for the Board to act in compliance with the CVRA.

However, when I arrived at the meeting, I noted a well qualified Caucasian sitting in the front row. That person was one of ten candidates to fill the ABCUSD vacancy left by Mark Pulido’s election to the Cerritos City Council. However, this candidate could not get the 4 votes needed for appointment to the ABC Board.

I am of the opinion that she was then encouraged to go after the vacant seat on the College Board. She would have enough votes among her circle of friends on the Board. Whether her appointment was assured in advance or not is a matter of conjecture.

Yet the fact remains that the College had to spend $55,000 for not moving faster to comply with the California Voting Rights Act.

Charlie Ara

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