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Decision '93 / A Look at the Elections in Los Angeles County : Los Angeles School Board : 6th DISTRICT : Q AND A

April 11, 1993

CONTENDERS

Richard David Bieber, 40, of Northridge is a self-employed electrical contractor. He has studied liberal arts at Santa Monica College and architecture at UCLA and completed a semester at sea as part of the Chapman College World Campus Afloat program. He has never before run for public office.

Eli Brent, 67, of Northridge is president of Associate Administrators of Los Angeles. He started teaching in Los Angeles Unified School District in 1951 and 10 years later became a school principal. He holds a bachelor's degree in English and a doctorate in educational administration from Brigham Young University. This is his first bid for public office.

Julianna Korenstein, 49, of Tarzana was elected to the Board of Education in 1987. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from Cal State Northridge and previously was a substitute teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District before starting a private tutoring service for students who had dropped out of school. She later worked as an educational specialist at Chatsworth High School.

Lynne Kuznetsky, 47, of Encino teaches second and third grades at O'Melveny School in San Fernando and counsels children with behavioral problems who attend alternative schools. She holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology and a master's degree in educational psychology from Cal State Northridge and is a licensed marriage, family and child counselor. She has never before run for public office.

Campus Safety

Q. How can we economically increase safety on our campuses?

Bieber: Our school campuses have become the battlegrounds through the formation of gang factions that have no place in advancing society, let alone the schools. To increase safety, we must take back control of our school grounds as well as the students that attend them. There may not be an economical way to do this, but I feel that the recent admittance of metal detectors to the school system, however unfortunate the need be, is a good first step.

Brent: The Board of Education must establish clear guidelines for student behavior and the consequences for breach of such behavior. School police, when assigned to schools, should be in full uniform at all times in order to act as a viable deterrent to crime and vandalism.

Korenstein: There can be no price put on the safety of our students. In 1989, I initiated the Task Force on School Safety. One of its recommendations was the placement of metal detectors on every high school campus. Unfortunately, the majority of the school board opposed this at the time, but in light of the two tragic murders at Reseda and Fairfax, action has finally been taken. I wrote the first motion requiring automatic expulsion for students who bring guns to school, and I also introduced curriculum to help students avoid handgun violence, which is now being piloted in 21 schools.

Kuznetsky: We can economically increase safety on our campuses by creating clubs and organizations such as "Guardian Angels," to instigate and promote personal involvement and in some instances, acquire local police enforcement to allow our children a safe environment while not wasting money geared for education on "policing" our schools. Just a program such as Guardian Angels allows students to become an integral part of the campaign for safe schools and gives the children an opportunity to make decisions and build self-esteem. Lack of self-esteem among our children is ruining their opportunity for a safe learning environment. This program will allow children to believe in themselves, serve to have parents participate and get involved in their children's education and safety. Many retired policemen can act as security guards and they could be used on campus.

District Breakup

Q. Are you in favor of a breakup of the Los Angeles Unified School District? If so, should there be a Valley-wide district or even smaller entities within the Valley?

Bieber: I am in favor of whatever is best for our children. If that means that the LAUSD must come to terms with its own failure, and decides to break up, then do it and be done with it, and move on. If this indeed happens, I envision an imaginary dividing line running at the top of the Santa Monica Mountains creating a Valley district. The demographics attest to the ethnic mix here in the Valley and we can meet any "quota" that is required.

Brent: Our students can no longer wait. The Board of Education, through its non-action and refusal to meet its responsibilities, has forced the public to take the extreme action to "break up" the school district. I have been appointed to Sen. David Roberti's commission and support his position. We cannot afford to lose another generation of students.

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