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Rivera returns to post

StaffBy Juliet Leyba Daily Planet Staff
Thursday November 09, 2000



After a long and uncertain election day and night the race for a single seat on the Berkeley School Board remains in question. There may still be some 6,000 absentee and provisional votes still to count, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. 

One thing is certain - Board President Joaquin Rivera will be serving another term. 

With all 110 precincts counted, Rivera received 24,388 votes.  

That’s 10,736 more than second-place candidate John Selawsky, whose votes added up to 13,652. Two school board slots were open. 

The count puts Selawsky ahead of candidate Sherri Morton by 2,128 votes. 

Not waiting a week for the final results to come in, Morton conceded Selawsky’s win Wednesday morning. She expressed disappointment. 

“I really expected people to address the minority and gender issue in their votes,” said Morton, who is African American. “It’s disappointing that that gender and ethnicity of the community is not reflected in the board.” 

Rivera, who is Hispanic, is currently the only minority serving on the board. 

Selawsky said he does not discount Morton’s belief that African Americans should be represented on the board. However, it would be important that the person hold progressive views, he said. Selawsky is a member of the Green Party and was endorsed by Berkeley Citizens Action as well as the Greens. Morton was endorsed by the more moderate Berkeley Democratic Club and Mayor Shirley Dean. 

Selawsky pointed to his experience in working with people of differing points of view. 

And he said he sees one of his roles on the board as bringing in more community involvement. 

“I want to open the district decision-making process,” he said. 

Morton said she wished Selawsky well and said she hopes that the new member will work to close the yawning achievement gap between minorities and Caucasians, the cornerstone issue of her campaign, as well as address the need for more outreach to African American parents in the community. 

“Even though a lot of policies and procedures are passed by the board, the information doesn’t always trickle down to the parents,” Morton said. 

Rivera, Shirley Issel and Terry Doran of the school board expressed regret that the board does not have more minority members, but added that they will continue to work diligently toward meeting the needs of the whole system and, more specifically, closing the achievement gap. 

“John Selawsky has been an active parent volunteer and has many qualities that will serve him well on the board,” Issel said.