Sunday, June 19, 2005

Mayor-Elect Villaraigosa's Version Of School Oversight And Democracy

Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, California, has some peculiar notions about school boards and to whom they should be accountable. It seems that the mayor-elect doesn't like the idea of governing board members being accountable to the electorate:
Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa has proposed that he should appoint the school board overseeing the nation's second-largest school system.

"I think the mayor should be able to appoint all the members of the school board," Villaraigosa told a state legislative committee during a public hearing Friday.

"I am not looking for more power. I just got elected to a great job and have plenty of that," said Villaraigosa, who takes office July 1. "I'm looking for accountability."
Heh. Instead of saying "I'm not looking for more power," what Villaraigosa really meant to say was "I'm looking for more patronage." Power comes from patronage; nothing makes a politician feel more powerful than passing-out a few sinecures jobs to one's friends and campaign contributors.

Maybe the good mayor-elect wasn't paying attention in his civics class. As California has a strong tradition of locally-elected school boards, (which are accountable to the people) the mayor-elect would need to change the state's law.

We find ourselves in agreement with the California Teachers Association:
"We believe it's best for society for people to elect their representatives at all levels," said John Perez, outgoing president of United Teachers Los Angeles, drawing cheers from about 100 supporters.

Barbara Kerr, president of the California Teachers Association, also opposed the proposal. "We like Antonio, but this is a philosophical disagreement," she said.
How ironic that CTA bleats about having elected representatives at "all levels," yet they've never allowed the rank-and-file membership to vote for any state-wide CTA officer in a contested election. Membership in CTA's governing-boards are by appointment of the president with ratification by another rubber stamp appointed committee.

Politics does indeed make for strange bed-fellows.
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