Analysis and explanation of our March 3rd Municipal election endorsements:
Los Angeles City Council:
District 4 - Carolyn Ramsay: Carolyn Ramsay is an excellent, thoughtful progressive. She has been the field director for the current councilman from that district, Tom LaBonge. She shares ADA's values on the issues we hold dear - such as a $15-an-hour living wage as well as single-payer health insurance. Among all the candidates who ran against her in the primary, Carolyn was the only one who raised an overwhelming amount of her donations from people right in the 4th district. Her opponent has been very hard for ADA to pin down. He declined to participate in the candidates forum we held in February. His representatives have promised to have him fill out our endorsement questionnaire, but it has never been returned. We are confident that Carolyn will be a great public servant and also a city councilwoman who will be willing to sit down with us to hear our concerns.
Los Angeles School Board:
District 3 - Scott Mark Schmerelson: Having someone who receives a huge amount of campaign donations from the charter schools serving as a member of the board of education is a lot like putting a fox in charge of the business of running a henhouse. The incumbent board member, Tamar Galatzan is committed to the charter school agenda of siphoning off money from public education so it can line the pockets of corporations that can beef up their students' scores by cherry picking the students that don't have special needs, that can save money on teachers' salaries by hiring non-union teachers and that squeeze money out of the classrooms. Some talk has been made of the fact that Scott Mark Schmerelson, who has been a teacher and principal for many years, happens to be a Republican. Based on his endorsement questionnaire and his record, he's like Lowell Weicker opposing Joe Lieberman. Schmerelson is progressive about education - he's for smaller classroom sizes, less emphasis on standardized testing, strong teachers' unions and he's not for the charter schools. Americans for Democratic Action is not a Progressive organization. We're not partisan. We're not a Democratic club. We are free to support the best, most progressive candidate in the race regardless of party. We're doing that now.
District 5 - Bennett Kayser: Incumbent School Board member Bennett Kayser has been an excellent advocate for education of Los Angeles students. He is a solid progressive. He was a science teacher for many years. He has served on the Charter Reform Commission. He is endorsed by the Teachers Union and is fighting off a challenge by Ref Rodriguez, who is funded largely by the charter schools, so it's important for us to fight for Kayser so we can preserve public education in LA!
Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees:
Seat 3 - Sydney Kamlager: Sydney is also an impressive progressive candidates in a race against the very conservative Joe Essavi. She will be a great addition to the Board of Trustees.
Seat 5 - Steve Schulte: Incumbent Scott Svonkin has a reputation as someone very difficult to work with. We believe we've found an alternative in his opponent, Science Instructor Steve Schulte, who has some good ideas about the role of the community colleges in the fabric of Los Angeles life.