The composition of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) Board of Trustees was decided in decisive fashion last night, as incumbent and current Board President Doug Otto and LBCC professor Vivian Malauulu scored huge victories on election night.
Otto defeated competitor Davina Keiser to retain his Area 4 seat by a margin of over 40 percent, and Malauulu scored an upset victory over the incumbent Trustee Irma Archuleta by taking 59 percent of the vote for the Area 2 seat.
Malauulu will join the board, which consists of the re-elected Otto, Area 1 Trustee Jeff Kellogg, Area 3 Trustee Sunny Zia and Area 5 Trustee Dr. Virginia Baxter.
Otto took to social media to thank his supporters in a note posted to his campaign’s Facebook page, where he congratulated Keiser for running a clean campaign and laid out the challenges still facing the college.
“I am very proud of all we have achieved during my term in office, but I also know there is much more to be done to help our students, our local businesses and our community,” Otto wrote. “Our next challenge is to support the Measure LB Construction Bond on the June ballot, which will provide urgently needed bond funds for campus renovation and technological enhancements.”
In an email, Malauulu described her campaign’s ability to overcome Archuleta’s vast endorsement list of city council members, Mayor Robert Garcia and even the school’s Superintendent President Eloy Oakley, who added his name to the list earlier this year. She credited her family, the full and part-time faculty who endorsed her candidacy and the rest of her coalition of neighborhood leaders and organizations that helped propel her to victory.
“It certainly wasn’t easy defeating an incumbent who had strong financial and political support from Supervisor Don Knabe, Mayor Garcia, Councilman Uranga, Superintendent Eloy Oakley, Board Members Doug Otto and Jeff Kellogg, and the district's biggest bond measure contractor, Córdoba Corporation,” Malauulu said in a statement. “It is such a rewarding feeling knowing that all of our hard work paid off in such a big way. Everyone was very focused and committed. Our campaign was well organized and strategic from the very beginning.”
The school, like the city, is trying to get a measure passed that would use taxpayer money to address critical infrastructure improvements at both of its campuses. The $850 million bond known as Measure LB would, if passed, create a citizen oversight committee to oversee the spending of the new funds that is intended to finance routine maintenance and upgrades to science, technology and engineering classrooms.
Both Otto and Malauulu have expressed support of the measure, which passed the board’s vote unanimously in late February. Otto said the school had significant needs for repairs to upgrade its facilities to 21st Century student needs. During debates and functions leading up to last night’s vote, Malauulu agreed with the assessment, but asked that an exemption for senior citizens be included in the bond’s provisions.
Both Otto and Malauulu will commence their four-year terms July 18.