A reported 81 cents of every dollar contributed to the L.A. city election has been spent on supporting or opposing one candidate or another for school board, according to the L.A. City Ethics Commission. Most of it is coming from backers of public charter schools. So far this year, charter backers are outspending labor unions there by a ratio of 2-to-1.
Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan upped the ante by donating $1 million in January to a group called L.A. Students for Change, which opposes the re-election of school board president Steve Zimmer in District 4, covering the Westside and west San Fernando Valley. The group is one of a few connected to the California Charter Schools Association.
The CCSA and its financial backers have spared no expense in targeting Zimmer, who has shown increasing support for more stringent fiscal and operational oversight of charters. As of Feb. 20, more than $1.2 million from charter-backed groups has gone to opposing Zimmer.