After all the bitterness generated by redrawing Los Angeles school board district boundaries last summer, the results as the filing deadline passed Monday are that two school board incumbents will run in new but similar districts and two prominent Latinos will square off in a completely redrawn district.
Although 13 other San Fernando Valley residents filed to challenge them, incumbents Julie Korenstein and Mark Slavkin will run in new Valley and Valley-Westside districts created in a shuffle meant to give Latino voters more power.
In what could be a showdown between teacher and administrator interests, Eli Brent, president of the school district's administrators union, filed late Monday to run against Korenstein, who has been supported by the teachers union.
And across the sprawling Los Angeles Unified School District, the reapportionment effort stands a chance of achieving its goal as two Latinos--both with highly organized campaigns--will compete in a four-person race in District 2. The district includes sections of northeast Los Angeles and the cities southeast of Los Angeles.
Former school board member and one-time Los Angeles City Council candidate Larry Gonzalez has entered the race, along with Victoria Castro, a longtime educator and the principal of Belvedere Junior High School in East Los Angeles.
Gonzalez said he is seeking office at the urging of a Latino parents group. Group members believe his school and business expertise will serve them well, he said. If elected, he does not intend to resign from his job as station manager at KMEX television, he said.
Castro, 47, predicted that she will face stiff opposition from Gonzalez. She said she intends to run a "community campaign" stressing the importance of greater power for parents and teachers in local school affairs, parental involvement and campus safety in heavily overcrowded schools in District 2.
Another District 2 candidate is Zada Willene Cooper, an education activist from South Gate. She could not be reached for comment. Gale Shangold, a meatpacker who lives in Los Angeles, will also run.
Korenstein and Slavkin last week announced their intentions to seek election in two new districts in April.
Korenstein, a longtime Porter Ranch resident who recently purchased a Tarzana condominium so she would have a home in the new district, has submitted her name for the mid-Valley seat being vacated by veteran board member Roberta Weintraub. The district includes more than half of the West Valley constituency that Korenstein represented before the district boundaries were redrawn last July.
"I feel like I'm coming home," she said Monday. "District 6 is 60% of my old district that I represented for more than five years."
Korenstein, who won the union endorsement of United Teachers-Los Angeles four years ago, will be challenged by Brent, the president of the district's administrators union.
Brent, a Northridge resident who has worked in education for 40 years, said the teachers union has become too influential with the Board of Education and has sacrificed the interests of children in advancing its own political agenda.
"I don't agree with Julie Korenstein," he said. "I feel very strongly that the management of UTLA is out of hand. The rank and file of teachers are doing a good job, but the leadership is such that somebody has to say something."
District observers suggested that the union, which previously supported both Slavkin and Korenstein, pressured Korenstein to move to Weintraub's district to avoid pitting two union-endorsed candidates against each other. But Korenstein and union officials maintain that the union did not influence Korenstein's decision.
Slavkin, the youngest member of the board, is running for Korenstein's current seat in a newly configured district stretching from Porter Ranch to Los Angeles International Airport. According to city analysts, 60% of the district's voters live south of Mulholland Drive, which should benefit Slavkin, who is popular on the Westside, which he represented before the redistricting.
Running against Slavkin in District 4 are Elaine Lola Holzer, a Chatsworth educator and business owner; Douglas Michael Lasken, a Woodland Hills teacher, and Judith R. Solkovits, a business agent who lives in Northridge.
The candidates lined up against Korenstein in District 6 are Richard David (Ricc) Bieber, an electrical contractor who lives in Northridge; Naomi Charlene Bracey, a Sunland bus operator; David S. Froelich, a Panorama City architect; Adolph (Ace) Guzman, an educator from Sylmar; teacher Lynne Kuznetsky of Encino; Chris Laird, a math teacher from Northridge; Barbara Romey, a businesswoman from Northridge who ran for the school board in 1989; Terry Guy Stoller, a youth sports official from Van Nuys, and Daniel N. Tynon, a North Hills businessman.