Monday, March 05, 2007

Want "Reform" in Los Angeles? -- Go Green

Want "reform?"

The crazy Los Angeles School Board elections is another reason to go Green.

Los Angeles School "Reform"

Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is a rising star. They say he could be our first Latino governor (they also said that about San Jose Democratic Mayor Ron Gonzales -- before he was indicted. But I digress).

Villaraigosa pushed a plan to share power with the school board over the Los Angeles Unified School District. To get state approval, Villaraigosa and his ally, Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, cut a deal with Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This move helped Schwarzenegger defeat Democratic candidate Phil Angelides in this supposedly "blue" state when Democrats won big everywhere else.

Standing in Villaraigosa 's way is United Teachers Los Angeles (the victim of a one-sided abusive relationship with Democrats). Once Villaraigosa was a union organizer, but hey, this is now. UTLA backed two incumbents, Jon M. Lauritzen and Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, an African-American representing a district gerrymandered the usual way to protect incumbents.

There are serious arguments for and against Villaraigosa's plan, but voters never heard them. This campaign has been nothing but a turf fight between rival Democratic Machine cliques.


Los Angeles, like San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, is a one-party Democratic. The problem, stated bluntly, is Republicans are the Anglo "White Man's Party" in America. Their "conservatism" is nothing more than the Old Southern White ideology. Columnist Paul Krugman described this dynamic succinctly after Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and the knee-jerk "conservative" response was to attack poor survivors: "A middle-class European, thinking about the poor, says to himself, 'There but for the grace of God go I.' A middle-class American is all too likely to think, perhaps without admitting it to himself, 'Why should I be taxed to support those people?' "

California once had the finest system of public education in the world. When "conservatives" could no longer have segregated public schools and lily-white law schools the operative question became: "Why should I be taxed to support those people?" They hate teachers unions because they hate all unions and teachers fear, rightly in my opinion, their goal is not "reform" but destruction of public schools.

Johnathan Williams, a charter school operator, is the GOP front man against LaMotte. With Villaraigosa's tacit support he accepted $80,000 from former Republican Mayor Richard J. Riordan and big donations from fat Republicans including (I'm not making this up), $50,000 from Christy R. Walton of Bentonville, Arkansas, billionaire widow of a Wal-Mart heir. It is unthinkable that these high-class gentlemen and ladies would actually get their hands dirty campaigning in my neighborhood, but they are happy to write out a check.

Williams makes a Clarence Thomas-style dismissal of criticism as "fear of a black man coming in and stirring things up."


Democrats are supposedly "bleeding hearts" for the 70% of the people in Los Angeles everybody calls "minorities." African-Americans like me are told Democrats are the revolutionary avant garde for the liberation of Africans in America.

LaMotte accepted $450,000 from the UTLA as well as contributions from people directly connected to the School District and the Machine. Her campaign mailed out a slick flyer featuring Barack Obama and members of Congress.

The Los Angeles Sentinel, our most prominent Black newspaper published a front-page, screaming headline: "Blacks Back LaMotte."

Nothing subtle about that. If you're Black like me, you know how to vote.

I'd also like to know about the issues and why it takes $3 million and high-powered Washington pols to elect a local school board.

Want Reform? Go Green

Is it about the kids or about the cash?

Anyone who tells you they want "reform" but that the only way to get it is by playing ball with the Democratic Machine or the Republican wrecking crew is somebody who doesn't want reform at all.


Lisa said...

Thanks for your commentary, Alex, and good to see you at the Cynthia McKinney event in L.A.

I couldn't agree with you more.

I think the turnout was 7% and 45% of that was by mail.

Lisa Taylor
LA Greens

Anonymous said...

Sir Alex Walker,

Power to the people my progressive brotha'.