Big week in LA!
First up, Hayes and Alissa did their civic duty and joined LAHSA’s Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. We talk about their experiences and why Hayes has been losing sleep ever since. Alissa wonders about the effectiveness of organizing the count during one of the coldest weeks of the year and – as it so happened – one of the wettest as well. There were reports of sweeps in Koreatown the day of the count that – whether it was the product of coordination or the lack thereof – unfortunately mar Angelenos efforts to help out their unhoused neighbors.
Next – the strike ends with a marathon, 21-hour negotiating session at City Hall. With their 6 day action, teachers successfully negotiated a hard cap on class sizes and the hiring of hundreds of additional nurses and librarians. Given that pay remains generally unchanged from the previous negotiations, Hayes wants to know: why was a strike necessary to achieve this? Alissa feels like it was a failure of leadership, and Hayes points out that Garcetti has been relentlessly promoting the necessity of his own involvement in bringing a successful resolution between the two parties.
Scott says that the strike vindicated the Union’s claims that the school district was being intransigent in the face of negative student outcomes and – as they frequently charged – that the district was holding onto money that could be used for this purpose. Scott wants to know why it was so important for LAUSD to be able to independently raise classroom sizes – which ended up being the final sticking point. Hayes says that was what Austin Beutner was brought to do, that he was supposed to take the hardest line possible with respect to the district’s financials.
Then we discuss the strike mediation’s implications for Garcetti’s national ambitions. Alissa points out that the mayor has used the negotiations as a launching pad for his “mayors get things done” message on the national stage. Hayes reads a bit from what Scott described as Garcetti’s “Beto-esque livejournaling” in the Daily News. Hayes takes umbrage at the notion that there are not real divisions between different parts of America, or even different parts of Los Angeles. Then, we jump into Garcetti’s unfortunate coinage: “Anxcitement.” Garcetti thinks that we’re all too anxcited, and that is definitely a thing that is going to catch on.
There are some election hopefuls to discuss! Mark Ridley-Thomas is running for CD10 – potentially swapping seats with Herb Wesson who is running to replace Ridley-Thomas on the Board of Supervisors. But! Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’s wayward son Sebastian has been carrying on, working for the LAUSD as a lobbyist when the legislature released their finding that sexual harassment allegations against Sebastian were credible. We talk about the dishonest way that Sebastian Ridley-Thomas left Sacramento and the way that his father has been helping him keep things quiet (and find jobs) ever since.
Also running to replace Ridley-Thomas with the county is Jan Perry, a former councilwoman and enemy of Herb Wesson – who used the city’s political redistricting process to strip Perry’s CD9 of most of its downtown electorate, which was handed over to José Huizar – who’s not in this for the money, as well we know.
But there’s also Adam Schiff, congressmember out of CA’s 28th district who has become a superstar in the age of Trump as the now-head of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff is apparently looking into a run for president, but Scott thinks he could be vulnerable at home. Alissa thinks no one here really knows who he is, but Hayes says his constant TV exposure is at odds with, for example, Joe Crowley, and gives him a buffer from a challenge to the left. Scott thinks that Schiff’s district contains the most progressive part of Los Angeles, and a district that, in its youth and widespread gentrification, is similar to the district that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez carried last November.
Congestion pricing goes down in flames at the Metro Board! One week after we discussed CEO Phil Washington’s righteous rhetoric around charging drivers for the social costs of driving, we found out quickly that Metro’s Directors are not having it. Mike Bonin, Paul Krekorian and Sheila Kuehl were essentially the only ones who supported the proposal. Janice Hahn gave a characteristically bizarre statement about “emergency bloodmobiles.” Anyway, sorry, folks, climate change it is!