Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Once-mighty UTLA loses political muscle

This LA Times article says that UTLA has lost clout, but this is total nonsense according to a friend on the ground there:


This is a lot of drivel.  UTLA is as powerful as ever, maybe more so.  They have tremendous power, but are so inept that all they can do is block good work.  When they pick candidates without a criminal record, those candidates win.  However, since they have no reform agenda -- and haven't had one since they took back control in 2003 -- their own membership is rightly pissed off.  Power for the sake of power is just thuggery.  There are plenty of bright lights within UTLA's ranks, but the union political intelligencia just refuses to engage that talent.  Honestly, it's really a shame.


Here's an excerpt from the article:


Critics portray the Los Angeles teachers union as politically all-powerful, able to swing elections and exert control over the Board of Education in the nation's second-largest school system. But in recent years United Teachers Los Angeles hasn't lived up to that reputation.

It's been eight years since UTLA backing put a candidate on the Board of Education in a race in which another contender also had strong financial support. And this year, the union has quietly given up on reclaiming a majority of allies on the seven-member Board of Education in the March 8 election.

This concession is noteworthy: When union-backed candidates win, especially when they prevail because of union support, UTLA gains a sympathetic ear. And there are implied political consequences for board members who stop listening.

But insiders and civic leaders, both pro- and anti-UTLA, describe the union as an organization that has lost clout at the ballot box as well as in the day-to-day proceedings of the backrooms and the board room.


Once-mighty UTLA loses political muscle 
In a series of missteps, the teachers union has lost influence in L.A. Unified elections and in negotiations with board members backed by Mayor Villaraigosa.

By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times 
9:47 PM PST, February 18, 2011 


 Subscribe in a reader