By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter
Vivian Malauulu, whose resume already includes experience as a Carson commissioner and Random Lengths reporter, is campaigning to unseat Irma Archuleta on the April 12 elections for the Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees.
“I have diverse unique experience that no other board member has,” said Malauulu about her hopes to represent Area 2, which borders Carson. “I’m an educator, I’m a longshoreman, and I’m a journalist. All three are very unique careers. I can breathe some fresh air into the board.”
Malauulu, who is a journalism professor at Long Beach City College, said she knows first-hand what issues are facing the district. She says 35 percent of students have less than a 2.1 GPA, and only 19 percent of students graduate within two years.
Born Vivian Ramirez in Honduras, Malauulu came at age seven to the United States in 1981. She lived in Carson with her African-American stepfather, who adopted her, making her name Vivian Williams. She attended Banning High School and started teaching there at age 22.
In 1998, Malauulu was appointed to Carson’s public relations commission by then-mayor Mike Mitoma.
“Many people told me I was the youngest commissioner ever [in Carson],” she recalled.
She continued to teach full-time even after her name was drawn in the 1997 longshoreman lottery. She worked first as a casual, and later she worked full-time. Her campaign bio says she’s a member of ILWU Local 13, where “I have served as an elected officer to the Executive Board, as a delegate to the Southern California District Council, and as the chair of the local’s Public Relations Committee.”
Her husband, George, is also from Carson and a longshoreman. They and their four children now live in LBCCD Area 2 adjacent to Carson. She is no longer a commissioner in Carson but serves on Long Beach’s Commission for Youth and Children.
Archuleta, the incumbent, was appointed in September 2014 to replace Roberto Uranga, who won the District 7 Long Beach City Council seat that same year.
Malauulu describes Archuleta’s appointment as “very controversial” because the board appointed Archuleta instead of calling an election, even though there were two years left on Uranga’s term. Malauulu questions why the board appointed Archuleta, who had to divide time between Long Beach and serving as vice president of Student Affairs at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. Archuleta resigned the Evergreen position in October 2015.
“I am the best candidate to represent the district because I have been representing the district,” Archuleta responded. “I have served as an effective and accessible advocate for advancing the progressive values of my community. I helped to expand the Long Beach Promise scholarship program from one semester to one year. I have brought new attention to the needs of immigrant and undocumented students and helped secure the path for the district’s first every [ever] Project Labor Agreement to ensure projects are completed with local workforce, on budget and on time.”
Before becoming a vice president at Evergreen Valley College, Archuleta says she served as adjunct faculty at El Camino College and Cal State University Long Beach.
She co-founded Leticia A Network in 1984, as an advocacy group in support of undocumented immigrants’ access to college. According to the lbcc.edu site, Archuleta has “has a deep-rooted passion for social justice and an unwavering commitment for undocumented immigrants.”
Malauulu’s campaign site: vivianmalauulu.nationbuilder.com
Archuleta’s campaign site: www.IrmaArcheleta.com