Election Brings Changes to LAUSD, LAPD

By City News Service

Voters on Tuesday shook up the Los Angeles Unified School District Board, creating a four-member majority of charter school supporters with the election of Kelly Gonez and Nick Melvoin, meanwhile Los Angeles police officers facing disciplinary action will now have the choice to have their case heard by an all-civilian panel with the passage of Measure C.

 

LA Unified

A pair of candidates heavily backed by charter-school proponents will be taking over seats on the Los Angeles Unified School District board, potentially signaling a major policy shift in the nation’s second-largest school district.

Despite topping a four-candidate field in the March primary, LAUSD board president Steve Zimmer couldn’t repeat that success in Tuesday’s runoff, and he was soundly defeated by teacher/attorney Nick Melvoin.

In District 6, meanwhile, another charter-school-backed candidate, Kelly Gonez, prevailed in a much tighter race over union-backed Imelda Padilla in the battle for the vacant seat. With all precincts reporting, Gonez finished with a 748-vote advantage. According to the Los Angeles City Clerk’s Office, nearly 40,000 ballots from across the city still need to be tallied from Tuesday’s election, but it’s unknown how many of those are from LAUSD District or whether the outcome of the race might be affected.

Assuming there is no change, Gonez and Melvoin will join incumbents Monica Garcia and Ref Rodriguez to create a four-member majority of charter-school supporters on the board.

With the unions and well-heeled backers of charter-school expansion pouring big money into the races, Tuesday’s runoff became what is believed to be one of the most expensive school board elections in history, with an estimated $15 million being spent by and on behalf of the various candidates.

 

LAPD

Los Angeles police officers facing disciplinary hearings will have a choice of appearing before an all-civilian review board or a panel that includes two command-level officers, thanks to voters’ approval of a ballot measure condemned by critics as a weakening of the LAPD’s disciplinary system.

The LAPPL argued the current system is unfair because of the belief that the police chief has undue influence on sworn members of board of rights panels.

Under the just-passed measure, an officer facing disciplinary action will be able to choose whether the case will be reviewed by an all-civilian panel or a traditional board with two sworn officers and one civilian.

A host of community organizations spoke out against Measure C, saying it was an effort by the LAPPL to weaken the department’s disciplinary process. They also argued that it was crafted without any significant community input.

“Measure C creates an inconsistent disciplinary process that protects cops found guilty of serious acts of misconduct and reverses decades of work to reform LAPD,” said Karren Lane, vice president of policy at the Community Coalition.

The council placed the measure on the ballot in the face of a staff report that found civilians serving on board of rights panels have consistently voted for lighter penalties compared to officers on the panels.

 

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May 18, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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