Man arrested at LAUSD board meeting for ‘annoying’ calls
Craig Clough | November 25, 2014
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A man known for aggressive and sometimes belligerent public comments at LA Unified school board meetings was arrested outside a board committee meeting at district headquarters on Oct. 28 and charged with three misdemeanor counts of making “annoying” phone calls to board member Tamar Galatzan months before.
The man, George Buzzetti, 67, has been speaking at district meetings dating back to the 1990s, according to LA Unified board meeting minutes, and in recent years has made loud accusations of criminal activity aimed at the board.
Buzzetti has claimed at meetings to be the policy director for the Congress of Racial Equality – California (CORE-CA), a civil rights group, but Adrian Dove, chairman of the board for CORE-CA, told LA School Report Buzzetti has no affiliation with the Congress.
“I have written a letter to him asking him to stop identifying himself with our group, but I can’t seem to find an address for him to know where to send it,” Dove said. “He is not our policy director. He is not even a member.”
The Los Angeles School Police Department arrested Buzzetti but declined to comment on the investigation, calling it an ongoing criminal case. Galatzan also declined to comment.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office confirmed that Buzzetti was arrested at district headquarters on Oct. 28 and has been charged in connection with phone calls made to Galatzan’s office on Dec. 23 and Dec. 31 of 2013.
Buzzetti says they’ve got the wrong man.
Introducing himself as “director of policy for the Congress of Racial Equality of California,” he recorded himself for a recent YouTube video on which he played a tape of what he identified as some the evidence that had been presented against him. On the tape, a man, sounding irate over the district’s iPad program, can be heard leaving a vulgar voice message and using repeated obscenities directed at Galatzan.
Buzzetti claims in the video that the recorded voice is not his and that he never made the calls.
During public speaking sections of LA Unified board and committee meetings, any member of the public can address the board for three minutes, which sometimes results in people making strange accusations while board members are forced to passively sit and listen, no matter how wild or unsubstantiated the comments are. At one recent meeting, a woman claimed late board member Marguerite LaMotte was poisoned to death.
At various LA Unified meetings reviewed by LA School Report, Buzzetti has introduced himself as a CORE official before speaking in a belligerent tone and accusing the board of various wrongdoings and crimes, including on Dec. 17, 2013, when he called the district’s iPad program “illegal” and accused the board of being a “lawless organized crime organization.”
Dove said Buzzetti has caused problems for CORE-CA by appearing at public meetings and writing letters to public officials on the organization’s letterhead, including one sent to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in which he called Beck a bigot. He said Buzzetti was friendly with CORE-CA’s late vice chairman Celes King IV, who died in March, but that is where any association ends.
According to a 2001 story by the Los Angeles Times, Buzzetti co-founded an organization called the Association for Accountability and Equitable Education, which served as a watchdog for public education. Buzzetti registered the group as a corporation in 1996 but it has since had its license suspended by the California Secretary of State’s office.
A call to the Association’s listed number went unanswered.
Buzzetti is due to appear at a pre-trial hearing on Dec. 10.