Jackie Goldberg Shakes Up Cozy Racket of Favor Seekers at City Hall and Charter School

EASTSIDER-In the upcoming May 14 runoff election for LAUSD District 5, it is fascinating how Jackie Goldberg’s (photo above) opponent Heather Repenning and her supporters try to finesse the issue of Heather being another Charter School vote on the Board. Well, good luck with that. She would be. 

Where We Are 

In the special election held on March 5, Jackie Goldberg received around 16,000 votes to Heather Repenning’s 4341, with a total of about 33,000 votes cast. The details are at Ballotpedia.

While that seems like a huge margin (actually with 48% of the vote, it was), do not mistake a primary for a runoff. Since that date, Goldberg has been subjected to a relentless stream of deliberate mis-characterizations designed to keep voters from voting for her, and an equally unrelenting wave of endorsements by Democratic establishment types.  

You know, our usual imposed by the CADEMS greats like Wendy Carrillo, Kevin De Leon, and Jimmy Gomez. Wendy, we know, is a Charter School supporter, and evidently so is Jimmy Gomez, as he passed through Northeast LA on his way to congressional stardom. As for DeLeon, I hear he’s having trouble deciding on where to live as he ramps up a campaign to replace God’s Gift to the Eastside, Jose Huizar.  

So, every vote of we-who-live-here counts a lot, and it is unfortunately not unusual for the number of voters to decline during a special election runoff. 

The LA Times Endorsement and Hiz Honor 

Surprising no one, the LA Times endorsed Heather Repenning for the LAUSD Board against Jackie Goldberg. Of course they did it by trying to appear judicious: 

“That’s where Repenning comes in. Granted, she lacks Goldberg’s depth of experience, and she would definitely face a learning curve as she mastered the Byzantine complexities of an enormous and troubled school district. But Repenning has her own experience with vast and intransigent public agencies after many years working in city government under Garcetti, especially as vice president of the Los Angeles Bureau of Public Works.” 

The truth is, first class political slime is done more through innuendo and subtext rather than Trumpian attacks. Just like the above quote. 

In the real world, Austin Beutner’s their guy. He actually ran the LA Times while the Tribune owned them, and even better, he’s a hedge fund type who understands how to make money. Charter schools make money for their owners. 

Second, the idea that Heather was working for Eric Garcetti to bring LA City’s agencies to heel is simply laughable. As an example, let’s look at how Garcetti and the Bureau of Public Works have prepared Heather for a LAUSD Board Seat. Just check out Raymond Chan (former Department Head), who according to an article from the Times itself, as an LA Deputy Mayor “raised money from developers with major projects in downtown, records show.” 

Not only that, Chan was a City lifer, running the Building and Safety Department as Department head, before heading over to work for Mayor Garcetti as “Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.”  Whatever that really meant, he is currently under investigation by the FBI (although there have been no indictments). 

So within this context, Heather Repenning’s work with Eric Garcetti is worth some scrutiny. She was on the Board of Public Works (yes, the same one Chan ran), political director for Garcetti’s 2013 Mayoral campaign, and was Director for External Affairs for him as well. In other words, she’s a fixer, wired in with the big bucks LA political establishment. 

Contrast these realities not mentioned in the Times, with their following statement: 

“But you can’t, and a choice is necessary. Our decision, in the end, was based on the dynamics of the current school board and what it needs at this particular moment in history. Viewed that way, Repenning’s independent-minded, consensus-driven style and her willingness to decide each issue on its merits, as well as her perspective as an LAUSD parent, gave her the edge.” 

The Takeaway 

Apparently, even the Charter School folks have figured out that after many of their LAUSD schools have gone under, either for financial malpractice/bankruptcy or criminal indictment, they aren’t the knights in shining armor. So, they cleverly have decided not to endorse anyone between Jackie and Heather. That’s right, no endorsement because they know that formally endorsing Heather Repenning would be the kiss of death on May 14.  

Don’t kid yourself. If you think that Heather Repenning is a foe of Charter Schools, ask why she chose to cash the $100,000 check given by Eli Broad on primary election day. Don’t take my word for it, check out the article. 

If Heather gets in, Beutner stays, and the Board goes back to the old 4-3 vote that triggered all this mess. Remember, Austin Beutner used to work for Antonio Villaraigosa as a Deputy Mayor when he tried to take over the LAUSD, and Mayor Eric Garcetti made nice as Austin became LAUSD Superintendent. 

Jackie Has the Experience and No One Owns Her 

I won’t go into great detail over why Jackie Goldberg is far and away the best candidate for election to District 5 of the LAUSD. It was covered in an earlier CityWatch piece, called Charter Schools, Hedge Funds and Why Jackie Goldberg’s Election to LAUSD District 5 is So Important.” 

I’ll simply leave you with the summary: 

There is only one candidate who has name recognition, is a proven fighter for parents and taxpayers alike. She will not need too long to get up to speed; nor will she need a flak jacket to successfully steer the LAUSD between now and December 2020.  

Also, it doesn’t hurt that she knows more about the LAUSD Budget than the Superintendent and has credibility with State officials. 

As I am writing this piece, mail-in ballots are already in the mail and have been received by some voters. When you get yours, please fill it out for Jackie and send it right in. Don’t throw it away or lose it.  

So please, please return your vote by mail ballot marked for Jackie. If you forget, or don’t get one, find your polling place and go vote on May 14. We simply cannot go back to the old 4-3 corrupt LAUSD and Austin Beutner’s secret war plans. 



(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.