April 12, 2012 - Incumbent defeats union-backed rival
Paper: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA)
Title: Incumbent defeats union-backed rival - EDUCATION: LBUSD board chief beats TALB-backed candidate. He is among district, LBCC officials re-elected.
Date: April 12, 2012
Author: Kelly Puente Staff Writer
LONG BEACH - A challenger supported by Long Beach's teachers union failed to unseat an incumbent school board member in Tuesday night's elections.
Incumbents in all of the races for the Long Beach Unified Board of Education and the Long Beach City College Board of Trustees handily defeated their opponents, according to final election results released from the City Clerk's Office shortly after midnight on Wednesday.
The even-numbered seats on both the LBUSD and LBCC boards were up for grabs this year.
In the race for school board District 2, which encompasses neighborhoods including the Westside, Wrigley and portions of Central Long Beach, incumbent and board President Felton Williams won with 61.7 percent of the vote compared with 38.3 percent for his rival Ricardo Linarez, who was supported by the Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB).
In reaction to news of his win, Williams said he appreciates the support from his district and the community.
"I think our students are being served well by our teachers and our staff, and I believe the public understands that in spite of the tough budget situation, we're still working to make sure our kids are successful," he said.
Williams, who joined the board in 2004, is a former dean of business and social science at Long Beach City College with more than 36 years of experience in higher education. Linarez, a 36-year-old father of two, is a former Marine who works as a field deputy for Long Beach Councilman Steven Neal.
In the race for school board District 4, which includes Belmont Shore, Naples and portions of East Long Beach, retired educator and incumbent Jon Meyer was the only candidate running, though Naomi Rainey's name appeared on the ballot.
Meyer won with 74.7 percent of the vote, although Rainey garnered 25.3 percent of the vote.
Rainey, who stepped down as head of Long Beach branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to run for school board, dropped out of the race but failed to withdraw her paperwork from the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office by the Jan. 13 deadline. In February, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that her name must remain on the ballot - a decision that cost the school district about $170,000 in election fees.
Meyer, 76, is a former teacher, coach and administrator in the LBUSD for 41 years.
In a statement, TALB President Virginia Torres congratulated both Meyer and Williams on their re-elections.
"TALB looks forward to working with them on the challenges facing the District in the coming months," she said.
In the race for LBCC District 4, incumbent Trustee Doug Otto won with 67.5 percent of the vote, compared with 32.5percent for his rival, Wilson High School math teacher Davina Keiser.
District 4 includes Belmont Shore, Naples and portions of Signal Hill and East Long Beach.
Otto, the current trustee president, is a well-known local attorney who has served on the board since 2004.
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Otto expressed appreciation for his supporters.
"These are challenging times for higher education and I'm looking froward to meeting those challenges," he said.
Trustee Roberto Uranga ran unchallenged for LBCC District 2, which includes West Long Beach and portions of Central Long Beach.
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