Maybe it’s genetic, maybe it’s Maybelline, but I’ve always been predisposed to opposing proposed legislation that wants to take the power out of the hands of the many and put it in the hands of the few. Thus it was with a particularly jaundiced eye that I watched Mayor ‘Tonio’s efforts to assume authority over the L.A. Unified School District.
From my decidedly layman’s perspective something about it never seemed quite right. For instance, doesn’t he already have enough to do as mayor without having to also run the massive district? Sure, LAUSD reform was a cornerstone of his campaign, but that’s nothing new. L.A.’s mayoral candidates as far back as I remember have ranted and railed about reigning in and revamping that runaway bureaucracy. It’s all just part of the rhetoric, like solving gridlock and putting more cops on the streets and all that blahblah.
Not for ‘Tonio. He got elected and set about grabbing that bullshit by the horns and with some big rhetoric through his big smile succeeded in bulldozing AB-1381 over any opposition and past the backslapping state legislature and governator who crowned him Lord of the LAUSD. The school board responded with a neener by hiring a retired navy admiral as the next superintendent, but other than that the coronation was all systems go until Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs jacked things up yesterday by calling the whole thing off because of a couple little problems she found… like the law being in violation of multiple provisions of the California Constitution and the Los Angeles City Charter. Bummer.
In the aftermath of such a setback does Villagairosa stop, collaborate and listen? Nah, he gives the judge a “pffft” by saying that he knows the law’s all good and that even better the people are behind him and he might just prove it to the big robes at the state’s Supreme Court… right after he gets pissy and calls for the state to audit the LAUSD for wastefulness, which is a little like auditing a bird for feathers.
But here’s perhaps the layest of my the layman beefs. I know it’s all complex legislative gobbledegunk, but would it have been too much trouble for the mayor or the assembly speaker or the governor to get some nonsyncophant to openly and fairly examine the proposal and report on the existence of just those kind of potential legal roadblocks. Worse, maybe they did and instead just signed off on the piece of crap figuring ultimately no one’s going to give a fuck because even a defective change is better than none at all?
Sure, there stands some sort of chance that in Judge Janavs’ interpretation of the evidence and arguments presented she might be grinding some sort of personal bias for the LAUSD, or against Villaraigosa, but that seems highly unlikely. Instead the judge’s ruling has left me feeling like your mayor, your state legislature, and your governor come off looking like rubber-stamping half-asses who know how to circle the wagons a lot better than they know how to pen consitutional and charter-abiding legislation.