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Monday, November 10, 2008

Battle Begins In LAUSD Seat 6

Last Friday a number of candidates filed for Seat 6 on the Los Angeles Board of Education, replacing the retiring and legendary Julie Korenstein.

Among the more well known candidates are San Fernando Mayor and Richard Alarcon protege Nury Martinez, San Fernando City Council Member Maribel De La Torre and LAUSD teacher and CSUN education professor Louis Pugliese.  Pugliese, with nowhere near the financial resources of candidates Tamar Galatzan and the late Jon Lauritzen,  previously made  a very strong showing in the last election forcing the two into a contentious run-off election.

This old dead Republican Mayor suspects that De La Torre will be offered a sweetheart deal to drop out of the race in favor of the political establishment's favorite, Martinez.  De La Torre's sister, former San Fernando Mayor and Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez was allegedly rewarded with two concurrent high paying positions with the DWP and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board reportedly in exchange for her agreeing not to run for the City Council seat vacated by Alex Padilla when he was elected to the State Senate, clearing the field for Alarcon.  Should De La Torre drop out of the race, the two clear front runners will be Martinez and Pugliese.

In order to improve her electability, Martinez has opted not to use her title of Mayor as her ballot designation but that of "environmental educator" based upon Martinez' volunteer executive director role with Pacoima Beautiful, an organization that does neighborhood cleanups, plants trees, etc.

Pugliese intends to appeal this designation as he feels it misleading to the voters.  The candidate says that Martinez' role in the organization is primarily administrative and that environmental education is not the organization's primary purpose.  The Sister City has obtained a copy of the complaint Pugliese has filed this morning, the cover letter of which is below:

November 10, 2008

Dear Los Angeles City Clerk,

This letter is to challenge the ballot designation of "environmental educator" for Ms. Nury Martinez on the ballot for the March 2009 LAUSD District 6 primary election as misleading, and to request that it be removed from the ballot.

On the ballot designation worksheet, Ms Martinez stated that she is the Executive Director of Pacoima Beautiful, an "environmental health education organization", which she claims qualifies her as an "environmental educator."

According to the organization's Federal form 990 filing (attached), Ms. Martinez is an unpaid, volunteer, director for this organization, whose primary duties are administrative and executive in nature. While education is the tertiary purpose of Pacoima Beautiful, it is not the primary, or sole, purpose, and as the executive director, Ms. Martinez's primary duty is not one of "environmental educator", hence it is not a primary profession, vocation or occupation as defined in the election code.

Further, the National Center for Charitable Statistics reports the IRS classification for Pacoima Beautiful (attached) as "C50-Environmental Beautification", rather than "C60-Environmental Education."

Being that this is an election for the Board of Education, the use of the term "educator" in this case would be misleading by implying that Ms. Martinez's primary vocation is as an educator, which it is not, as she is concurrently the Mayor of the City of San Fernando, and the administrative Executive Director of this organization.

Accordingly, I respectfully request that the ballot designation of "environmental educator" for Ms. Martinez be disallowed.

Louis Pugliese

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Blogger Michael Higby said:

If they make a deal with Maribel, what job would she get?

November 10, 2008 11:34 AM  

Blogger Jack Hoff said:

Of Galatzan, Lauritzen and Louis P., Louis was the obvious best candidate for the job. He definitely had his stuff together and was not beholden to political or union interests. Of course, voters elected Galatzan, the least experienced of the three. I will look forward to Nury and Louis running for this seat because each one is incredibly strong in a different area. Louis has that outside-the-box-educator thing going (but I'm not convinced of his consensus-building skills) while Nury has a track record of getting funds and gaining the support of a community. I really like both of them and I'm going to look at this race as a win-win, but at this point, I have to give the edge to Nury because Louis' video was really rather horrifying. It looked more like something the opposition would throw at him to attack his credibility or at the very least, diminish his seriousness about the post.

November 10, 2008 2:36 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

I wonder though if the union would lean towards Louis. They may not like Nury's ties to Alarcon and Villaraigosa.

It will also be interesting to see who Korenstein endorses. She has a lot of street cred with the mommies out there. Can't imagine she'd want to see one of Antonio's toadies on the board.

Nury's a nice girl, I worked with her briefly years ago, but sadly she's too much part of the system.

November 10, 2008 3:32 PM  

Blogger Heather said:

Whta a bunch of corrupt morons. Its never ending. No one can run a straight forward political race in Los Angeles anymore thanks to the corrupt Latino politicans. it all started way back with Richard Alatorre and now Antonio and the rest of the gutless men. They don't have the class to debate issues and instead give favors and payoffs. Why isn't the media running with these stories.

November 10, 2008 4:23 PM  

Blogger Jack Hoff said:

Good question. Then again, the union endorsed Lauritzen over Galatzan. And here's the interesting thing about Nury, you've worked with her briefly in the past, I've been in meetings with her in the last couple of years -- everybody knows her. Obviously she's put in her time. Still, two very talented people with very different skillsets. Good people.

November 10, 2008 4:56 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

Heather are you some kind of racist? There are Latino politicians in LA who are not corrupt. Garcetti for one. I don't think he's corrupt. David Hernandez is another. Monica Rodriguez rocks.

But honestly it's hard to come up with a list of politicians of ANY race who are not corrupt in LA. There are some but not many.

November 10, 2008 5:54 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:


No doubt Nury has put in her time and she is a sweet person. I just don't trust that she's independent. I also wonder what is her expertise on educational issues? I would prefer to see her in the state legislature. Though I wish she wasn't so damn liberal.

Louis is about as expert as you can get on education. And he has no issues with independence. I know him as well and he's a very good guy.

So though I like Nury and respect her dedication, I think Louis is by far more qualified to sit on the school board.

November 10, 2008 5:57 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

Oh and by the way in addition to his experience as an educator, Louis had extensive business experience in the music industry as well as real estate. Both of those could be quite helpful as I don't think we have one businessperson at all on that board.

November 10, 2008 5:58 PM  

Blogger Jack Hoff said:

lol, Michael, since I'm still IN the music "business," I can tell you; Ain't nobody knows nuthin' about business 'round here...

November 10, 2008 10:10 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

Jack I was looking at Louis' resume and it's impressive:

-B.S in Elementary Education and Psychology
-M.A. in Educational Psychology
-lecturer in Educational Psychology for CSUN's teaching credential program
-National Board Certified teacher
-Former LAUSD teacher
-Commissioner for the Los Angeles Commission on Children, Youth and Their Families
-Writer for Education Week
-Internationally published songwriter

By the way I had forgotten that when he ran against Galatzan and Lauritzen he got the endorsement of the LA Times and despite the fact that the other two candidates spent millions Louis got 17% of the vote.

November 10, 2008 10:45 PM  

Blogger Jack Hoff said:

It's a good resume for a principal of a charter school.

He would definitely get my vote, if that were the case.

Louis ended up endorsing Galatzan who had already proven herself an ineffective neighborhood prosecutor. Galatzan ran and won on money (what, $1.5 mil or thereabouts?) supplied via the Mayor. So, it's difficult for me to buy in to the idea that Louis carries no political baggage.

Enjoying this conversation very much!

November 11, 2008 9:05 AM  

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