Jackie Goldberg is on record, with great, deep, theoretical and experiential evidence, for not being “against charters”. Do listen to her nuanced and knowledgeable explanation here. Given the opportunity to elect someone with such practical understanding of Education not to mention education politics, there can be no excuse to reject the leadership of Jackie Goldberg. May 14 is the date every voter in LAUSD5 must turn out. Find your polling place here.
But if Goldberg is not against charters, is her candidacy favored by those who would privatize public education? Positively not. She has no record of campaign donations from folks associated with the privatization of education, not during the primary campaign or in this runoff (distribution of campaign donations):
Her opponent, however, repudiated charter money in the primary to some degree, conspicuously returning donations from KIPP’s Marcia Aaron, Celerity’s Nadia Shaiq, and the online charter chain Options For Youth’s Bob Morales. Even while a minimum of 6% (from a very conservative association-count) of her private donations came from charter-associates. These included a fund-raiser and two maxed-out donations from YPI’s Dixon Slingerland and family, as well as thousands more from charter board members, staff and ideologues such as: Bill Bloomfield, Richard Leib, Mario Valdivia, Noel Hyun, Frank Marshall, Suzanne Steinke, and Amy Wakeland.
But the real question is whether the pattern of giving among donors or donations suggests that Repenning now, in the runoff, accepts the mantle of Charter Candidate; is Repenning either intrinsically or de facto the recipient of charter-supporters’ favor?
The category of largest gain in donations for either candidate is among charter-associated donations to Repenning for the runoff. Jumping by 11% as a percentage of the source of her donations, Repenning received maxed-out donations from six families, including four repeaters: from libertarian education ideologues Bill and Susan Bloomfield; Solano Beach financier, UC Regent and charter school advocate Richard Leib; LAUSD Charter Facilities coordinator Gagan; and charter board member and advocate Hyun.
New to the $1200 club (the maximum personal donation allowed per campaign; primary and runoff campaigns are distinct) for this runoff is: attorney Roger Lowenstein and his wife, Barbara Corday of LA Leadership and Gabriella Charter Schools; and charter supporters Allen and Nicole Mutchnik of Harbor Freight ToolsIn Schools.
Not surprisingly since she was the far-front-runner, Jackie Goldberg’s donors have stuck with and given again for the runoff at more than half-again the rate of the runner-up’s supporters. 70 of JG’s primary supporters have donated for her runoff compared with 46 of Repenning’s.
By the same token nearly 4/5 of the 14 “cross-over” donors (those who have given in both primary and runoff) have gone to Repenning’s campaign. Most of Repenning’s new crossover supporters were from Allison Bajracharya’s camp, with slightly fewer from Ana Cubas’ (another Charter-favored candidate) and Graciela Ortiz’.
No supporters of Allison Bajracharya are migrating to Jackie Goldberg’s campaign (donation conversions).
Likewise of 29 donors who gave to two campaigns but only so far within the primary, most comprised donations to Repenning and not Goldberg (again, not surprisingly since there was little imperative to “switch sides” if favoring the clear front-runner). None of the charter candidate, Bajracharya’s, supporters gave simultaneously to Goldberg and half the double donations went to Repenning, the rest to various of the other primary candidates. Repenning’s supporters would seem justified in the lack of faith they show her campaign.
Reciprocally, Cynthia Gonzalez’ supporters did not migrate to Repenning’s campaign, though the shared donations were less evenly split between Goldberg and the rest.
Accepting money from charter ideologues despite a few early, high-profile give-backs, belies the claim that she is not charter-aligned.
Heather Repenning has been playing both sides. Accepting money from charter ideologues despite a few early, high-profile give-backs, belies the claim that she is not charter-aligned. Note her careful parsing of an important demand from this winter’s striking teachers. Repenning qualifies her unpopular stance against the moratorium on charter schools by calling for more “study”. The governor’s task force is stacked not with researchers but with charter-supporters. How much integrity can we expect from a study of charter schools that is conducted by charter operators? How much integrity can we expect from a school board member who is a cog in the wheel of this system?
Because cog in the wheel of the ruling civic government this acolyte of Eric Garcetti’s most certainly is. 60% of Repenning’s donors to her runoff are appointed City Commissioners or contractors with business before the City, Developers, political consultants and PR specialists (see table above). Goldberg’s comparable proportion is less than half that at 24%, despite years of work in government.
The difference is that Jackie Goldberg has been elected time and again to represent we her electors. Heather Repenning has been emplaced for years on end in a string of positions that conveniently empower the agenda of one specific mentor, Eric Garcetti. She has been slotted to receive the patronage of a vast system that has grown up in service of a singular administration. And her campaign’s donations reflect all this immaculately.
From the platforms of Mayor Riordan’s to Villaraigosa’s administrations, Eli Broad has been struggling to bring to heel our independently governed, publicly elected school board. Mayor Garcetti has until recently been thankfully distant from the proceedings on Beaudry, west of his City Hall. But crowning his pawn in the swing seat of our charter-threatened school board amounts to a recapitulation of that same, long-standing assault on our democratic system of public schooling.
It should be repeated there is little doubt Ms. Repenning is a nice person, with an appealing child attending one of the most glittery schools in LAUSD’s vast repertoire. But her ignorance of education policy and politics is an embarrassment, that serves to highlight the bald power-play for control of the school board that is really at stake on May 14, 2019.
Do not vote for cronyism, patronage and machine politics. Vote for the candidate who has fought for civil rights and justice her entire life. Jackie Goldberg is a living treasure whose concern is for the rights of you and your child to be educated with opportunity and integrity. She is the antidote to political ennui, cynicism and the dark agendas of the super-rich.
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