Monday, February 29, 2016

Markovich at Ellen Ochoa Learning Center (Feb 25, 2016)

I had a hard time finding the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center last Thursday.

Every person will face challenges venturing into new territories, and meeting new people.

At the elementary school in Cudahy, I anticipated confronting not just LAUSD School Board member Ref Rodriguez, but also absentee Cudahy Mayor Cristian Markovich.

He did not bother to attend the February 22, 2016 city council meeting, and with only three members present, the council could not conduct any major business.

Appropriations had to wait until the next meeting, when two other city council members, Chris Garcia and the mayor, finally show up and make the necessary decisions, cast the necessary votes.

Councilman Jack Guerrero informed his two colleagues and the public that he would not support and cover for his absentee colleagues.

For my part, I anticipated more leaders like Guerrero  who would not cave to any pressure and would stop the spending spree bankrupting the little working class community the 710 freeway.

At the Ochoa Learning Center, I noticed a slim diversity aside from the predominantly Latino members.

Some of the teachers were there, along with the parents.

The audience was complaining about a potential charter school moving into the empty rooms at the school.

A number of teachers from other schools were there to protest the charter school.

I heard lots of people talk about the need for more money for the schools. One teacher suggested that the school hire social workers and other personnel.

Excuse me! This is a school, not a community center, right?

And didn't the voters of the state of California opt to raise taxes to fund public education?

Where is all the money going?

At any rate, I stood in back and protested Mayor Marokovich, who bothered to show up at that meeting.

Later Jack Guerrero and Baru Sanchez arrived, too.

Pamela Mungia was leading the event, allowing members of the audience to ask questions. After about five minutes, a few people in the audience along with myself started asking when they would start conducting the meeting in English.

This is the United State of America, last time I checked. Some of the people standing near me agreed.

They also knew their rights, as much as I knew mine.

Finally, the leaders of the meeting started providing translations and communication in English and Spanish.

My first thoughts about the event: there is too much politicking in public education. Too many concentrated special interests are looking out for their narrow agendas, whether corporations or labor unions, and the education of children is getting lost in the scuffle.

Cristian's excuse for not coming to city council:
"Abuelita was sick!"

All of this is wrong. Teachers unions just want more money and better conditions for working. Many teachers there communicated that they wanted to do their best for the students, but faced unparalleled obstacles not just from district management, but from the parents themselves. Some residents told me that the parents attack the teachers, and even spit at them!

I could not believe what I was hearing.

At the end of the meeting, I confronted Mayor Markovich. I handed him a copy of the letter from the District Attorney, in which the DA's office informed the city council that they had engaged in numerous violations of the public meeting laws in California aka the Brown Act.

When I then asked him why he did not attend the Feb. 22nd city council meeting, he told me that his grandmother was deathly ill in the hospital with cancer. Despite these harrowing circumstances, I confronted him about the city council's repeated attempts to stifle debate and discussion from the community and members of the audience.

I have submitted a FOIA request for information about this excuse. Is it really true?

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