School board divisions result in picketing outside one member's home
By André Coleman 05/16/2013
After finding itself so divided that some people picketed outside the home of one of its members over who should serve as president, the Pasadena Board of Education voted Tuesday to re-elect sitting Board President Renatta Cooper.
'It was important we move forward, and if that means accepting this challenge again I am willing to do it,' Cooper said.
Last week, Board members Scott Phelps and Elizabeth Pomeroy were nominated for the ceremonial role, but those votes ended in 3-3 deadlocks, with Phelps supported by Board members Kim Kenne and recently elected Board member Tyron Hampton. Pomeroy had the backing of Cooper and Board member Tom Selinske.
On Tuesday, Cooper called for another vote, which resulted in another tie. She then asked if there were any other nominations. Pomeroy nominated Cooper, which was seconded by Selinske. Hampton voted for Cooper, breaking the tie.
Cooper's re-election ended one of the most bizarre weeks in recent board history. Members of the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC), among them outgoing Pasadena Board member Ramon Miramontes, held three candlelight vigils outside the home of Pomeroy for allegedly breaking promises Pomeroy made during the March 5 election.
During the campaign, Pomeroy said she was going to be a consensus builder,' Miramontes said, Ņbut she failed to bring up the bylaws at the last meeting, which recommend that the board leadership be based on seniority.' The bylaws recommend, but do not require, the senior member, which is Phelps, to serve as president.
Phelps is not Latino, but he was a strong political ally of Miramontes' while he was on the board.
The change of the election process this year from at-large to district-only in order to encourage more Latino participation left the board with six elected members and one unfilled appointed seat. But, in the end, without Miramontes running and well-funded white incumbents cruising to easy victories over minority opponents, the board was left with no elected Latino representation.
Board members will appoint a member for the remaining at-large seat in June. So far, 38 people have applied for the vacant seat.
The applicants are:
Caltrans subcontracts manager Edward Jasanow, electrical design engineer Kiran Upadhay, Forest Lawn Memorial Park buyer Gretchen Vance, probate referee Geoffrey Commons, retiring PUSD Clerk Dianne Moore, retired parole officer Angel Medina, retiree Serafin Espionza, teacher Anthony Brandenburg, LA County Human Services administrator Guillermo Arce, PCC administrative assistant JoEllyn McGrath, real estate broker Allen Shay, youth advocate Stella Murga, security specialist Lisa Lees, information technology specialist Hermond Cooper, CEO Laura Romero, retired consultant German Barrero, CSU Fullerton Professor Iokim Boutakidis, consultant Mikala Rahn, consultant Ruth Johnson, Mt. Sierra College Professor Roy Boulghourijian, Business Owner Kristie Garner, Environmental Consultant Steven Cole, Caltech systems administrator Patrick Cahalan, architect J. Guadalupe Flores, attorney Luis Ayala, consultant Cushon Bell, educator Hannah H. MacLaren, educator Clyde “Dale” Trader, teacher Ruben Hueso, special education teacher Mark J. Pertula, software engineer Michael Severa, retiree Joyce E. Foster, retired lawyer George A. Brumder, senior adviser director to LA City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, Tracey Chavira, banker Carmen Vargas, Investor/Agent Michael R. Trujillo, Sycamores facilitator Johnson C. Kaleena and lawyer Corinna M. Wong.