LONG BEACH — The new method of electing school board members by district rather than city-wide seems to have fueled many ambitions in this city. In one of the most crowded electoral fields in years, no fewer than 26 candidates are vying for five seats, each of which represents a separate voting area in the Long Beach Unified School District.
One of the most hotly contested races is likely to be in District 4, encompassing Belmont Shore, Naples, Park Estates, Los Altos, Alamitos Heights and Santa Catalina Island. Two incumbents, Harriet Williams and board President John Kashiwabara, plan to battle it out for the seat that only one of them can retain. Williams, 61, a longtime liberal community activist, has been considered something of a maverick during her nine years on the board. Kashiwabara, a local physician and California State University trustee who at 67 has spent five years on the board, is generally considered conservative.
A third incumbent, Elizabeth Wallace, is running for reelection in District 1, which includes North Long Beach, Bixby Knolls and California Heights. Wallace, 62, has served 21 years on the board, longer than any other current member. She has a background in social work as well as a special interest in the arts, and is opposed by three challengers:
Jay Cain, 47, service manager at the W. F. McPheters car dealership in Long Beach who is active in the PTA and ran unsuccessfully for the City Council in 1986.
William Pacey, 33, a civilian mechanical engineering technician for the U. S. Navy who is active in the PTA and has served on parent advisory committees at the junior high school level.
Jerry L. Shultz, 41, a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff who is active in Boy Scouts and serves as a commissioner for the Long Beach Department of Parks and Recreation.
In District 2, which includes Wrigley, West Long Beach and the largely minority central city, six candidates have lined up. They are:
Jeff Baker, 38, co-owner of R. A. Baker Heating and Air Conditioning who has served as a volunteer teacher and coach. He was president of Citizens for Responsible Transit, which lobbied successfully in 1985 to block a proposed light rail line that would have bisected the Wrigley residential area, and is still active in the Wrigley Assn., a homeowner's group.
Emma Calhoun Conley, 60, a retired school teacher who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 1976 and 1986. She is president of Christian Women Willing Workers at New Hope Baptist Church of Christ in Long Beach and formerly vice president of the city's Legal Aid Foundation.
David R. Garza, 34, a temporary clerk for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He has a master of science degree in education from Mount St. Mary's College, where he worked as a financial aid counselor. A resident of Long Beach for the last two years, he has been a volunteer tutor.
Bobbie Smith, 55, the head librarian at Long Beach City College who was on the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Charter Advisory Committee. She is a member of the executive board of the local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women and former president of the LBCC chapter of the California Teachers' Assn.
Doris Topsy-Elvord, 56, a deputy probation officer for Los Angeles County who is president of the Long Beach Central Area Assn. in City Council District 6. She is a member of the advisory board of the local Boy Scout district and of the Mayor's Citizen Advisory Committee.
Roberto Uranga, 34, a personnel analyst for the City of Long Beach who once taught at California State University, Long Beach. He is president of the school district's Hispanic Advisory Committee and vice president of the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
District 3, encompassing downtown Long Beach and all of Signal Hill, has attracted four would-be board members:
Patricia Eriksen, 48, an accountant with Dougherty Accountancy in Los Alamitos who served as a member of the school district's budget committee for two years and is active in PTA.
Jenny Oropeza, 30, a field representative for Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Alhambra). She placed third in a field of 13 in the City Council election of 1986 and was co-chairwoman of Citizens for a Representative School Board, which spearheaded the move toward district elections. She is also a member of the Community Development Advisory Commission.
Jerome Orlando Torres, 32, an administrative analyst for the city. Formerly the finance committee chairman of the city's Task Force on Public Infrastructure for the Year 2000, he was instrumental in the creation of the school district's Hispanic Advisory Committee and served recently as chairman of the Gangs Committee of the Substance Abuse and Gangs Task Force headed by the superintendent of schools.