AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2As isolated instances, the refusals aren’t that significant. But taken as a whole, they have prompted parents and other community residents to accuse Villaraigosa of trying to minimize public criticism of Assembly Bill 1381. After San Fernando City Councilwoman Maribel Delatorre cleared her schedule to attend a council meeting with Villaraigosa, she was nonplussed when she found out it wouldn’t take place. “He and Fabian Nuñez have made this very difficult for those in the Valley and for elected officials as well,” she said. She accused the mayor and his allies of blocking the public process after Villaraigosa canceled the public study session Friday. He offered instead to meet behind closed doors with San Fernando’s mayor. Delatorre said Villaraigosa obviously did not want the discussion in open session. “To me, it’s an issue of an open process. It’s not, and it’s not transparent.” The head of the 31st District Parent Teacher Student Association said San Fernando Valley residents will be at a greater disadvantage in trying to make it to the Los Angeles meeting. “The parents and the community in the Valley are not given a fair voice,” said Linda Ross, president of the PTSA group. “The meetings need to be widespread, and there needs to be one in the Valley. They’re part of LAUSD too, and they need to be heard.” But Villaraigosa’s spokeswoman, Janelle Erickson, said the mayor has made a concerted effort to engage parents who have long complained about not having a voice in LAUSD. She emphasized that Villaraigosa continues to engage the public, having already held town hall-type meetings in South and West Los Angeles. Two more will be held next month in the San Fernando Valley and East Los Angeles. “Mayor Villaraigosa understands that only with the full cooperation of parents, teachers and communities will we be able to effect change in our public schools,” she said. “Not only is Mayor Villaraigosa currently hosting a series of parent town halls across the city of Los Angeles; he has written into his legislation a formal role for parents in the LAUSD.” AB 1381 was proposed by Nuñez after Villaraigosa and the school district’s teachers union negotiated provisions of the bill. It would divert most the school board’s authority to the superintendent, who would be hired by the mayor, and also would make educators responsible for the budget and curriculum at their schools. Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg said she asked Nuñez to schedule public hearings this week in the San Fernando Valley, South Gate and downtown Los Angeles, and that he finally – reluctantly – agreed to hold one session. “He said he thought it might end up bringing more heat than light. That was the message,” said Goldberg, Assembly Education Committee chairwoman who formerly served on the LAUSD board and the City Council. Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, said that Villaraigosa and Nuñez have been invited to the hearing, as have district Superintendent Roy Romer, state Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, and Maria Casillas, who co-chairs the Presidents’ Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance, a blue-ribbon panel on LAUSD governance reform. Nu¤ez is committed to ensuring there is as much community input as possible, said his spokesman, Steven Maviglio. More than 200 people attended the initial Senate hearing and hundreds more participated in various forums on the bill. “Between hearings in Sacramento and Los Angeles, there will be ample opportunity for everyone in the community to have their voice heard,” Maviglio said. “It is ludicrous to suggest that lawmakers will not have heard the many views of educators, parents and others on the bill.” But Diana Dixon-Davis, legislative director for the 31st District PTSA, said bypassing public input and pushing the legislation through is undemocratic. “The reason he’s limiting public input is he doesn’t want to hear the negative, to recognize there is a strong opposition,” she said. “He wants the people in Sacramento, who are disconnected from what’s going on here, not to hear about the negatives, and the more public hearings he has the more likely they are to hear the criticism. “The mayor realized he could not get total control through the normal democratic process in L.A., so he went to the Legislature to shortcut the process,” said Dixon-Davis, whose group opposes the bill, as does the statewide PTA. The LAUSD board president, Marlene Canter, said public input on the legislation has fallen far short of what this type of reform deserves. “My biggest concern was this dialogue was taken outside of Los Angeles to legislators who don’t usually deal with L.A. issues. There’s been really no opportunity for dialogue,” she said. “I think people in L.A. really should have a bigger role in deciding what’s going on. … What about all the other people who don’t live around Irving Middle School and won’t have the opportunity to participate in this type of dialogue?” School board member and high school government teacher David Tokofsky agreed, saying shutting the public out of the process is not how a bill should become a law. “The manner in which this bill is being pushed – starting in avoiding one house of the Legislature, denying a committee chair hearings, not having spent the requisite number of days prior to becoming a bill – shows no similarities to what we teach our children in state-approved textbooks on how a bill becomes a law,” he said. But Goldberg said she can understand the political motivation for Villaraigosa to try to rush the legislation through. “In an era of term limits, everybody’s in a hurry, and the mayor’s no exception to that,” she said. “If he wants to be able to have input on the superintendent, to be able to take over three high school complexes and their feeder schools and show progress before he leaves office, I don’t blame him for being in a hurry.” [email protected] (818) 713-3722 IF YOU GO The Assembly Committee on Education will hold an informational hearing on Assembly Bill 1381, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, at Washington Irving Middle School, 3010 Estara Ave., Los Angeles.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his legislative allies have squelched a broad, open debate on his efforts to get control of the Los Angeles Unified School District, several critics charged Monday. Last month, Villaraigosa canceled his appearance at a public meeting to discuss education reform with the mayors of 27 neighboring cities. Many walked out when they learned he wasn’t coming. Last week, he refused to attend a public meeting with the entire San Fernando City Council – he offered to meet privately only with the city’s mayor – to discuss his proposal to play a greater role in Los Angeles Unified. And now his political ally Fabian Nu¤ez, the Assembly speaker, has refused requests to schedule a series of three hearings on the bill, including one in the San Fernando Valley, grudgingly agreeing to hold a single session this week.
Powered By Impressive Business WordPress Theme