Jackie Goldberg The Answer At LAUSD?
Another amazingly progressive idea!…
[by Jon Coupal] 2/28/06
speculation that Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, one of the
Legislature's most liberal members, is the front runner to
be the next Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent.
The current title holder, former Colorado Governor Roy Romer,
has run afoul of the district's Byzantine internal politics
and has signaled his desire to leave before his contract is
after he is long gone, Romer will be remembered by taxpayers
as they continue to pay off the bonds for his massive school
building program that, estimates show, may provide more classrooms
than will actually be needed in the coming years. And they
may also be thinking of Goldberg who authored the legislation
that will allow the school district to continue to collect
state matching funds based on current enrollment rather than
on the declining enrollment projected for the future.
Coupal is an attorney and president of the Howard
Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- California's largest
taxpayer organization with offices in Los Angeles
and Sacramento. [go to website] [go
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says that she is not interested in the job, but denials from
ambitions politicians have little credibility, especially when
they come from an officeholder whose career will soon be dead-ended
by term limits.
has a reputation for being bombastic and contentious, but her
lack of charm could actually be an asset in trying to overcome
inertia at the hidebound LAUSD.
she is also known to be devious. In 2003, at a meeting of a
group of her most radical Assembly colleagues, including now-Speaker
Fabian Nunez, she urged that they withhold their votes on the
budget in order to trigger a crisis. If people lacking state
services became enraged, she concluded, there would be a greater
chance they would vote for a measure, Proposition 56, slated
for the next ballot that would make it easier to raise taxes.
How do we
know all this? Seems that the Capitol intercom was on in the
meeting room and her remarks were heard throughout the building.
When an aide rushed in to tell her that she had a larger-than-intended
audience, listeners were treated to an earthy Anglo-Saxon epithet
just before the speaker system was shut off.
recall other "achievements" of Goldberg's long career.
It was Los Angeles City Councilwoman Goldberg who, right after
the 1996 passage of Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes
Act, authored the resolution directing the city attorney to
file suit to overturn its provisions giving voters and property
owners a greater say in local taxation. Eventually, the city
attorney returned an opinion that, as most already knew, there
were no grounds for a lawsuit.
a former school board member, were given the top job at LAUSD,
she would find many of the same problems that she left behind
when she was elected to the City Council. However, they have
increased in magnitude. Under her watch, a major procurement
scandal resulted in jail terms for some LAUSD bureaucrats.
A follow-up investigation by the state auditor general showed
that the district was unable to account for 38 percent of its
portable and valuable equipment, like computers.
is small potatoes compared to the problems the LAUSD now confronts.
The district faces an unfunded $10 billion obligation to its
employee healthcare program. The Belmont Learning Center, the
nation's most expensive high school, built over an abandoned
oil field that is leaching toxins, has a new name but is still
unoccupied. And a new performing-arts high school is now running
100 percent over budget and may end up costing more than Belmont.
The Los Angeles
school district is the nation's largest geographically and
second largest in student population. It includes 27 cities
and has a budget larger than 18 of 50 states. With its gargantuan
size, it is renowned for its lack of responsiveness to the
needs of students and the community. Does the district really
need someone with sharp elbows and a bumptious personality
to whip it into shape? Much more likely is that putting Goldberg
in charge of the LAUSD would be like pouring water on the Titanic.
solution for taxpayers would be legislation by George Runner
and Keith Richman that would break up the district into smaller,
more manageable units. If this were the case, parents and community
members would have a greater influence over the education of
our children as well as provide a better watchdog over public
dollars, a role for which Goldberg has already shown she is
2006 Howard Jarvis Taxpayers association