Board fills three seats in LA election

UPDATED March 25, 2015:

More than two weeks after ballots closed in L.A.’s March 3 election, the city clerk officially declared Andra Hoffman the winner in the close race for Seat One of the LACCD Board of Trustees.

Hoffman, who won with a difference of only 1,121 votes over her opponent Francesca Vega, learned of her win on Friday.

“I have this ritual of hiking in Griffith Park to the top of the mountain and then shouting,” Hoffman said. “I shouted things like ‘I’m a winner,’ and asked the universe to help me keep the lead, then literally two minutes after I finished shouting, I got a call from my consultant saying that the city clerk had just posted the results, and that I had won.”

It took 17 days for all of the ballots to be counted, but Hoffman’s lead over Vega remained consistent until the results were announced March 20.

“I made history, there’s no other candidate that ran against the faculty union and won outright in a primary,” Hoffman said. “All I had was a measly $60,000. And between the faculty union and the four candidates that they ran, they spent close to a million dollars, and I beat them.”

Vega did not respond to multiple requests for comment.



The Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees filled three seats in the Los Angeles city primary election March 3, with Board Seat one still undeclared.

The race for seat one was too close to call on election night. The Los Angeles City Clerk showed Andra Hoffman leading her opponent Francesca Vega by fewer than 600 votes, or 0.3 percent – well within the margin of error. The candidates must wait for mail-in ballots to be counted before a winner is announced.

“I’m not going to get any sleep. The reports are coming in really slow, and we may not know for days, maybe weeks,” Hoffman said.

Newcomers Sydney Kamlager and Mike Fong won their races for seats three and seven respectively, and incumbent Board President Scott Svonkin was re-elected to seat five.

“I’m thrilled that the voters believed in the work that I have done, and have trusted me to continue to serve for another four years,” Svonkin said.

The board consists of seven members. Though seat one is still undeclared, whoever wins will join Kamlager and Fong when they all begin their first terms in July.

Svonkin said he looks forward to his work with the fresh faces.

“I’m excited to work with Kamlager and Fong, they are both incredibly bright and talented people,” Svonkin said. “They are wholly committed to the agenda that this board has, which is to help students achieve their dreams.”

Steve Schulte was Svonkin’s opponent in the race. He said that Svonkin’s victory was due to his financial backing.

“He had over $500,000 to spend,” said Schulte. “I believe that was mostly about maintaining the status quo.”

Schulte, who lost in his race for seat five, said he supports Hoffman.

“I hope Andra wins. I think she’s very knowledgeable, very capable, and a very nice person,” Schulte said.

Denise Robb, chair of the Foundation for Pierce College, said the fate of the Farm Center should be a priority for the Board of Trustees.

“I can’t raise money for the college because everyone thinks our farm is about to be sold,” said Robb. “When I go to donors and ask them to donate money, the first thing they ask me is ‘what’s going on with your farm.’”

Charter Amendments 1 and 2 were approved, which means city, state, and LAUSD elections will be held on the same day. This could improve future voter turnout, which was estimated at 8 percent by the City Clerk.

“Nobody shows up for city elections. Nobody cares, and it’s pretty embarrassing,” said Robb. “The election was just plurality, it was not a majority.”