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Narrow Lead for Svonkin in L.A. Community College District Board Race

by Jonah Lowenfeld

May 18, 2011 | 12:06 am

In the race for the last open seat on the Los Angeles Community College District Board, with just under half of all districts reporting, Scott Svonkin, a senior adviser to Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, is narrowly leading Lydia A. Gutierrez, a teacher who sits on the board of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

Svonkin, who has been a regular presence at high profile Jewish community events in recent months and who has been involved with Jewish organizations for a decade or more, garnered more than twice as many votes as Gutierrez did in the March 8 primary election.

But the primary featured a field of seven candidates, and neither Svonkin nor Gutierrez won an outright majority, which forced the May 17 runoff.

Since then, Svonkin has been the subject of two articles in the LA Weekly that portrayed him as a bully. Neither article said much about Lydia Gutierrez.

Last week, an article in the Los Angeles Times focused on the “political name-calling” that was being used by both sides in the purportedly nonpartisan race. In the article, Gutierrez called Svonkin an “insider.” It also cited a mailer from the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee that labeled Gutierrez a “Sarah Palin-style Tea Partier.”

The article also noted that in the month before Tuesday’s election, Svonkin had raised “just over $299,000,” nearly 10 times as much as Gutierrez, who raised $3,788.

For the latest results, go to the Office of the City Clerk’s website.

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