The Los Angeles Times describes Mike Trujillo as a “political strategist.” Usually, these types of operatives prefer to do their work behind the scenes, but Trujillo seems to have an affinity towards seeing his own name in print. This is bad for the clients that he represents but is instructive for those outside the charter industry’s inner circle who get to see what is going on behind the curtain.
In May 2018, Nick Melvoin’s school privatization advocacy group, Speak Up, attacked Jackie Goldberg’s ethnicity in a bid to block her appointment to the board seat left vacant by Ref Rodriguez’ felony conviction. Trujillo was front and center in their propaganda efforts. Ignoring the words of Martin Luther King Jr., he claimed that “Appointing a non-Latino candidate like Goldberg to the seat, even temporarily, is definitely not in the spirit of the law.” In the end, voters ignored Speak Up’s call for bigotry and overwhelmingly elected Goldberg to the seat. Unfortunately, the refusal to make a temporary appointment meant that the stakeholders of the district were unrepresented for almost a year.
In the aftermath of Governor Newsom’s compromise with the charter industry, Trujillo has found another opportunity to get his name in print. While the smart political move would have been to keep quiet as the toothless bill passed through the California legislature, Trujillo decided to taunt his opponents by bragging to the LA Times that the bill in question was now nothing more than “a feel-good bill for the teachers [sic] union”. While pretending to crack down on the ever-growing list of charter schools that have been caught in scandalous behavior, the bill gave school districts no real power as these private charter schools could still “get approved” no matter how bad their infractions as long as “the county Board of Education is an option.”
This time we did not have to wait for Michael Kohlhaas dot org to uncover classified emails to find out what the charter school industry is planning as Trujillo was kind enough to tell us: they are just going to wait out the passage of this bill and then just continue on with the status quo. Public school students will continue to have money stolen from them, charter school students will keep facing dangerous conditions and federal investigators will be kept busy. Kids first?