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4 Take Seats on Long Beach School Board

July 21, 1988|ROXANA KOPETMAN | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — School board President John E. Kashiwabara, in his last official act, turned to Supt. E. Tom Giugni on Monday afternoon and relinquished the gavel that he praised for having "maintained tranquillity" in the 66,000-student district.

Giugni held it only minutes before four new board members were sworn in and lone incumbent Harriet Williams was elected president.

The ceremony marked a historic moment for the five-member board of the Long Beach Unified School District. Last spring's balloting was the first time members had been elected by district rather than citywide, and the first time four of its five members had been replaced. And it was the first time a black and a Latino had won seats.

During Monday's session, Williams quipped that the meeting was also historic because her husband was in attendance.

As relatives and friends took pictures, Jenny Oropeza, Karin Polacheck, Jerry L. Shultz and Bobbie Smith took the oath of office. Oropeza was selected as the board's vice president.

Outgoing members are Kashiwabara, Elizabeth Wallace and two incumbents who did not seek re-election, Arlene Solomon and James P. Zarifes.

Solomon, who said she has been involved in school activities since the 1950s, wiped tears away throughout a reception following the ceremony. "I'll remain involved by doing other things with the district," she pledged.

Williams said she expects the new board members to trigger more public discussion because "this is a very questioning bunch of young people."

The new board also reflects the efforts of the Teachers Assn. of Long Beach in the last election. All four newcomers were supported by the teachers union.

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