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A game of pell-mell Monopoly and mania for López’s TPS seat

Frontpagecommentary by La Prensa  

When Toledo Public School Board member attorney Anita López resigned her seat to take over as Lucas County recorder, an office she handily won on Nov. 2, little did the voters know what fuss would ensue, with 15 individuals now vying for her position.

López, a Democrat, has been reported as saying she is backing union activist Kenny Roach, who was the choice of the LC Democratic Party. Party, for López, is more important than ethnicity.   

While noble, this viewpoint is inappropriate—tradition respectfully demands that her seat be assumed by a Latino or Latina, or at least one sensitive to the needs of Latino/a students and this rapidly growing community, and only four of the 15 qualify: Roberto Torres, Eva Vindas, Steven Steel, and, now, Denise Alvarado-Haack.

It is not a brown versus black thing. It is a matter of tradition and showing the community that the Board cares about Latinos, who have the highest school dropout rate in the region and nation.

For almost two decades now, Latinos have had representation on the Board via the strong presence of Sofia Quintero, Tom López, and then Anita. This trend should continue, as properly suggested by Toledo City Council President Louis Escobar.  


Roberto Torres


Denise Alvarado-Haack throws her hat into the ring  

On Jan. 4, Latina activist Denise Alvarado-Haack, a district-wide parent involvement coordinator for TPS, answered the call of Larry Sykes, president of the TPS Board, by tossing her hat in the Board ring.

According to Alvarado-Haack, “I was really motivated by Mr. Sykes’ call for more committed individuals. I believe I fall in this category. I am a team player, know the system, and have shown, through my actions, my commitment to TPS.”

Commitment and involvement? Alvarado-Haack is the mother of four, all of whom attend public schools, and, in 2003, she served as a co-chairperson of the successful TPS levy renewal campaign.

“The main reason for my TPS service is that, first and foremost, I am the mother of four. And all four: Michael, 16; Marisela, 10, Serena, 8; and Gabriel, 7, attend TPS,” said Alvarado-Haack.  

“I want to make sure my children are getting a quality education and this is why I worked on the levy and am now asking for Anita’s position on the Board,” she continued.

She was formerly the coordinator of Adelante, Inc.’s Save Our Sisters’ domestic violence program, a position she moved into six months ago after a year’s service with Americorps in the City of Toledo ’s Youth Commission.

Save Our Sisters offered support to women who are in at-risk domestic violent situations. She is currently a districtwide parent involvement coordinator for TPS.

She has also mentored area youth such as two high school students, Deanna and Sophia Vásquez, as part of the Latino Youth Mentoring program.

While taking a break from her college education, she plans on returning. While at the University of Toledo , she was active with the Latino Student Union. Alvarado-Haack entered UT on a part-time basis in 2000 after having spent about 10 years as a homemaker.

When her children gained a little independence, this graduate of Springfield High School went to college to major in business programs. She is considering a switch to Law and Social Thought and has about two years to go before earning her degree by her estimate.

She is also member of Mescala, a Spanish cultural awareness group.

Fifteen people have submitted their names for consideration, including: Roberto Torres, director of Toledo’s Office of Latino Affairs; Eva Vindas, a lawyer with Gallon & Takacs; Steven Steel, a former TPS teacher; Kenny Roach, a business representative for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 8; Becky Berry, a home instructor and former teacher; Jimmie Cisco, a construction worker; Carolyn Jean Eyre, a licensed minister and former teacher at Calvary Christian School; Theresa Gabriel, former Toledo Municipal clerk of courts; Chris Myers, a webmaster at the University of Michigan; Brian Epstein, manager of major and planned gifts for the Toledo Museum of Art; Steven Thomas, business manager of Laborers International Union of North America, Local 500; Gerald McClintick, a former TPS teacher and coach who later worked for Rowe Industries; Barbara Jean Jacobs, tax auditor for the city of Toledo; and Nick Wichowski, an accountant. 

Screening by the Board, which began on Tuesday, is expected to last until the end of January, with a selection by Feb. 1. 




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