Board of Trustees race nears end, winners in sight

Incumbent Kenneth Brown is likely to serve another term as registered voters in Areas three and four have nearly finished selecting two new members to replace William Beverly and Mary E. Combs on the El Camino College Board of Trustees.

The next probable Board of Trustee Governing Members are as follows: in Area one, Kenneth A. Brown; in Area three, Trisha Murakawa; and in Area four, Katherine Steinbroner Maschler.

According to tentative election results from the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters, Brown is set to defeat Turner by 39.42%, Murakawa is set to defeat opponent Siannah Collado Boutte by 18.85% and Maschler leads her opponents David M. Kartsonis and Nicole A. Ryan by 11.02%. Results are not technically official yet, but all involved precincts are reporting their results at this point.

As the race comes to a close, candidates feel relieved the campaign, and all its contention, will be over so they can focus on getting work done.

“I’m feeling pretty nice. I’m feeling pretty proud, pretty happy, relieved, all of the above. It’s nice to have the campaign behind me. And we can start thinking about the next big adventure,” Brown said.

Maschler’s campaign was run without endorsements or fundraising, leaving her and her opponents somewhat surprised at her impending victory.

“I didn’t realize I could get elected this way,” Maschler said. “And it certainly gives me some hope for others who are campaigning in a similar way that the voters are smart. [Hopefully], others know that you don’t have to seek out everybody’s endorsement or seek out a lot of money in order to be successful. You just have to be who you are and be honest about who you are. And, hopefully, for some, that’s enough.”

Although Maschler’s opponent, Kartsonis, is not likely to be the next Board member, he says he’ll stay involved with ECC.

“I still love El Camino College,” Kartsonis said.

According to Murakawa, ECC President and Superintendent Dena P. Maloney reached out to her via email, entailing that her first meeting with the Board would be on Dec. 21. That date is also significant to Murakawa because it is her late grandmother’s birthday.

“[My] grandmother, who was an American citizen, was evacuated and had to serve time in an internment camp solely based on her ethnicity, because she was Japanese. But her citizenship was American, her nationality was American. [For] that reason, she didn’t have the opportunity to do what I did,” Murakawa said.

As an American survivor of Japanese internment and widowed single mother, Murakawa’s grandmother grew up with very different opportunities than those Murakawa has now, making her victory and the date of her first meeting “very, very significant,” she said.

“And so now, for me to even think or fathom the idea that I could run for office… I’m afforded the opportunity to do this, I will have the opportunity to influence public policy for the greater community, whereas my grandmother would never have had that,” Murakawa said.

Once in office, probable elected members plan to work on the task of hiring a new president to replace Maloney, who announced her retirement in July.

“One of our big priorities is to continue the search for a replacement for our president. So I think that’s one of the main things that we’ll be looking at so not that it is a change, but that is certainly a big thing that needs to be done.” Maschler said.

Despite differences, elected members plan to work together cohesively regardless of feuding on social media during the campaign process.

“I think if your motivations are for the students and the community of the district, nobody’s going to have any issues at all, right? Whether it be the taxpayers, or the faculty, staff, administration or the board, [if] your motivation and your heart is wanting to get things done for the students of El Camino, nobody’s going to have any issues,” Brown said.

Candidates Turner, Ryan and Boutte were contacted for comment via phone call and voicemail, but The Union did not receive a response.