Sunday, October 09, 2005

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: The Bad And The Good

Back in July, we took Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to task for his stated intention of overthrowing Los Angeles' elected school board in favor of a scheme where he would appoint board members and the superintendent.

Even though we remain suspicious of the mayor on that account, what he did yesterday
merits some respect:
More than 10,000 youths, parents and community volunteers joined Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Saturday in a citywide cleanup effort in and around 16 high and middle schools.

At North Hollywood High School, more than 400 teens and 400 other volunteers from San Fernando Valley community groups painted benches, removed graffiti, swept sidewalks, planted trees and picked up trash on the campus and in the surrounding neighborhood as part of the City-Wide Day of Service With Our Youth.

"If we're going to turn around our schools, we've got to make them community centers," said Villaraigosa, who planted a tree at North Hollywood High and helped teens paint murals.

"And this is a way to show that we really care about our young people. People do care, and they want to make a difference."

Teens said they hoped the event would forge closer ties between the school and the surrounding neighborhoods, and create a positive impression of a school of which they are proud.

"It's a good school; we have really good teachers and we can learn a lot here," said Claudia Estrada, 17, as she swept the front sidewalk. "I want my school to look better, and I want to help the community.'
Anyone who leads such a successful effort to motivate some 10,000 youngsters and grown-ups to get out of bed early on a Saturday morning to do something positive for their schools and communities definately deserves high marks for acheiving such a challenging goal. It is for that reason that we humbly offer Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa our Red Apple Salute.
Visit this week's Carnival of Education here, see our latest posts over there.