Sunday, February 10, 2013

Corporate reformers and union haters target Zimmer in L.A. board race

 

I have done several posts on various local school board elections which recently have become targets for corporate reform types bent on district takeovers. Their aim is to gain control of hundreds of school district budgets and shift money away from neighborhood public schools and into the pockets of private charter school operators.

In October, I referred to a piece  in The Nation which asked, "Why Do Some of America's Wealthiest Individuals Have Fingers in Louisiana's Education System?" and mentioned the heroic but unsuccessful campaign of Karan Harper Royal  for the 3rd District seat on the Orleans Parish School Board.down in New Orleans. She faced an uphill battle because the pro-charter, anti-union, corporate reform types like Joel Klein and Netflix billionaire Reed Hastings poured big money behind the campaign of puppet candidates like Sarah Usdin.

Now the privatizers and corporate reformers are setting their sights on Los Angeles where they hope to unseat progressive, pro-teacher and union-friendly board member, Steve Zimmer. According to the L.A. Times, an "outside group" has raised for than $1.5 million to fund past campaigns. Power philanthropist Eli Broad leads the way with a contribution of $250,000 to Coalition for School Reform, which includes L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Also in for $250,000 is billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio, who headed the Univision network for years. Another $100,000 donor is Lynda Resnick, the entrepreneur behind POM Wonderful juice and other entities. Investor Marc Nathanson and his wife, Jane, have together given $100,000.  And the list goes on and on.
The clearest battle lines are drawn in District 4, which stretches from the Westside to portions of the west San Fernando Valley. There, one-term incumbent and former teacher Steve Zimmer faces parent and lawyer Kate Anderson. Zimmer is supported by the teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, as well as other influential unions. 
 What other reason to you need to support and contribute to Zimmer's campaign than to look at who's opposing him?

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