In a surprise last-minute turnaround, incumbent Pasadena City College Board of Trustees candidate Ross Selvidge, who had “ceased campaigning” in April, announced late last week he is back in the race for Tuesday’s election.
Selvidge said in a mailer which hit local mailboxes last Friday that he “had intended to withdraw from the race but the other candidate has determined that her only path to election was to tarnish my reputation and besmirch my character.”
That other candidate is Sandra Chen Lau, a museum executive and non-profit development consultant who has garnered a number of endorsements from key local political and educational figures.
Selvidge, who is not without similar endorsements, said in an interview Sunday he has resumed campaigning and is in the race to win — as well as to clear up his record.
“Rather than have you rely on false information,” Selvidge said, “I want you to hear and understand the facts.”
Selvidge’s name already appears on the printed ballots, so there’s nothing to stop a born-again campaign from racking up votes this week.
Chen Lau said she was not surprised by Selvidge’s last minute change of heart.
“I am disappointed my opponent has re-entered the race but I am not surprised by his tactic,” she said. “It appears he may have wanted to avoid scrutiny of his record that a real campaign would have triggered, which is exactly what we have been doing.”
Challenger Chen Lau has been critical of Selvidge in a number of mailers which have portrayed Selvidge as an opponent of funding of public education, as playing a role in landing PCC on probation for two years, and as being officially criticized for inappropriate behavior.
In one mailer, she connected the resignation of current PCC Superintendent President Rajen Vurdien to Selvidge, saying Vurdien unexpectedly quit three days after a contentious meeting with Selvidge.
Selvidge said Sunday that Chen Lau’s accusations are either misleading or, in some instances, “manifestly untrue.”
“If the accusations about me as a trustee in Sandra’s mailers are true,” Selvidge said in an email to Pasadena Now on Sunday, why am I endorsed by so many educators and leading citizens?
“Could all those people be ignorant about what Sandra says is going on at PCC and how I have performed as trustee?” Selvidge wrote.
In another mailer, Chen Lau appealed to Democrats to oppose Republican Selvidge, listing her endorsements from a lineup of elected Democratic luminaries.
Selvidge counters that the PCC Board race is non-partisan and for that reason he has many supporters who are Democrats, including Mayor Terry Tornek.
Chen Lau remains adamant.
“I stand by criticisms of my opponent’s leadership described in our campaign materials,” she said Sunday.
For more information about the candidates consult your sample ballot booklet or visit these sites:
Ross Selvidge: www.SelvidgeForPCC.com
Sandra Chen Lau: www.sandraforpcc.com/