" , , , Forces that have been impatient with the pace of reform feel that they have won a victory, because they were never entirely sold on Superintendent Brewer, although he vigorously defends his record . . ."
Bobbi Fiedler, who rode an anti-school busing platform to political prominence, stood out as the potential vanguard for Jewish conservatives when The Jewish Journal profiled her as its first cover story in February 1986. The Journal recently caught up with the still-active Fiedler, 69, between civic activities.
What a difference a day makes.
In 24 little hours, the L.A. school board journeyed last week from chaos to harmony; from nothing to a November ballot measure; from no new taxes to a bond measure that will ask voters to raise their property taxes for schools "one last time."
If voters go for it, these local school bonds would be the fourth in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) since 1997, and would raise $3.985 billion to pay for new and repaired schools. Part of the money is needed to make up for the feverishly rising cost of school construction; the rest would fund a program that has expanded to some $15.2 billion, perhaps the nation's largest ongoing public works project outside of Iraq.
New York Times reporter Judith Miller went to jail this week for refusing to reveal confidential sources. The attorney for Miller and the Times is Floyd Abrams, who spoke with The Journal about the case, about his career, and also about his new book, "Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment."
Miller faced imprisonment after the U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to hear her appeal and also an appeal by another reporter, Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine. A judge had held both reporters in contempt for not talking to the grand jury probing an alleged leak by someone in the Bush administration. The investigation centers on who may have violated federal law by disclosing the identity of a covert CIA agent. The leak of the agent's name, Valerie Plame, could have been retaliation, because it occurred shortly after Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, became a public critic of the Bush administration.
Cooper avoided jail time after agreeing to testify. He said his confidential source had, at the last moment, given him clearance to answer questions. Miller could remain in custody for as long as four months - until the grand jury completes its term.
In the interview, Abrams also talked of the Jewish perspective in his legal work, and about his role this year as an adviser to a Columbia University committee assembled following high-profile allegations of campus anti-Semitism.
The family of an Israeli immigrant killed by Burbank police is pursuing a $51 million wrongful-death claim against the cities of Burbank and Los Angeles. Assaf Deri, 25, died a year ago when Burbank undercover police officers shot him in an alley in North Hollywood.
Attorneys for the family said they filed their claim late last month, just prior to the one-year anniversary of Deri's death, but the filing could not be verified on Friday, when the family went public with the legal action.
The adoring crowd, a beaming Antonio Villaraigosa, a message of inclusiveness and leadership -- the image could have been from four years ago, when Villaraigosa's campaign for mayor energized much of Los Angeles.
But this time, Villaraigosa also got the more votes than the other guy, and then some, scoring an astounding 59 percent, to make incumbent James K. Hahn a one-term mayor.
Under a clear night sky, framed against a canopy of downtown skyscrapers, Villaraigosa projected energy and hope amid cheers that drowned out question marks and rumblings of unease in his very different, second-time run for mayor.
You don't have to go far to hear complaints about the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD), the city's beleaguered public school system, nor very far to catch grumbling about Mayor James K. Hahn. But linking the two is a stretch for many, because Los Angeles' mayor has no authority over the city's schools -- none at all.
Yet one challenger in particular, Bob Hertzberg, has made LAUSD the centerpiece of his campaign by pledging, somehow, to break up the nation's second-largest school system. Politically, the strategy isn't off the wall.