Like athletes, politicians are expected to declare victory in advance of their contest. The standard stump speech is expected to include the words “when I win this election, I will…” because the first job of the candidate is to get voters to contemplate them sitting in office. Using the words “if I win election” does not inspire that same confidence.
Tamar Galatzan takes things further and publicly ignores the fact that the election will even occur. As voters prepare to make their decision she has refused them every opportunity to compare her against other candidates by blowing off candidate forums. Instead of addressing the voters directly through the city’s free program to provide a video statement to the voters, she relies on the charter schools to spend over $900,000 trying to buy the seat for her. A student journalist and LAUSD graduate could not even get an interview with her. When addressing the concerns of parents, she promises them that she “will continue with my plan to ask the board and the superintendent to review the Breakfast in the Classroom program at the conclusion of the school year,” ignoring the fact that this will occur after the voters have spoken.
Perhaps Galatzan’s greatest swipe at the electorate’s intelligence is when she asserts that the “district is going in the right direction.” Not since the Wizard told Dorothy not to look behind the curtain has their been such a pitiful attempt to spin reality. This school year has included a constant barrage of scandals, including ethics complaints filed against the incumbent herself. A state judge had to tell the district to fix the $100 million MiSiS program, the FBI and SEC are both investigating the $1.3 billion iPad program and our children are drinking from water fountains that are leaching lead. Calahan Elementary, Nobel Middle School and Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies are just some of the schools in District 3 that have reported a severe breakdown in the ability of parents to engage in their children’s education. All is not alright in Oz.
Fortunately for the electorate, Tuesday’s election will not be a case of choosing between the lesser of two evils. Her opponent, Scott Mark Schmerelson, is a retired principal who also was a teacher and counselor during his 35 year career as a professional educator. There are a great many teachers volunteering for his campaign who used to work under him, which is a great testimony to both his temperament and professionalism.
We have the power to bring the change to the LAUSD that we all know is needed. All it requires is taking a few minutes out of your day on Tuesday. If turnout is as expected, you will not even have to wait in much of a line. Alternatively, you can sit at home and reward the arrogance of a public servant who treats her re-election as an entitlement. The ball is in your court.