By Some Miracle
Usually, when I go to Sacramento, I want to take a shower afterwards. It’s not the elected officials. For the most part, and contrary to popular opinion, they’re pretty decent people. It isn’t their staffs. With some exceptions, they’re usually pretty policy wonkish. And what’s not to like about policy wonks?
It’s the education establishment lobbyists. They can be lovely people but placing them all in one room, like a committee hearing, is a bit grotesque. For an outsider, its like wandering into bullfight or an ancient Roman coliseum where slaves were being forced to fight wild animals to the death. The establishment lobbyists sit, 100 rows up, so distant and protected from the blood and guts that gets spilled down below at the local level, you wonder where and how many of them get the energy to shout and thrust their thumbs up or down.
But I digress. Yesterday was a good day. SB 955 passed out of the Senate Education Committee and made it to the floor. Two Democrats – Senators Romero and Senator Alquist voted for the bill along with the Republicans, and I commend them for their courage. The process was true theater. It came down to CTA vs. the Civil Rights community, and the leadership of LAUSD. CTA brought in the head of the AFT, Randi Weingraten, to the hearing to argue against the bill. She actually tried to make the case that protecting seniority was a civil rights issue. The debate lasted for two hours and kudos to Senator Romero for both keeping it on track and confronting every one of the many amazingly ridiculous assertions by CTA. In the end, it looked like the bill was going down in defeat. The votes weren’t there. Then, as the roll call was concluding , Senator Abel Maldonado (who wasn’t supposed to show up for reasons we won’t get into) popped in and voted ”yes”.
Now the fight heads to the Senate floor. And we’ll be there.
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