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Issue: Should All Parents, Regardless of Residency Status, Be Allowed to Vote in School Board Elections?

February 14, 1993|Erin J. Aubry / Times community correspondent

Sunji Ali, Poet and social studies teacher On an idealistic level, I believe all parents should have a say, regardless of where they came from. Policies of the school board affect everyone. On the other hand, if you're going to have everyone voting in board elections, why not also allow them to vote in general? There's a Pandora's box here: Should we have general amnesty for all? To what extent do they have rights? This is the larger issue. The bottom line is: People living here have a vested interest in the community; once they're here, they shouldn't be disenfranchised. New immigrants contribute to society culturally and otherwise.

Frank Holoman, Restaurant owner and community activist Definitely no. Can you go to France or Mexico and do that? This country has rules, regulations and laws. If you want to vote, become a citizen. There's a drain on the Los Angeles school system. . . . Who's paying taxes? Undocumented people don't pay property taxes. We're paying for a lot of them. The Valley and other surrounding areas are trying to pull out of the district as it is.

Jerry Yu, Executive director, Korean American Coalition Yes, parents should be allowed to vote. A lot of people oppose it, but they're missing the broader point that a lot of groups --blacks, Latinos and Asians--are all fighting for the same things. If a person's real concern is for education, he or she should realize that everyone will benefit from participating.

Alicia Maldanado, Programs manager , Continental Cablevision Participation in the political processes of this country is key to the future empowerment of the Latino community, and Latinos clearly must be actively involved in every facet of this process. Allowing non-citizen Latinos the right to vote in local school elections, however, cannot achieve that goal. Latino leaders and community activists must assume the responsibility of demonstrating to non-citizens the importance of their participation in the political process and persuading them to take the steps necessary to become citizens so they can participate fully in what this country has to offer.

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