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
Donations, Not Payments
In response to David Zahniser’s article on ACORN [“Powered by Payments,” Feb. 9–15]: As a membership-run group of more than 8,000 dues-paying members in Los Angeles, we carefully debated the merits of A.B. 1381. We chose to support the bill because it takes a fundamental step in helping us achieve something we know is crucial to school success: broad parent participation. We continue to hold a position against complete mayoral control, and our initial opposition to the bill was based on a concern that it would take the district further toward its tendency to exclude parents from decision-making roles.
When ACORN members decide on supporting a campaign or initiative, we routinely invest significant time, effort and money to ensure that it is successful. Staff max out their credit cards to cover these costs while they and the members work to raise donations. In the case of A.B. 1381, the mayor’s committee rightly said yes to a request to help cover the costs to allow parents to speak in Sacramento, and to do the large-scale work of informing parents throughout the district. No individual at ACORN made a dime off this campaign, and the organization was only partially compensated for its expenses.
ACORN has worked with UTLA for several years to improve physical conditions and safety at specific schools, reduce the district bureaucracy, increase funding for classroom teaching and pursue other shared goals. We believe that UTLA’s long history of financial support for the efforts of ACORN and other community groups is both honorable and crucial to developing a more independent and powerful voice for needed changes. These contributions allow us to pursue the goals of our membership; they do not determine which goals we will pursue.
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