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Norwalk : Trustee Votes by District Proposed

September 22, 1988

Future trustees in the Cerritos Community College District may be elected by geographic district rather than at-large.

The seven elected trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to put the proposal before voters in November, 1989, district spokesman Mark Wallace said. If approved, the policy would take effect in November, 1991. The trustees will begin working on details of the plan at their next meeting, he said.

The trustees' decision helped defuse a challenge over the recent appointment of John H. Moore to fill a vacant seat on the board. Moore is the first black to serve on the board.

Supporters of Art Perez, who had also sought the vacant trustee seat, had taken out papers for a petition drive challenging the appointment. If petition supporters had collected 2,464 signatures and returned the petition within 30 days of taking out papers, the district would have had to hold an election for Moore's seat.

But the petition was not turned in by the Sept. 15 deadline, said Marc Forgy of the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Petition drive leader Kathleen Navejas, mayor of Hawaiian Gardens, said the drive was abandoned because petition supporters were mollified by the expectation that the board would support a change in the way trustees are elected. The drive also was abandoned because "we did not want to create the impression of pitting one minority against another," Navejas said.

"We never objected to the person appointed," she said. "We objected to the fact that the selection was not brought to the people." Navejas said the move to district representation ensures that everyone in the eight cities covered by the community college district will be represented on future boards.

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