Union Endorsements Unchanged for District 6
Hillel Aron | March 14, 2013
Support LA School Report's year-end campaign. All donations will be matched dollar for dollar.
The union political action committee charged with re-interviewing District 6 runoff candidates last night voted narrowly to remove Antonio Sanchez and make Monica Ratliff its sole endorsed candidate for the May 21 runoff — but fell well short of the two-thirds majority required to make the recommendation official.
UTLA’s governing body, the House of Representatives, met shortly afterwards to consider the situation — but an official vote never took place because not enough elected House members turned up to vote to reach a quorum.
Even if a quorum had been present, it’s unclear if Ratliff supporters would have been able to muster the two-thirds majority required.
“I think it would’ve been close,” said House member Alex Caputo-Pearl. “I don’t know if she would’ve gotten two-thirds.”
Prior to the House meeting, UTLA’s PACE committee met to interview the two candidates, both of whom were endorsed by the teachers union in the primary.
After the interview, the PACE committee voted 20-19 to switch its endorsement to only Ratliff — a majority vote but far short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
The House would have still had an opportunity to change its endorsement, which also needed a 2/3 vote, but it was roughly 30 teachers shy of a quorum.
A few teachers questioned if UTLA President Warren Fletcher, who presided over the meeting, really needed to call for a quorum vote, but he indicated that he was following Robert’s Rules of Order, a copy of which sat on the table beside him.
The 350-seat House has only 298 current members, which means it needed 150 for a quorum; only 122 showed up, at last count.
“I’m a little bummed,” said Dan Moran, a member of both the House and the PACE committee who supports Ratliff.
He blamed the meeting’s low attendance, in part, to the email that was sent out to members. “Honestly, they should’ve put asterisks in the subject line.”
Warren Fletcher, President of UTLA, chalked the low attendance up to the fact that this wasn’t a regularly scheduled House meeting.
Ratliff herself was disappointed too: “Obviously, I would have liked to have been the only endorsed candidate.”
During the meeting, which never officially began, while a member of the PACE committee was reading a report to those in the room about the PACE candidate interview, President Fletcher took the microphone to interrupt.
Fletcher informed the House that there was a member of the press in the room, and asked if they wanted to vote on whether to eject him.
A motion was quickly made and seconded, and the House voted overwhelmingly to eject LA School Report from the room (which this reporter couldn’t help but take a bit personally).
The next regularly scheduled House meeting is April 16. The House could still vote to change its endorsement then, even thought it would be less than a month before the May 21 runoff.