Monday, December 23, 2013

Appoint or Elect? WHAT A MESS!

McKenna’s the perfect replacement. But…..

Opinion By Betty Pleasant, Contributing Editor | The Soulvine /Los Angeles Wave |

Thursday, December 19, 2013   ::  It is most disconcerting to look up and find yourself on a list of people supporting something that you don’t support and, to add insult to injury, note that also on that list are people you don’t like and people with whom you never agree. Well, that’s what happened to me with respect to the issue of filling the late Marguerite LaMotte’s school board seat.

Let me set the record straight: As I wrote in last week’s Soulvine, I, Betty Pleasant, contributing editor of the Wave Newspaper, wholeheartedly support the filling of that seat through the election process. I said last week, “Let the people decide,” and the “people” I was talking about are the voters in the LAUSD’s District One who had overwhelmingly elected LaMotte to the board for three terms. I did not mean a motley group of “people” from everywhere coming together to decide who LaMotte’s replacement should be. I am thoroughly opposed to the whole concept of appointing anyone to LaMotte’s seat because I don’t trust the remaining board members to appoint someone to the vacant seat who will carry on LaMotte’s legacy of stalwart advocacy for educational excellence for all the district’s children, regardless of their race, color or creed.

Now, as to that push under way to get educational giant George McKenna appointed to LaMotte’s seat. I love me some George McKenna. He’s my kind of guy: bold, fearless, tenacious, experienced and well versed in the machinations of the entire Los Angeles Unified School District. He would be a perfect replacement for LaMotte. But don’t you think the board knows that? Do you believe that the members — given their series of disastrous decisions — would appoint a “take no prisoners” person like McKenna to join them on the board? No, they wouldn’t.

So all this whooping and hollering about getting McKenna appointed to the board is for naught. If they are allowed to appoint, the board members will pick someone they like, someone of their own mindset, someone they can control and someone who would certainly not be George McKenna. And there’s nothing anybody can do about it. Just because a bunch of Black folks are pressing the board to appoint McKenna, doesn’t mean he’ll be appointed.

After all, the board members are impervious to pressure from outside their own districts. If the board is permitted to appoint and it does not appoint McKenna, then there’s not a damned thing Maxine Waters and them can do about it because the board members cannot be politically pressured by her and her followers.

I believe McKenna would be an excellent board member for District One and the only way he — or any of the other two or three outstanding educators in the district — can be seated is through the election process. There are people balking at calling a special election to fill the seat, claiming such an election would cost a lot of money. So what! We spend a lot of money on a lot of things all the time — like the unprecedented fortune the school district spent on that “IPad-for-every-kid” debacle which has turned into an expensive and embarrassing mess. Nobody has batted an eye about calling special elections when needed in the past. Hell, we just had one this month.

So spend the money to have a special election for the LAUSD’s 1st District, for cryin’ out loud! It’s the American way! If this tragic problem had arisen in the Valley, I am certain a special election would move forward pro forma. But no, such a thing is too expensive for the inner city?! Bah. Humbug. So, I support having an election in which McKenna and everyone else who aspires to the seat can present their bonafides to the people and the people can decide.

And oh, do not put my name on any list without my permission!

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