L.A. school board election: Garcia, Zimmer maintain early leads
As early election results in the Los Angeles school board election continued to trickle in late Tuesday, two-term incumbent Monica Garcia bolstered her strong lead in District 2, one-term incumbent Steve Zimmer continued to maintain his hold on District 4 and Antonio Sanchez captured the most votes in the race for District 6 -- but he could be headed for a runoff.
The school board race attracted national money and attention, becoming a battle over the reform policies of Supt. John Deasy.
In the most expensive battle, Zimmer garnered the support of the teachers union and other employee unions against parent and attorney Kate Anderson, who is backed by the Coalition for School Reform, a political action committee spearheaded by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The coalition amassed a war chest that surpassed $3.8 million in support of candidates considered Deasy allies: Garcia, Anderson and Sanchez.
Donations to the coalition included $1 million from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; $300,000 from the California Charter Schools Assn.; $250,000 from StudentsFirst, the advocacy group headed by former District of Columbia schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee; and $250,000 from a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
Campaign committees affiliated with United Teachers Los Angeles, the local teachers union, spent close to $1 million, according to the city Ethics Commission. This included $150,000 from the American Federation of Teachers.
In the east San Fernando Valley, Monica Ratliff, a former attorney who became a teacher, continued to trail Sanchez. The early results, however, showed the two could be headed for a May 21 runoff.
-- Stephen Ceasar
Photo: L.A. Unified school board candidate Steve Zimmer speaks to supporters at an election-night party in Los Angeles. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times