What Message Does Ref Rodriguez Send to the Children of Los Angeles?

Ref_Arrest.pngLAUSD Board member was already charged with money laundering and perjury. Now video of his arrest for public drunkenness has been released.

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Aiding and Abetting the Killing of an Open Government

Californians are supposed to be governed by an open government. LAUSD General Counsel David Holmquist ensures that this does not happen.

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Lessons From A Tweet Gone Viral

"Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and, as such, growing, distributing, and possessing marijuana in any capacity, other than as part of a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law regardless of state laws permitting such activities."

- Obama’s Justice Department

While the right-wing likes to pretend that Barack Obama was “the most liberal president in America's history”, the fact is that he governed from the corporate center. He may have campaigned on a stimulus package that would have created a $10 billion foreclosure prevention fund and a $60 billion infrastructure bank, but the end result was a package that relied more heavily on $288 billion in tax cuts. In the 2008 campaign, he opposed Clinton’s call to use the Republican idea of mandating the purchase of health insurance coverage, but this was a key part of the Obamacare system that was eventually passed. Candidate Obama expressed concern about “a system that locks away too many young, first-time, non-violent offenders for the better part of their lives”, but President Obama left office with many of those prisoners older and still behind bars.

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California Senate Candidate Alison Hartson on Education

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CA-25 House Candidates on Education Issues

HEADSHOT_Jess_Phoenix_1.jpgJess Phoenix and Katie Hill answer questions about federal education policy as they seek to replace Republican incumbent Steve Knight.

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CA-30 House Candidate Jon Pelzer on Education

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If Jon Pelzer is able to take the second spot in the CA-30 primary election on June 5, against Brad Sherman he would set up a debate between progressives and establishment.

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California Senate Candidate Alison Hartson on Education

29740031_422423028183453_4259590556620947456_n.jpgWhile Dianne Feinstein has been “watching” education for 40 years, Alison Hartson, one of her challengers in the California Senate race, has classroom experience ensuring that students graduate.

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DA To Review Allegations of Brown Act Violation Against Board Member Scott Schmerelson

SpeakUp.png"The website K-12 News Networks The Wire reported on the recent meeting during which Schmerelson allegedly described details of the Board’s closed-session interview with Beutner during the hiring process.

“In describing Beutner’s conversations with the Board prior to his being hired, Schmerelson states that ‘It was the worst interviews [that] I have ever seen in my entire life. Not one question was answered about education.’ Every time Schmerelson ‘asked a question about education, [Beutner] couldn’t answer because he really didn’t know,’” the site reported.

A video of Schmerelson’s comments that appeared on that site and on changelausd.com [sic] website has been removed, but Melvoin confirmed that he viewed the video before its removal. In a press release issued May 1, Schmerelson also revealed how many and which Board members agreed to enter contract negotiations with Beutner during closed session on April 20."

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Was the Public Deceived in the LAUSD Superintendent Search?

LAUSD Board member Scott Schmerelson provides information about how someone with no experience in education was picked to lead the country's second-largest school district in his appearance before the Northridge East Neighborhood Council.

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Complaint Alleges LAUSD Board Violated the Brown Act

None of you should be making all these decisions in private and without the input of the public.”

- Former LAUSD Board Member, Jackie Goldberg

In 1953, the California legislature declared that “the people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know” and passed the Brown Act. As a result, the actions of all local agencies, including school boards, must “be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.” The public may be excluded from a meeting “to consider the appointment [or] employment...of a public employee”, but “the legislative body of any local agency shall publicly report any action taken in closed session and the vote or abstention on that action of every member present”.

When former LAUSD Board Member Jackie Goldberg spoke during the 9:00 AM meeting on May 1, there was  an audible gasp from the gallery when she mentioned that the Board had already selected a Superintendent and “that he starts on the 15th of May.” This directly contradicted the Board’s Executive Officer, Jefferson Crain, who had announced at the end of the April 20th closed session that there were “no actions to report due to today’s discussion” and they were “going to recess until May 1...at 11:00”. During the ten days between these two meetings, community members had been lobbying the entire Board to appointment Acting Superintendent Vivian Ekchian. If they had known the results of a vote had already been taken, they could have focused their energies on urging specific Board Members to change their vote before the contract was finalized.

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