Election includes several local races

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Fran Pavley is running for a Senate seat; Julia Brownley is up for reelection for 41st District Assembly seat. No Malibu candidate on school board slate.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

In addition to selecting a new president and making choices on several controversial state and local ballot measures, Malibu residents will be asked to vote in several races for local and state political offices when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Board of Education for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. No Malibu resident is among the choices. With Kathy Wisnicki’s decision not to run for re-election and reluctance from any other local to enter the race, Malibu will be without a representative on the school board for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Maria Leon Vazquez and Jose Escarce are both seeking their third terms on the board. They are joined on the ballot by Ben Allen, a member of the SMMUSD Financial Oversight Committee and former Regent for the University of California system, and Chris Bley, a teacher in Brentwood and former member of the Peace Corps.

Wisnicki has endorsed Allen and Escarce. The Malibu Times has endorsed Allen and Bley. Incumbent Ralph Mechur is running unopposed to complete a term he began last summer as a replacement for Emily Bloomfield.

Because of a growing polarization between the city of Santa Monica and Malibu on education issues, a group recently formed to explore the possibility of creating a Malibu school district. To start the process, a large amount of signatures must be collected from people endorsing the exploration. Activists from the Malibu Unified School Team led by Laura Rosenthal will be working on signature collecting near poll stations on Tuesday.

There are also four candidates running for four seats on the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees. Three incumbents are in the race: Robert Greenstein Rader, Susan Aminoff and Margaret Quinones-Perez. The fourth candidate is interior designer Heidi Hoeck.

Fran Pavley, who represented Malibu for six years as a member of the State Assembly, 41st District, is running as the Democratic candidate for the 23rd state Senate District. Term limits have forced Sheila Kuehl to vacate her seat. Pavley earned the Democratic nomination in June when she easily defeated rival Lloyd Levine by an almost 2 to 1 margin.

Because the Senate district’s population is heavily Democratic, (50 percent of the district’s 400,000 voters), it is unlikely Pavley will lose. Her challengers are Republican Rick Montaine, a systems security analyst, and Libertarian Colin Goldman, a screenwriter.

Democrat Julia Brownley is up for reelection for her 41st District Assembly seat. She was first elected to the post two years ago. Her opponent is Republican Mark Bernsley, a lawyer from Woodland Hills. Like the 23rd Senate District, the 41st Assembly District has a significant Democratic population. A loss by Brownley would be shocking to most political observers.

Democratic U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman is running unopposed for a reelection to his seat for the 30th District, which includes Malibu. He has represented the area since 1975.

Also in this election, Cynthia Loo, who grew up in Malibu and is the daughter of Malibu activist Mona Loo, is running for a seat as judge for Los Angeles Superior Court, Office No. 82. A current Superior Court referee (which has nearly the same responsibilities as a judge), Loo was the top vote getter in the June primary. But since she failed to receive more than 50 percent of the vote, Loo was forced into a runoff with prosecutor Thomas Rubinson.