Savvy CHE denizen that you are, you already know that Jon Regardie has taken the Downtown News into the promised land in a couple of short years, turning what was once a shill for commercial building management into a weekly with some teeth in its head and a few friends downtown. And I guess you've already seen that his most recent sendup of Hizzoner's ordinary day is a hoot and a half:
4:35 a.m.: Mayor will brush teeth and credit water for "being the best-tasting, most drinkable water of any city in the United States, and the type of water other cities should envy, although if DWP employees treating this water are paid more than members of other public employees unions that is the previous mayor's fault, as I had nothing to do with that contract, even though I oppose it now."
But let's look at something the Downtown News said in an editorial a week ago regarding the School Board District Two race, and developments since:
We're not mentioning any of the candidates by name because there are so many and none so far has made much of an effort to distinguish himself or herself. This will likely change when the powerful teacher's union makes its endorsement; whoever gets it will instantly be the frontrunner.
Those words went down January 30.
On February 1, by this formula, Chris Arellano became the frontrunner. Here's part of the press release:
The United Teachers of Los Angeles, which represents over 47,000 teachers and other LAUSD school employees, completed their nomination process yesterday with an overwhelming endorsement of Christopher Arellano by their rank-and-file House of Representatives. While approval of recommendations by the Union’s Political Action Committee of Educators and Board of Directors had been expected, the outpouring of support in this final vote demonstrated that he is the clear favorite among educators.
Arellano has quietly reeled in endorsement after endorsement. Here's a short list: UTLA, Sheriff Baca, California School Employees Association, Ironworkers Local 433, Assemblymembers Judy Chu, Jackie Goldberg, Paul Koretz, Jerome Horton, John Laird, Bill Rosendahl.
You'd have to say things are going well for Cheeky Chris. But frontrunners run best when they run scared, and Arellano at this point stands to fear none other than Mayor Ultrabrite himself, who, now that that Union has weighed in, is likely to consider finding himself another horse to back---one who can pledge uncompromised fealty to Antonio's ambitions for taking over the district.
Arellano also is now likely to be obliged to answer sharper print media inquiries, inviting him to articulate his precise position on Antonio's ambitions for taking over the district. On this big issue, Arellano's website says:
"The diversity of our community requires the direct involvement of parents, students and teachers who will always know their needs better than we can."
It sounds like "Damn straight, we want what the teachers want." But when you look at it, it's not a complete commitment either way.
Take a peek at that week-old Downtown News editorial again:
Right now, we want to hear the candidates tell the community their plans for the school district. How, specifically, will they get Belmont under construction and open? How will they ensure that all the new schools in the Downtown area will be safe? What steps will they take to curb LAUSD's abysmal dropout rate? And, of course, where do the candidates stand on the twin issues of a) Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's stated aim to take control of the district, and b) City Controller Laura Chick's proposal to audit the LAUSD.
You can bet that Monica Garcia would pledge fealty to the Mayor's plans in a Spring Street Minute in exchange for the Mayor's endorsement. But can even Mayor Ultrabrite afford to line up directly against the UTLA candidate? And will Arellano, having secured the big UTLA endorsement, have to pick up the rhetoric and openly oppose the Mayor's plan with more energized rhetoric? I'm sure a lot of gears are turning behind the scenes right now.