Not for sale
Underdog Tyron Hampton easily wins District 3 school board seat
By André Coleman 04/17/2013
Heavily outspent and largely written off, Tyron Hampton easily defeated Ruben Hueso in Tuesday night’s runoff election for the newly created District 3 seat on the Pasadena Board of Education, leaving the board with two African-American members but no Latino representation in a school district with a Latino student population totaling more than 61 percent.
With all precincts reporting in this district where Latinos are the predominant racial group but more African Americans are registered to vote, Hampton, who is African American, won 61 percent of the ballots cast to defeat Hueso 904 to 577. “The community has come out and they have spoken with their votes,” Hampton said soon after the ballots were tallied at City Hall Tuesday night. “With all the effort we put in and the neighbors that helped out, we created a movement, not just a campaign.” Only about 11 percent — 1,481 — of the district’s 13,934 eligible voters cast ballots, according to City Clerk Mark Jomsky, and 950 of those votes were mailed in.
Hueso, who was not at City Hall when the votes were counted, came within just a few votes of winning the March 5 primary outright. During the course of the campaign, Hueso raised nearly $33,000, with most of that money coming from his brother, state Sen. Ben Hueso, state Sen. Kevin DeLeon of Los Angeles and former Assembly Speaker Fabio Nuñez, who is planning to run for state Attorney General next year. Nuñez and Ben Hueso are from San Diego.
Hampton, 30, is from Pasadena, attended local schools and graduated from John Muir High School, which is located in District 3. A construction contractor who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona, Hampton raised just $200 in the primary, but over the past month took in $10,000 in donations, thanks to contributions from current Board of Education member Kim Kenne, $1,200 from the California School Employee Association and a $4,500 loan from his business.
Hampton’s victory leaves the school board without an elected Latino board member for the next two years, despite the work of a special task force, which did away with Pasadena Unified School District’s at-large voting system and divided the school district into seven neighborhood voting districts in order to increase Latino representation on the board. The change was made to stave off potential lawsuits that might be filed against the district under provisions of the California Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racially polarized elections.
Although Latinos make up about 61 percent of the district’s student population, over the past four years there has been only one Latino board member, Ramon Miramontes, who did not seek re-election in March.
The board could still end up with Latino representation if board members appoint a Latino member in June to fill the at-large seat vacated by Kenne, who, following implementation of the district-only voting system, opted to run for the District 1 seat instead of finishing the remaining two years in the at-large seat she won two years ago. Longtime Board member Ed Honowitz decided to not seek re-election, leaving one seat open.