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Democrats Decline to Endorse Garcia

Hillel Aron | January 9, 2013

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Members of the LA County Democratic Party vote by raising blue membership cards

Last night, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party voted to endorse Steve Zimmer and Antonio Sanchez for LAUSD school board.

However, the question of whether or not to endorse Monica Garcia for East LA’s District 2 became the subject of a brief but spirited floor fight.

“It hurts me to speak against her,” said former City Councilmember and school teacher Jackie Goldberg, who supported Garcia four years ago but now regrets it. “Her leadership on giving our schools away to charters… has broken my heart.”

The endorsement committee had recommended against endorsing anyone and, after a number of speakers were heard (including Garcia herself), the party decided to go along with that recommendation.

Practically everyone who is anyone in LA Democratic politics was there on the second floor of the UTLA building on Wilshire, where the LA County Democratic Party is also headquartered.

The meeting room was packed to the gills, and the air conditioner was apparently broken.  The smell was not pleasant, to say the least.

The party voted by consent (meaning without discussion) to endorse Board member Zimmer in the Westside’s District 4 and Antonio Sanchez in the East Valley’s District 6.

Things got a little heated when it came time to talk about District 2.

After Goldberg spoke against Garcia, LA County Federation of Labor head Maria Elena Durazo — perhaps the most influential non-elected official in the room — gave an impassioned speech in support of the School Board president.

Durazo was followed by UTLA President Warren Fletcher, who claimed to have gotten the air conditioner back on and who blasting Garcia for “eliminat[ing] due process for working people.”

A member of SEIU spoke in favor of Garcia

Garcia herself declined to use the microphone, but with her booming voice pointed out that “any Democrat that has endorsed in this race has endorsed me.”

The vote, which was taken by the surprisingly unsophisticated method having 150 or so members hold up blue registration cards and volunteers counting heads, was overwhelmingly in favor of not endorsing any candidate.

Later in the evening, the party voted to not endorse any of the mayoral candidates either (see: Democrats refuse to endorse a candidate in Los Angeles mayor’s race).

A Democratic Party’s endorsement doesn’t carry with it as much money as a union endorsement, but the stamp of approval is certainly meaningful in a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic.

Note: a previous version of this post stated that the democratic party doesn’t spend any money at all on candidates it endorses, which was incorrect. LA School Report regrets this error.

Previous posts: District 6: SEIU & UTLA Endorsements*Antonio Sanchez, Consensus Candidate?SEIU Endorses Garcia, Zimmer and SanchezUTLA Board Keeps Options Open

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