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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Game Theory 101: Your Vote Could Reverse Court's Ruling On LAUSD Takeover Statute

By Walter Moore, Chief Economist and Legal Analyst, L.A. Policy Institute

By all means, vote for whoever you believe is the best candidate for the LAUSD Board. Given the state of our schools, you can reasonably conclude that anyone would be better than the incumbents. Several of the candidates, moreover, are actually qualified by training and experience.

But before you cast your vote, you need to know that your decision could, in effect, REVERSE the Superior Court's ruling that A.B. 1381, the statute giving the Mayor formal control over the LAUSD, is unconstitutional. You may jump out of the proverbial frying pan and into the fire.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? After all, now that the Superior Court has ruled that the statute is unconstitutional, how could the statute take effect unless the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court reverses the Superior Court? Easy: the School Board could decide to call off the litigation.

If Villaraigosa's supporters gain control four of the seven seats on the School Board, those four can simply dismiss or "settle" the lawsuit rather than forcing Villaraigosa to try prosecuting his appeal. The statute giving Villaraigosa formal control over the LAUSD would take effect, even though the Superior Court has ruled it is unconstitutional.

Villaraigosa already has one ally on the board, namely, Monica Garcia. Two more allies, namely, Yolie Flores Aguilar and Richard Vladovic in Districts 5 and 7, are apparently all but guaranteed in the upcoming election, because they are running unopposed by any incumbents.

That means Villaraigosa needs only one of his two other candidates to win, namely, Tamar Galatzan (District 6) or Johnathan Williams (District 1). Those two candidates are running against two incumbents, namely, John Lauritzen and Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, respectively. If Galatzan or Williams wins, Villaraigosa will have the "critical mass" to get the LAUSD to drop the lawsuit, even though the LAUSD prevailed in the Superior Court.

So as you weigh the various pros and cons of the candidates, consider the possibility that your vote may not just determine who is on the board, but may also give effect to an unconstitutional statute that would give Mayor Villaraigosa control over the LAUSD's multi-billion dollar budget.

I, for one, plan to ask Mr. Williams, when he comes to a debate in my neighborhood next week, whether he will promise NOT to vote to dismiss or settle the Mayor's lawsuit. If he says "yes," he's got my vote. If he's evasive or says "no," well, as much as I hate the frying pan, the fire would be even worse.

Find out more: Daily News.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

Well I certainly don't want AV to take over control of the mess that's LAUSD; don't like him, don't trust him. Regarding Vladovic (AV's guy), he's not running unopposed though. The seat is open (the two-term incumbent is not running again), but there are two other candidates: Neal Kleiner (retired LAUSD principal) and Jesus Escandon.

February 17, 2007 11:14 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

That's good to know! I hope those candidates will send me links to their campaigns, so we can provide one-stop shopping.

Thanks for the info; I relied on the Daily News article re who was running there. The reporter probably assumed, as they always do, that unless you have a million dollars in your campaign fund, you're not even worth mentioning to voters. I hate that.

If any of you know Messrs. Kleiner and Escandon, by all means encourage them to write a pitch to our readers.

February 17, 2007 11:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Some of these contributors, or others giving to the mayor's cause, maintain close relationships with Villaraigosa and have had business dealings with the city. But a spokesman for the mayor's government excellence committee said that contributors are not buying access to the mayor but simply supporting his cause.

February 18, 2007 12:59 AM  

Blogger dgarzila said:

Dear MAyor Sam Readers.

I am the chiarman of the ad hoc committee The Friends of the Sewers.

MAny years ago we made this committee at the Transportation and public works committee , to learn more about our sewers- I hear the joke already- but it turns out that Urban Hygiene has become a big world wide issue. Yes , Urban hygiene.

Shortly the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council , specifically , the ad hoc committee ;Friends of the Sewers will be holding a forum on Urban Hygiene here in Los Angeles. I will get the details to you as soon as I can.

I will be getting the word out and keep mayor sam abreast of the situation with the specifics coming in a couple of weeks. The reason is that this is a big deal all over the world and many are working on this issue.

February 18, 2007 2:37 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Louis Pugliese here- LAUSD dist 3 "other" candidate. Tamar and Jon are running against me- and I'm actually polling pretty good up here on the slogan "No una marioneta-Not a puppet!"

Last week the Daily News had the audacity to state -"...there are no truly independent candidates in this race." I wonder what their agenda is...?

Here's my website

Thanks for the shot- the press is dead as far as informing the public about the issues- they've got a wierd money fetish.

February 18, 2007 6:30 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Thanks for writing, Mr. Pugliese.
You are one of the candidates I had in mind when I referred to candidates who are actually qualified.

Readers -- Please take a look at Mr. Pugliese's website. Not only has he actually worked as a teacher, but he now trains them at CSUN.

And I don't want to hear anyone talk about "throwing your vote away" by supporting a candidate who "can't win." If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you get evil. If you vote for the best candidate, then, even if he doesn't win this round, you send a signal to all potential candidates and special interests that, next time around, they need to field someone more like your candidate.

Plus, you win the right to say, "Don't blame me, I vote for ____________."

February 18, 2007 8:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I don't know Neal Kleiner (school board candidate in Harbor area running against AV's guy), but according to his website, he has a master's degree in educational administration, has been a teacher for 38 years, with 18 years on-site public school adminstrative experience. Perhaps most importantly, he is AGAINST AV's attempted hijacking of LAUSD. Maybe he'll write in and elaborate, but here's his site:


February 18, 2007 9:24 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I've met Louis and was excited to hear his ideas...unfortunately, I knew that he had no chance (sorry louis) and that his skills would be better suited for an administrative role in LAUSD than as a Board Member.

February 18, 2007 9:47 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I don't see how dropping the litigation can effect AB1381. I understand Dzintra Janavs ruled it could NOT go ahead unlesss the appeal was successful.

here's the point: if Mayor Tony's people get on the board, THEY DON'T NEED 1381 ANYMORE.
1381 was just a vehicle to get around the board.
if they ARE the board, then they just vote the money where they want it to go.

but I'm sure the judge said hell no cause Mayor's people already tried to push it ahead pending the appeal, and the judge categorically denied it.

February 18, 2007 11:03 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

On Now-Ask the Mayor CH 7

February 18, 2007 11:21 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

No. 1, ANYONE can win this election. It is not fore-ordained. Stop surrendering without a fight. If Kleiner is the best person for the job, support him. And even if you don't think he'll win, vote for him. If you keep voting for hacks, that's the only people who will bother running.

No. 2, Matt, the Superior Court has indeed ruled, but an appeal is pending. The parties can "settle" the case at any time. The LAUSD could dismiss the action, and the Superior Court's ruling would have no effect.

No. 3, you are quite right that if the Mayor's candidates win, they could steer the LAUSD in his direction. However, they would likewise be free NOT to follow his orders. If AB 1381 is set aside, however, then the Mayor is guaranteed much more control than otherwise, regarding the hiring and firing of a superindentent, and by actually running several schools directly.

February 18, 2007 2:04 PM  

Blogger solomon said:

Mr. Pugliese,

Best of luck to you. Any chance I can claim credit for inspiring that slogan in a previous thread?

Just trying to gauge my potential prospects as a political consultant.

February 18, 2007 4:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Therea are other parties to the lawsuit other than the LAUSD - including parents, politicians, and community activists who would not be so inclined to settle.

Noel Weiss

February 18, 2007 4:44 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Pugliese - Why no info provided to SmartVoter website? You have my vote now, but almost didn't, because I went to Smart Voter hoping to find some reason not to vote "for" Lauritzen or Galatzan, both of whom have been papering me with conflicting information and accusations via the mail. Cheers, LAEsquire

PS: It goes without saying I don't go the dinosaur media for info. on who to vote for or against - don't agree with their politics for one, and their coverage of politics is so bad, the blogs is where it's at it in L.A.

February 18, 2007 5:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Then take it from an old blogger and vote for Lauritzen for school board. Anybody but Tamar has to be the case and sorry Louis, but she must be beat at all odds.

Lauritzen has done as best as he could with what they have to work with. There are only 5 part time board members in charge of that huge school and should not be blamed for everything.

Antonio Villaraigosa wants something else. What is it?

February 19, 2007 3:56 AM  

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