|Notes from the Editor:
Jackie G, the Mayor, LAUSD & Conflict of Interest?
Southeast L.A Council of Mayors "Appeased"
Posted August 16, 2006, 7:00 am
Huntington Park, CA - Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg chairs the State Assembly Education
Committee which spearheaded prompt passage of Assembly Bill 1381 through her committee. The bill
all but authorizes L.A. City Mayor Villaraigosa's bloodless coup of the Superintendent's office at LAUSD.
WatchOurCity.com broke the story on August 2, 2006 indicating that a deal was cut in Sacramento
between Goldberg and Mayor Villaraigosa (click to see report).
Flash forward two weeks, following her committee's approval of the flawed and highly questionable AB
1381, Goldberg sends out a press release on 8-13-06 indicating that she "may" be interested in
becoming the new LAUSD Superintendent, replacing outgoing Gov. Roy Romer (see Daily News Report
by Harrison Sheppard, Sacramento Bureau, 8-13-06 "Termed Out Goldberg Eyes Education").
In fact, the deal is already done. Goldberg WILL become the new LAUSD Superintendent. If Goldberg
speeds passage of the bill through her Committee, Villaraigosa and Fabian Nunez will give her the
Sup's job at LAUSD. She is an ex-school board member at LAUSD.
Jackie G will be termed out of her State Assembly seat in Echo Park by end of this year, her seat taken
over by Kevin De Leon, childhood friend of House Speaker Fabian Nunez, alleged carpetbagger, and
endorsed by the Mayor (Fabian's chum did not even live in the District when he ran in the June primary
elections, according to a report in the L.A. Weekly on 5-12-06, instead crashing in the couch of a
friend's apartment, a staffer of State Senator Gil Cedillo).
So, does anybody see conflict of interest here? Jackie G's Assembly Education Committee passes AB
1381 on to the full Assembly for a vote, a bill who's outcome will benefit her directly.
A Tragedy in the Making, or How to Appease a Thug
George Cole's Southeast City Mayors must be happy as pigs rolling in mud after State Senator Martha
Escutia went through the extraordinary effort of amending AB 1381 to "appease" these mayors. Earlier
versions of the bill did not take these mayors much into account, giving them only advisory roles as a
minority in the "Council of Mayors".
Escutia knows first hand the educational challenges posed by statistics and demographics and
socio-economic forces present in southeast city schools.
Escutia authored some good number of state laws to remedy some of these educational inequalities
(see WatchOurCity.com report on Escutia's bills).
Escutia has intimate knowledge of southeast council of mayors. Her State Senate District represents all
of these six Southeast cities: Bell, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, South Gate and Vernon.
In fact, according to public records, Escutia contributed $1,000 to the campaigns of ex-mayor and now
convicted felon Edward Escareno (in 2001) and $1,000 to Huntington Park councilwoman Elba Romo (in
2005). Both campaign contributions were given at the behest of Rosario Marin. Marin is also an
ex-mayor in Huntington Park, is former U.S. Treasurer, is now head of the State's Consumer Affairs
Department, and is the political mentor to 4 of the 5 city council members here. Rosario Marin lives in
Huntington Park adjacent.
It is puzzling and mind-boggling why State Senator Escutia would support to amend legislation giving
Southeast L.A. Mayors such complete power and authority over 60,000 students, more than 40 schools,
and more alarming, control over hundreds of millions of dollars in school funds at their disposal. As a
bonus, Southeast mayors will get to elect the local superintendent, who in turn gets to appoint each
and every school principal.
Senator Escutia knows first hand the corruption, abuse of power and official misconduct that occurs
with elected officials in these very same Southeast cities.
Nepotism, Cronyism and Pay for Play, Here We Come
George Cole already tried to hijack one elementary school, Miles Avenue, only 20 feet away from
Huntington Park City hall. The purpose of the hijacking? To force LAUSD's top brass into hiring George
Cole's wife, Judy Cole, as school principal (see full report by WatchOurCity.com). What's to stop curious
George from doing the same now that he will be in direct control of the local superintendent and forty
school principals? Nothing.
Millions of dollars in city contracts have been given to George Cole's Oldtimeres Foundation by his good
friends in Huntington Park City Council. WatchourCity.com has amply reported on this based on public
And Sacramento is complicit in this corruption.
Just eight months ago Huntington Park's ex-mayor, Edward Escareno, was convicted in L.A. Superior
Court for "Grand Theft". WatchOurCity.com broke the story one month after the conviction because it
was kept stealthily quiet. Escareno was the campaign manager for current mayor John Noguez, and
council members Ofelia Hernandez and Mario Gomez. Noguez and Escareno were roommates too.
Huntington Park's first charter school is under construction. Evidence suggests that Mayor John Noguez
allegedly requested a campaign contribution in exchange for approving the project. Under state law
"Pay for play" activity in public contracts is considered a felony (see report).
In Maywood, councilman Thomas Martin hired his dad to a $31,000 a year city job. The senior Martin
was a staffer of the late Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh.
Senator Escutia should know first hand the ample evidence of outright corruption in these cities. And
yet, she vouches to have these mayors in control, with their hands in the till. Will Escutia benefit too
with her vote to amend AB 1381? Like Jackie G, Martha too will be termed out by end of year and will
need something to do - something that will be lucrative.
In fact, just a few months ago, the entire State Assembly and Senate voted unanimously to pass
another Assembly Bill explicitly with the Southeast Cities in mind. AB 11 stopped misuse of public funds
for elected officials whom circumvented State laws in order to triple their base council salaries.
The senate version of the bill explicitly mentioned the city of Huntington Park as a prime example of
extreme abuse of public funds for personal gain. AB 11 was sponsored by Hector De La Torre.
Assemblyman De La Torre touted his intimate knowledge of elected officials in Southeast cities and their
penchant for outright corruption and misuse of public funds as a reason for this legislation (see
WatchOurCity.com's reports on AB-11).
"Corruption in Huntington Park"
On January 18, 2006, the west coast's largest Spanish daily newspaper, La Opinion, ran a front page
report titled "Corrupcion en Huntington Park" in bold letters right above the fold. The State legislature
must have missed this. Here's a dirty little secret, folks: few even within the Latino caucus in
Sacramento are educated in the correct use of Castilian Spanish. Mayor Villaraigosa regularly butchers
the Spanish language, but he manages to get his point across by other more immediate means (click to
see link to La Opinion's HP corruption report). This front page news report was in the newsstands just
seven months ago, folks!
It is simply amazingly bizarre, perplexing, and very disturbing that the same body of State legislators
that forged AB 11 into state law is voting to give these same southeast city mayors and elected officials
carte blanche control of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in operation funds and Federal Title I
funds on the backs of 60,000 southeast K-12 students.
This school operating fund dwarfs the general funds of all six southeast cities combined. And these
mayors will have control of such school funds, too, according to Escutias's amendment to AB 1381.
Also, ask George Cole why his city of Bell has not held elections in 2003 and 2005. Intimidation and
threats of job loss can do wonders to scare off potential candidates.
Ask George Cole one more question: How did he manage to get a multi-million dollar transportation
contract from Huntington Park's mayor John Noguez and the convicted felon ex-mayor Edward
Escareno? Cole was rated the lowest of four bidders. And cost the city $22,000 more than the lowest
bidder. The D.A.'s office did not investigate. Or why Mayor Noguez gave Cole's Oldtimers Foundation a
cool $100,000 in start-up costs (a benefit not available to the other bidders, nor published in the city's
RFP)? The D.A. is good friends with Rosario Marin and she would be implicated, and that would just be
unacceptable. After all, there are big plans for George Cole, Rosario Marin and John Noguez in the
works. This was in February 2004. Expect more of the same in 2007 and beyond.
How to explain all of this? Thug politics, heavy handed arm-twisting and back room deals, intimidation,
threats of cutting off party funds, endorsements and support - and rewards - will usually do the trick.
Just ask Jackie G, Martha E, Senator Jack Kent Scott, or the Governor.
It also helps that the co-author of AB 1381, Assemblyman Dario Frommer is an ex-employee of
Huntington Park's city attorney Francisco Leal; Leal was hired by George Cole and Southeast Mayors as
legal counsel. WatchOurCity.com predicted this would happen back in December of '05 based on Leal's
pattern of behavior and penchant for getting lucrative city attorney contracts and school district
contracts in local cities, most in closed door sessions and without competing bids; same cities
represented in Sacramento by his friends in the Assembly and Senate.
Jackie G has recently been an unusually frequent visitor to L.A. Mayor's third floor southeast corner city
hall office. She was overheard stating that she should just move in to city hall to avoid all the frequent
trips. She should. The Mayor has just bought her too.
WatchOurCity.com will make a few more predictions: student academic improvement is not even a
factor in any of these machinations. Student academic achievement will not make any improvements
than what the District is already achieving.
The only improvements to be made will be to the lining of certain pockets and filling of political campaign
coffers, academic achievement be damned.
Appointments to school posts will be politicized.
AB 1381 is a tragedy in the making for the 60,000 plus students in the southeast cities. Bell councilman
George Cole has been wanting his very own school district. Now hes' got it, and he'll manage it exactly
like he's running the Oldtimers Foundation where he's Executive Director.
There will be few winners and 60,000 losers in this sinister and corrupt school takeover legislation.
George Skelton, L.A. Times columnist, interviewed Villaraigosa and Speaker Fabian Nunez last Monday.
Following is an excerpt from Skelton's report:
Skelton: "Why not let citizens of the L.A. Unified School District vote on this? Why go around them to
Antonio V: "Look, these matters come before the Legislature all the time," the former Assembly speaker
began, not convincingly.
Then he added: "We can't wait for a plebiscite. We need reform now."
I have a follow-up question of my own for the smiley faced mayor: Mr. smiley faced mayor, you say
these matters come before the Assembly all the time, how many other school districts in California have
taken the tricky dick route to avoid the "plebiscite"?
Remember, there were no weapons of mass destruction found, and the black gold is now in tricky dick's
Legislators rushed bills through congress and then claimed they were duped, harassed, threatened
and intimated. Those running the intimidation and were in control are now all indicted on various
allegations of official corruption.
And the contractors? The very same company tricky dick used to run. Sound familiar? Same contractor
doing LAUSD work, too.
This is no different.