Defiant Mayor Promises Continued Involvement
Hillel Aron | March 7, 2013
Before and during a Wednesday evening education event held at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, a tired-looking Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa expressed frustration about the previous day’s election results — and pledged to keep working on school reform issues even after his term expires.
“Obviously I was disappointed with the results in the fourth district,” Villaraigosa told LA School Report. “I had hoped Kate Anderson would prevail.”
However, he said he was emboldened by District 2 incumbent Monica Garcia‘s victory and was already rolling up his sleeves to help elect District 6 challenger Antonio Sanchez in the runoff. He cast the election in startlingly personal terms.
“I won one, I’m leading in another, and I lost one,” he said, referring to Tuesday’s outcomes. “And I’m not giving up.”
The Mayor had an edge about him the entire evening — at one point criticizing the voters themselves for not handing him mayoral control of the district.
“I love that the LA voter protects their right to vote for school board and then votes at seven percent,” he said sarcastically. (While voter turnout was between 16 and 20 percent on Tuesday, it was lower in the school board races.)
He also went out of his way to take not one but two digs at the LA Times, calling the editorial board’s stance against making A through G curriculum a requirement to graduate “an abomination,” and saying the paper had failed to report all the progress made by LAUSD in recent years.
“You don’t read anything positive in that newspaper,” he said.
Did the Mayor regret soliciting big checks from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch?
“Absolutely not,” he said. “The unions get their checks from their members dues. They’ve controlled these elections for a long time. And we’re not gonna let that happen any longer.”
Superintendent John Deasy also defended the outside donations. “I think it’s very affirmational that people want to invest in LA schools,” he said. “I mean, LA is America, only sooner. And we are coming to a hometown near you.”
Peeved or not, Villaraigosa pledged to continue fighting for school reform in Los Angeles after his term as Mayor ends:
“I’ve committed to John and the reformers in this town that I’m gonna be involved in this election cycle, [and] in the next one. I just extended my Partnership Schools another five years. If the next mayor of LA doesn’t want to be involved in them, I’m gonna be.”
He added: “I’m here whether I’m in office as Mayor or not.”