By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Richard Riordan did not return calls from the Weekly, and he hasn’t recently clarified just what bothers him about Tokofsky. But it‘s not hard to figure out likely possibilities. First and foremost, Tokofsky has cultivated close ties to the teachers union: Tokofsky, too, voted for the teachers’ raise that Riordan judged too expensive. In a larger sense, both Broad and Riordan have been determined to weaken the clout of the teachers union in school-board elections.
Self-enrichment is not the issue with either Riordan or Broad. If Riordan and Broad simply wanted more money in their pockets, all they‘d have to do is give less of it away to charities and foundations that benefit children. Rather, both men have a sense that they know what’s best for the city, and they‘re not shy about using their financial resources to advance this vision. To Riordan, Tokofsky’s Santee vote, if he noticed it at all, presented one more example of Tokofsky‘s wrong-headedness.
Both Riordan and Broad are in periodic contact with schools Superintendent Roy Romer and board president Young, and each has expressed frustration with Tokofsky’s alleged obstructionism and micromanagement, which Tokofsky‘s supporters would term as independence and acting as a civic watchdog.
All told, the Santee episode is at least as telling about Riordan as it is about Tokofsky. Riordan has been habitually careless about business associations that could reflect poorly on him. And he has consistently overlooked how others might be taking financial advantage of his school-reform efforts. An earlier Weekly article recounted how the Dodgers’ ownership and businessman Bert Boeckmann each gave heavily to Riordan‘s Coalition for Kids. What the school district really wanted from the Dodgers, however, were vacant lots on the edge of Dodger Stadium for a school. And Boeckmann snapped up a potential school site in the Valley to use as storage space for his car dealership. As mayor, Riordan could have pressured his donors to play ball, as it were, and help the school district. Apparently, he didn’t. Nor has Riordan specifically dissociated himself from the jockeying of Harnsberger, who had the advantage of walking into board members‘ offices as a member of the law firm bearing the name Riordan.
Dennis Dockstader contributed research to this article.
riordan, Ted Soqui; David Tokofsky, virginia lee hunter
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