The final leg of the race to represent the West San Fernando Valley on the Los Angeles Board of Education got under way Monday with David Armor and Elizabeth Ginsburg speaking before an audience of Valley business executives.
The noontime speeches before the Valley Industry & Commerce Assn. were the first joint appearance of the two top vote-getters in the April 9 primary. They will face each other in the June 4 general election. The forum also marked the first time in the long campaign that West Valley school board candidates had appeared together before a business group.
Armor, a former college professor who now runs his own consulting firm, repeated many of the themes that he sounded during the primary election. They included opposition to mandatory busing and a pledge to find alternative uses for West Valley schools closed because of low enrollments.
Ginsburg, a government teacher at Chatsworth High School, presented herself as the school system insider, just as she had throughout the primary campaign. But she directed most of her remarks at the interests of the business audience.
Before the forum, the candidates were given two questions upon which to base their speeches. The executives asked the candidates to cite specific programs that would give taxpayers "more education for their money." The candidates also were asked how businesses could work with schools to provide quality education.
Armor said the district needs input from businesses to help prepare students not "turned on" by academics for the job market. He also appealed to the business executives for imaginative programs to help make business and economics come alive for students.
Ginsburg outlined about a dozen proposals for using private-sector techniques in helping to rein in spiraling school-district costs and getting local businesses more involved with schools and students.
Her proposals ranged from a restructuring of the district's payroll system, which she said is inefficient and filled with errors, to a challenge to the Valley's electronics and computer industries to work with high school students to make them more competitive in science and engineering.
Also appearing at the luncheon were the two finalists in the race for city controller. Rick Tuttle, a member of the the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees and Dan Shapiro, a former president of the Studio City Residents Assn., were cautious in their presentations to the business group. Neither candidate strayed too far from positions taken during the primary campaign.
The city controller candidates also were asked to base their talks on two questions--what procedures they would use to economize and how the private-sector participation in bidding for city work could be increased.
Shapiro cited his experience as an appointee to the 1983 Mayor's Select Committee on City Finances and Budget. As a member of this group, Shapiro said, he helped identify $50 million in savings in the city budget. He said that, as city controller, he would prepare his own "alternative" budget that could be used as a comparison to budget proposals from the mayor's office and from the City Council.
'Dig Out Waste'
Tuttle supported a strengthening of the internal audit ability of the controller's office, a move he said could "dig out elements of waste." He said he would also like to establish a citizen's committee that would recommend ways for the city to save money.
Both candidates said that contracting city work to the the private sector was not the panacea for waste that it might appear to be. Both pledged to investigate the possibility of having private companies provide city services ranging from garbage collection to civil engineering.