Dear Editor – Voting on March 3

Light-bulb-0003-300x198I’ve noticed that Culver City residents tend to get grouchy when called upon to vote in March of the odd-numbered years (like, on this coming Tuesday, March 3, 2015).

The only thing on our ballots is the L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees, and the election is administered by the City of Los Angeles, along with their primary elections for City Council (even-numbered districts) and LAUSD Board (odd-numbered districts).

Why are we supposed to vote in this election? It’s because we live in the L.A. Community College District (LACCD), and our taxes help to support the colleges in this district. Remember “No taxation without representation”?

We live near West L.A. College (part of LACCD), where many of us (and our children) have attended classes at a fraction of what it costs to attend a four-year college. Thus we are expected to participate in the governance of LACCD by voting for its Trustees, just as we participate in the governance of CCUSD by voting for its Board members.

Cities who have their own community college districts (Glendale, Pasadena, Santa Monica, etc.) do not vote in the March 3 LACCD election, nor do their taxes go to LACCD.

Most Culver City residents know little about the candidates for Trustee of LACCD, because campaigning in this vast district is so expensive. Since the Trustees are elected at large instead of by district, the candidates must campaign throughout an area that goes from San Fernando (home of Mission College) to San Pedro (home of Harbor College) to Monterey Park (home of East L.A. College). This costs a huge amount of money — second only to a run for Judge of the Superior Court, which is elected county-wide.

So how can we inform ourselves about candidates in next Tuesday’s election? The League of Women Voters’ award-winning website, smartvoter.org/ca/la (click on ‘school’ and page down to LACCD) has great quantities of information posted by all these candidates except the one who is running unopposed. The League has posed questions designed to make it easy to compare where the candidates stand on issues. You can also learn about their qualifications and find out who has endorsed them. The candidates receive all this web space for free. Think of it as a virtual candidate forum, available 24/7.

A final word. The position of an LACCD Trustee is a nonpartisan position, like the position of a CCUSD Boardmember or a member of the Culver City City Council. While political parties may choose to endorse candidates in these elections, the elected candidates are not supposed to have any obligation to these parties. If an organization foots the bill for an expensive mailer, however, one wonders how easy it is for the winning candidates not to be influenced.

See you at the polls,
Frances Talbott-White, Co-Chair
League of Women Voters Culver City Unit
[email protected]

P.S. LWVCC meets from 11:30am to 1:00pm on the 3rd Tuesday of each month (September thru November; January thru May) in the Crafts Room of the Culver City Senior Center. These meetings are open to the public (men always welcome!) at no charge. It’s a great place to enjoy civil discourse with great people.

Ting Internet is in Culver City!

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