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L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa on school-reform fallout: 'No one buys that turncoat stuff'

December 26, 2010 |  7:07 pm

A mayor with deep roots in the labor movement now finds himself denounced in some quarters as a turncoat — a description he calls absurd. "No one buys that turncoat stuff," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a recent union-sponsored event in Watts. "But I am challenging orthodoxies in a way that we have to."

The mayor's recent branding of United Teachers Los Angeles, the L.A. teachers union, as "one unwavering roadblock" to his effort to reform public schools has raised ire in organized labor circles, even though he began his political career as a union organizer.

But the criticism from unions that don't represent teachers has been relatively muted: Labor leaders from outside the very specific universe of schools seem to have little difficulty separating the mayor's comments on the incendiary education debate from his overwhelmingly pro-labor pedigree.

Read more: "Villaraigosa's school reform efforts cost him little labor backing."

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