Parents, teachers, and students rallied outside Grand View Elementary School in Mar Vista on Thursday to demand LA School Board Candidate Nick Melvoin follow his opponent Steve Zimmer’s lead. Zimmer, the President of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board, does not take any money from billionaire charter school proponents seeking to influence the school board race set for Tues., May 16.
Appearing at the rally was LA activist Cliff Tasner, assuming the role of a bogus billionaire to dramatize the high stakes of this election.
Following the rally, a few parents drove over to Melvoin’s Venice campaign headquarters to deliver a letter, signed by rally participants, requesting he return the billionaires’ direct campaign contributions and publicly denounce the billionaires’ hateful mailers targeting Steve Zimmer, a former teacher and counselor of 17 years.
“Out canvassing” read a note on the closed door of Melvoin’s headquarters, which appeared to be vacant.
Earlier, organizers of the rally distributed a flyer that read, “Out-of-town billionaires are some of the largest funders backing Nick Melvoin (District 4) and Kelly Gonez (District 6). These billionaires are hiding their contributions by giving them to the California Charter School Association Advocates (CCSAA), whose related entities are the biggest spenders in the election.”
Who are the out-of-town billionaires seeking to buy two seats on the LA school board? According to filings with the California Secretary of State, billionaires with recognizable names contributed to the CCSA: Doris Fisher, Co-Founder of The Gap, net worth $2.6 billion, resides in San Francisco, contributed $1, 250,000; Alice Walton, heiress to Walmart fortune, net worth $36.4 billion, resides in Bentonville, Arkansas, contributed $404,000; Michael Bloomberg, Wall Street financier, net worth $47.5 billion, resides in New York City, contributed $700,000.
Rally organizers say Alice Walton and the Walmart family donated to the Super PAC to elect Trump and to the Alliance for School Choice, a pro-charter, pro-voucher group led, in part, by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Marcy Winograd is a 20-year veteran teacher of the Los Angeles Unified School District, co-author of the Lola Zola tween novel series, and a volunteer on the Steve Zimmer for School Board 2017 campaign.