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Second candidate follows Kayser out of forum for LAUSD board seat

Vanessa Romo | January 28, 2015

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Andrew Thomas

Andrew Thomas

Hours after criticizing LA Unified School Board Member Bennett Kayser for dropping out of today’s District 5 campaign forum, one of his challengers, Andrew Thomas, announced that he, too, is pulling out. That leaves the stage to the only other candidate in the race, Ref Rodriguez, who is promising to attend.

The forum is the first in a series of campaign events sponsored by the United Way–Los Angeles and was scheduled to include all three candidates in the race. But Kayser said yesterday “scheduling conflicts” would preclude him from appearing tonight’s and in a second United Way event, Feb. 10 at the Oldtimers Foundation Family Center in Huntington Park.

Apparently, Thomas was so disappointed to learn of Kayser’s cancellation 24 hours before the scheduled event that it drove him to withdraw eight hours and 18 minutes before showtime. He called the late notice “unavoidable.”

“The primary issue in the District 5 Board of Education election is whether Mr. Kayser has effectively represented the students, families, teachers and schools in the district,” Thomas wrote In an email to Elmer Roldan, an organizer behind the community forum. “Since it is impossible to debate the quality of Mr. Kayser’s representation without his presence, we will not participate in any forum that does not include all three candidates.”

Roldan appealed to Thomas to reconsider. That is not happening.

“It’s just unacceptable,” Roldan told LA School Report. “Thomas could have used this forum to show why he believes Kayser is not a good candidate while proving to the community he’s the best person to lead the district.”

The event, much like Celine Dion’s heart, will go on. About 200 local residents have committed to attending.

Rodriguez will have the audience to himself.

“It’s disappointing that the public won’t be able to hear from my opponents but I’ll be there to talk with the community and outline my plan to transform our school system,” he told LA School Report.

The forum of one starts at 6 pm at the Goodwill Community Enrichment Center in Northeast LA.

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