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This endorsement is NOT for a guy on the Playboy Mayor and his hench-woman, LAUSD President Monica Garcia’s slate of public education gut and privatize candidates. He is not even the Union’s first choice, which is not necessarily a bad recommendation.

He is on the side of students, accountability and good educational practices, and he has made it into the run-off! Who is this phenomenal guy? Bennett Kayser, a retired classroom teacher and deeply involved community member. He is just the sort of intelligent, competent, decent, non politician we all say we want. Now WE are put to the TEST of actually electing him. Will we pass the exam?

Hollywoodhighlands.org endorses Bennett Kayser for LAUSD School Board in DISTRICT 5

Kayser is no fat-cat bureaucrat sitting in an ivory tower and jetting around, staying in luxury hotels and eating fancy meals at the taxpayers expense. He worked in the classroom teaching young people, he endured the same lack of resources and often run down conditions in schools they did. Like so many classroom teachers he dug deep into his own pockets year after year to buy the supplies that his students needed. He will now work to deliver the best education to our students and the needed accountability and resources to their teachers.

He understands first hand, the need for children to be safe in their schools and he will work to restore the school campus to a safe haven for students and teachers alike.

He has devoted his life to educating our youth. He is not trying to use the School Board and the students as a stepping stone for higher office. He will dedicate himself to making the Los Angeles Unified School District a functioning engine to educate our young people, not a piggy bank for his own ambitions.

His opponent is Luis Sanchez, a miniature clone of Board President Monica Garcia minus the hair. He has big bucks support from outfits like TELACU and the Seville Group who enjoy rich contracts from LAUSD. Of course, all that money will not affect his votes for these and other contractors funding his campaign, so we're sure he won't have to do anything as inconvenient as recusing himself from voting lavish contracts for them.

Sanchez has a scandal he keeps trying to shove under the hotel bed about his luxury vacation trips and travel while a LAUSD employee. He stayed in fancy hotels and lived it up on the taxpayer's dime. Dirty bathrooms and closed libraries are just for the students, luxury spa pampering and champagne room service flowed for Sanchez.

Sanchez is not an educator. His experience at the LAUSD District is purely that of being an over paid bureaucrat and aide to Garcia, helping to slash teachers and cut funding for students. If you like Garcia's bullying ways, you'll love her minion, Sanchez.




ANYBODY BUT SCOTT SVONKIN FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD (including vegetables, animals and minerals)

We want to know how we arrived at a place where the two choices for the Community College Board are Scott Svonkin and Lydia Gutierrez? Neither is a very attractive prospect for the scandal ridden Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board of Trustees. One is a rage melt down case and the other has homophobic baggage.

Svonkin is a former shill for Home Depot developers, who is backed by contractors and campaign groups that backed the discredited bond wasting and mis-using L.A. Community College Board. He so loved the wild building schemes cooked up by disgraced Community College Board Building honcho Larry Eisenberg, that he even tried to fund a crazy overblown "green scheme" similar to the ones that caused a fiasco at the Community Colleges, with San Gabriel School Bonds., He now serves (when he shows up) on the San Gabriel School Board. He has said he admires the Community College projects and would vote with the rest of LACCD Board for more of the wild bond spending that brought so much discredit to the L.A. Community College system that it was profiled by the L.A. Times in a 6 part series.

Svonkin is a proven developer darling. He worked with such zeal for Developer PR firm "Dakota Group" to force Home Depot boxes on communities that did not want them, that he earned the nick-name "Orange Dot Scott". He bused in people and had them sport big orange dots to show support for Home Depot. He packed community events and hearings with the orange dotted herds in hope of drowning out the community people who opposed yet another big box monolith. He did this in Sunland/Tujunga and Atwater/Glassell Park, the communities that were able to push back the unwanted box stores in spite of his best orange dotted efforts for the developers.

He is widely reputed to have an ego/rage personality that has to been seen to be believed, it goes way beyond the occasional loss of temper or hissy fit. People who have dealt with him in the last few years report public melt downs of shouting, fist pounding and even pounding on mini van windows and screaming at a Mother trying to pick up her kids in a school parking lot. The frequency and severity of the blow ups that many parents, students and fellow Board Members at a recent San Gabriel School Board meeting were recounting is way beyond the "he's got a temper" category. All the LACCD board needs is a few flaming melt downs to put the cherry on the sundae of disfunction. LACCD Board flambe anyone?

His opponent, Lydia Gutierrez**, has a snowball’s change in mid summer in Death Valley of defeating him. She is a school teacher who has no visible financial or other support from much of anyone else. GLBT and liberal leaders, writers and voters don't want her because of deal breaker positions favoring Proposition 8 and opposition to other legislation that would help GLBT youth.

She refused to support Palin and go along with other party line GOP politics, so they don’t care for her. She has too many pragmatic positions to really take tea with the tea party in a meaningful (read money) way. It's a shame she has so much baggage, because she has the right qualifications in terms of experience and skills. She is knowledgable about educational matters and has a strong financial background, but she has the wrong mix of politics for way too many people. She's too far right for most voters in the election and not far enough right on enough positions outside of those influenced by her personal beliefs, for a lot of right wingers. The tea part nominally supports her because there is no one else in the race for them, but they have given her no actual support or money so it’s a weak cup of tea from them.

Gutierrez seems to be a rare commodity in politics, an actual maverick who follows her own very personal brand of politics. Unfortunately that includes from uncomfortable activism against GLBT issues.

While the Right has used the tactic of putting a right winger on a more obscure body, like the LACCD, it won't get them anywhere with Gutierrez because she is not the type of candidate to be able to move up to bigger, more visible seats. She is not a person with the kind of political quickness to pull off the show business aspect of getting elected to higher profile offices. She simply explains her positions to anyone who asks, in media killing exactness.That sounds kind of refreshing, and it is when she talking about the LACCD board and accountability, if only some of those positions weren't deal breakers. All in all she is can be a “protest vote” against the madness of Svonkin and the bankrupt party line that endorses and run someone like him for an educational board.

Where does that leave a poor voter? It as near a certainty as elections ever get, that Svonkin, with plenty of money and a lot of backing is a shoe-in. If Gutierrez wins I'm looking for virgin births and flying pigs, maybe virgin births to flying pigs. Perhaps it's time to resort to my favorite write-in protest vote for good government - Joel Wachs. I wonder what that ficus tree Michael Moore ran for Congress is doing these days?

The LA Times has taken a dive on endorsements for the Community College Board - refusing to endorse in that election this time around - after pontificating about expanding endorsements to “help voters arrive at better decisions” on their venerable pages. Did they decide they don’t want voters arriving at the better decisions destination in this race? Is the fix in?? They endorsed in the past - but this time is “special”. There are almost $6 billion reasons why - the big money in the much abused college bond program. 

From the LA Times..

March 3, 2009

LACCD Board, Seat 6: Jozef Essavi. In his second run for the job, Essavi has shown he is ready to serve. He's more focused than the incumbent on student success.

This is the only place where you got all the endorsements - including the LA Community College - the LA Times has refused to endorse in that controversial race, in spite of running a 6 part series on bond waste and abuse in the paper just prior to the election. now we have a real problem and may have to turn to a ficus to solve it. Thanks a lot, LA Times!

From LA Times...
May 07, 2010
Over the last four years, The Times has steadily expanded its election endorsements in the belief that more information and more opinions help voters arrive at better decisions....http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/07shapeimage_6_link_0
Scott Svonkin, San Gabriel Unified Board Member, Lets Teachers Down: Plays Hooky to Campaign For L.A. Community College Board

By Mars Melnicoff, Wed., Apr. 13 2011 @ 10:38AM in LA WEEKLY

Scott Svonkin, San Gabriel Unified School District Board member, describes himself as the "only one who cares about the teachers." He is running for a seat on the vastly more powerful Los Angeles Community College Board and will face Lydia Gutierrez in a runoff election on May 17.

Last night, many teachers attended the San Gabriel Board meeting in order to voice concern and share ideas regarding the devastating budget crisis that is affecting education statewide. Svonkin's official reason for not showing? He was "sick." As reported by Joe Barrett of Mayor Sam, Svonkin found it in himself to, instead, attend a union L.A. Democratic Party event that took place at the very same hour.
Svonkin says that he wants San Gabriel teachers to "fight" for their jobs amid necessary lay-offs. He says he will "fight" with them. He is heavily criticized for grandstanding on this and other issues.
Last night, at the San Gabriel Unified Board meeting, teachers dressed in red to symbolize their concern over teacher lay-offs and the budget crisis. They discussed concerns and brought up ideas such as voluntarily taking 10 furlough days in order to help more fellow teachers avoid lay-offs.
The rest of the San Gabriel Board, Denise Menchaca, Matt Stadtler, Colleen Doan and Phil Hu were all in attendance to hear them.
Svonkin was at a United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) Union L.A. Democratic Party event that took place at United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) Union headquarters, campaigning for the Community College Board instead of hearing the woes of the teachers at his own district, where he has already been elected.
When confronted at the UTLA L.A. Democratic Party event by Miki Jackson and John Walsh of HollywoodHighlands blog, and asked why he told the San Gabriel Board that he was too ill to attend, Svonkin had this to say: "I am sick! Do you want a note from my doctor?" And quickly left the event.
Svonkin is known for regularly collecting his San Gabriel Board stipend money even when he does not attend meetings due to "personal" issues. Other board members waive their stipend when they cannot attend. Wonder if he was planning on collecting his 100 bucks for last night if he weren't caught at UTLA?

      Scott Caught by .org

Svonkin, left, was caught red handed (well shaking hands) shmoozing at a County Democratic Party meeting. He called in “sick” to the San Gabriel School Board meeting, but was snapped by our trusty iPhone, lining up support at UTLA headquarters that same night. A little old for hooky aren’t you Scotty?

Lower left - Scott spotted us and made for the elevator. On his way out he said that there was “nothing” on the School Board agenda (just cuts to teachers, larger class sizes for students...no sweat off his brow) and shouted “what do you want, a note from my Doctor..” No note has been seen as yet, but there’s another School Board meeting on April 26th...

The LA Times first bragged about endorsing in more races to “help” voters in 2007 - then endorsed for College Board in 2009 - but took a dive this year, refusing to endorse for College Board

election...what is going on? ...now is the LA Times is ducking to avoid ticking off big money unions and power brokers?? All this after they did a big 6 part story on bond waste and abuse just before the March Primary.

Well aren’t ducking anything, but we are shaking our collective heads at how we have ended up in such a pickle in the run-off in LA Community College Board elections. It illustrates how damaging it is to treat any election as minor and a throw away...see write up at far left.

This media release from 2002 came in over the transom. We had heard the Assemblyman, now City Councilman, Paul Koretz break-up with Svonkin was nasty , but flying Sergeants at Arms in from Sacto and emptying the office of other personnel? Were they worried about what Svonkin might do? Some well connected Dems have confirmed this, but are afraid of the “Party Hammer”, so won’t go on record. If the Dems know this, why would they put someone who worried them this much into office? Just how far will they go in the name of “Party Unity”.  Anyone want to tell us more about this? Email or call us, we’re waiting.

Election Run Down and Fall Out

First the Good News - This site backed Bennett Kayser and he won for LAUSD School Board. We are taking all the credit. Read about it at WALSH CONFIDENTAL and do the math with John.

Now the bad news...we, the taxpayers and the students of our Community College are stuck with Scott Svonkin, who narrowly won over Lydia Gutierrez. Svonkin spent over $500,000, Gutierrrez - barely $5,000. Do the math.

Scott Svonkin's Personality Problem
How did a food-spewing bully get major Democratic backing to run for Community College trustee?
By Mars Melnicoff,  published: April 07, 2011 in LA Weekly

San Gabriel School Board member Scott Svonkin pounds on tables or car windows when he is displeased. He yells with his mouth full of food, which sometimes shoots out. He dramatically rolls his eyes at the very San Gabriel residents who three years ago elected him.
Now he's seeking election to a vastly more powerful post, that of Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees — the board accused of wasting tens of millions of dollars in bond money on ineptly handled campus construction.
Despite Svonkin's endorsements from dozens of Democratic politicians, in March he was forced into a May 17 runoff by Long Beach teacher and San Pedro Neighborhood Council member Lydia Gutierrez. Among San Gabriel voters, who know him best, 78 percent chose somebody other than Svonkin.
The community college election is often a yawner. But a charged debate is under way about the college board's incompetence in the wake of a Los Angeles Times series, "Billions to Spend," detailing costly fiascos under veteran trustees Mona Fields, Sylvia Scott-Hayes, Nancy Pearlman, Georgia Mercer and Kelly C. Candaele — who have spent a combined 61 years on the little-watched board.
Svonkin, who often comes across as affable and well-spoken, is backed by Democrats including U.S. Congress members Judy Chu and Henry Waxman, plus the entire L.A. City Council.
But three current and former San Gabriel Unified School District board members — Lee Freeman, Denise Menchaca and Colleen Doan — who endorsed him three years ago are urging voters not to elevate Svonkin on May 17.
Menchaca, the school board president in the small district of tree-lined streets, keeps an empty chair between Svonkin and herself on board nights due to his violent fist-pounding. Board member Doan describes Svonkin's bullying as....  GO TO ARTICLEhttp://www.laweekly.com/content/printVersion/1241715/
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