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Union-backed candidate drops out of school board race in San Fernando Valley

November 29, 2010 |  7:06 pm

A leading challenger to unseat the west San Fernando Valley school board member has dropped out of the race. Heather Hodge Kolodny was the teachers-union endorsed candidate against one-term incumbent Tamar Galatzan.

The backing of United Teachers Los Angeles, with its campaign war chest and volunteers, immediately made Kolodny, a political newcomer, a challenger with enough resources to make a strong run in District 3.

But Kolodny decided the time was not right for her personally, said Gregg Solkovits, a union vice president.

Kolodny teaches disabled students at Chatsworth High and has long been active in the teachers union.

“As much as she would like to be a member of the school board, she wants to go about doing it the right way, and the time constraints were difficult,” Solkovits said. “She’s also a full-time teacher and she thought she would be giving short shrift to the students in the classroom. And after thinking about it over the Thanksgiving holiday, she decided it would not be the appropriate thing to do.’
The union will not make a new endorsement before January, officials said.

Four years ago, Galatzan, with fundraising spearheaded by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, defeated union-backed incumbent Jon Lauritzen in an expensive contest that went to a runoff.

-- Howard Blume