Calling all candidates
Five political hopefuls — none Latino — vie for open Pasadena School Board seat
With the passage of Measure A around this time last year, the Pasadena Unified School District went from an at-large to a district-only voting system, all with the hopes of making election to public office easier for historically disenfranchised stakeholders, namely Latinos, to attain.
With Latinos representing more than 61 percent of the school district’s more than 16,000 student population, a task force determined that district-only elections would help address political underrepresentation and help stave off possible lawsuits that might be filed under the state Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racially polarized elections.
However, after the March 5 school board election, and later a runoff election, the board had one more African-American member and one less Latino member than at the start of the redistricting process. After the winners are sworn into office later this month, the board’s lone Latino member, Ramon Miramontes, who chose not to seek re-election, will exit office, leaving the board with no Latino representation.
Now, with one remaining at-large open seat left on the board, it appears no Latino candidates are vying for the two years remaining in that position. Pasadena Unified School District spokesperson Adam Wolfson said four residents of Pasadena and one from Sierra Madre have applied for the post. They are: Dianne Moore, a clerk at Blair International Baccalaureate School; probate referee Geoffrey Commons; electrical design engineer Kiran Upadhyay; Caltech subcontracts manager Edward Jasnow; and Sierra Madre resident Gretchen Vance, a buyer for Forest Lawn. Moore, Commons, Vance and Jasnow are white. Upadhyay is of Indian descent.
“I believe the school board should be representative of the constituency served by the school district,” said School Board President Renatta Cooper. “With that in mind, given our demographics, clearly we need Latino representation at the school board level, at least one person.”
The board is scheduled to interview and select the replacement board member in early June.
The deadline to submit an application is May 10. The replacement board member will serve until 2015, at which point the last at-large seat will be phased out.