Los Angeles Times newspaper has rarely offered a fair and
balanced portrayal of the black community. It usually was (is) a
strategic player in the witch hunt to depose black leaders, no matter
who they were (are). Whether it was former Lt Governor Mervyn Dymally,
the late Mayor Tom Bradley, former Police Chief, Willie Williams
or now their latest target, Los Angeles Unified School District,
David Brewer, you could rarely ever expect to read anything positive
about local black leadership in the L.A. Times.
Now being run from Chicago, the L.A. Times has no clue on what
is going on in the black community. Truth be told, they never really
did - save for a few well respected journalists they had that actually
lived in the community and had to jump up and down on their editors’
desks to get anything newsworthy (and positive) in the paper.
Okay, so we understand what the L.A. Times is and what it represents.
However, the Times rabid attacks on Superintendent Brewer
took an unjustified turn when, last week, the paper called for his
resignation (in a November 13th editorial). Now, I’ve called the
Times “propaganda press” in the past, but this latest dig
against Brewer is over the top.
and foremost, you have to ask, who’s tugging the Times chain
on this? Villaraigosa (he better not be - he’s running for re-election
in 2009 and wouldn’t want Brewer, who’s only halfway through his
contract, to represent to him what Bernie Parks’ contract non-renewal
represented to Jim Hahn’s re-election prospects)? UTLA? The LAUSD
Board? None of whom have brought the kind of change to the district
in the last two years that Brewer has. All of the above have continued
to either point out problems or be part of the problem. Their solutions
have been part and parcel conjecture at Brewer expense.
The Times editorial has to be more about politics than it is about
Brewer’s performance, which has been commendable, considering the
array of problems he walked into. On its face, the timing of the
Times editorial doesn’t pass the smell test. In fact, it
down right stinks when you lift it up to try to find out what’s
Brewer, has deflected the complaints of his detractors - some of
whom didn’t want him there in the first place - like water down
a duck’s back, while working the air, the ground and the sea to
remedy the district’s problems. And he’s making progress. What more
can he be asked to do, that he hasn’t already done, with a district
as large, cumbersome and dysfunctional as LAUSD? Did I say dysfunctional???
I mean to say, deca-dysfunctional. Ten times as dysfunctional as
any school district in the nation you can point to.
spent most of his first year cleaning up the doo-doo of his predecessor
while he was handcuffed to what most consider a co-superintendent.
And he has still advanced the district.
Brewer’s accomplishments are no small feats. He landed in the midst of
a political school board take-over and survived. He was forced to
manage two crises, neither of his own making - the payroll system
and the lead in the water. That was the reason for his “slow start”.
If Barack Obama wants to know what its like to fight multiple wars
on multiple fronts, have him call Dave.
He gave the lowest performing schools the highest priority, netting the
highest academic gains in recent years (higher than the schools
the Mayor oversees), created a statewide coalition of superintendents
to restore much needed programs in the poorest schools, and got
a critical school bond passed - the only bond in U.S. history with
69% of the vote, despite two major newspapers endorsing against
it and a bad economy. The Times endorsed against and did
everything in its power, editorially, to defeat the bond. The voters
rejected the Times and sided with Brewer to create 50,000-80,000
jobs over 10 years. Brewer beat the Times so now they want
to orchestrate his ouster by blaming him when there is plenty of
blame to go around.
projected financial shortfall for the district, the core of the
Times apprehension, is tied to the state’s budget shortfall
and has nothing to do with Brewer. When the state bleeds, local
government bleeds and the district has been bleeding for awhile.
The test to fiscally turn around the district will take more than
the length of Brewer’s contract, but the Times is trying
to fail Brewer before he can finish the test. To date he’s passed
every other test in district. The test scores are up. The bond was
passed. The schools are being built. Bad teachers are being replaced.
Violence in the schools is down. In the black community, Brewer
is passing the test with flying colors and everybody I talk to is
willing to let him finish taking the test. Any anybody who has half
a brain knows that nobody can fix this level of dysfunction, one
that was 30 years in the making, in four years - much less two.
The Times need to stop their biased foolishness.
Obviously, Brewer has done a better job at adjusting to the L.A. landscape
than the Los Angeles Times’ new owners have. The Times
editorial was wrongheaded and misguided. With
the way they continue to endorse the wrong choices in the black
community (No on Measure Q, Bernard Parks for Supervisor), whatever
the Times likes, we don’t (except Obama), and whatever the
Times dislikes, we definitely need to take a longer look
at. David Brewer included.
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, is a national
columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum
and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom.
His Website is AnthonySamad.com.
to contact Dr. Samad.