Los Angeles: The Scurrilous Smear Campaign Against Steve Zimmer

The run-off campaign in District 4 in Los Angeles for School Board has turned into a national issue. The race between Steve Zimmer, president of the Los Angeles school board, and his challenger, Nick Melvoin, has become an epic struggle between supporters of public schools and supporters of privatization.

Zimmer entered teaching through Teach for America but, unlike the typical TFA, he stayed in the classroom in Los Angeles for 17 years.

Blogger “Red Queen in L.A.,” a parent of children in LAUSD, says this is a dirty and disgraceful campaign, and almost all the dirt has come from Nick Melvoin’s camp. Melvoin is running a campaign based on lies, propaganda, and smears. He is smearing not only Zimmer, but public education. He doesn’t deserve to be elected.

Steve Zimmer understands the gravity of his responsibility as president of the school board. He is a man of honesty, candor, and dignity. Melvoin is a puppet of out-of-town billionaires.

She writes:

Negative Ads Undermine Democracy

Mostly, the fourth board district school board race has been one of incessant negativity and lies. Why do we permit this uncivilized behavior? I can tell you in walking my neighborhood I am met with deep weariness, wariness and hostility. This is the legacy of democracy abused. This race has been nothing if not about Big Lies and electoral abuse, and that’s a lesson being bought – and paid for – dearly.

Independent Committee expenditures (IECs, the new normal for “PAC”s) in favor of both candidates have been about the same, averaging $1.8 million dollars at the moment. Each. You read that right. Think of the children. (Think of the printers.)

What is not similar is IC expenditures in opposition to their candidate. Melvoin’s IC devotes half an order of magnitude more in slandering Zimmer than his IC spends to oppose Melvoin.

Thus quite apart from the overall total spent which is obscene, a dramatic distinction between candidates is evident from what’s being spent to smear the other guy. Zimmer’s adherents spent less than one-quarter, 25%, of that average toward denigrating their opposition ($441K). Melvoin’s buddies sunk 140% of that average spent in support of their candidate ($2.4 million) on negative ads.

In fact, the amount Zimmer’s IEC devoted to negative campaigning is so comparatively trivial, the negligible difference between both campaign’s positive expenditures, which is just 6% – this sum ($114K) is 25% of what Zimmer’s camp spent in negativity altogether. His challenger spent 5.5x as much as the incumbent in stuffing our mailboxes with scurrilous lies.

So the current overall total of IECs is $6.4 million, and the electorate has responded with a resounding: “Beat It”.
The blowback to our electoral democracy is fierce. When I try to speak with my own neighbors with whom I have worked side-by-side for over twenty years improving their neighborhood, my neighborhood, everyone’s lives, their doors stay shut and they make clear they are fortressed against hearing anything “political”.

What they have absorbed are buzz words: “bad”, “failing”, “violent”, “drop-out”, “waste”, “fraud”, “scandal” – and on and on and on.

What they have forgotten is that their littlest neighbors, my children, are part of that system being smeared. And I volunteer within that system improving it just like I work to improve our neighborhoods….

That is what is Trumpian about the might of the California Charter Schools Association’s money and their power in this battle for the school board. Intimidation, slander and ultimately electoral paralysis. They strive to overwhelm us with false equivalence such that even the stark consequence of ideological differences so riven as represented by these candidates, is obscured.

Please do not let all this money win your single democratic voice. You must turn out to the polls in order to use it. This is the one and only way to assert Resistance.



from novemoore http://ift.tt/2qDqflB


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