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Candidates for City College Board See Fee Increases as Overriding Issue

March 24, 1994|JILL GOTTESMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Six candidates--including one incumbent--are running for two seats on the Long Beach City College Board of Trustees in the district's last at-large election.

William Millington, a board member since 1990, is seeking another term. Board member Donald Weaver decided to step down after serving six years.

The challengers, who are seeking office for the first time, are printing salesman Steven Alari, attorney Katherine Aschieris, property manager Ginny Leibrich, legislative consultant Valerie Martinez and Charles G. Townsend, a retired naval technician.

The top two vote-getters in the April 12 election will serve two-year terms. Trustees will be elected by district in 1996, and all five seats will be on the ballot then.

The candidates agree that the key issue facing the college district is providing access to classes despite increases in fees.

"I don't see how we can realistically cut those fees," said Aschieris, 37. "But we do need to make sure that everyone who wants to attend city college is able to do so, through the use of scholarships and grants."

Several candidates said they support expanding the existing ties between the college and the business community, especially for retraining the hundreds of laid-off aerospace and high-tech professionals who live in the district.

"One of my goals is to stop looking to Sacramento for financial help," said Leibrich, 43, the owner of a Long Beach property management business. "I think the business community is ready to step in and help."

Martinez, 25, a legislative consultant to Assemblyman Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles), wants to set up an employment pipeline from the college to the business community by training students for specific jobs with various employers throughout Long Beach.

But other candidates said the college also should continue to prepare students to go on to four-year colleges and universities.

"Job training is important, but we also have to support and educate the students who want to transfer to universities," said Alari, 36, who attended Santa Monica City College before completing his bachelor's degree at Cal State Long Beach.

Townsend, a past president of Long Beach's chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, said he believes it's time to diversify the five-member board, which has never had a minority trustee.

"The city is changing ethnically, and we have the same old thing of representation. It really doesn't matter what color you are to do a good job on the board, but let's face it, you need several perspectives to represent this city," he said.

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