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Thursday, December 21, 2006

LAUSD Wins First Legal Round Against Mayor

By Jennifer Solis

“It is hereby ordered, adjudged and decreed that … a peremptory writ of mandate shall issue under the seal of this court compelling respondents/defendants, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Board of Education, State Controller Steve Westly, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County School Superintendent Darline Robles, and those public officers and employees acting by and through their authority to refrain from enforcing or implementing AB 1381 in the execution of the course and scope of their official duties.”

Such was the order of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra I. Janava this afternoon as she blocked the entire menu of mayoral takeover plans for the LAUSD. Villaraigosa immediately called a press conference to announce that L.A. taxpayers will foot the bill for an appeal, directly to the state supreme court.

At issue is whether the legislation violates the state constitution by taking away the authority of the elected school board and giving unprecedented powers to the city’s mayor. AB 1381 was steamrollered through the legislature late this past summer, without benefit of hearings by either education committee. It is expected to be fast tracked as well before the state’s highest court.

Known as the “Romero Educational Reform Act of 2006,” the legislation was challenged on the basis of “total and fatal conflict” with the California Constitution. The judge referred to three precedent cases, Pacific Legal Foundation vs. Brown (1981), California Teachers Assn vs. Hayes (1992) and Wilson vs. State Board of Education (1999).

The ruling declared that AB 1381 violates Article 9, sections 5, 6 and 8. Section 5 states that the Legislature shall provide for a system of common schools by which free schools shall be kept up and supported in each district at least six months in every year, under the supervision of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (currently an elected office), and administered locally by an elected or appointed governing board.

Judge Dzintra’s order states that a mayor, or a council of mayors, do not qualify as “authorities” under this definition. “The 1946 amendment [to the state constitution] specifically removed municipal authority over school districts and appears to reflect the people’s determination to separate municipal functions from school functions due to the variety of conflicts that arise between their respective interests.”

Section 6 states, in part, that “No school or college or any other part of the Public School System shall be, directly or indirectly, transferred from the Public School System or placed under the jurisdiction of any authority other than one included within the Public School System.”

Section 8 of Article 9 states “No public money shall ever be appropriated for the support of … any school not under the exclusive control of the officers of the public schools …” The court rejected the mayor’s argument that these constitutional provisions only prohibit a school district from transferring management and control to persons outside the school system, and do not constitute a restriction on the Legislature itself.

The court also found AB 1381 in violation of section 14 of Article 9 by creating “a special law that addresses solely the organization of the LAUSD … and singles out the LAUSD for separate and different organizational treatment without articulating any rational classification scheme.”

The judge’s order today also “concludes that there is a genuine conflict between AB 1381 and the Los Angeles City Charter. Section 230 of the city charter requires the Mayor of Los Angeles to ‘devote his or her entire time to the duties’ as the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Los Angeles. AB 1381, by contrast, requires the Mayor to spend a substantial portion of his time directing the Mayor’s [educational] partnership and controlling the Council of Mayors.

The proposed takeover by the Mayor of three local school clusters from the LAUSD was ruled a violation of Article 2, section 2, and Article 1, section 7 because the Mayor’s Partnership would be appointed/chosen in some currently undefined manner. As a result, “the residents within the demonstration project[s] have been deprived of a meaningful right to vote for their school board representative … who is statutorily disabled from exercising any authority over [these] schools …”

The final paragraph of Judge Janavs’ order directs the respondents (the Mayor and state) to pay all the legal costs to the petitioners (the LAUSD and parent groups). I wonder if this will end up going to a collection agency?


Anonymous Anonymous said:

Jennifer, I'm sick and tired of you. Show up after the fact here is pathetic. Get out and stay out.

December 21, 2006 8:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mayor lost. Fabian wants to audit LAUSD? What the hell is that. REVENGE???

Shit, we have gang lords running our city.

December 21, 2006 9:03 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

Dear Fabian "Nucklehead" Nunez,

As and elected official, Speaker of the Assembly, and next mayoral candidate of L.A. (guaranteed loser, though), is it possible, next time you fight for an assembly bill, can you make sure it is NOT in violation of State constitutional law. that way you will save a lot of time, money, and egg on your face, fool.

Zuma Dogg is just aksing.

December 22, 2006 12:20 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Excellent excellent excellent!!

This is the best news I've heard in a long time!

Go LAUSD and fuck the Mayor's takeover.

Riordan 0

Great news!

December 22, 2006 2:32 AM  

Blogger Gaussia said:

There won't be any solving of the LAUSD's problems, whether or not Villaraigosa gets control or even if the next Einstein is made superintendent and 10 clones of him are put on the school board.

There's nothing anyone can do, and that's because the predominant (Hispanic) population of the district has, by far 1) the highest birth rates, 2) the highest illegitimacy rates, 3) the highest rates of birth to parents under eighteen, and 4) the lowest rates of graduation from college. In science, we call the kind of situation a "chain reaction," i.e., where the products of the reaction accelerate the speed of the reaction itself.

The only way for worried parents to help their children, really, is to move to a district in which the predominant population has characteristics more amenable to education (and that will generally mean predominantly white and/or Asian). It's already game over for the LAUSD, at least for the next several decades.

December 22, 2006 5:24 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

LAUSD wins round1? What do you call the vote taken in Sacramento or the signing of the bill by the Governor - warm-up? Solis, have somebody teach you something about analogies, especially sport analogies because you always seem to be out in left field.

December 22, 2006 6:32 AM  

Anonymous Matt Dowd said:

what's with 'taxpayers foot the bill for the supreme court appeal"? hell no.
what don't they get about the constitution?
I hope this is the final straw for the taxpayers of this city.
this current group of council, mayor, and city attorney are out of control, rampantly violating all manner of state and federal law, in the interests of politics, under the guise of education.
its disgusting. if they reqally cared about kids they'd step down now in the face of this embarassment. I mean, I saw Villaraigosa, and he really believes that this is all still ok?
what don't they get? someone help me. please. I'm getting dizzy.
click my name to see my latest video upload.

December 22, 2006 8:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Antonio is a mean, vindictive man with a huge ego. This has embarrassed and humilated him to no end. Now he will get meaner and it will get uglier. He says he's asking his girlfriend Fabian to do something and instead of respecting the ruling and the constitution the little shit has to get his way.

"I believe we have the law on our side. I believe we have the Constitution on our side," Villaraigosa said. "More than that, I believe we have the people on our side."

If Antonio had the people on his side why didn't he allow the people to VOTE FOR THIS TAKEOVER????? THIS WAS THE BEST XMAS GIFT.

December 22, 2006 8:30 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This is horrible news. The District gives out lucrative contracts to attorneys, former staffers, and political consultants while children and teachers suffer.

The District needs to be wiped clean of all the burrocrats that sit around and collect a check without providing any improvment to the education of our children.

December 22, 2006 8:39 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What is Antonio's next step? Shutting down the government. Remember when Antonio was speaker and Gloria Molina couldn't get the Board of Supervisors to go along with her 750 bed county hospital instead of the 600 bed hospital being propsed by the other Board members. She had Antonio and Gild Cedillo shut down funding for all county services by holding up thier appropiation bill in committee. Like a spoiled brat that's used togetting what he wants, lool for something similar to happen. "We will use all instruments at our disposal!" Antonio says. Parke, stick a pacifier in him before he tantrums again.

December 22, 2006 8:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Heck no. I don't want my tax dollars used for the appeal. What can I do? Mayor Villaragosa, stop using my money on appeals you moron.

December 22, 2006 9:17 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"Antonio is a mean, vindictive man with a huge ego."

True! Constutients scared of him in CD14

December 22, 2006 9:19 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Antonio is a dictator and rules by threats and intimindation. Ask any business owner in CD14 who was threaten if they didn't support him their business would be in jeopardy. Thanks to David Z for exposing the political corruption in this city. If you're not on Team Villaraigosa you're in big trouble.
Leave it to the LA Slimes to go after the judge who made the ruling. Call LA Slimes 213-237-5000 and leave a message on reader comments.

Judge lost election but got new seat.....Janavs, the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who Thursday blocked legislation giving Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa partial control of city schools, gained notoriety during the June election when she was unseated by a Manhattan Beach bagel shop owner with little legal experience.

December 22, 2006 9:23 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


December 22, 2006 9:38 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


December 22, 2006 9:40 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This is why they want our Second Amendment rights taken away. So they can screw us over and eventually enslave us. "We will keep you safe" just bend over :-)

December 22, 2006 10:08 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Bagel shop owner versus unemployment commissioner. Hmmmm. who deserves to be on the bench?

The Skelton slime machine in full gear again. Let Fabian audit LAUSD - it was Huizar's and Antonio's buddies that will raise most of the questions. Meruelo, Belmont, LAUSD purchase of Huiar's sister's property - go ahead, audit!

December 22, 2006 10:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

good for the kids = bad for Skelton-Barkin-Shallman-Hacopian

finally a win for the good guys.

December 22, 2006 1:02 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why isn't the media going after Huizar for his 4 years of a failure as its president? All of a sudden Jose cares about the kids. Now he bought the Roybal Bldg. saying the community needs it. The community needs a councilman who is in the community moron. As much as I don't like Alvin there are a lot of issues he can go after Jose on. What is the connection with Antonio and the gang banger Marroquin of LA Bridges?

December 22, 2006 1:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This really isn't a victory for the School Board or anyone else for that matter - time, effort, and dollars will now continue to be spent fighting over two different solutions, neither of which will make the city's schools measurably better in the end.

Tha mayor is correct that LAUSD is bloated, but putting politicians in charge of education is folly. As an educator in Los Angeles, I can say the best thing for kids is to let caring teachers and parents control their schools.

I propose an initiative that would break up LAUSD and give control to local Neighborhood Council-like School Boards. Perhaps the current N.C. system can provide a blueprint for such a system or one will have to be created from scratch.

If L.A.'s schools can be saved, I sumbit we need to take a lesson from the most successful schools in the country: the school's with the least bureaucracy and the most local control are the best.

December 22, 2006 4:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Smaller districts IS the solution. But then that would mean poorer folks with poorer folks, inner-city with inner-city, racial issues, etc. Which then means politics. When then means paralysis....

December 22, 2006 5:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Heard a VERY UPTIGHT Antonio speaking about the ruling: "this is just a bump in the road, it is not the end of the road... we will immediately file an appeal, and we will prevail...."

Very uptight, angry tone: "I'm gonna' take my fight to daddy and he's gonna come get you, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah..."

December 22, 2006 5:58 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Answer: Ask FBI.

December 22, 2006 10:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

or ask Emma.

December 22, 2006 10:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, released a statement Friday calling the judge's ruling that AB 1381 is unconstitutional a "victory for educational integrity."

December 23, 2006 5:30 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mike Trujillo - I hear you threatened one of our councilmembers who opposed AB 1381 after the mayor was pissed at her opposition to AB 1381 published in the DN. Suffice to say we stood besides her on her decision....I'm sure she won't be waiting for the mayor or your apology but I will tell you this...her political career is far from being over.

FYI - keep pushing and at some point someone will eventually push back and you'll both land flat on your asses!

December 25, 2006 9:39 PM  

Blogger Gina said:

I'm a fan of public schools - I just don't want to send my kids there. But I want to help. As Creative Director for Creator Kids I've posted some free samples of how I hope to give teachers a free friday off.

January 22, 2007 2:22 PM  

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