By Jim Tortolano
Ten hopefuls seeking election to school board and city council seats gathered Saturday at the Courtyard Center in Garden Grove to state their cases and answer questions. The event was sponsored and conducted by the Garden Grove Neighborhood Association and the Garden Grove Downtown Business Association.
But not all those whose names will be on the ballot on Nov. 8 showed up for the candidates’ forum. Of seven seeking seats on the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education, three were present. In the race for Trustee Area 1, Nicholas Dibs and appointed incumbent Teri Rocco showed up, but Jonathan Bengco did not. Walter Muneton, running unopposed for the Trustee Area 3 seat, was on hand, but all three candidates in Area 5 – challengers Dina Nguyen and Omar Ablouj and incumbent Linda Paulsen-Reed – were absent.
Among city council candidates, present were Clay Bock (District 3), Stephanie Klopfenstein and Demian Garcia-Monroy (District 5), Kim Nguyen and Rickk Montoya (District 6). Absent were John O’Neill, running unopposed in District 2, and Thu-Ha Nguyen, running for District 3’s seat. For mayor, council member and mayor pro tem Steve Jones and write-in candidate Tony Flores were on hand.
School board candidates were quizzed on subjects such as school choice, foreign language immersion education and Common Core curriculum. Council and mayoral hopefuls spoke on balancing the city’s budget, the importance of the city’s Harbor Corridor of hotels, as well as crime and homelessness.
The city’s “Grove District” of hotels and restaurants along Harbor provided a principal area of disagreement between mayoral candidates Jones and Flores. Jones was confident that revenue from hotel transient occupancy tax would
eventually wipe out the city’s “structural deficit,” while Flores expressed some doubt that the tax revenue was going to support public safety services.
The forum was moderated by Ric Lerma and Keith Riley and the audience in the Courtyard Center was approximately 100 people.
Categories: Politics & Elections