Hey, there's an election coming up...
Here's an emerging sideshow to note: the DailyNews, not letting up, prints a congratulatory editorial this morning on BEST, the private/nonprofit funded after school program that over the past 16 years has reduced dropout rates at LAUSD schools by as much as 20%.
What's more, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's name is all over the editorial.
Earlier this week, I found the timing of the BEST report release curious. But the story has legs, and the DN is still running with it.
A few kids that maybe haven't had the program raised a ruckus at John Marshall High last night. Police helicopter, three squad cars and firetruck all at the scene to shut down the disturbance and send the 300 revellers home. The Vice Principal calls it the worst incident he's seen at the school in four years.
In the school board race, who's really got mo, tho? Christopher Arellano puts out a press release this morning, noting momentum coming his way with a little over a week left:
"Our Campaign continues to build momentum and support," the release says.
"Christopher Arellano has pledged to re-direct more resources to schools and classrooms, lower class sizes, support local decision-making at the school site, and work together with educators, parents, and other agencies to keep our kids in school."
"That’s why UTLA, Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, and a coalition of community leaders are supporting Christopher for School Board in District 2."
Win, lose, or push (push is possible March 7, even likely, as someone needs 50% in this race, otherwise there's a runoff), Arellano has run a street-smart campaign fueled by high profile endorsements, and credit goes to his own relentless energy but also to the unlikely-paired brain trust of Heather Repenning and Rafael Pizarro. Repenning, who was a delegate to the 2004 Democratic Natonal Convention, has the master consultant's special talents for listening to everything, saying precious little, and keeping the opposition guessing; Pizarro is her avuncular and jovial complement, ready for banter with everyone even as he's cleaning your clock. After this campaign, I would expect that the unassuming Ms. Repenning will be a highly-sought commodity, likely for future Cal legislature races.
Elsewhere, your moral leader Eric Garcetti delivered on something worthwhile again, his office taking a lead role in the rebuilding of the Palomar, the apartment building near Santa Monica and Western torched by its owner-arsonist in August 2001. Here's the excerpt from the press release:
Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti joined Assemblymembers
Jackie Goldberg and Dario Frommer and representatives of Hollywood
Community Housing Corporation, the state Tax Credit Allocation Committee
(TCAC) and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA) to open the
brand-new Palomar Apartments just east of the corner of Santa Monica
Boulevard and Western Avenue on the scene of a tragic 2001 fire that
claimed two lives and injured two firefighters.
You may recall the tragic story of the Palomar, whose owner set the complex ablaze to defraud an insurance company, killing two people in the process, including his own brother. The phoenix that rises from the ashes now includes 27 apartments for low-income and physically challenged residents.