McKenna Victory: ‘Proof That the People … Outraged and United … Can Do Any Damned Thing We Must’

SOULVINE-Hallelujah! ---  We, the people, did it! We elected George McKenna (photo) to the LAUSD school board Tuesday and beat back the big monied interests which sought to buy control of our public school system, thus proving that the people --- outraged and united --- can do any damned thing we must to survive. 

Heretofore disparate elements of the community came together and fought against graft, greed and megalomania to elect a life-long, experienced, acclaimed educator and a true gentleman to the school board seat --- George McKenna, a man whom the Rev. Jesse Jackson proclaimed as “having more qualifications than the secretary of education in Washington D.C.” 

Tuesday night’s victory was the most exciting electoral event in which I’ve ever participated --- surpassing even the election of Obama, because we, the people, did what we had to do to reject all perceptions that we, the people, can be bought. 

Without batting an eye, I quit my newspaper job when the publisher chose to interfere with my support of McKenna and I’d do it again.  I don’t let a job hamstring my principles. I wasn’t raised like that. After all, education and writing are important professions in my family: My son is a high school teacher; my late husband was a university professor; my sister-in-law was a university professor, my niece is a university professor; my nephew is a recognized published poet.   

In fact, something McKenna said in his victory statement last night leads me to believe that I’m more qualified for the school board than Alex Johnson. After marveling at the size of the overflow crowd of supporters standing around him and thanking them all for their support, McKenna said, “This was a political race for the other side, but not for me. All I tried to do was continue my commitments to serve the children and families in our community that I have had for decades. The one thing our community needs is unity.” 

McKenna continued, “Because now even long-held friendships don’t matter. The only thing that matters to the other side is that they elect a person to the seat whose only education experience is: ‘I attended school and my mama was a teacher!’” 

This remark drew gales of laughter from the crowd. Using that kind of illogic, I believe my education experience trumps Johnson’s and I ought to be on the state Board of Regents! 

Congresswoman Maxine Waters said last night: “I am elated and overjoyed by the campaign. They outspent us, but we out worked them. We did not fear their money. This district will be graced by a most extraordinary man. It doesn’t get better than this. I’m happy for the children because you have stopped a so-called machine.” 

To the moneyed supporters of Johnson, Waters said: “You have put all that money into your campaign and we have stopped you. So you can get out of our way now.” 

Congresswoman Karen Bass, another staunch McKenna supporter, said: “I congratulate Dr. George McKenna’s victory and I look forward to working with him to ensure students in District 1 have access to equal resources so they can succeed. Election victories are earned --- not given. Dr. McKenna has earned the voters‘ support because of his thorough understanding of the district and a deep-rooted commitment to youth from all backgrounds.”  

I was told that some Alex Johnson/Ridley-Thomas supporters were seen skulking among our victory supporters Tuesday night. Why weren’t they at their own party? I suppose they decided to come in from the dark side for a change. Step 1 - completed. Step 2 - underway. 

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ANOTHER ONE  --- Najee Ali and them are planning a rally Sunday to protest the LAPD killing of Ezell Ford, a 24-year-old “mentally challenged” black man who was reportedly shot in the back Monday by cops while lying on the ground in the Florence neighborhood. Ford died at an area hospital. (I thought the Florence area was county territory. Why was the LAPD over there killing people? Isn’t that the sheriff deputies’ job?) The killing occurred at about 8:20 p.m. after a cop conducted one of their notorious “investigative stops” in the 200 block of West 65th Street. According to the cops, the ubiquitous “struggle ensued” during the stop and a cop shot him. The protest will be held in front of the LAPD headquarters in downtown L.A. on Sunday at 3 p.m. Does Chief Charlie Beck really want five more years of this?! 

WALKING WOUNDED --- Compton School Board member Skyy Fisher came out of hiding this week and made his first public appearance since he was arrested and charged with having non-consensual sex with a sleeping man. Without saying a word to anyone, Fisher took his usual seat among the school board members. President Micah Aliimmediately adjourned the open meeting to a closed session and all the members walked out.


(Betty Pleasant is a longtime columnist and writes Soulvine. She is a longtime urban and South LA voice.)







Vol 12 Issue 66

Pub: Aug 15, 2014