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Board Backers Win College Races

November 05, 1998|ROBERT OURLIAN

Candidates seeking to change the direction of the South Orange County Community College District failed to win either of two open board seats in Tuesday's election.

The winning candidates, attorneys Donald P. Wagner and Nancy Padberg, support controversial cost-cutting measures taken by the board majority that have split trustees and ignited public debate.

But both also have suggested the board's most embattled member of that majority, Steven J. Frogue, resign rather than face an almost certain recall election. Frogue came under fire in part for proposing a seminar last year featuring speakers that critics called anti-Semitic. The seminar proposal was withdrawn after a protest.

Wagner also said that while he agrees with a reorganization approved by the board majority, those moves should have been done differently.

"The more difficult question is whether they've taken these steps in the right way or whether they've done it in a way that's left people feeling disenfranchised," Wagner said. "That's what I believe they've done. A lot of people feel disenfranchised."

Wagner defeated opponents Charles W. "Pete" Maddox and Douglas M. Chapman for the Area 2 seat, while Padberg defeated Leo Galcher and David Hill for the Area 4 seat. Maddox and Galcher campaigned on a platform opposing the board majority.

The majority attracted criticism from state community college officials, a statewide faculty group and the agency that accredits community colleges by approving a controversial reorganization and a series of contested administrative appointments. The district includes Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College.

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