As a candidate in tomorrow’s election, I am asking you to read this post before you go to the polls. Our nation’s Democracy is at stake. We are at a very critical moment in Los Angeles’ political and social history. City Hall’s pay-to-play, corrupt culture has been publicly exposed by the FBI’s raid of a former LAUSD School Board President and the current City Councilman Jose Huizar. Although charges have not been filed, the raids have given light to the overt corruption and fraud that many suspected but was rarely covered by the press.
Overt corruption and fraud also entered our public school system with the election of Dr. Refugio Rodriguez. His indictment and conviction on felony charges exposed more of what we knew about the charter school privatizing industry and the individuals behind his rise to power, Eli Broad and his billionaire posse, including Betsy DeVos. Our city’s public institutions are supposed to work towards the best interests of Angelenos from all races, creeds, religions, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, but they have lost their way and are failing us. The Angelenos that represent the 99% have been left behind. Democracy was put up for sale and We, the people, are on the losing end of reality. It has been clear to me for quite some time that We, the people, must take back our democracy from special interests, corporate ideologues and all the billionaire money that has been buying its way into democracy one elected official at a time. We can stop this now with our vote! I am a true believer in that our vote is our democracy!
In order for our democracy to work, our vote must be an informed one. We must be aware of where every candidate has taken money from and who they are directly or indirectly connected to. We cannot be impressed by the amount of money they have raised or swayed by the number of mailers they used to fill the mailbox. The pictures and words they use are carefully tested marketing messages. We must demand that they back those messages up with policy that benefits our children.
We need to see the conflict of interest now! We must be vigilant of the red flags now before it is too late. Once these compromised candidates are elected, they are virtually untouchable. Your needs will no longer matter to them. The only voices they will listen to are the billionaire investors who purchased their services.
Tomorrow, March 05, 2019, is an important election — I cannot stress that enough. Your vote in this Special Election for the LAUSD School Board to represent District 5 is a critical one, Your vote will help to determine the future of our public education system which is the very foundation of our Democracy — the Los Angeles Unified School District that will not be unified if Superintendent Austin Beutner and company get away with their plan to dismantle it.
Jackie Goldberg is the only clear choice to stop the plan between Eli Broad and the public officials he has purchased from making sure LAUSD fails and is broken apart.
I decided to run for the Board of Education to represent District 5 because as a mother I needed to protect my son’s civil right and human right to a free, quality public education that is democratically governed! I want our choice for his education, the local public school, to remain operating and thriving. As I fight for my son, I fight for all children in this city.
My campaign stood for ethical and moral public education institutions. I have had enough of the lies and manipulation from elected officials, the political machines and unions that want to control public institutions utilizing corporate ideologue’s dark cash. I needed to enter this race to relay a message of caution to all parents and voters to know the facts behind public education and the convoluted political system we have today.
As a Doctor of Education and education researcher, I have a strong sense of responsibility to stand up for public education and to fight for what I strongly believe in. Thanks to the sacrifices made by the teachers during their strike, more Angelenos learned of the factors and individuals aiming to dismantle public education and privatize our schools. However, our defenses must not come down with the end of this strike.
My campaign stands as resistance to political corruption and the lies that influence elections, campaigns, and votes. There are strong economic and political corporate forces within our democratic institutions, connected intimately within our school board, the overall administration of the District, and the city council. I am here to connect the dots that show the alliances between campaigns and corporate ideologues aiming to subjugate the District and its students.
Elected officials and aspiring politicians, including school board members and superintendents, have been bought by money from corporations and billionaires that achieve victory through aggressive networking schemes and marketing plans. This money comes with promises of support for political ascendancy, with strings attached that require loyalty to the interests of corporate ideologues and real estate developers.
The social, economic and political networks of billionaires and private investors, including charter school profiteers intersect hand in hand with the current political establishment and unions (sadly enough) — namely the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They have been buying and politically maneuvering their way into our public education system for decades and working in conjunction with charter school industry organizations.
The California Charter School Association (CCSA) decided not to publicly endorse any candidates in this special election due in part to the negative atmosphere surrounding Ref Rodriguez felony conviction and other charter school scandals. Their endorsement would, therefore, place a target on their preferred candidate. However, rest assured that donations from charter school advocates are pouring into the campaign coffers of various candidates, namely those connected to city hall politics either in Los Angeles or in the Southeast. Many red flags loom over this election and we must vote carefully and mindfully.For instance, why did William Bloomfield, a billionaire who has made considerable financial contributions towards the charter school movement, to Parent Revolution, and Marshall Tuck’s education campaigns, give thousands of dollars to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) campaign fund for Heather Repenning? Why would a billionaire give to a union? The answer lies in who the candidate they are endorsing.
Bloomfield also gave to the charter school affiliated candidate Allison Bajracharya (who is a candidate with a conflict of interest due to her connections with Great Schools Foundation, which is directly linked to privatizing billionaire money and real estate developers.)
There has been a strong, long-standing relationship between the SEIU, Broad Foundation (Eli Broad), and Parent Revolution (formerly known as Los Angeles Parent Union, LAPU). They are now intimately connected to one of the candidates in this race, Heather Repenning. The Broad Foundation and the like-minded corporate ideologues, like Reed Hastings of Netflix, want to end the LAUSD and replace it with portfolio type schools, just like in New Orleans. For them, dismantling public education in Los Angeles is one of their main goals. This will most certainly happen if Heather Repenning is elected.
One way Eli Broad and company, accomplish their goals is to buy off elected officials, aspiring politicians and the unions that endorse them. In 2008, the Broad Foundation’s mission statement stated its goal was in “Transforming K-12 urban public education through better governance, management, labor relations, and competition.” There are many more SEIU labor leaders who have served on Broad Foundation and or affiliated networks and organizations. In July of 2012, Andy Stern, former President of the SEIU, joined the Board of Directors for the Broad Foundation and continues to serve to this day.
Another connection between Heather Repenning and Eli Broad and his pro-public school privatizing advocates, like former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, lies with her intimate friendship and political relationship with Mayor Garcetti’s wife, Amy Wakeland. Mrs. Garcetti once worked as a spokesperson for Coalition for Kids, an organization founded to raise money for Mayor Riordan’s school board chosen candidates. Mrs. Garcetti is a powerful political player who works behind the scenes in various school board campaigns and is well connected politically and socially. Her political and social circles have influence on Ms. Repenning’s campaign
In addition, how much longer can we trust Mayor Garcetti with his political choices and appointees especially after he endorsed for charter school advocate Tamar Galatzan who helped bring us John Deasy and the iPad scandal. Let’s not forget that Joel F. Jacinto, Mayor Garcetti’s political appointee, is under FBI investigation as we speak. Yet another corruption link to Heather Repenning, as she sat as Vice President for the Public Works, with Joel F. Jacinto, which oversaw a vast majority of Councilman Huizar’s projects, also under investigation by the FBI. Ms. Repenning is also known to be “a friend of CD14” as some of his current and former staffers held fundraising events for her.
Heather Repenning’s campaign is not the only campaign that is throwing red flags. Graciela Ortiz has faced conflict of interest charges in Huntington Park and was once threatened with a recall by her constituents. Allison Bajracharya works in the charter school industry. Ana Cubas was once Jose Huizar’s Chief of Staff and is linked to charter school advocates. Like her mentor Monica Garcia, she has shown naked political ambitions for years. We need someone in office whose passion is our students and not someone who will do anything to get elected.
This is the reason why Jackie Goldberg is the only true answer for this election. March 05, 2019 vote Jackie Goldberg as our Democracy depends on it.
Dr. Rocio Rivas