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Update: What's *Really* Happening In LA

image from laschoolreport.comFor what may be the first time ever -- or perhaps just the most obvious example so far -- pro-charter, pro-accountability backers in Los Angeles are not just leveling the playing field with the teachers union in terms of funding candidates and campaigns but tilting it in their favor. 

Overall spending is already at $3.4 million (see here). There are some places where the spending is close to even -- such as in the race between former reform candidate Steve Zimmer, who's now being supported by the union, and newcomer Kate Anderson. But the majority of it going out from the reform side in the form of mailers and TV ads. 

Whether the money advantage turns into primary day wins is another question, however. There are two key issues to keep in mind, I argue in this new post over at LA School Report (Air War Vs. Boots On the Ground).

The first is that -- just like happens online -- the union and its allies have an enormous advantage when it comes to motivated campaign volunteers to help persuade neighbors and get out the vote.  

The second is that not all of the union's spending seems to be reported and accounted for. As good as the disclosure requirements are in LA, it's a self-reported system and there have been a handful of times where UTLA-PACE, the independent expenditure committee that funds the campaigns, hasn't reported things that seem like campaign activity, or has transferred funding between different IE accounts in ways that are hard to explain and may not match up as they should.

 

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The mucking around with local races seems to be somewhat new, doesn't it?

Though there was an education-reform candidate for mayor last time in San Francisco, Joanna Rees. Whitney Tilson threw a fundraiser for her in NYC and was reported to be touting her as a likely success, and the great hope for "reform" in SF. At least one parent leader was really enthusiastic about her too, but overall she was pretty much ignored (as a total newcomer with no prior political involvement, for one thing), and her candidacy went nowhere.

This blog post was typical of how Rees was viewed in SF.

http://blog.sfgate.com/culture/2011/01/26/who-meet-the-candidate-party-for-joanna-rees/

Talking about money spent? Here is Los Angeles school board member Steve Zimmer's response to New York mayor's $1,000,000 attack:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De3Kvgf0s_Q

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