You got to laugh a little at how Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa responded to the Daily News’ high-profile campaign to get back to work and “fix this broken city.”
He flunked the test and dropped out. Some things never change.
The eight-week challenge to the mayor ended with a front page column by Editor Carolina Garcia and an overall grade on his report card of “poor.”
The report card on the editorial page rates him “dismal” on DWP and running his bloated office staff, “poor” on land use policies and pension reform, “fair” on economic development and “good” on public safety and education. Nothing he did got the highest mark of “super.”
“Villaraigosa and his staff responded at first, explaining, pointing out and taking credit for some progress on the myriad issues pushing the city to the brink of bankruptcy,” Garcia wrote.
“But like all things related to this mayor, the hot, rapid response has fizzled. His interest has flagged and again we see a rudderless City Hall.
:”Here’s a word of advice: The Daily News is not going away. We are not going to stop.
“We will relentlessly press him and future mayors to fix our problems. We are a broken city. If in doubt, consider the looming threat of draconian budget cuts on city services, outrageous pension benefits that will eat one-third of the city’s tax-based revenue, an unwieldy staff size and general lack of leadership. Is this city alone or among the few with these problems? No, it is not. And that is no comfort. We must act, and as the editorial board of the Daily News, we urge the mayor to commit fully and wholly to fixing a broken Los Angeles.”
For its part, the LA Times has all but ignored the fact LA is a broke and broken city but it has contributed to the public debate on the future of the schools by breaking through the wall of secrecy on the performance of classroom teachers.
Publication of extensive standardized test data on how 6,000 teachers’ students performed over time using value-added analysis has sparked a national debate on how educators are evaluated.
Negotiations now are under way in LA to get rid of the meaningless “stulling” evaluation now used to obscure whether teachers are doing the jobs and establish a comprehensive evaluation system used test data along with many other criteria.
The Times editorialized at length on Sunday even as other viewpoints are surfacing as part of the larger debate on how to improve our schools.
With school starting today, Scott Folsom’s 4LAKids weighed in on the subject over the weekend by publishing two different points of view on education reform.
What we are seeing is a thousand fires of public discontent inflaming a level of civic engagement and discussion unseen for a long, long time.
This is healthy for us all unlike the toxic conflicts over mosques near ground zero and burning the Quran.
America is undergoing fundamental economic changes that require a radical rethinking of our society. The passion for change has been sparked from the grassroots aided by the power of the Internet and now the mainstream corporate media is paying attention as evidenced by the our local newspapers attention to the state of our city and schools.
The political leadership at all levels has failed us — a verdict that nearly everyone has reached. The pressure for change is coming from the bottom up and nothing can stop it because the problems are intensifying.
It is a dangerous time. It is all too easy for those who have failed us to exploit our anger and prejudices. Soon enough, we will find out what kind of people we really are.