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The John Chiang campaign is claiming that an independent expenditure funded by shady billionaires and multi-millionaires backing Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign released two new ads recently that both conveniently leave out Villaraigosa’s record of fiscal mismanagement as mayor of Los Angeles. The special interest groups backing Villaraigosa have so far spent more than $11.2 million dollars.

“Despite what his special interest backers may try to say, the hallmark of Antonio Villaraigosa’s tenure as mayor of Los Angeles was an inability to balance the books that resulted in downgraded credit scores, slashed social services, and thousands of city employee layoffs,” said Fabien Levy, Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director for John Chiang’s campaign. “It may not seem like a lot of money to his billionaire buddies, but Antonio created a half a billion structural deficit for Los Angeles, while simultaneously cutting benefits and retirement security and pushing for teacher and city worker layoffs. Clearly Antonio’s allies know he can’t run his campaign on the merits of his record and are trying to buy this race for him instead.”

As mayor of Los Angeles, Villaraigosa’s schools saw negligible or little academic improvement, and a number of independent media outlets have already pointed to the inaccurate claims Villaraigosa and allies have made about graduation rates in Los Angeles. Villaraigosa was also criticized for not focusing “on Black students in his education reforms.” Also, when faced with rising deficits, Villaraigosa called for 3,500 teacher layoffs. Villaraigosa is also no friend of workers, “playing politics” with benefits and raising the retirement age, eliminating over 4,700 city jobs, and losing 1/5 of all employment in six years.

Levy added, “John Chiang is the only candidate for governor voters can trust to fight for strong investments in schools and who will support California’s working families. Because of John’s efforts, the state has been able to save money and invest more in public schools. And only John stood up to Governor Schwarzenegger when he tried to cut workers’ pay and balance the budget on the backs of public employees. He’s the one that voters can trust to be honest about his record and always fight for what’s right for Californians.”

VOICE OVER: When students were stuck in failing schools, only one candidate for governor led the fight to turn them around.

Judge ruled against Villaraigosa’s attempted takeover of LAUSD in 2006. In October 2006, the Los Angeles Unified School District, alongside Rosa Mendoza, a mother of three students in the district, filed a lawsuit against the State of California. Previously, the California legislature “gave Villaraigosa the power to control three of the city’s poorest performing high schools and the schools that feed into them” by passing Assembly Bill 1381. According to the lawsuit, “(AB 1381) creates a new governance structure for the Los Angeles Unified School District which is completely inconsistent with the constitutional… framework that governs the stat e’s schools.” In December 2006, NPR reported, “A judge has struck down a law that would’ve given the mayor of Los Angeles partial control over the nation’s second largest school district.” By ruling against Villaraigosa, Judge Dzintra Janavs said the state law “not only violated the city charter and the state constitution, but it would’ve given the mayor unprecedented power.” According to NPR,

Relations between the school board and the mayor have been bad since Villaraigosa took office and vowed to gain control of the schools as his counterparts in New York, Boston and Chicago have done. They got worse after Villaraigosa got the state legislature to give him partial control. The school board then sued, and in a not-so-subtle shot at the mayor, went ahead and hired a superintendent while Villaraigosa was out of the country.

[NPR, 12/22/2006; Los Angeles Times, 12/22/2006; Los Angeles Daily News, 10/11/2006]

LA school officials called for end to Partnership when Villaraigosa left office in 2013. In August 2012, the Daily Breeze reported that, “officials with United Teachers of Los Angeles” called for an end to the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools program when Villaraigosa left the mayoral office in 2013. According to UTLA President Warren Fletcher,

The mayor will have to make the case to the district that the partnership schools should continue… When test scores came out a couple of years ago, these schools were a little behind. Mostly, they have performed largely the same as the rest of the district. The challenges these schools faced a couple of years ago continue. They still have students with challenging educational lives… We don’t see any great rush of teachers to go to these schools. And I am not sure they have realized their goals to the extent it would justify continuing the experiment… I’ve been a teacher for 29 years and you see these things come and go. What I’ve found is a lot of reform looks good in a press release, but doesn’t really change much.

[Daily Breeze, 8/18/2012]

Labor and teachers opposed Public School Choice initiative. In August 2009, The Argonaut reported that United Teachers Los Angeles was opposed to Villaraigosa and Flores Aguilar’s Public School Choice plan, which the union said “amounts to the privatization of public schools.” According to the Los Angeles Daily News, “Labor organizations have blasted the mayor’s involvement with the proposal.” Andrea Canty, a spokeswoman for the California School Employees Association, said, “After voters decided that they did not want the mayor involved in our schools, this is his alternate route to get his takeover.” [The Argonaut, 8/20/2009; Los Angeles Daily News, 8/24/2009]

Tensions ‘grew’ with teachers unions when Villaraigosa tried to ‘seize control’ of LA schools.’ In September 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported that, “tensions grew exponentially” between Villaraigosa and teachers unions when “the mayor unsuccessfully tried to seize control of the Los Angeles Unified School District.” Reportedly, Villaraigosa believed that, “city schools needed to be dramatically overhauled because they were failing the neediest students.” Eventually, a nonprofit Villaraigosa founded “gained control of more than a dozen struggling city schools.” According to the Times, Villaraigosa also “shaped district policy by helping elect like-minded school board members.” According to The New Yorker,

Both the Los Angeles City Charter and the state constitution stipulate that the schools be controlled by an elected school board… Eli Broad, a Villaraigosa supporter, is deeply interested in education reform, and he promoted a bill in the legislature providing for mayoral control… Although Villaraigosa agreed with the mayoral-control bill’s objective, he didn’t think much of its chances and refused to lend his prestige to it. That angered Broad… Villaraigosa decided not to confront the legal obstacles head on. He might have tried to amend the City Charter with a referendum, for example, but polling had shown that mayoral control of the schools was not popular. Instead, he decided to go the legislative route in Sacramento, which he still considered his domain, and where Fabian Núñez, an ally, was Speaker. He announced the broad outlines of his plan in his State of the City address, in April 2006, and Núñez and Schwarzenegger enthusiastically endorsed the idea. But the California Teachers Association made its strong opposition plain. By June, when it was time for the bill to be introduced, it seemed to Villaraigosa that the C.T.A. had cowed much of the legislature… Villaraigosa was chastened, and since it wasn’t in the C.T.A.’s long-term interests to see Villaraigosa politically harmed, Hein came to his rescue. He helped Villaraigosa make a deal with the local teachers’ union, which was incorporated into the legislation. Mayoral control was replaced by a mayoral partnership with the superintendent, the school board, and a council of mayors (the representatives of the twenty-six municipalities that, along with the city of Los Angeles, make up the school district). Teachers would have more to say about the curriculum—something they had long sought—and the mayor would assume control of a cluster of three underperforming high schools and their feeder schools… Representatives of the school district were overwhelmed by the power of the Mayor, the Speaker, and the C.T.A. Many legislators agreed that the bill was a badly flawed and probably unconstitutional amalgam, but they were loath to vote against it.

[Los Angeles Times, 9/25/2017; The New Yorker, 5/21/2007]

8 out of 10 Partnership schools voted ‘no confidence’ in 2009. In June 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported, “At eight of the 10 campuses, the mayor’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools got a resounding thumbs down from teachers”:

Eight out of 10 schools delivered a ‘no confidence’ vote, and we’re talking landslides (84 to 17 at Santee Education Complex, 96 to 13 at Stevenson Middle School, 70 to 13 at Gompers Middle School, 61 to 8 at Markham Middle School and 184 to 15 at Roosevelt High, which the mayor himself once attended). At a ninth school, Hollenbeck Middle, there was no vote, but teachers have made their unhappiness known verbally. At the 10th school, Ritter Elementary, the partnership was supported by 68% of the faculty, but there were still major grievances. And now some teachers active in United Teachers Los Angeles are circulating the draft of a scathing letter they intend to send to Villaraigosa, telling him ‘these votes reflect concerns about the extent of your leadership’ in addressing concerns about layoffs and class size. The teachers say the mayor’s partnership is ‘in deep trouble,’ and they ‘cannot impress upon’ him ‘strongly enough’ that they’re tired of ’empty promises.’

According to Jose Lara, a Santee teacher, “I haven’t seen the training support we wanted or the local decision-making, so that’s a shambles.” Lara added, “I’ve seen [Villaraigosa] for photo ops and that’s about it. Hit and run. He takes pictures and leaves.” According to Cheryl Ortega, UTLA’s director of bilingual education, “‘I have seen nothing but obstructionism, a lack of cooperation and collaboration, disingenuousness and dishonesty,’ from the partnership.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/24/2009]

LA Times in 2009: ‘The scores at Villaraigosa’s schools fall well short of what his original rhetoric suggested.’ In August 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported, “Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa learned a major lesson in school reform Tuesday: It’s hard to fix failing schools in Los Angeles, even those under his purview”:
That insight arrived with the release of the state’s standardized test scores. They painted his reform efforts at 10 of the city’s historically low-performing schools as an inconsistent work in progress… The scores at Villaraigosa’s schools fall well short of what his original rhetoric suggested. He implied that he could deliver rapid academic gains if given control of schools in the nation’s second-largest district… Achievement levels at Villaraigosa’s schools were low: At Santee, 13% of students scored as proficient in English. And Santee’s math improvement moved the school from 1% to 3% proficient. ‘At the high school level we’ve obviously got a lot of work to do,’ said Marshall Tuck, chief executive of the mayor’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Markham Middle School in Watts declined slightly in math and reading. Scores had gone up the year before the mayoral takeover, despite a child-molestation scandal there. Ritter Elementary School in Watts had significant gains in reading, but a significant decline in math.
According to LA schools Superintendent Ramon Cortines, Villaraigosa’s results were a “very mixed bag… It is very easy to talk about gains. It is very difficult to make gains happen.” [Los Angeles Times, 8/19/2009]

LA Times in 2011: LAUSD schools performed better than Villaraigosa’s on key test scores. In August 2011, the Los Angeles Times found that, “In a surprising challenge to four school reform efforts run by outside organizations,” the Los Angeles Unified School District “outpaced” schools controlled by Villaraigosa on math and English test scores:

One of the most striking comparisons was with a group of schools under the control of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The mayor’s schools — elementary, middle and high schools — all improved less than the district’s by some key measures. The mayor had repeatedly derided the L.A. Unified School District as ineffectual when he unsuccessfully tried to take over the whole system nearly six years ago. New test scores released Monday showed that the percentage of students in low-performing district-run high schools working at a ‘proficient’ level in math increased 116% since 2008. That compared with a rise of 57% at two high schools under Villaraigosa’s purview. The figures were more nuanced in other categories. Villaraigosa expressed surprise at the results but also complimented the district’s success.

[Los Angeles Times, 8/18/2011]

LA Times in 2013: Villaraigosa’s schools performed ‘comparably’ to other school districts. In September 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported that when Villaraigosa stepped down as mayor in 2013, “The mayor’s schools overall performed comparably to district schools with similar demographics, though some saw notable improvements.” According to a Times analysis, schools managed by Villaraigosa’s non-profit, the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, had a “mixed record”:

Overall, the mayor’s schools have performed comparably to district schools with similar demographics. Some of his schools, notably 99th Street Elementary, have seen significant improvements. But others, such as Gompers Middle School and Roosevelt High, have seen comparatively modest gains. Villaraigosa sometimes exaggerates his effect: He has taken credit for the district’s massive school-construction program, although it was firmly established by the time he took office. Overall, L.A. Unified has improved slightly faster than the state, but test scores remain below the state average. And the district’s upward trend began before Villaraigosa became mayor.

According to Santee teacher Jose Lara, the partnership with Villaraigosa’s non-profit did supply teachers with laptops and “protected them from a charter-school takeover.” However, he called the experience one of “broken promises” and “photo ops.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/25/2017]

Southern California Public Radio: Villaraigosa’s ‘ambition outstripped his performance’ on education.In March 2013, Southern California Public Radio reported,

As Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa prepares to step down in June, among the achievements he takes credit for during his eight years in office is improving one institution that the law gives him no authority over: the public schools. Yet if any one policy area shows where his ambition outstripped his performance, it would be in his oversight of the city’s troubled schools. Villaraigosa campaigned, in part, on the idea that power over the city’s schools should shift to his office. ‘I’ve said that I believe that the next mayor should be involved with the schools,’ Villaraigosa said during a mayoral candidate forum in 2005. ‘And I even see a role similar to [Michael) Bloomberg in New York and (Richard) Daley in Chicago, where the mayor has oversight over the schools.’

According to Southern California Public Radio, before Villaraigosa’s non-profit, the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, took over The Santee Learning Complex, they had a “dismally low” Academic Performance Index score of 502 in 2008. This score is compared to 1,000, a perfect score. Following Villaraigosa’s take over of the school, Santee’s score rose to 612, a score Public Radio called “still way below the state average of 788.” Reportedly, “At least half of the Partnership schools are more than 100 points below the state average.” According to John Rogers, a UCLA education professor, Villaraigosa “wasn’t able to fully realize the goals he had.” [Southern California Public Radio, 3/19/2013]

Voice Over:

As Mayor of LA, Antonio Villaraigosa invested in classrooms and security.

Sentinel criticized Villaraigosa for not helping black students in LAUSD reform. In October 2007, the Los Angeles Sentinel, an African-American owned newspaper, criticized Villaraigosa for not focusing “on Black students in his education reforms for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)”:

His plan addresses specific needs of English language learners; it is imperative that Black students also receive proper attention and resources. As of this writing, the mayor has not responded… The Mayor’s outreach to Blacks was superficial with little focus on parents and other stakeholders… Apparently, Mayor Villaraigosa summoned the usual suspects to advise him on the education reform legislation. He could have sought out non-traditional Black groups and leaders, but did not do so. This would have enhanced his role in ensuring quality education for all children.

[Los Angeles Sentinel, 10/25/2007]

Sentinel: Public School Choice initiative ‘does not address the needs of Black students.’ In August 2009, the Los Angeles Sentinel, an African-American owned newspaper, reported that Villaraigosa’s Public School Choice initiative “does not address the needs of Black students.” In July 2009, The Black Education Task Force wrote a letter to the Board of Education stating their objection to the Public School Choice initiative because “the resolution fails to address the needs of Black children.” Following the passage of the Public School Resolution, the Sentinel reported, “A constituency of African American community members” requested an “emergency meeting with LAUSD Board Member Maiguerite Poindexter LaMotte to discuss their displeasure with the controversial and discriminatory School Choice resolution.” Leon Jenkins, President of the Los Angeles NAACP said he thought the Public School Choice initiative was “unacceptable” and said, “The possibility that corporate school operators could ‘cherry-pick’ the best students raises the question of what will happen to the students who are excluded from these schools.” [Los Angeles Sentinel, Accessed 3/12/2018; 8/26/2009; 8/27/2009]

Roosevelt teachers in 2009 saw ‘no improvement’ under Villaraigosa. In May 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported that teachers at Villaraigosa’s alma mater, Roosevelt High School, took a poll on the school’s performance under Villaraigosa’s control:
With 199 teachers casting a ballot, 184 expressed no confidence in the mayor’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS). Is ‘rebuke’ a strong enough word? How about ‘revolt’? ‘We basically switched one bureaucracy for another one,’ said English teacher Esteban Lopez, who sees no improvement over the way things were when Roosevelt was controlled by the Los Angeles Unified School District… Villaraigosa was anything but modest, though, in his criticism of the LAUSD and in boasting that he could do a much better job. He’s not exactly acing any tests thus far… At Roosevelt, teachers said they haven’t seen much of him since he sold them on the partnership in 2007. On that occasion, Esteban Lopez said, a mouse ran in front of the mayor as he spoke, and Villaraigosa said that was one of the problems he was going to fix. ‘The mouse is still there,’ Lopez said, ‘but [the mayor] has never come back.’
[Los Angeles Times, 5/20/2009]

Villaraigosa’s alma mater slammed his imposed reforms in 2011. In October 2011, LA Weekly reported that Roosevelt High School, Villaraigosa’s alma mater and the “flagship campus in Villaraigosa’s proud ‘Partnership for Los Angeles Schools’ program,” criticized his implemented reforms. Parents of Roosevelt students typed up a “three-page laundry list of the mayor’s ‘promises’ versus ‘reality.'” In one example, they noticed that Villaraigosa promised to “empower schools with control over school decisions.” However, they noted that in reality, the “teachers are not respected and treated as professionals,” the “principals are told what to do,” and “teachers have no voice in major decisions that are made.” At a “showdown” meeting with Villaraigosa, Roosevelt students held signs that read, “93 percent of Teachers at Roosevelt don’t have confidence in the Mayor’s Partnership.”
[LA Weekly, 10/28/2011]

Sentinel slammed LAUSD’s ‘egregious neglect of its black students’ in 2008. In May 2008, the Los Angeles Sentinel, an African American owned newspaper, published an article entitled “LAUSD’s Egregious Neglect of its Black Students”:

LAUSD seems to have no clue as how to best deal with racial/ethnic problems, especially between Blacks and Latinos… Black students continue to languish in obscurity. Only once (2001) did the Board of Education adopt policy that focused exclusively on Black students… Gang-related issues are another area where LAUSD is more spectator than leader. It lacks comprehensive, long-term prevention/intervention strategies designed to alleviate gang-related problems in the school.

[Los Angeles Sentinel, 5/22/2008]

Federal civil rights probe imposed ‘sweeping revisions’ for handling non-English speaking and black students in LAUSD in 2011. In October 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported that a “federal civil rights investigation” examined whether the Los Angeles Unified School District was “denying” any students a “quality education.” As a result of the probe, LAUSD “agreed to sweeping revisions in the way it teaches students learning English, as well as black youngsters”:

The Education Department launched the probe last year, at first to determine if students who entered school speaking limited English, most of whom are Latino, were receiving adequate instruction… Under the settlement, the district for the first time will focus on the academic progress of students judged to have adequately learned English. Many of these students subsequently flounder academically. The district will also concentrate efforts on students who have reached high school without mastering the English skills necessary to enroll in a college-preparatory curriculum and who may be at risk of dropping out. L.A. Unified also agreed to provide students learning English and black students with more effective teachers. Improved teaching would result from ‘ongoing and sustained’ training, among other potential efforts… Black students were not part of the initial inquiry, but were added to placate activists, who pointed out that African American students were, by some measures, performing at lower levels than Latino students. For that part of the inquiry, investigators compared resources at schools that serve a substantially black enrollment with those that serve a substantially white student body. They found disparities in technology and library resources, among other things.

According to Russlynn Ali, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights, at black majority schools, “We saw libraries that were woefully resourced. Books that weren’t there that were supposed to be. Books that were there and not recorded.” In addition, the federal probe found a “high proportion of black students who are suspended and expelled.” According to Ali, “I was aghast at how disproportionately African American students are disciplined in this district.” [Los Angeles Times, 10/11/2011]

Villaraigosa supported lawsuit that sought to strip job protections from teachers. In January 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that Villaraigosa “endorsed a lawsuit that seeks to overturn job protections for California teachers that are among the most extensive in the nation.” The lawsuit specifically targeted “laws that regulate laying off, firing and granting tenure to teachers.” Villaraigosa called said the case “really addresses the fundamental issue of our time.” The California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers opposed the lawsuit, arguing that, “strong job protections help attract and retain high-quality instructors.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/30/2014]

Villaraigosa considered firing 3,500 teachers due to potential $718 million budget deficit in 2008. In July 2008, NBC Los Angeles reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District was facing a $718 million deficit that could force Villaraigosa to call for 3,500 teacher layoffs. Reportedly,

Villaraigosa is expected to call on district and union leadership to collaborate on saving the schools and teachers from budget cuts and layoffs that would hurt student learning. According to the mayor’s Office, Villaraigosa will make several suggestions to minimize layoffs, including cutting administrative costs and forgoing raises for teachers. Among the more contentious suggestions, Villaraigosa’s office said he would recommend that LAUSD employees agree to salary reductions. For example, if every employee took a 3 percent pay cut this year, about 2,280 school-based jobs could be saved, according to the Mayor’s Office. Another suggestion is for district employees to forgo pay increases this year, which he says could save $65 million and about 1,100 school-based jobs. The mayor says that if LAUSD cuts an additional $25 million in administrative costs, it could save the jobs of about 290 teachers.

According to NBC Los Angeles, United Teachers Los Angeles “blasted the proposed layoffs,” saying the “district had sufficient fat in its budget that could be eliminated before firing teachers and increasing class sizes.” [NBC Los Angeles, 7/16/2009]


Graduation rates up 81%

Voice Over:

Graduation rates soared.

The Mercury News disputed Villaraigosa’s claim of doubling graduation rates as mayor. In May 2018, The Mercury News fact checked Villaraigosa’s “Three Buses” ad in which he claimed he “nearly doubled graduation rates” in Los Angeles as mayor. According to Mercury News,

The claim that he ‘nearly doubled graduation rates’ is a little more complicated. Villaraigosa didn’t run most city schools but did exert influence through the school board. During his time as mayor, the Los Angeles Unified School District graduation rate rose from 48 percent in the 2005-06 school year, according to a UC Santa Barbara study, to 70.2 percent in the 2013-14 school year, according to district data. That represents a growth of about 46 percent, not ‘nearly double.’ Villaraigosa’s campaign noted that the rate was 44 percent in 2003, according to another study, and rose to 77.3 percent by 2016 — a growth of 76 percent over that longer time frame.

[The Mercury News, 5/10/2018]

Dropout rates an institutionalized ‘fabrication’ that masks poor educational performance. The LA Weekly reported in July 2002 that it’s “possible that the dramatic improvements claimed year after year in dropout prevention are mostly statistical gamesmanship.” The Weekly writes:

The dropout-rate fabrication is so institutionalized that year after year, school districts across the state, including L.A. Unified, cite low dropout rates as a success story, a sure sign, they say, that schools have gotten better…  low test scores tell a gloomier tale.

LA Weekly reports that Los Angeles Unified never audits schools’ dropout statistics, writing that “anything goes; even outright fibbing will never be caught let alone punished… Some L.A. district officials acknowledge… that the dropout rate is misleading if not outright fraudulent.” [LA Weekly, 7/17/2002]

U.S. Department of Education: LAUSD ‘erroneously reports’ students who didn’t complete graduation requirements as graduates. In January 2018, the U.S. Department of Education found that, in the graduation rates from the class of 2013-14, the class immediately following Villaraigosa’s mayorship, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Office of Education “erroneously reported students as graduates who did not complete graduation requirements, and Los Angeles Unified included students as graduates who did not complete graduation requirements before the cohort cutoff date.” [U.S. Department of Education, 1/11/2018]

Los Angeles students most at risk of dropping out not counted in graduation rate. According to the Los Angeles Times in June 2016,

In 2014, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced a spectacular improvement in its graduation rate: Fully 77% of students who had come in as 9th graders four years earlier were now going to graduate as seniors. But there was a bit of a trick behind the number: It included only students who attended what are called “comprehensive” high schools. Those who had been transferred to alternative programs — the students most at risk of dropping out — weren’t counted. If they had been factored in, the rate would have been 67% — still good, but not nearly as flashy a number… Perhaps the newest and most widespread method that schools are using to boost graduation rates are online credit-recovery courses such as the ones that L.A. Unified offered this academic year when only about 54% of seniors were on track to graduate. After a hefty dose of online credit-recovery courses and other efforts, the latest but still preliminary figure is now reported to be 74%. These courses can be rigorous and valuable educational tools – but they also sometimes allow students to too quickly and too easily make up the courses they have failed.

[Los Angeles Times, 6/25/2016]

Los Angeles graduation rate achieved by letting student “skip large amounts of course material.” According to the Los Angeles Times in April 2017:

Last year, this page revealed problems in the online credit-recovery courses that the Los Angeles Unified School District relied on to graduate more students — in particular, those who hadn’t passed the full series of courses required to enter the state’s public colleges and universities, a new prerequisite for an L.A. Unified diploma. The course materials were rigorous enough, but students were able to skip entire units by taking simple 10-question, multiple-choice pre-tests. If they got at least six of the answers right, they were counted as completing the whole unit, even if it was a section of the course that would otherwise have required them to write essays. Soon after that editorial ran, the school board voted to raise the requirements slightly for the pre-tests — while still allowing many students to skip large amounts of course material.

[Los Angeles Times, 4/26/2016]

LAUSD had 44 percent graduation rate in 2006. In June 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that the nonpartisan Education Week found that the Los Angeles Unified School District had a 44 percent graduation rate. These results placed LAUSD “among the worst of large, urban school systems,” because “of the country’s 50 largest public school districts, only five placed lower than Los Angeles.” The state of California had a graduation rate of 71 percent which “narrowly outpaced the average for all states.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/20/2006]

School dropout rate in Los Angeles was 34.9 percent in 2008. In July 2009, LA Weekly reported that “the latest student dropout rates [at LAUSD] have cast a new pall — and prompted criticism of a two-year push by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to stanch the hemorrhaging”:

The precise Los Angeles dropout figure for 2008, as calculated by the state — 34.9 percent — jumped by nearly 10 percent from the year before. And from 2006 to 2007, dropouts in LAUSD also soared by 10 percent — in raw human numbers, that means some 20,000 students vanished from campuses from San Pedro to the San Fernando Valley. Dropouts for 2009 cannot be calculated for another year, but the fear about what is unfolding, without real-time measurements, is palpable. One top administrator labels the situation a ‘catastrophe,’ while Superintendent Ramon Cortines — addressing a recent Board of Education meeting — brands the situation ‘completely unacceptable.’

When asked why he thought students were dropping out of school in high numbers, Villaraigosa said, “Yes, I think for the longest time this school district refused to accept what five studies have said: There is a dropout crisis.” According to LA Weekly, “Under this logic, then, the existence of a crisis — or the refusal to acknowledge a crisis — is the reason for the crisis.” According to Bill Ring, a “parent and activist who was involved in the lawsuit to keep Villaraigosa from commandeering the entire district,” “People do not believe the district is doing the best it can with the money it has.” He added, “I would say there’s no trust. Parents do not trust the district to do the right thing.” [LA Weekly, 7/7/2009]

Villaraigosa acknowledged dropout rate worse than state’s estimate in 2008. In July 2008, Los Angeles Daily News reported that Villaraigosa said he “believes the dropout rate at Los Angeles schools is even worse than the dismal 33 percent estimated by state officials.” According to Villaraigosa, “I’m heartened they are highlighting the dropout issue, but I know it is higher than they are saying.” He added, “We know it’s 50 (percent) to 60 percent and in some parts of the city 65 (percent) or 70 percent.” LAUSD Senior Deputy Superintendent Ray Cortines “acknowledged that there are schools with dropout rates as high as those cited by the mayor.” According to Cortines, “In [Villaraigosa’s] schools, it is closer to 50 percent.” [Los Angeles Daily News, 7/18/2008]

LAUSD found dropout rate of 48 percent in 2008-9 school year. In December 2010, Los Angeles Daily News reported, “Fewer students are graduating from Los Angeles Unified high schools and more are dropping out, according to statewide data released Tuesday.” According to LAUSD officials, they “acknowledged that their own single-year figures for 2008-09 were actually worse than the statistics released by the state, with a lower graduation rate and a higher dropout rate”:

According to the statistics released by the California Department of Education, 69.6 percent of LAUSD’s students graduated high school in four years in 2008-09, compared to 72.4 percent in 2007-08. The same data shows that just under a third – 29.6 percent – of LAUSD’s students dropped out in 2008-09, compared to 26.4 percent in 2007-08. Using their own student data, however, LAUSD officials say 52 percent of their high school students graduated in four years in 2008-09. But they said that was a gain from 2007-08, when just 46 percent of high school students graduated in four years. According to the district’s owns data, the dropout rate dipped over the same time from 54 percent in 2007-08 to 48 percent in 2008-09. “We’re really talking about apples and oranges because we are using two very different formulas,” said Cynthia Lim, LAUSD’s executive director of data and accountability.

According to LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines, “I believe schools have worked hard, and there are some bright spots, but this is not a pretty picture.” [Los Angeles Daily News, 12/7/2010]

CA Department of Ed found 20 percent dropout rate in LAUSD in 2011. In June 2012, Los Angeles Daily News reported that the California Department of Education found that LAUSD’s class of 2011 had a 61.6 percent graduation rate and 20.6 percent dropout rate. This graduation rate was down from 62.4 percent the previous year. Statewide, “17.3 percent of students who started ninth grade in 2007 graduated with their class in 2011, a uptick of 1.5 percent. The dropout rate dipped 2.2 points to 14.4 percent.” However, according to Arun Ramanathan, executive director of The Education Trust-West, “Even though the rates are improving, at the rate California is going, it will take us 13 years to close the graduation gap between Latina and African-American students and their white peers.” She added, “Tens of thousands of dropouts represent a large-scale tragedy for the California economy and our state’s future prosperity.” [Los Angeles Daily News, 6/27/2012]

Voice Over:

Antonio for Governor



Background on Villaraigosa business ad:



Only one candidate expanded career training and apprenticeships

Voice Over:

Only one candidate for governor brought business and labor together to expand career training and apprenticeships.

Villaraigosa ‘disappointed’ unions by laying off city workers as mayor. In October 2017, The Sacramento Bee reported that Villaraigosa began his professional career has a “bargainer for the teachers union.” However, as mayor, Villaraigosa “disappointed some unions representing city workers when, in the depths of the economic recession, he laid off employees, curtailed services and extended early retirements to cut costs.” [The Sacramento Bee, 10/5/2017]

Union workers compared Villaraigosa to Scott Walker following pension cuts. In October 2017, The Sacramento Bee reported that, as mayor, Villaraigosa “sought changes to the pension system — requiring employees to work longer and pay more into their retirement.” Following these changes, union workers “made unflattering comparisons between the former labor organizer and Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker, sending out fliers with pictures of the two under the headline ‘Separated at birth.’” [The Sacramento Bee, 10/5/2017]

Union workers protested outside of Villaraigosa’s house over pension reform in 2012. In November 2012, LA Weekly reported that labor unions protested outside of Villaraigosa’s house on Thanksgiving Eve over pension reform. Reportedly, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan issued a pension reform plan that he hoped to put on the ballot in May 2013:

The ‘candlelight vigil,’ which was organized by Keep L.A. Strong, an organization of unions and community groups working to stop the Riordan measure, took place last night at The Getty House, the mayoral residence in Windsor Square. City workers from such unions as SEIU Local 721, the Teamsters, and the Coalition of L.A. City Unions showed up with candles and an over-sized letter signed by union members that they hand delivered to the mayor’s door. Riordan wants to replace the city’s pension program with a 401(k) plan for new city employee hires. He also wants current city workers to contribute more to their pension plans.

According to L.A. City sanitation worker Simboa Wright, “The mayor hasn’t said a word about Riordan’s unjust plan to destroy our city and our future.” Wright added, “Will he stand with city workers or will he throw us under the rich man’s bus?” [LA Weekly, 11/22/2013]

Union leaders: Villaraigosa demonstrated a ‘failure of leadership.’ In April 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that Los Angeles union leaders “distributed bilingual fliers accusing Villaraigosa and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the city’s top budget official, of breaking their promises to employees.” According to the fliers, Villaraigosa demonstrated a “failure of leadership” by “not more aggressively pursuing those who owe the city money.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/3/2012]

AFSCME criticized Villaraigosa as ‘erratic,’ with ‘no mastery of the details.’ In October 2017, The Sacramento Bee reported that Cheryl Parisi, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 36 and chair of the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, recalled working with Villaraigosa’s office in 2009, when he faced a major budget deficit and approved layoffs that triggered increased costs for the city. According to Parisi, Villaraigosa was “erratic” when the city “needed a steady hand.” Parisi continued, “Times like that show who you are, what your values are and how you respond to crisis… In my mind there just seemed to be no mastery of the details.” [The Sacramento Bee, 10/5/2017]

In 2010, AFSCME said Villaraigosa was ‘playing politics’ with union benefits. In February 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported on Villaraigosa’s proposal to slash city jobs. Cheryl Parisi, chairperson of the Coalition of L.A. City Unions and executive director of AFSCME, said of Villaraigosa, “The mayor is issuing sound bites, not a plan. Our fiscal problems will not be solved by threatening the services our communities rely on and the workers who provide them.” The Los Angeles Times reported that Parisi suggested “the mayor was playing politics.” [Los Angeles Times, 2/20/2010]

AFSCME slammed Villaraigosa in 2012 for proposed changes to retirement age and failing to pay raises to 20,000 workers. In March 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that the City of Los Angeles could “no longer afford to pay raises that are due to roughly 20,000 of its workers July 1.” According to City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who said he was acting on the instructions of Villaraigosa and the rest of the city’s negotiating committee, negotiations were needed between the city and the Coalition of L.A. City Unions in order to confront a “$220 million budget shortfall.” According to David Sanders, regional director for the cities division of Service Employees International Union Local 721, “In no way whatsoever would we agree to reopen the contract… We went through this process with Miguel, and we negotiated in good faith. For him to renege on that, it lacks integrity on his part.” Following Santana’s announcement, AFSCME issued a statement saying,

In a new low, Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana made an announcement to the press in late March – before speaking to the Coalition of LA City Unions – that the City ‘can no longer afford to pay raises that are due to roughly 20,000 of its workers July 1.’ Then, adding insult to injury, Mayor Villaraigosa threw another bomb when he told the LA Times in late March that he is prepared to put a measure on the city ballot to raise the retirement age of new hires ‘if the City Council refuses to enact such a proposal.’ The mayor even referenced the extreme anti-worker pension measures in San Jose and San Diego as models for LA. Remember, this is the mayor who campaigned on his background as a labor organizer. Moreover, he is going to be chairing the Democratic National Convention this summer. With friends like these, as the saying goes, who needs enemies?… By contrast, the City has not taken even the most basic steps, such as collecting huge amounts of debt owed to the City. Council 36 Executive Director Cheryl Parisi, who sits on a commission appointed by the City Council in 2010, says the City would create at least $350 million in new revenue simply by going after uncollected fees and better managing its finances and contracts with local businesses. Message to the mayor: It’s high time for the City to ‘step up to the plate.’

Additionally, in April 2012, AFSCME president Alice Goff responded to Villaraigosa’s proposal to reform pensions and cut jobs in the LAPD. Goff said, “This is a ridiculous move.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/6/2012; AFSCME, Accessed 3/12/2018; Fraternal Order of Police, 4/30/2012]

AFSCME executive director called Villaraigosa’s proposed layoffs ‘unconscionable.’ In March 2012, CBS Los Angeles reported that Villaraigosa called for “layoffs of city workers as part of his budget next month, but wouldn’t specify how many would jobs would be slashed.” In response, AFSCME Executive Director Cheryl Parisi “urged Villaraigosa to enact the recommendations of the Commission on Revenue Efficiency before laying off city workers.” According to CBS Los Angeles, Parisi called the layoffs “unconscionable.” [CBS Los Angeles, 3/29/2012]

AFSCME president said Villaraigosa’s layoffs would mostly affect minorities and women. In May 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that, “labor unions representing Los Angeles city workers are accusing Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of waging war against women” because “most of his proposed layoffs would hit jobs traditionally held by female workers”:

In his proposed budget now under review by the City Council, Villaraigosa calls for eliminating 231 filled positions. Individual employees who would lose jobs have not been identified, but roughly 90% of the positions targeted are clerk, secretarial and other jobs mostly held by women. If approved, the job cuts would follow a pattern set two years ago, when women made up less than a third of the city’s total workforce but constituted 54% of the layoffs called for by Villaraigosa, according to records. Dozens of child-care workers and library employees were among those let go… Alice Goff, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3090, which represents clerical employees, said her members, who are predominantly minority and female, have been hit disproportionately hard by the cuts.

[Los Angeles Times, 5/14/2012]

SEIU slammed Villaraigosa in 2012 for ‘flying all over the country’ while unions struggled. In April 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that Service Employees International Union Local 721 emailed members of City Hall “criticizing Villaraigosa for pushing City Hall layoffs and a hike in the retirement age for newly hired city workers”:

Titled ‘Mayor Two-Face is at it Again,’ the email offers a statement from city equipment mechanic Ray Rice, demanding to know whether Villaraigosa, who has traveled out of Southern California 11 times so far this year, views city employee unions as partners or as enemies. ‘I suspect the Mayor doesn’t know. That’s because while we’ve been working hard to serve the citizens of Los Angeles, he’s been flying all over the country…,’ Rice wrote. ‘Maybe if he’d spend half as much time running the city as he does running the upcoming Democratic convention he’d know where he stands.’ The exchange shows how rapidly relations have deteriorated between the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which includes SEIU and five other labor groups, and the mayor, who was recently named chairman of the Democratic National Convention… Relations soured last month after city officials announced they lack the money for this year’s pay increases. On Thursday, Villaraigosa went further, telling a business audience he wants ‘a large number’ of layoffs, and to delay retirement for new city workers from age 55 to 67.

[Los Angeles Times, 4/3/2012]

Striking workers accused Villaraigosa of being a ‘scab’ for crossing picket lines. In August 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Engineers and Architects Assn. ended a two-day strike for better raises for the union’s 7,500 workers. Reportedly, Villaraigosa “shrugged off union charges that he was a ‘scab’ for crossing the picket line.” At a news conference, Villaraigosa “downplayed the strike’s impact on the city,” saying, “there has not been a massive job action here, let’s be clear about that.” [Los Angeles Times, 8/24/2006]

Voice Over:

Invested in transportation

Black leaders opposed Villaraigosa’s Measure J transportation tax in 2012. In November 2012, PR News Channel published a press release from the Crenshaw Subway Coalition entitled, “Black leaders vehemently oppose Mayor Villaraigosa’s transportation tax Measure J”:

In a unique display of unity, a broad cross-section of African-American leaders are publicly opposed to L.A. County Measure J, which is championed by MTA board member and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Most of the black leaders are particularly troubled that the sales tax extension, which is projected to generate $90 billion dollar in revenue for MTA, lacks any dedicated resource to addressing the African-American community’s request on the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line. In May of 2011, over 600 black leaders swarmed the MTA board room to support a motion by MTA Board Member Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to address the two pressing design issues with the light rail project, which is scheduled to begin heavy construction in the latter part of 2013: 1) to add a station at Leimert Park Village, the African-American cultural center of Southern California; 2) to place the line underground for 11-blocks on Crenshaw Blvd to avoid construction and operation impacts that will kill LA’s last black business corridor. The motion failed by 4 votes. Opposition to the motion by Mayor Villaraigosa, who controls four votes on the MTA board, was cited as the reason it failed. ‘Members of our community vividly remember Mayor Villaraigosa’s betrayal of the Leimert Park Village and Crenshaw community,’ said Damien Goodmon, Chair of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition. ‘We have regularly sought compromise since May of 2011, but Villaraigosa has remained uninterested. Measure J is simply the latest form of disrespect. It is quite audacious to propose a $90 billion sales tax increase on South L.A. that returns not a penny for the transportation requests of our community.’

[PR News Channel, 11/5/2012]

Environmentalist: Villaraigosa’s support for railyard ‘defines environmental racism.’ In March 2013, Southern California Public Radio reported that environmentalists said Villaraigosa was “tarnishing his environmental legacy by supporting a $500 million railyard that would serve the ports.” According to the Los Angeles Times, the railyard in question, known as the Southern California International Gateway, was proposed as a “153-acre freight transfer point where trucks could deliver containers from the nearby docks to trains ready to haul the cargo across the country.” The railyard was put on hold by an LA County Superior Court judge in April 2016 because “the Port of L.A. and BNSF Railway overstated its environmental benefits and underestimated its effect on noise, truck traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.” According to Angelo Logan, an activist with East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, the railyard “would worsen air pollution in nearby poor and minority neighborhoods.” Logan explained, “It defines environmental racism… It’s going to be a mark on [Villaraigosa’s] record for a lifetime.” [Southern California Public Radio, 3/18/2013; Los Angeles Times, 4/6/2016]

Man and company behind ‘decade of legal skirmishes’ with Metro contributed $87,600 to Villaraigosa in 2017. On December 21, 2017, Ronald Tutor contributed $29,200 to Villaraigosa’s gubernatorial campaign. Tutor’s company, Tutor Perini Corporation further contributed $29,200 to Villaraigosa on March 20, 2017, and December 21, 2017. In January 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported,

Local transportation officials on Thursday hired one of the more controversial names in California construction to build a $2.4-billion section of the Westside subway, which will connect Century City to downtown Los Angeles. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board of directors voted 8-0 to award a $1.37-billion contract to a joint venture led by Sylmar-based Tutor Perini Corp. and Chief Executive Ronald Tutor. The board’s vote marks a form of redemption for Tutor, whose work on L.A.’s first subway a generation ago sparked a protracted legal battle that, until now, had left him excluded from Metro’s rail building boom… In 1995, Tutor-Saliba-Perini sued Metro, claiming $16 million in alleged unpaid expenses for work on three subway stations along Wilshire Boulevard. Metro filed a cross-complaint several years later, alleging that Tutor had demanded money for illegitimate claims. After a decade of legal skirmishes, a judge ruled in 2001 that the firm and its attorneys had destroyed and withheld documents, turned in false claims for payment and used minority subcontractor companies as fronts. A jury awarded Metro about $29 million, plus legal fees and other expenses.

[California Secretary of State, 12/21/2017; 3/20/2017; Los Angeles Times, 1/26/2017]


200,000 living wage jobs

Voice Over:

And helped create over 200,000 living wage jobs.

Unemployment was 14.5 percent in 2010 under Villaraigosa. In September 2010, CNBC reported,

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles currently stands at 14.5 percent, much higher than the 9.6 percent national average and the 12 percent unemployment rate for the state of California as a whole. Villaraigosa blamed the high unemployment rate on the downtick of three of the city’s main industries: construction, imports and film. ‘These are three key areas where you see a drop and a big reason why we have an unemployment rate of 14.5 percent,’ Villaraigosa said… In an effort to attract more small businesses to the Los Angeles area, which will create more jobs, Villaraigosa has declared a business tax holiday for any business that wants to move to LA.

[CNBC, 9/22/2010]

Between 2007 and 2013, Villaraigosa’s budgets slashed 4,759 city jobs. According to the approved City of Los Angeles’ 2013-2014 budget, between 2007 and 2013, Villaraigosa cut a total of 4,759 authorized city jobs. This figure does not include job cuts in the Los Angeles Police Department or in “proprietary departments,” including: Airports, Water and Power, Harbor, “and the city’s two pension funds.” [City of Los Angeles, 5/29/2013; Data LA, 11/30/2016]

Villaraigosa cut 1/3 of civilian jobs from 2008 to 2012.In April 2012, Huffington Post reported that Villaraigosa released a $7.2 billion budget that called for “laying off civilian members of the Los Angeles Police Department”:

Of the 669 positions that would be eliminated in the budget, 231 are currently filled with employees. About two-thirds of those jobs belong to clerks, secretaries and administrative staffers at the LAPD. Without those employees, it could take longer to get copies of reports, though duties will not be shifted to sworn officers. The remaining layoffs will take place in: Animal Services, City Clerk’s Office, Ethics, Office of Finance, Fire Department, General Services, Information Technology Agency, Neighborhood Empowerment, Personnel and Street Services. In the last four years, the city’s civilian workforce has been reduced by one-third.

[Huffington Post, 4/22/2012]

Forbes blamed Villaraigosa for LA losing 1/5 of all employment in six years in 2010. In June 2010, Forbes reported that Los Angeles, a “once powerful business culture,” was “sputtering” under Villaraigosa:

The area now has one-fourth as many Fortune 500 companies as Houston, and fewer than much-smaller Minneapolis or Charlotte, N.C… Once a reliable generator of new employment, over the past decade L.A. has fared worse than any of the major Sun Belt metros–including hard-hit Phoenix–losing over 167,000 jobs between 2000 and 2009… L.A. may not be Detroit, and probably never will be, but its once proud and highly diversified industrial base is eroding rapidly, losing one-fifth of all its employment since 2004. In contrast to the rest of the country, unemployment still continues to rise. To give you an idea how much L.A. has sunk, look to this year’s Forbes best city rankings, which measures both short- and mid-term job growth. Once perched in the upper tier of major cities, Los Angeles now ranks a pathetic 59th out of 66 large metro areas, far below not only third-place Houston and fourth-place Dallas but also New York and even similar job-losing giants like San Francisco and Philadelphia… Jose de Jesus Legaspi, a prominent local developer, pins much of the blame for this on what he describes as ‘a parochial political kingdom’–with Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor since 2005, wearing the tinsel crown. A sometimes charming pol utterly bereft of economic acumen, Villaraigosa is a poor manager but he is highly skilled at self-promotion. His idea of building an economy revolves around subsidizing downtown developers and pouring ever more funds into the pockets of public sector workers. No surprise then that L.A. suffers just about the highest unemployment rate of any of the nation’s 10 largest cities outside Detroit. One in five county residents receive some form of public aid.

[Forbes, 6/15/2010]

Villaraigosa proposed ‘painful’ layoffs ahead of potential $600 million budget deficit in 2010. In April 2010, CNN reported that Villaraigosa proposed “‘painful’ layoffs and service cuts to close a $485 million budget deficit”:

The budget proposal for the 2010-2011 fiscal year calls for ‘initiating layoffs of more than 800 employees’ and reduces the number of full-time employees by some 3,300 when compared to year-ago levels… California’s economy has been especially hard-hit by the economic downturn. While the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 9.7 percent in March, the Golden State checked in at 12.6 percent. Coupled with collapse in the state’s real estate market, tax receipts are down significantly.

According to the Huffington Post in July 2010, Los Angeles’ budget deficit heading into budget negotiations was potentially as large as $500-$600 million. The Huffington Post noted, “The great promise of Los Angeles’ first Latino mayor in over 100 years has vanished in a cloud of disappointment and embarrassment.” [CNN, 4/21/2010; Huffington Post, 7/1/2010]

Villaraigosa asked LA City Council to declare fiscal emergency in 2009 to bypass unions for layoffs and furloughs; renewed in 2011. In May 2009, the Los Angeles Daily News reported that, “Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa asked the City Council on Tuesday to declare a state of fiscal emergency,” because Los Angeles “could run out of cash” between November and February. Declaring a fiscal state of emergency would allow the city to “impose furloughs and layoffs on its 40,000-member work force without union consent.” According to the Daily News, the fiscal emergency declaration was “unprecedented in the city’s history.” In a letter to the city council, Villaraigosa wrote, “The gravity of the fiscal emergency that we face is enormous.” According to the Daily News,

The proposal drew the ire of the Coalition of City Unions, which represents 22,000 workers. The group has been meeting with the mayor for a year to discuss reducing the city work force. ‘We’re outraged,’ spokeswoman Barbara Maynard said. ‘We had worked out what we thought was a comprehensive plan that had minimal effect on services to the public, minimal effect on unemployment and worked to reduce the city work force. He decided to abruptly abandon that vision and come up with this new vision that cuts front-line workers, adds to the unemployment lines and hurts services to the public.’ The declaration of a fiscal emergency also would allow the city to shrink the work force through targeted layoffs, starting with 1,000 positions.

In May 2011, the Daily Breeze reported that the LA City Council voted to “continue the state of fiscal emergency.” [Los Angeles Daily News, 5/12/2009; Daily Breeze, 5/27/2011]

Villaraigosa created $100 million credit bubble by delaying personnel costs. In January 2012, LA Weekly published an article entitled, “Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Screws Over L.A. With $100 Million Credit Bubble That Could Burst Once He Leaves Office.” According to the article, the Los Angeles Times exposed some “politically motivated, built-to-fail budget decisions by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa… ones that perfectly align with the principles of the 1 percent.” According to the referenced Los Angeles Times exposé:

To weather the Great Recession, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushed thousands of employees out the door at City Hall in what he has described as one of the tougher choices on his watch. But Villaraigosa has also relied on a second, less understood strategy for keeping the city in the black: postponing at least $100 million in personnel costs until after he leaves office, a Times analysis found. Working in sync with the City Council, Villaraigosa has delayed paying for such obligations as police overtime, unused sick time, contractually agreed-upon wage hikes and an early retirement program that gave 2,400 employees full pensions five years ahead of schedule. The next mayor, and possibly the one after that, will inherit the tab. And, as a result of another mayoral initiative, there could be less City Hall cash at that point to pay the bills, because Villaraigosa also wants to eliminate a business tax that generates $439 million annually… But even some of Villaraigosa’s allies are questioning whether the public has been misled about the health of the city’s finances.

According to Investment banker Austin Beutner, Villaraigosa’s previous “job czar,” Villaraigosa’s budget practices resembled “Enron.” Beutner added, “That’s actually fraud, right?”

Beutner was referring specifically to one of the more glaring examples of the city’s deferred employee obligations: thousands of hours of police overtime. To avoid paying cops time-and-a-half when they work extra hours, Villaraigosa and the council have been allowing officers to pile up steadily increasing amounts of credit in an ‘overtime bank.’ Accrued overtime is frequently paid when an officer resigns or retires. That delay provides short-term budget relief, but is more expensive because the later payout is at the officer’s final — and typically highest — compensation level. When Villaraigosa took office in 2005, each officer could bank up to 96 hours of unpaid overtime, budget officials said. Under the latest police contract, the maximum is now 800 hours. Los Angeles Police Department officers are continually asked to take time off as an alternative to cash overtime, said Maritta Aspen, a budget analyst in the City Administrative Office. Yet even with that aggressive cost-cutting strategy, the bank has grown by 675,000 overtime hours in the last two years alone. By mid-November, officers were owed a total of 1.5 million hours of overtime, a sum worth $78 million, nearly double the amount in 2009.

[LA Weekly, 1/3/2012; Los Angeles Times, 1/3/2012]

Voice Over:

Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor




For more news, please follow John Chiang on Twitter at @JohnChiangCA, on Facebook at John Chiang CA, or by visiting www.johnchiang.com.

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  • Jas says:

    Villaraigosa will create an explosion to the Me-Too movement, everyone of his former girlfriends ( Boyfriends) /appointees, will seek Lawyer Gloria Alred to represent them and write a book about illegal/ questionable sex allegations against Villaraigosa…. in which could of stopped the homeless atom but instead ignored this and now look what the state is faced with..Unemployment/great recession only grew worse with Mr. V at helm, hence state lost over 10,000 businesses which fled the state.