I check in periodically with David Tokofsky, who has represented the Eastside on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) since 1995, just to find out how long it takes to stop being considered an outsider.
For a Jewish boy on the Eastside, the answer is: more than two terms. Even now, despite winning two elections, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) has made him the target of redistricting, to insure that the next time out, someone with a Latino surname gets the job.
The political question of the week is, "What will David Tokofsky do now?" For four years, Tokofsky, the veteran teacher and former coach of Marshall High School's champion academic decathlon team, has played the role of maverick on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board. He exposed the lack of textbooks in district schools; publicized the scandal-plagued Belmont Learning Complex; crusaded against "faddish" educational philosophies; and urged an end to social promotions (implementation of which was rescinded last week by Superintendent Ruben Zacharias). Against the "Cuckoo's Nest" aura of LAUSD, Tokofsky has sounded like a visionary.