Republicans For Rational Reform

Friday, November 05, 2010

As in the past, this election cycle saw several Republicans who are holding elected offices endorse and support Democrat Candidates over the Republican Nominees.As individuals, they well within their right to do so, but I believe there are or should be consequences to their actions.

When these individuals were running for office and re-election they often went to Republican Groups, using their Party affiliation to garner support, funding, volunteers and votes from Republicans.The Party By laws are clear and it is time they are enforced.My proposal for the State and County Republican leadership would be a ban on these elected office holders from speaking at Republican Meetings.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Unmitigated Gall: Mayor Villaraigosa Criticizes The Board Of Education For Not Being “Transparent.”

By Donna Connolly

“Without transparency, there can be no accountability”, says Mayor Villaraigosa in his plea to supporters on his Excellence in LA Schools website–a statement that forces one to reexamine what it means to be “transparent.”

If to be transparent means to draft a bill in the State Legislature that usurps the authority a locally elected body and places it into the hands of a 26-member council and sell it to the public as a means to “cut the bureaucracy, increase accountability, [and] provide a central role for our city leaders”, then we have either redefined the definition of transparent or revealed the inadequate education of a few of our legislatures. I think they have confused the definition of transparent with its antonyms “unclear, ambiguous and vague.”

In a radio interview, Gloria Romero claims that critics of AB 1381 are ‘babbling on about power grab” and insists that AB 1381 is not a grab for power. In her words, the bill is an “opportunity …to turn around achievement and to boost the quality of education in LA Unified.”

If AB 1381 is not a “power grab” than how do you explain the instantaneous power the mayor of Los Angeles was given the morning Gov. Schwarzennegar signed the bill into law? Did he just eat too much spinach? And if it is an opportunity to boost the quality of education, then why doesn’t this bill explain how a 26 member Council of Mayors will be more effective at doing that, then a 6 member elected school board?

I agree with the mayor on one issue in this debate and that is that without transparency, there can be no accountability-but the burden of transparency falls on those responsible for bringing this bill to the fore. It is their responsibility to explain to the voters how commandeering their constitutional right is in the best interest of their children.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

AB 1381 – Harmony or Havoc

Now that Governor Schwarzenegger has given AB 1381 his signature of approval and everyone has left the photo op, and clarity has returned to the eyes of those blinded by all the flash bulbs, what happens next?

The bill–due to go into effect on January 1, 2007¬–will give the “Council of Mayors” hiring authority over the Superintendent and gives authority for hiring and awarding construction contracts to that Superintendent in addition to other powers.

The question on everyone’s lips now is; “Who will be the next LAUSD Superintendent? Since Roy Romer is anxious to step down from the position the LAUSD Board of Education is feverishly searching for his replacement. Amid chaos? It appears so. The Board of Education–currently possessing hiring authority for the next three months–is, according to Mayor Villaraigosa, withholding information about candidates vying for the position. The Board claims their decision is to protect those candidates who wish for their application to remain confidential–and with 26 mayors receiving the information it would be difficult if not impossible to respect their wishes. The mayor’s office in response has accused the Board of using “obstructionist tactics.”

Oh, to be a fly on that wall. I can only imagine how quickly the Board would like to hire someone to replace Roy Romer and retain some of their authority–if for no other reason than to avoid Jackie Goldberg getting the position. I wonder if her resume has made it into the stack of applicants, yet. Maybe they’re busy checking her references.

“Let’s see, previous employment: Assemblywoman. Hmmm, that sounds familiar. References? Here we go: Antonio Villaraigosa and Fabian Nunez. Hmmm! Those names sound familiar.”

For us regular citizens, if you don’t like what your elected officials are doing–you can go to the polls and vote them out of office. But it appears–in California anyway–If you are a politician, the process is different. Instead of going to the polls or soliciting the voters, you draft a bill shifting authority from one elected body to another, place pertinent decision making into the hands of one individual and empower a third party with the hiring and firing of that individual. Now you have successfully constrained the elected body with whom you disagree and placed authority into the hands of your cohorts. WOW! And to top if off, you get a governor in a re-election year to sign the bill by promising photo ops with inner city teachers and community leaders and you have successfully circumvented the entire electoral process. Congratulations Mayor Villaraigosa and Fabian Nunez on staining us with your own brand of Democracy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Governor of California has ignored the people who placed their confidence in the democratic process and voted for the board members of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

It does not matter if you supported the outcome of the vote, the process was one which has been fought for throughout the history of our country. The price paid by so many Americans can not be dismissed.

The backroom dealings of the Mayor, Union and Legislature are a disgrace. Now that the Governor has signed onto this trampling of our rights as Americans, we look to the LAUSD Board and Superintendent to act on our behalf and proceed with legal action to protect our rights as Voters.

AB1381 signed into law at the expense of our rights and in violation to the State Constitution, is a clear example of the willingness of our Mayor to only obey laws which serve only his agenda.

His election and first year in office are a testament to his true nature and character.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mayor Alan Autry
City of Fresno

August 28, 2006

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
City of Los Angeles
200 North Spring Street, Room 303
Los Angeles, CA 90012
VIA FACSIMILE 2133-978-0656

Dear Antonio:
I have tried unsuccessfully to reach you regarding your education reform bill. I'm left with only one conclusion, that you felt the needed votes had been arranged and there was no need to return my call.

I can't tell you how disappointed I am. As you know, I supported your efforts for reform and crossed many of my fellow Republicans to do so. I did so with peace in my heart because I believed you genuinely cared about the welfare of all the children in California, many of whom live in the most impoverished region in the country – Fresno, California. It hurts me badly to think you were apparently playing a political game for Los Angeles and Los Angeles only.

The bill that passed the Senate today could have easily contained the intent language for Fresno that Senator Denham had fought for. All you and Fabian had to do was support it. It would have cost you and the speaker nothing. But you didn't. It has become painfully obvious to me that you do not believe the kids in Fresno are of equal value to the kids of L.A. I think they're all equally important and precious to this state.

Antonio, since I have been in office, writing this has been one of the most difficult things I have done because I truly do respect you. But answer me truthfully, if the shoe was on the other foot and you were the Mayor of Fresno with some of the lowest test scores and highest dropout rates in the state, would you say and do nothing? Would you stay silent after watching a similar reform for Fresno summarily and egotistically dismissed by the Legislature and along with it, the hopes and dreams of thousands of our most needy children? We both know the answer to both of these questions – no.
City Hall • 2600 Fresno Street • Fresno, California 93721-3600
-------end page one -------

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
August 28, 2006
Page 2

Since we don't have the capacity for intimidation here in the Valley that you and Speaker Nunez wield at the State level, I guess all I can say is shame on you, brother. But this I vow to you and the Speaker – I will do everything I can to expose this action for just what it is, political deal making at its worst that puts the desire for power over the well being of our most disadvantaged children.

/s/Alan Autry

cc: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Speaker Nunez
Senator Denham
Senator Florez
Senate Education Committee
Assembly Education Committee

You tell them Buba!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oath of Office administered to Board Members upon their assumption of office.

I, ___________
do solemnly swear
that I will support and defend
the Constitution of the United States
and the Constitution of the State of California
against all enemies, foreign and domestic
that I will bear true faith and allegiance
to the Constitution of the United States
and the Constitution of the State of California
that I take this obligation freely,
without any mental reservation
or purpose of evasion;
and that I will faithfully discharge
the duties upon which I am about to enter.

Given the oath of office taken by the LAUSD Board Members, they have no choice but to file suit if AB1381 is signed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

The Mayor has demonstrated his willingness to pick and chose which laws he is willing to enforce and which rights he is willing to respect. Those who support this bill may not feel it important to uphold and protect the constitutional rights of the people, but thank God we have a School Board and Superintendent who will.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

As I predicted the Mayors take over of LAUSD AB1381 would sail through the State Legislature. Remember from the beginning I stated our only recourse was to demand the Governor Veto the bill.
I also predicted the Superintendent was most likely be Termed Out Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg.

Prior to being passed by the full Assembly, it was passed by the Assembly Education Committee.

This is what took place during that vote. Be afraid, very afraid….

Earlier Tuesday, the Assembly Education Committee passed the bill, AB 1381 by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles), on a 7-2 vote, with chair Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles) recusing herself after announcing that she was a candidate to become the next superintendent of L.A. Unified.

"I'm going to recuse myself out of an abundance of caution," Goldberg said before the committee vote. "I've checked — there is no legal conflict of interest, but I think there's an ethical conflict of interest in choosing between the two sides on this."

Now we are right back to where we were when I began this campaign to alert grassroots Republicans. Our only recourse is with the Governor.

So there is no time to lose. Go the and let the Governor know where you stand.

Given all that has taken place with the Governor in the last 24 hours, we are rapidly reaching a point of decision making. What that decision will be for you, is between you and your God, conscience and family.

Please see our web site up dates and the current Newsletter.

David Hernandez
Mayor Flexes Muscle With School Board
With passage of the bill to increase his role in the district virtually certain, Villaraigosa threatens to fire any superintendent hired without his OK.
By Nancy Vogel and Duke Helfand
Times Staff Writers

August 29, 2006

SACRAMENTO — With legislative passage of his bid for greater control of the Los Angeles Unified School District all but certain, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa warned the school board Monday against hiring a superintendent without his approval, saying that he would fire anyone who wasn't a "change agent."

A bill to give Villaraigosa and other mayors within the vast school district the power to veto the school board's selection of a superintendent passed the state Senate, 23 to 14, on Monday, with all Los Angeles Democrats in support. The bill could pass the Assembly as soon as today, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he will sign it.

The legislation, however, wouldn't take effect before January, months after the Board of Education plans to replace retiring Supt. Roy Romer.

"I wouldn't have a qualm in the world — if I believed that this superintendent wasn't the appropriate person to lead this district — to fire that person," Villaraigosa said.

"This district knows full well that there is support for this legislation," he said. "The idea that they would just thumb their nose at the Legislature, give somebody a five- or six-year contract — I would like to believe they would not do that. That would be my hope. Under these circumstances, I wouldn't give a superintendent a contract without involving the mayor and the Council of Mayors."

District officials shot back that their superintendent search would continue, with candidates probably winnowed to three or five by mid-September. Board President Marlene Canter said the superintendent would have job security without having to worry about Villaraigosa.

"There is no way he can fire the superintendent," she said.

Romer added: "The mayor doesn't have the right to fire. The mayor has to right to ratify, and this decision will be made before January…. But I don't think that's the real issue. Any new superintendent that is chosen, I think, will want to be a cooperative person with every source of interest in this city, including the mayor." Romer also said the legislation, should it become law, would "undoubtedly" be challenged in court — an outcome Villaraigosa said he expected.

Canter and Romer said they had not given up hope of defeating Villaraigosa. They stayed in Sacramento on Monday to lobby key Assembly members. If unsuccessful they are expected to meet soon to discuss a lawsuit.

"This fight is not over," Romer said. "We believe the Assembly has the opportunity to reach down and do what's right by kids."

The mayor's plan faces a raft of opponents beyond the district, including the powerful California School Boards Assn., the California State PTA and factions within the Los Angeles teachers union.

The mayor and his aides later tried to soften his comments, saying that he could not single-handedly fire a superintendent but instead would work to build support for a replacement if necessary.

And the mayor acknowledged the hard feelings created by his district takeover campaign, saying he would reach out to critics to help make the law work.

"The real work begins now," he said. "The work of building consensus. The work of healing. Battles like this create divisions, polarize [people] sometimes unfortunately. My responsibility is going to be to bring people together. It's going to be to say to this city, 'Look, let's roll up our sleeves. Let's work together to make sure these schools are schools of high expectations, schools where our kids can dream.' "

Villaraigosa campaigned for mayor on a platform of improving schools, and he has made greater control of the nearly 730,000-student L.A. Unified a centerpiece of his year-old administration.

He originally sought complete control of the district but scaled back his ambition in the face of opposition from teachers unions.

In June, Villaraigosa negotiated a closed-door deal with the leaders of United Teachers Los Angeles and the California Teachers Assn., angering district officials and rank-and-file teachers who thought that they had been shut out of negotiations.

The original deal gave teachers significant authority to shape classroom instruction, but those provisions were not included in the legislation, which gives teachers flexibility to carry out a curriculum set by the school board. The current bill, which cannot be amended in the Assembly, would give Villaraigosa direct control over three troubled high schools and the elementary and middle schools that feed them. It also would shift some contracting and budget authority from the school board to the superintendent.

And it would create a "council of mayors" with the power to veto the school board's choice of superintendent. Villaraigosa would hold sway over the council, where power would be divided proportionally, based on population, among the mayors of Los Angeles and 26 other cities.

To win over Democrats who represent southeast Los Angeles County cities such as South Gate and Huntington Park, Villaraigosa agreed earlier this month to amend the bill so that the Los Angeles mayor must get the support of some other mayors to veto the choice of superintendent. Villaraigosa would control 80% of the vote on the council of mayors, but ratification by the council of mayors would require a 90% vote.

Many lawmakers expressed concern that the provision giving the Los Angeles mayor control over how several dozen schools operate is unconstitutional — an opinion reinforced by a Legislative Counsel review published last week. The state Constitution bans the transfer of any part of the public school system to any other jurisdiction that isn't part of the public school system.

Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles), the bill's author, attempted to address that concern by giving a role to the Los Angeles County Office of Education. The mayor's lawyers also argue that the Legislature has the power to transfer authority over schools.

Many Democrats expressed concerns about the bill but said they would give Villaraigosa — a former Assembly speaker and possible future governor — the benefit of the doubt. Passage of the bill is a top priority for Nuñez, a good friend of Villaraigosa, and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) has also rallied support.

Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento), who voted for the bill, called it "one of the most politically leveraged bills I have ever seen." Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster), who called himself a "reluctant" vote in favor of the bill, said, "There are a lot of bills up here that people may not like, but at the end of the day, they say, what's in it for me if I buck leadership?"

The bill passed with two votes to spare in the 40-member Senate.

Two of the Senate's 25 Democrats voted against the bill: Sen. Jackie Speier of Hillsborough and Sen. Dean Florez of Shafter, who has been battling with Los Angeles over the dumping of sludge in his district. Two other Democrats — Liz Figueroa of Fremont and Michael Machado of Linden — abstained.

Speier called the bill, AB 1381, flawed.

"What we are saying is that because it's not working in LAUSD, then we need to put more power into the superintendent — the CEO — and the mayor," she said. "Well, the public thinks that we don't work too well. Does that mean the solution is to put more power into the hands of the governor? That's basically what we're saying here."

To garner votes from Republicans Runner and Sen. Roy Ashburn of Bakersfield, Nuñez on Friday amended the bill to remove a "severability" clause that would have allowed portions of the law to remain in effect even if other sections were struck down by a court. Runner pushed for the clause's removal because, he said, he did not want parts of the bill that were concessions to unions to remain if Villaraigosa's powers were limited by a court.

The bill goes to the Assembly Education Committee today for a hearing, then on to the Assembly floor. Eight of the 11 members of the Education Committee are Democrats. Nuñez predicted that it would pass.

The Assembly must act before Friday, when the Legislature adjourns for the year.



How they voted

State senators whose districts are in Los Angeles County weighed in on the L.A. Unified bill. All except three are Democrats.


Richard Alarcon (D-Sun Valley)

"I don't think even Mayor Villaraigosa would say this is a perfect model. What it is is an effort to tell the kids that we care."

Debra Bowen (D-Marina del Rey)

"The upsides are greater than the downsides."

Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles)

"I took a vote that I believe is in the best interest of the students in my district."

Martha Escutia (D-Whittier)

"We no longer can afford an educational system where less than half of the students succeed."

Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica)

"I support this because I love the Los Angeles Unified School District."

Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach)

"I applaud the mayor for being a champion for change."

Kevin Murray (D-Culver City)

"If you have a kid in Los Angeles city school district, you cannot afford to wait for 1% improvement or 2% improvement or 3% improvement."

Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles),

a coauthor of the legislation

"Education is the civil rights issue of the 21st century."

George Runner (R-Lancaster)

"But let's not forget what the goal should be — helping parents have control over what happens in their child's classroom."

Jack Scott (D-Altadena)

"Mayor Villaraigosa has listened to our concerns, modified his bill and now has the opportunity to create meaningful change."

Nell Soto (D-Pomona)

"If we don't try to do something, then shame on us."

Edward Vincent (D-Inglewood)

"We've got to make a change in L.A., that's a fact."


Sen. Bob Margett (R-Arcadia)

"It's a usurping of power from the duly elected [school board]…. That really bothers me."

Tom McClintock

(R-Thousand Oaks)

"I don't see how this bill improves the situation. In fact, it may actually cause further deterioration."