The Great Boyle Heights UTLA Election Breakdown

Garcia Caputo Pearl.jpg
Several nights ago on March 5, 2014 the Boyle Heights City Hall hosted the finale of the presidential debate for this year's UTLA city wide elections.  Attendance was at capacity and every presidential candidate was there to answer four questions in a round robin sequence.  This was actually more of a forum than a debate.  The rules were specific.  Candidates could be critical of each other in their responses but could not question or address each other directly. Members of the audience were not allowed to question the candidates and no cheering or booing was to be permitted. A rule which would prove to be impossible to enforce.  Nonetheless, an audience of a little over fifty filled the small meeting hall and turned out to be a very enthusiastic group of listeners.

The ten candidates were arranged in an order which commenced with David R. Garcia and concluded with Alex Caputo-Pearl, the two most openly inimical candidates.  The first question addressed to candidates asked of them why they were running and what were there priorities.  Garcia immediately addressed union corruption and presence of cheating during the campaign by Union Power Slate members.  He would continually return to these themes addressing Caputo-Pearl specifically.  At first the other candidates seemed to address each question in relatively orthodox manner not straying off the call of the question itself.  However, as the questions progressed along, more and more several of the  candidates who were not incumbents or longtime union office holders also began to pick up on theme of the incumbents having had their turn in power over the years and having sold out their supposed reform mission.
  
As the event moved on, these same candidates began to draw a bead on the evidence of campaign cheating on the part of the Union Power Slate and insisted that it had to be addressed as an unfair advantage. One candidate, Saul Lankster, appealed to the other candidates and the audience by declaring that the rest of the candidates could not just sit by and allow Garcia to bear the load of addressing corruption and campaign cheating on his own. Lankster further alluded to more extensive cheating within the Power Slate by referring to Arlene Inouye, the Power Slate's incumbent candidate for treasurer, having unfairly disqualified her principal opponent, Matthew Ross, because he had promised to investigate her past use of union funds.

With each of the next questions, six of the candidates repeated the theme that the current incumbent candidates and those associated with them had served their time and clearly failed their mission- if they ever really had a mission other then self-aggrandizement. Even the audience itself noticeably started to take on a hostile attitude toward Warren Fletcher, Greg Solkovitz and Alex Caputo-Pearl.  At one point, Garcia made his intentions clear that he would clean out the union of careerists and recommended that no one vote for any candidate for any office whether principal union leadership or within the Board of Directors, the House of Representives or similar committees who had a long history of  association with the AJ Duffy years or the Fletcher's first term should be allowed to remain in a position of power. He further demanded the immediate disqualification of the Union Power Slate and all of its candidates which seemed to meet with the approval of five of the other candidates and the listeners.  

During the first three rounds of questioning, Caputo-Pearl seemed to resist addressing any of the accusations at the risk of validating them by so doing. However, from the first round onward, his facial expression more and more turned into a angry sneer. But then in the final round, he stood up and called his accusers liars.  This brought a rise out of the six candidates who had drawn attention to cheating.  The audience reacted similarly.  At this tense moment the moderator closed the event and thanked the candidates and the those in attendance for coming.

You can read a summary of the candidate responses provided by Educators 4 Excellence at   http://www.educators4excellence.org/utla2014/candidate-responses, but of course, it'll be free of the fireworks.  However, a podcast of the event is also available at this site, which may be free of editing.  One thing for certain, if those who conquer their apathy and bother to vote feel even remotely like those who were in attendance at the event in Boyle Heights, the longstanding stink that has for far too long emanated from UTLA leadership might finally be allowed to dissipate and come to a long overdue end. In mustering up the resolve to conquer their apathy and vote, rank-and-file should be aware that only 25% of rank-and-file are expected to vote. That and the fact that Deasy's Fetcher only received 17% of the vote when he ran for UTLA president 3 years ago, just might be the first step toward reconstituting a professional teachers' union no longer capable of LAUSD intimidation or the duplicity of its present entrenched truth challenged 
leadership. 

If you or someone you know has been targeted and are in the process of being dismissed and need legal defense, get in touch: 


Lenny@perdaily.com

7

03 2014

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