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City of Cowards

THE DEAFENING SILENCE ON MIRAMONTE - Last week, something terrible happened to the City I have called home for so long. In fact, it was so terrible that something in me fairly died with contempt, with disgust to watch it.
For last week, I saw almost all of our so-called "leaders"--including the five who want to be our next Mayor, and one who wants to be our next District Attorney--go absolutely voiceless in the face of the greatest public school catastrophe of a decade, anywhere … the Miramonte Elementary School molestation scandal.

At Penn State, they were willing to dismiss ancient, ailing icon Joe Paterno on very short order.  In LA, nobody's willing to dismiss a superintendent, a board member, a principal, or even a janitor without labored discussions.

It doesn't matter that some of this happened, technically, outside the city limits, or that the politicians, technically, have no direct jurisdiction over the City of LA's LAUSD schools.  This is a catastrophe of public schooling that directly affects 600,000 voiceless children do who reside within the City of Los Angeles, as well as all their parents.  The shocking result of fifteen years of Riordan-Broad-Villaraigosa educational reform is that the school district certainly doesn't have the courage, nor even the competence, to protect children.  

These are children who not only face certain emotional damage for years, if not life, but who very likely have even be put at a public health risk by sexual predators, even while the District failed to shut schools down long after public health was threatened by predatory acts.

And confronted with the problems, the district just washed its hands and handed all the important decisions over to law enforcement--who are no more qualified to handle public health problems, nor emotional health problems, than cowardly politicians are.  (Of course, our lying, self-aggrandizing, City Attorney, now hoping to raft his own incompetence into higher office still, has washed his hands too.)

Do you know why those five Mayoral candidates in particular have been voiceless throughout this crisis? Because they've been afraid of alienating billionaire Broad, multimillionaire Riordan, Mayor Villaraigosa's ailing political machine, a few various unions and contractors, and all the others who have manipulated our schools to this outcome for the past fifteen years.

Garcetti, Greuel, Beutner, James, and Perry are all afraid of getting in the way of the "reform" efforts of those corporate clowns and order-taking political machines, none of whom have ever had a moment's classroom experience in education themselves.  They are afraid of those who brought us the likes of those who control the District today--and who also, if they all stick their heads in the sand long enough, might assist one or more of their own campaigns.

These people should be calling--loudly--for the immediate resignation of Superintendent John Deasy, Board of Trustees President Monica Garcia, Board member Nury Martinez, and every other Board member and principal who declared themselves content to be following the orders of law enforcement rather than take measures to protect children at our schools.

Of the five mayoral candidates--not one of them deserves to be Mayor. Not one of the five. There was no courage on display anywhere in this city last week, only cowardice. That's what made me sick by last Friday, and it didn't get any better this weekend.

(Joseph Mailander is a writer, an LA observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He is also the author of The Plasma of Terror. Mailander blogs at where this article first appeared.) Graphic credit:

Tags:  Joseph Mailander, Miramonte School, Miramonte scandal, Los Angeles, mayoral candidates

Vol 10 Issue 13
Pub: Feb 14, 2012