To fill the vacancy on the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees created last month by the death of Anne K. Peters, the board is accepting applications from Santa Monica and Malibu residents interested in serving the remaining 1 1/2 years of her term.
The board decided Monday to take applications from the public, although Trustee James M. Bambrick sought the immediate appointment of Pat Nichelson, a California State University, Northridge, faculty member who nearly won election to the college board last year.
Bambrick said he supports Nichelsen's appointment because "but for 78 votes, he would have won the election in November, 1986."
At one point before the November election returns were complete, Bambrick thought he had lost his bid for reelection to challenger Nichelson, and it was not until five days after the election that Bambrick finally learned he had won and Nichelson had lost by 78 votes.
Bambrick argued that Nichelson would be an appropriate choice to fill the seat left vacant Feb. 25 when Peters died of leukemia.
Peters had endorsed Nichelson's candidacy and if he was appointed, "his philosophy would likely parallel hers," thus carrying out her wishes on the board, Bambrick said.
He said the appointment would save the college the expense of a special election, which officials estimated at between $30,000 and $100,000.
Nichelson's appointment, Bambrick told the board Monday, "would make unnecessary a costly and burdensome special election which the college cannot afford and which, in all probability, he would win."
The majority of the board preferred to open the selection process to the public, said Carole Currey, its chairman.
A March 31 deadline has been set for applications, which are to be addressed to Currey at the college, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, Calif. 90405. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, residents of Santa Monica or Malibu and registered voters, according to college President Richard Moore.
Applicants will be interviewed by the board at its April 6 public meeting, and the board will decide then whether to fill the vacancy at that meeting, Moore said.
The vacancy has to be filled within 60 days of Feb. 25 to avoid a special election, Moore said.