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    LB School Board Candidates Take Near Final Shots...In Signal Hill

    School Bd. candidate forum, May 15/03(May 15, 2003) -- Candidates in the June 10 special election for LB School Board (southern ELB, Signal Hill & Catalina) took their near final Signal Hill.

    The candidate forum, sponsored by the Signal Hill Chamber of Commerce and held on May 15 in the Signal Hill City Council Chamber, allowed candidates opening statements, questions via a moderator, followed by a one minute closing statement.

    The event was videotaped and will be replayed following Signal Hill City Council meetings. Below are some excerpts of candidates' closing statements in the order they were delivered:

    Gary DeLong

    ...I look forward very much to being your advocate. I promise you I'll be accessible...I'm not a teacher, I'm not an educator, I've never been in administration of the school district. I will also tell you that means I'm not part of the problem. I'll bring a fresh view to the Board of Education and be a part of the solution.

    Richard Green

    I bring a fresh perspective to this race. My perspective is from the community side of the schoolyard fence. I have not spent my career being acculturated in a public bureaucracy. Just the opposite. I've spent most of my working adult life in the private sector, working hard to manage budgets, working hard to return value to shareholders, in this case, you...

    ...I'm a neighborhood activist...I believe that good neighborhood schools lead to stable neighborhoods. Too often, our schools have become fenced in, paved over and overcrowded. They look more like storage facilities than centers of education, and that depresses property values and it chases out good neighbors...

    It's time that the School Board reinvest in your neighborhoods. It's time that you have a voice on the Board of Education...

    Andy Nagle

    ...Jon Meyer is endorsed by [former LBUSD Superintendent] Carl Cohn, and by the family of [recently deceased incumbent] Ed Eveland, and my thinking is if you're satisfied with the level of representation that you've received here in Signal Hill, vote for Jon Meyer. If you're interested in change, vote for me...

    Norm Ryan

    And if Andy doesn't want your vote, I do. [laughter] I will tell you, I'm in the same boat that you are. I also have to cast a vote for the school district that we're in. And I will tell you, these are the three things I am looking for.

    I'm looking for a candidate who has a vested interest. I'm looking for a candidate who has proven expertise. I'm looking for a candidate I can trust, not just because he says "trust me" but because he's got a voting record.

    Fortunately, I have all those things. I have a vested interest; I have four children that will go to public school, two of which are already there. I have expertise over ten years in public and school finance...I am the only elected official here; I have a voting record you can look at, and when I say that I have done the right thing, you don't have to take my word for it, you just open up the paper and see how I've voted...

    Jon Meyer

    ...First off, a statement was earlier that our teachers are part of the problem in the Long Beach Unified School District. Please know that that is not the case. They are our unsung heroes. I ask any of you to visit a classroom at any time in the Long Beach Unified School District and you will find hard working, dedicated, committed individuals who are not part of our problem in Long Beach.

    Secondly, I would share with the people of Signal Hill the fact that I spent three years on Catalina Island as a strong advocate for a small school community, nearly facing the Long Beach Unified [Scholl District] as an adversary. We had to go to the state for funding for a new community center, gymnasium and classrooms. I had to deal directly with the administration in Long Beach. I know how the people of Signal Hill feel...

    Marilyn Russell Bittle

    ...I am an educator and I'm very proud of that. I want you to understand that I am a teacher advocate, I'm a student advocate, I'm an advocate for public education. I want the opportunity to represent you on the Board of Education, representing the needs of this community, improving communication, making sure that your needs are heard, that the student needs are heard, because number one is a quality education for all of our young people in this community...

    Yolanda Benavidez

    ...I want to bring my experience of teaching students and working with parents to the School Board. As a proven educator and as a concerned parent, I believe it is very important that you have a representative on a school board that will be the voice of our students and not the district bureaucracy.

    If you want someone who will be responsive to your concerns, look at my track record. I have worked for more than 21 years, serving the needs of our students...I have been involved with our local schools all of my life...

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