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Elections characterized by low voter turnout

Cynthia E. Griffin- | 11/9/2011, 5 p.m.

The 2012 local election season continues to be full of surprises and change as evidenced by the results in the Compton school district and L.A. City Council District 15 races Tuesday.
In the Compton Unified School District Board of Trustee election, two incumbents--Micah Ali and Emma Sharif--along with newcomer Skyy D. Fisher emerged as the top three vote-getters in a field of 12 contestants. Ali, who will begin his second term as a board of education member garnered nearly 20 percent of votes while Sharif, entering her fourth term, collected 12.05 percent of ballots.
Fisher, basking in his first political win (he previously ran for the Compton Community College Board of Trustees), won 11.34 percent of votes.
At 28, Fisher considers himself part of a new breed of up-and-coming young leaders, who are committed to giving back to the community and want to be more inclusive of the concerns of his generation.
Fisher's election to the school board will also give it a decidedly pro-union flavor, because by profession he is a union rep. He will join former union officers May Thomas, Margie Garrett and Satra Zurita.
"I ran on a platform of protecting working families," said Fisher, noting that Compton Unified is the largest employer within 15 square miles of the district, and that most of the employees live in the city and their children attend the schools.
He believes to avoid what happened to public employees in Wisconsin with collective bargaining, you have to elect people whose priorities are to make sure that every student gets a good education and to protect working families.
Fisher's top priorities are to reduce wasteful spending in administration in the district; reduce the student-teacher ratio from the current 30:1 down to 25:1; create policies to prevent retaliation against union members who speak out and to secure additional funding for after-school and arts programs.
The three Compton school board members will be sworn in during the board's December meeting.
In the Los Angeles special election for Council District 15, unofficially LAPD officer Joe Buscaino edged past veteran politician Warren Furutani with 29.10 percent of votes cast versus 22.32 percent. Only 16.44 percent of the more than 100,000 registered voters were cast, and almost half of those (7,600) were vote-by-mail ballots.
However, there are also four write-in candidate including longtime former City Councilman Robert Farrell, and these votes will be tallied separately and by hand. The city clerk's office has 21 days to finish the count, but expects to do so within two weeks.
The election will be certified within 21 days, and the top two candidates will face one another in a runoff election on Jan. 17.
In Hawthorne municipal elections, Daniel Juarez collected 51.2 percent of votes to defeat two opponents in the mayor's race. Fewer than 5,000 of the city's registered 31,000 voters turned out.
Nilo Michelin and Olivia Valentine were the top two vote-getters in the Hawthorne City Council race. Michelin won 23.61 percent of votes and Valentine took 18.71 percent.
In the city of Lynwood, three positions were up for grabs. In the council race, Salvador Alatorre (23.89 percent) and Aide Castor (20.16 percent) finished one and two. About 3,000 of the city's registered 21,806 voters cast ballots.
Maria Quinonez overwhelmed her opponent, Armando Rea, 65.39 to 34.61 percent for the city clerk post.