On November's ballot, tucked among the local measures affecting only Los Angeles, is curious Measure R, a plan by the Los Angeles City Council to provide each of the 15 council members an extra $570,000 in pay.
Can Los Angeles' schools be fixed by a man who loves to be loved, who with his union allies opposed education reform and whose wife is an educator with no presence in the fight for reform?
With newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa making school reform one of his key agenda items, and with education dominating the budget struggle in Sacramento, it's worth examining why the education debate usually centers on an emotional struggle over cash rather than actual reform.
In his speech to the National Education Association (NEA) a few days ago, Villaraigosa said, "Don't think that this effort to make our schools the best that they can be will come cheap. That's ludicrous, that's snake-oil salesmanship."
He's espousing a view long held by unions, including the NEA and the California Teachers Association. But the truth is that dramatically increasing classroom funding in the United States has proved surprisingly irrelevant.
Letter to the Editor.
The race for Los Angeles mayor features two consummate insiders who are close to one another ideologically and disagree on few issues, posing a question: With Sacramento politics offering a clash of political tectonic plates and big, competing reforms, why is the mayor's race lacking in big ideas?
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is picking a fight with longtime powers in Sacramento instead of trying to be everybody's pal, raising a question of whether he can bring voters along with him who are torn by their desire for good government but angry over mounting partisanship.
Voters, according to a recent Mervin Field California Poll, are open to the governor's four reform ideas heading into a probable November special election, even though voters don't personally approve of Schwarzenegger as much as they once did.
Sam Kermanian is one of many Jewish Republicans in Los Angeles reaching out to immigrants on behalf of President Bush, yet perhaps the biggest news of all is that such committed immigrant activists in the Republican Party are no longer red hot news.
Kermanian, an Iranian Jewish immigrant, is still rawly aware of how people's lives in his native Iran are under the strict control of Islamist radicals.