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How mega-spending and alleged scandals could influence LAUSD school board elections

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

Unions and charter-school allies spent more than $5.1 million total through Wednesday, about seven times more than what candidates had spent on their own campaigns.

Two races — District 1 and District 3 — feature direct, high-cost face-offs between those who ally with charter schools and those who side with the teachers union. Charters are privately operated public schools that compete for students with traditional public schools. Most charters are nonunion.

In a third race, the teachers union is facing off against the union that represents the most non-teaching workers.

"There are four seats up and charters are defending one and the unions are defending three," said Fernando Guerra, a political science professor and director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. "Charters have a chance to really change the balance of power."

District 1

The teachers union has suspended its campaign on behalf of Al-Alim and may formally withdraw its endorsement on the night of March 4, the evening before the conclusion of voting.

 

On Tuesday, in an online campaign forum, Al-Alim reiterated his apology, but he also seemed to backtrack from renouncing his positive tweet about a Nation of Islam book that has been widely described as antisemitic.

"I have made an apology for offending my Jewish brethren for the book that the Nation of Islam wrote on the transatlantic slave trade," Al-Alim said at the forum, sponsored by the L.A. chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. "Many people took offense to that and thought that it was antisemitic. I thought it was a piece of history that I believed should have been taught in the Advanced Placement African American History course. I misspoke when I said that it should be in the Black Student Achievement Plan."

He also spoke about his likes of pornographic posts: "What has been portrayed in the media has been pretty much placed out of context. It is not a history of pornography."

He added: "I am out here right now basically, you can just say, doing damage control. ... Some may find the book offensive, but again, it is my perspective. It is something that I believe that I have every right to put forward and just you know without any apprehension let everybody know that I am not antisemitic and that I will continue with the campaign. And I'm not ashamed of anything."

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