Yesterday the George McKenna Campaign held a briefing outside its Crenshaw headquarters; for key supporters. Inside were a team of California School Employee Association (CSEA) members (local 500) making phone calls to District 1 voters asking for their support to elect Dr. McKenna on August 12th to the LAUSD school board, and to fill the vacant seat which became open because of the untimely death of longtime educator Marguerite Poindexter-LaMotte in December 2013?
The event was well attended and included community leaders from clergy, current and former elected officials, educators, community advocates/activists, health, business, and other sectors. But much of the conversation centered around attacks on McKenna’s character and performance in educating students during his professional career in multiple school districts throughout L.A. County. Dirty politics supporters say.
According to those who spoke out at the briefing his attacker(s) are his opponent Alex Johnson, and his boss Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas who have recently received generous donations from a new super-pac committee, and special interest groups outside of the L.A. area who want Johnson to fill the vacant school board seat.
Genethia Hayes former LAUSD School Board Member, and an earlier candidate for the position is now endorsing McKenna said “this election is about moral & ethical character, and if Johnson will do anything to get elected – including telling lies about his opponent, then he can’t be trusted.” Several researchers present said that the Johnson camp has provided no evidence to validate their claims?
UTLA President, Alex Caputo-Pearl along with his union leadership close by said that “it’s scary to see wealthy outsiders trying to persuade an election in this race.” Much of the rank and file teachers in the district are in support of McKenna. The L.A. Times, L.A. Sentinel, La Opinion, L.A. Watts Times, and other prominent media outlets have also endorsed McKenna.
This writer personally worked under Dr. McKenna in Compton Unified School District during the 1990’s and as a District-wide Parent Coordinator, I can honestly say that McKenna was well respected by families and school staff alike who felt he was a fair and extremely talented administrator.
My experience with Alex Johnson through a brief cycle of working with him on the Empowerment Congress’ Education Committee is that he is an intelligent individual – but the leadership needed to work alongside the current LAUSD Board requires the experience of Dr. George McKenna.