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NORWALK – In the first election since Cerritos College replaced its at-large voting system with seven separate areas, the board of trustees was left virtually unrecognizable as a wave of new candidates swept nearly every incumbent out of office on Tuesday.
However, the exception was in Area 1, which encompasses portions of Downey, Norwalk and Bell Gardens.
Incumbent Bob Arthur easily defeated Leonard Zuniga with 61.2 percent of the vote (7,928 votes). Zuniga picked up 5,016 votes, 38.7 percent of the vote. First elected to the Board of Trustees in 1995, Arthur is a former mayor of Norwalk and councilman who was re-elected to the board in 2007.
In Area 3, appointed incumbent Jean McHatton was easily defeated by local educator John Paul Drayer who garnered 67.83 percent of the vote. McHatton received 3,639 votes, nearly 32.1 percent. Area 3 includes portions of Cerritos, Bellflower, Downey and South Gate.
Carmen Avalos, city clerk for the city of South Gate, also handedly defeated a longtime incumbent, retired Cerritos College faculty member Tom Jackson. Avalos reclaimed a seat on the board of trustees in Area 2, which represents portions of Downey, Bellflower and South Gate, with 66.53 percent of the vote (7,646 votes). Jackson earned 3,847 votes, nearly 33.4 percent of the vote.
In the closest contest of the night, 20-year incumbent Ted Edmiston of Area 4 narrowly lost to newcomer Marisa Perez who collected 50.51 percent of the vote (6,273 votes). Edmiston received 49.49 percent, losing by just 127 votes. Area 4 includes portions of Long Beach, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Bellflower, and Cerritos.
In Area 6, which represents portions of Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs and Cerritos, another incumbent lost a seat on the Board of Trustees. Dr. Tina Cho, a psychiatrist who was just elected in 2007, was defeated by clinic doctor Sandra Salazar.
Cho received 40.15 percent of the vote (4,160 votes). Salazar earned 59.85 percent (6,202 votes).
Published: November 8, 2012 – Volume 11 – Issue 30