Two candidates file to seek Galatzan school board seat
by Michael Janofsky, L.A. School Report | http://bit.ly/1fBhfgN
Posted on April 24, 2014 11:30 am Whether LA Unified board member Tamar Galatzan runs for reelection or not, voters in her District 3 will have two other candidates to consider in the 2015 board election.
Carl Petersen, Director of Logistics for a Glendale manufacturing company, and Elizabeth Badger, owner of an auto repair company in Canoga Park, have filed to run, according to the LA City Ethics Commission.
Galatzan, who is also an assistant city attorney, has not yet filed with the commission to run for reelection.
Petersen’s candidacy represents his first run for public office.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a year,” he said in an interview, explaining that his prime motivation was encountering obstacles in his quest for help for two of his daughters with autism.
“It’s such a bureaucratic process with all the hoops they make you jump through,” he said. “There’s a feeling throughout the district that the board doesn’t listen to parents. You see it in Breakfast in the Classroom, the iPads. They have a deaf ear to parents. Parents are speaking, but the board doesn’t listen.”
Petersen, 46, said his interest in running was not necessarily in protest of Galatzan. Not initially, anyway.
“At first it was more general,” he said. “But then, I attended one of her community meetings about the budget. After listening to her, I was not impressed.”
Badger, 55, is no stranger to local politics. In April 2013, she finished fourth in a field of six for a City Council seat, winning 9.3 percent of the vote. Five months later, she placed seventh in a field of 11 in a special election for a California assembly seat, with 2.8 percent of the vote.
Her decision to run for the school board was based on experiences similar to Petersen’s.
As the mother of children with special needs, she said she grew angry and frustrated over efforts to get them support they needed in school.
“I refused to give up,” she told LA School Report, recalling months of grappling with school officials. She finally prevailed, she said, and that inspired her to seek the board seat.
“Children need an advocate, who understands them, who will fight the system for them, who will stand up to the status quo,” she said. “That’s me.”
She also said her initial motivation was not dissatisfaction with Galatzan. Rather, she said, it was an encounter with Galatzan in January when she asked if she intended to run again.
“She just told me she was thinking about it,” Badger said. “Filing for the seat started in the Fall. So it was clear to me she’s not running.”
Both candidates said they are supportive of UTLA, the teachers union, but not without limits. Petersen said he favors teacher evaluations but not solely based on standardized testing. Badger said she’s open to all approaches to education, even charters, if it helps children learn.
“I’d like to work with the union to fix problems,” Petersen said. “But blind loyalty? I wouldn’t say that. Depends on the issue; I like to look at both sides.”
Badger said, “The unions have done great work, but some of it has gone too far, especially UTLA. I’m not afraid to stand up to them. I’d love their support, but if I don’t get it, that’s fine.”
Board District 3 is now the third of LA Unified’s four districts to have a contested election next year.
In District 1, the seat held for a decade by the late Marguerite LaMotte, three people have entered the race Daymond Johnson, Erick Morales and Rodney Robinson, [smf: for the June 2015 election – there are 6 candidates for the special election this year to complete the term.] and in District 5, now represented by Bennett Kayser, SEIU Local 99 President Barbara Torres has filed to run.
Only in District 7, represented by the board’s current president, Richard Vladovic, has no challenger emerged.
JUST IN: Board Member Galatzan announces bid for third term
Posted on April 24, 2014 4:30 pm :: LA Unified school board member Tamar Galatzan, a strong supporter of Superintendent John Deasy and his efforts to reform public education, said today she plans to run for another term next year.
“I plan to seek a third term in order to continue the work I’ve been doing since voters in Board District 3 first chose me to represent them in 2007,” she said in a statement.
“As the only board member with kids in Los Angeles Unified, I want to build on my efforts to guarantee that all district students have access to effective teachers, safe campuses, cutting-edge technology and the other resources they need to thrive academically,” she added. “I also remain committed to increasing transparency and accountability in the nation’s second-largest school district.”
Representing a Valley district that has experienced an explosion of affiliated charter schools since she was first elected, Galatzan says she has “worked tirelessly” on behalf of students in the West San Fernando Valley.
Tamar Galatzan LA Unified School Board Member>>
Among her board achievements, she cites funding shade structures and air-conditioning projects for campuses in the some of the hottest areas of the Valley, equipping other schools with devices for their computer labs and holding community meetings on critical topics like the Common Core State Standards, school funding and teacher evaluations.
Her announcement means that District 3 will have at least three candidates running. Two others, Carl Petersen and Elizabeth Badger, have filed with the LA City Ethics Commission to oppose her.
In addition to serving on the LA Unified board, Galatzan, 44, is a prosecutor with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office