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Decision '92 : VOTING IN THE VALLEY / AN ELECTION GUIDE : LOCAL RACES : School, Hospital and Water Issues on Ballots in North L.A. County


Although they lack the visibility of the presidential and legislative races, contests involving four local agencies in northern Los Angeles County will be decided by voters in the Nov. 3 election.

Acton and Agua Dulce residents will decide if their elementary school district should add a high school. Antelope Valley voters will fill three seats on the board of their public hospital. Also, water agency contests will be held in the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys.

In the Soledad-Agua Dulce Union School District, voters will weigh the value of having their own locally run high school against the cost of added taxes that very likely would be needed to build the new campus.

Supt. Tom Brown said a developer has agreed to donate a 50-acre school site to the district. Money for building the high school would come from state funds, developer fees and a planned tax assessment on all future residents in the community, Brown said.

Area voters first must decide ballot Measure U, which would replace the current kindergarten through eighth-grade district with a new unified kindergarten through 12th-grade district. Four current school board members and nine challengers are running for five seats on a new school board to be formed should the ballot measure pass.

Although only about 5,500 people are eligible to vote in the election, the issue is significant because the district could become the first of nine elementary districts now served by the financially troubled Antelope Valley Union High School District to break away.

If the measure passes, Acton and Agua Dulce children would no longer face long bus rides to two of the high school district's campuses in Palmdale.

Among the candidates for the proposed new school board are board incumbents Laurie Browning, 42, the board's president; Joyce Field, 45, a unification organizer; attorney Nancy Kelso, 48, and Rebecca Small, 33, another unification organizer.

Also running are Charles Brink, 52, a local newspaper publisher and recalled Acton Town Council member; Trisha Hawker, 40, a real estate agent and PTA president; Laurie Henry, 37, a PTA member; Michael Hughes, 44, a former Town Council member, and Laila Hurst, 57, a county education assistant.

Rounding out the ballot are Eldon Key, 42, a business owner and building inspector; Jeanine Olmscheid, 37, a PTA activist; John Sage, 39, a sales manager, and Brian Sherwood, 35, a high school teacher. If the unification measure fails, the current school board members retain their seats.

In the Antelope Valley Hospital District, five candidates are vying for three seats. Longtime incumbent Dr. Ralph Holmes, 67, is seeking reelection along with two new board members appointed earlier this year: Henry (Hank) Marvin, 54, an insurance agency owner, and Dante Simi, 53, a businessman.

The challengers are teacher Steve Fox, 39, a board member who was recalled in April, and Thomas Lacey, 63, a retired aerospace worker. The district runs Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center in Lancaster.

In the area served by the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, voters will fill two seats on the seven-member board, which is elected from districts. In Division 4, encompassing Quartz Hill, Acton and west Palmdale, incumbent George Lane, 46, faces Dorothy Wolf Fones, 47, wife of a Palmdale water agency manager.

In Division 6, which covers east and south Lancaster, Norman Vander Hyde, 63, a Jet Propulsion Lab engineer, is challenging incumbent Glenn Martin, 69, who has been jailed several times for keeping junk on his property and who finally had his house demolished recently by the city of Lancaster.

And in the area served by the Castaic Lake Water Agency, a Santa Clarita Valley water wholesaler, voters will fill three of 11 board seats. The contest in Division 1, covering areas of Canyon Country and Saugus, is between retired tool designer A. Jack Ancona, 66, and water supply manager Bill Cooper, 45.

In Division 2, centered in Newhall and Valencia, incumbent E. G. (Jerry) Gladbach, 53, is opposed by business owner Lynne Plambeck, 42. And in Division 3, based in Castaic and Val Verde, incumbent James Gates, 47, will face Laura Lynn, 30, a county building engineering inspector.

Times staff writer John Chandler contributed to this article.

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