But for Cortines to have done so probably would have given the council aggregate a misleading notion of where the current top LAUSD power really lies. Which seems to be in Miller.
The absence of anyone Hispanic in the tiny LAUSD delegation did little to please council members, who have not all come to terms with Zacarias’ abrupt ouster. ”Your [new school] plan will not work in my district,“ Hernandez said -- and his district contains Belmont. Padilla warned, ”Too often in my district, the LAUSD has plans to build in advance of community outreach.“
And Pacheco openly warned the LAUSD to keep its hands off the old Crown Coach plant property -- once planned for a controversial prison, and now, after an extensive cleanup, the most attractive industrial site in the 14th District.
The three African-American members also seemed irritated -- Nate Holden, in particular, warned that he didn‘t want to see the LAUSD planning schools at the expense of local housing.
Nine of the 15 members were more forbearing. But Miller, who was generally diplomatic and considerate in both his presentation and his responses, has to deal with the fact that the city’s black and Hispanic factions remain seriously unsold on his promised miracles. It‘s also interesting that, while the mayor has recently refocused from school reform to city matters such as the replacement of laggard managers, the City Council is -- at long last -- becoming more interested in what the LAUSD is up to.
A Peep Into the 21st Century
It’s getting easier to imagine what the new charter-mandated city neighborhood councils might be like when they start working in a few months. Indeed, their politics may resemble those of the recently elected Project Area Committee (PAC) for the Pacoima community-redevelopment project.
That area is in the 7th District, which is represented by freshman Councilman Alex Padilla. Padilla thinks his district badly needs the kind of CRA help that other Valley areas have disdained or objected to. So he‘s trying to make it happen in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. And one of the ways he tried to make it happen was by busing in supporters to vote for the committee of local people who keep an eye on how the CRA does. His slate won.
Project Area Committees are funny things: Their members can be either residents or people who work in the area. They can be pro- or anti-project. Padilla’s bus effort netted him 11 pro-development seats out of 18 on the board. One candidate, Glen Hoybie, an out-of-the-area attorney who chairs another PAC in North Hollywood, was not allowed to sit on the Pacoima PAC.
Despite this, the City Council certified the PAC election. ”As all of us in politics know, you have to get the vote out,“ said Councilman Hal Bernson. Indeed yes. And the pro-CRA PAC could indeed help Pacoima.
Yet, you can‘t but wonder if individual council members might not similarly tinker with the operations of neighborhood councils when they come along. And what if they do?