_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES _______________________


Waiting for Change at the ABCUSD


I was delighted to review your (Cerritos Councilman Mark Pulido) comments and those of Councilman Mike Gomez on the subject of changing ABCUSD elections from At Large to District as was recently done in the case of Cerritos College Board of Trustees and the Downey Unified School System.

Your (Pulido) remarks help to open more widely the conversation on this most important issue of justice, equality and fairness.

You (Pulido) indicate that ABCUSD Board member, Lynda Johnson, has formed a close partnership with Mayor Gomez on issues affecting the Hawaiian Gardens schools including Artesia High School.

This is very commendable and perhaps long overdue, but I do not think it goes far enough. Some could interpret it as a form of Paternalism. In the old days there was the “Patron” concept.

We, who are pressing for the voting change in ABC, feel that both the letter and spirit of the U.S. Voting Rights Act of the 1960’s and the California Voting Rights Act signed by Governor Davis in 2002 need to be implemented ASAP.

As we prepare to celebrate Dr. King’s Birthday in January, we recall that he was told not to move to fast as now was not the time. Dr. King was killed because of his push for equality. He would not accept “gradualism” when it came to equality.

In researching the California curriculum for public schools, I came across the following requirements for 11th grade history and social science. (see number 6)

5. Discuss the diffusion of the civil rights movement of African Americans from the churches of the rural South and the urban North, including the resistance to racial desegregation in Little Rock and Birmingham, and how the advances influenced the agendas, strategies, and effectiveness of the quests of American Indians, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans for civil rights and equal opportunities.

6. Analyze the passage and effects of civil rights and voting rights legislation (e.g., 1964 Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act of 1965) and the Twenty-Fourth Amendment, with an emphasis on equality of access to education and to the political process.

I am wondering if the 11 Grade Social Sciences classes, especially at Artesia High, have the opportunity to discuss the issue of equal access to the political process when it comes to electing Board members.

There are seven cities in the ABCUSD. All present Board members are from the city of Cerritos.

Rather than postpone conversation on this issue until after the Cerritos City Council election in March, as you (Pulido) suggested, we think this conversation is long overdue.


Charlie Ara