Saturday Summary: City Clowncil And More!
The City Council -- or "Clowncil," as one of you has dubbed it -- voted 15-0 to support Mayor Villaraigosa's LAUSD takeover plan. Query whether the rank-and-file teachers will remember that in March 2007, when half the Clowncil gets its report card from voters. Clowincilman Huizar said, of the LAUSD, "it's a disastrous system now and has been for decades" -- and he should know, since he was one of the people running it before taking his present office.
And talk about coming to class unprepared! School board President Marlene Canter tried to sway the Council to vote "no" as follows: "I don't have any notes; I don't have any speech. I'm going to talk to you from my heart." Great plan, Marlene! Then she really let Villaraigosa have it: according to the L.A. Times, she praised the mayor for having a passion for the issues of schools. Talk about mud-slinging!
Anyway, as long as she's talking from the heart, and he's got passion, we're bound to have sound public policies, aren't we?
Here's Clowncilman Perry's incisive analysis: "I think it's a plan with very lofty goals and there's a long road ahead, and with goodwill we may be able to get there." Yeah, that's what we were missing: "lofty goals." As long as you've got heart, passion, and lofty goals, who needs reasoned analysis based on empirical evidence? After all, the only thing at stake is the future of 730,000 children every single year. What could go wrong?!
2. LAX Boondoggle Not Dead.
City Clowncilman Rosendahl is talking about extending the subway all the way to the airport. Keep your eye on this one. It's the perfect prextext to spend a few more hundred million on special trains, visitor centers, etc. for the nine people who take the subway to the airport each day. Taxpayer boondoggles with $11.5 billion at stake are just too appealing for all the potential recipients to walk away from.
3. Diploma Still Means Something -- For Now
Remember the case of the kids who failed the exit exam, but want a diploma anyway? You know, the exam that's pegged at the eighth- and tenth-grade achievement levels for math and English? Well, the Court of Appeals ruled that the Alameda Superior Court erred in issuing that PRELMINARY injunction.
Keep in mind, however, the word "preliminary." Once the trial court conducts a full-blown trial on the matter -- or hears a summary judgment motion -- the court can still issue a PERMANENT injunction requiring schools to issue diplomas regardless of whether children pass the exit exam. So neither the case nor the story is over. My prediction: the courts -- either the trial court or the court of appeal -- will uphold the exam requirement, noting that students who fail still have a remedy of getting adult education till they pass.
4. Trash Talk.
CBS Channel 2 reports that yesterday the City Clowncil -- sorry, I just love that term -- approved a 5-year contract to haul some, but not all of our waste, somewhere other than Sunshine Canyon: "Waste Management, the operator of the El Sobrante Landfill in Corona, agreed to take 600 tons of the city's daily waste stream for $4.3 million annually beginning Dec. 30, according to a Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation report." The other 3000 tons of daily trash will keep going to Sunshine Canyon.
Another great public policy brought to you by passion, lofty goals -- and not a lick of common sense. Let me do the eighth-grade math for those of you who failed the exit exam: that's $21.5 million for NOTHING, for no tangible public benefit whatsoever. Someone fire up the karaoke machine, and let's sing "Feelings" together. . . .