April 1997 - Prop BB passes for 2.4 billion dollars. LAUSD Program Manager (3 DI O’Brien-Kreitzberg) and all 10 Project Management companies have ties to the scandal-ridden Metropolitan Transit Authority, either directly or through sub-contractors. Their selection is controversial.
Sitting Mayor Richard Riordan (Chair of the MTA) appoints his Senior Advisor, Steven Soboroff, as Chair of the BB Bond Citizens Oversight Committee abrogating the committee’s bylaws. Soboroff is also President of the Riordan-appointed Recreation and Parks Commission.
Through the Recreation and Parks Commission, the City of LA and LAUSD enter Joint Power Authority agreement for enhancement of athletic fields at Belmont Learning Center project. City promises nearly 9 million dollars toward this effort. A loophole in the JPA permits non-competitive bidding resulting in a sole-source contract to Kajima Construction for 40 million dollars above the next highest responsible bid. City money is never forthcoming.
Senator Tom Hayden calls for establishment of Inspector General (IG) at LAUSD to oversee firms due to ill repute and failure to disclose past problems. Soboroff objects.
1999 – Eli Broad creates The Broad Foundation in order to pursue, according to the foundations’ own literature “venture philanthropy”.
January 1999 – LAUSD enters into a 155 million dollar sole-source contract with PGCH2MHill to provide air conditioning for 150 schools.Oversight Committee Chair, Steven Soboroff andMayor, Richard Riordan, are involved. The contract is so disadvantageous to the district that it pays 19.3 million dollars in 2002 in order to get out of it. No air-conditioning is provided (LA Weekly 4-5-02).
July 1999 – “Reform” Board elected with support from “Coalition for Kids” (Riordan-Broad funded PAC).
Howard Miller becomes C.O.O. under Interim Superintendent Cortines. He demands that the IG do an audit of BB. Soboroff objects. He argues that an internal audit had been completed with no significant findings. The IG performs an independent audit citing inflated management costs of up to as much as 30%. The industry standard, nationwide, is 4%-6%. 3DI O’Brien-Kreitzberg requests audit report to be sealed. Superior Court denies request LA Times 3-30-2000 | PDF page 12.
July 2000 - Board member Caprice Young and new Superintendent (at the behest of Eli Broad) Roy Romer, who despite numerous requests had denied audience to the IG for 3 months, introduce a motion to curb Inspector General’s independence and authority. It is prepared by then Government Relations Director, Fabian Nunez. It attempts to amend SB 1360, co-authored by Speaker of the Assembly, Antonio Villaraigosa, requiring the majority of the “Reform Board” to approve any investigation and to prevent the IG from releasing reports and findings to none except the board or superintendent. No public disclosure. Upon disclosure in the press, the effort fails LA Times 7-24-2000 | PDF page 13
November 2000 – In the most expensive and contentious school board election in San Diego history, Eli Broad and a constellation of other “venture” philanthropists from across the country, desirous of a more “business friendly” district, attempt to unseat Board Member, Francis O’Neill Zimmerman, who had been critical of Alan Bersin’s superintendence. The board member “was leading the charge against selling off the district’s real estate for commercial development and was raising bothersome questions about the district’s purchasing policies”. The effort fails San Diego Reader 10-24-2000 | PDF pages 33-38
2000 – Eli Broad begins funding the San Diego Unified Principals Academy.
November 2000 - “Reform Board” Member, Caprice Young delays funding for the Inspector General for 6 months. Upon disclosure in the press, she only restores half of the IG’s prescribed annual budget LA Times 11-2-2000 | PDF page 14
2000 – Real estate broker Steven Soboroff who is, simultaneously, Mayor Richard Riordan’s Senior Advisor: Riordan-appointed Chair of the Citizen’s BB Bond Oversight Committee: Riordan-appointed Recreation and Parks Commission President and Riordan’s heir apparent mayoral aspirant, negotiates the sale of the Car Max property to Riordan-appointed Police Commissioner, Bert Boeckman’s Galpin Ford after the LAUSD Prop. BB School Construction Program commences a lengthy state mandated process to acquire the site in 1999. Soboroff had brokered the sale of the previous Van Nuys Drive In site to Car Max in 1998. He derives income from and has ownership of stock in Car Max. Soboroff discloses such in filings with the City of L.A. but fails to divulge the same in his conflict of interest affidavit, as required by LAUSD, because of his position on the Oversight Committee. Subsequently, Galpin sells the site to LAUSD for a three million dollar profit and, additionally, receives a bus depot recently developed by the district LA Weekly 3-14-2001
March 2001 – The Committee on Effective School Governance for the Los Angeles Unified School District report is released. Some recommendations are very similar to the provisions of the “current compromise” legislation, AB 1381. The board’s oversight role would be terminated as they would become a policy making body, allowing the superintendent to approve contracts of up to one million dollars, and limit it’s time-consuming requests to staff. They would meet once a month instead of twice.
Three committee members, Maria Casillas, who is to become co-chair of the Presidents’ Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance, William Siart, member LEARN working group, and Steven Sample, Pres., USC; Board of Governors LAAMP; Board Member LEARN, are participants in the Broad Foundation Strategic Planning Retreat. Civil rights attorney; co-director of the Advancement Project, Connie Rice is also a committee member. Ms. Rice is currently the chair of the “Bond Oversight Committee”.
Chairman of the Committee, Harold Williams is quoted as saying: “We’re just beginning to embark on a study looking at other ways of governing if in fact this doesn’t work” LA Weekly 3-30-2001
Oct 2001 – The district purchases Beaudry Building against the advice of the Inspector General, who alleges construction defects and inflated price. Sun America, previously owned by Eli Broad, is a secondary investor prior to purchase. Connecting the Dots | PDF page 53
February 2002 - Keith Richman introduces a bill (AB 2425- LAUSD Office of Inspector General) to create additional powers, duties and responsibilities that would require (1) the termination of any employee who obstructs the IG in the course of his duties and (2) require firms to pre-qualify to bid on district work and would prohibit contracting with firms that present false information thereon. Superintendent Romer objects to the bill. Fabian Nunez, head of LAUSD Legislative Affairs falsely argues that such penalties are unnecessary because district staffers currently cooperate with Mullinax’s Office. Little Hoover Commission continues to recommend that that IG be made permanent. Board Member Tokofsky argues for a separate arm of the IG exclusively focused on facilities matters LA Daily News 4-7-02 | PDF page 15
April 2002 - Los Angeles Redistricting Commission for the Los Angeles Unified School District approves a map favoring Board President Caprice Young while disadvantaging Board members Tokofsky and Korenstein. Ethics issues are raised regarding the lobbying firm Rose & Kindel’s dual representation of Ms.Young and construction firms seeking multi-million dollar contracts with the district. “ Coalition for Kids” employee, Amy Wakeland is a commissioner and key facilitator in the questionable process LA Times 8-11-2002 | PDF pages 31 & 32
April 2002 – Gene Krischer, Director of Friends of the Children, meets with staff of Councilwoman Janice Hahn and a representative of UTLA, during which he cites concerns regarding the IG and problems within LAUSD facilities, substantiated with documentation. After the meeting all of Mr. Krischer’s files are copied at UTLA headquarters.
May 8, 2002 – Mr. Krischer and George Buzzetti, Chairman of The Association for Accountability and Equitable Education, convince City Council to eventually support Richman’s Inspector General bill, unanimously. A May 21 Report of the Chief Legislative Analyst states that “it would be in the best interest of the City of Los Angeles to support AB 2425…UTLA also supports AB 2425”. Later the bill is gutted, only extending the sunset on the IG to 2015. No enhanced enforcement authority is granted.
June 2002 - President of the “Reform Board”, Caprice Young, attempts to implement the recommendations The Daily News 3-30-01 of the “Committee on Effective School Governance” and those contained in interoffice correspondence from the Special Counsel to the Board of Education that would, in effect, reduce accountability. Public participation is to be severely suppressed. Robin Kramer (Chief of Staff to former mayor Richard Riordan, employee of the Broad Foundation and current chief of staff to Mayor Villaraigosa) coordinates this effort. The effort fails.
June 2002 - IG Mullinax asks for more stringent pre-contract audit procedure of construction firms. The “Reform Board” refuses to act on these recommendations. The “Reform Board” renews 230 million dollars worth of construction contracts with firms, some of which have had a spotty record with the district and other agencies nationwide, against the advice of the OIG LA Times 6-25-2002 | PDF pages 18-20.
June 2002 - State Controller Kathleen Connell performs an audit of BB between the years 1997-2001. The report shows a total projected deficit of 1.74 Billion dollars.
July 2002 - “Reform Board” grants up to 2.9 million dollars to an arm of the Alliance for a Better Community to do work on the contaminated Belmont Learning Center project. The Alliance’s team includes a host of politically influential members, including billionaire Eli Broad. “Reform Board” member, Jose Huizar and Superintendent Romer defend the decision to front the money arguing that: “ If you look at ABC itself, those are civic-minded, concerned citizens”. Of the 2.9 million dollars only $263,775 is to go to construction, while the bulk would go to project administration and consultants LA Times 7-10-2002 | PDF page 52
September 2002 – UTLA leadership, who are anticipating the conclusion of contract negotiations for wage and benefit increases, invite Mr. Krischer and his colleagues to meet at the Pacific Dining Car, a “L.A. power restaurant”, frequented by superintendent Roy Romer. The ostensible reason for the meeting, as understood by Mr. Krischer, is to partner with the union in order to leverage the district into taking measures that would increase accountability, as the district needs union support to pass the pending multi-billion dollar Proposition K school construction bond. An hour before the meeting, the leadership notifies Mr. Krischer of a postponement because they have been called into negotiation. In the afternoon, the news reports that the parties have settled on the union’s desired package. Mr. Krischer’s meeting is never rescheduled and his concerns are never addressed.
October 2002 – San Diego holds school board election. As in 2000, significant sums of money are collected from the business community to fund the campaigns of two “business friendly” candidates in an effort obtain a board majority, supportive of Superintendent Alan Bersin. Although the private sources of funding are not revealed, “speculation began to focus on one man, Eli Broad”. Only one of their candidates is elected San Diego Reader 10-24-2002 | PDF pages 33-38
2002 – San Diego Principal Academy secures about 30 million dollars in grants from philanthropists, including Bill Gates and Eli Broad, contingent on Alan Bersin remaining superintendent (San Diego Union 4-12-02).
November 2002 - Prop. K passes for 3.35 Billion Dollars
November 2002 - Allegations surface regarding a ten million dollar bribe from billionaire, Eli Broad to Occidental College, to persuade Occidental’s President, Theodore Mitchell, to run against School Board incumbent, David Tokofsky. Also, former L.A. mayor Richard Riordan promises to donate money for a top-level executive position for the same purpose. Mitchell declines to run. The money is not forthcoming. Now discredited J. Paul Getty Trust President, Barry Munitz, Riordan’s political guru, Bill Carrick and “Coalition for Kids” employee and fiancé of current City Council President Eric Garcetti, Amy Wakeland, are implicated LA Times 11-12-2002 | PDF page 42LA Times 11-02-2002 | PDF pages 44-45
2003 - Los Angeles County district attorney’s major fraud division investigates Beaudry acquisition for overpayment to investors.
March 2004 - Proposition R passes for 3.87 Billion Dollars.
July 23, 2004 - L.A. Times report on a federal grand jury inquiry into LAUSD’S Beaudry acquisition. On the same page the Times reports Superintendent Romer’s contract extension to 2007. Former Board President, Caprice Young, is quoted as saying that the Superintendent had brought credibility to the district.
April 2005 - Inspector General Mullinax resigns his post under duress, stating that the Bond Oversight Committee is non-functional and processes need further correction.
April 2005 - Governor Schwarzenegger appoints San Diego superintendent, Alan Bersin, to replace former L.A. mayor Richard Riordan, as his Secretary of Education. Bersin is to have vastly expanded authority over that of Riordan, as he will simultaneously sit on the state Board of Education. The move also consolidates Schwarzenegger’s control over education in California. San Diego Unified’s Principals Academy has accrued over 40 million dollars in grant funding from Eli Broad and other “venture philanthropists”, including Bill Gates, to insure that Bersin would remain superintendent during his tenure LA Times 4-30-2005 | PDF page 12
April 2005 - Issue of Mayoral appointment of School Board picks up momentum, becoming an issue in the Los Angeles Mayoral campaign, advocated by Richard Riordan and Theodore Mitchell, ex-President of Occidental College and appointed Chair of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Committee on Education and Excellence. Board Presidents Caprice Young and Jose Huizar are also appointees. Eli Broad pushes this governance idea legislatively. Seven of California’s largest school districts are initially slated for mayoral control including Los Angeles.
June 2005 - Senator Gloria Romero initiates Senate Select Committee on Urban School Governance hearings. Inaccurate testimonials touting improvements in the quality of education and accountability, supposedly occurring in mayoral controlled New York and Chicago schools, are paraded. In Los Angeles, Bob Hertzberg, mayors Richard Riordan, James Hahn, and Antonio Villaraigosa,“testify”, along with Board President, JoseHuizar.
July 15, 2005 - Senator Gloria Romero introduces SB 767. The legislation would give the Mayor of Los Angeles “ultimate control and oversight” over the LAUSD. The Senator had met privately with Speaker of the Assembly, Fabian Nunez and Eli Broad, the previous day.
July 29, 2005 – The Presidents’ Joint Commission On LAUSD Governance is formed. The commission is mandated for a one-year duration, to study educational governance issues by City Council President, Alex Padilla and Board of Education President, Jose Huizar.
November 2005 - Prop. Y passes for 3.985 Billion Dollars. This brings the local bond total value to 13.605 billion dollars and according to The Budget Services and Financial Planning Division the value of the bond construction program is 20.664.7 billion dollars. If fully matched by State Construction Bond proceeds the total funding would be 27.21 billion dollars.
June 3, 2006 – Mr. Krischer meets with UTLA Special Project Director, Joel Jordan, who assures him that Mayor Villaraigossa lacks the votes in the legislature, sufficient to pass AB 1381. Mr. Krischer provides the “connecting the dots” documentation to Mr. Jordan for use by the union.
June 2006 - Backroom deal cut between UTLA leadership, including Mr. Jordan, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Democratic leadership of the state legislature. It results in a gut and amend assembly bill authored by Fabian Nunez, AB 1381(amended 6-26-06). The legislation authorizes the superintendent to have improper budgetary authority over the inspector general. The board is consigned to policy making and is out of the oversight loop. The superintendent has sole authority over all contractual, facilities and litigation matters. The mayor of Los Angeles, by virtue of his power to appoint the superintendent, has de facto executive control over the vast financial resources of the second largest school district in the United States. The bill passes the Senate Education Committee on June 28, bypassing a public vote. AB 1381 concerns only LAUSD.
Governor Schwarzenegger pledges to sign the legislation, just as he had with regard to SB 767.
July 12, 2006 – Contentious UTLA House of Representative’s meeting regarding AB 1381. Union leadership argues that they had no option but to cut a deal because the mayor had possessed enough votes to pass 1381. They say that opposition would have been futile and that they would have been left empty-handed otherwise.
The union leadership assures the representatives that financial accountability would remain intact in the district because the Inspector General would still be hired by the Board of Education and would retain the same authority as under existing law. Although they know, they neglect to explain that, under AB 1381, the superintendent would control the IG’s budget, thereby divesting the office of the independence necessary to provide meaningful oversight. An argument is made that, if Eli broad, Superintendent Romer and the Los Angeles Times are against the legislation, then the union should be for it. The representatives vote to support AB 1381 by a narrow margin.
July 2006 – Mayor Villaraigosa inaugurates a series of “town hall” meetings to inform the public of the merits of AB 1381. The presentations are scripted and, in a majority of the meetings, questions are tightly controlled.
July 13, 2006 – Presidents’ Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance holds it’s last meeting. Two fundamental recommendations emerge. The district must be de-centralized in order to improve student achievement and that any substantive change in the governance of the district, must come to a vote by the LAUSD electorate.
July 21, 2006 – A confidential letter from Eli Broad to Mayor Villaraigosa, dated June 30, 2006, “surfaces” in the press. Broad admonishes the mayor for not supporting SB 767 and for negotiating with the teacher’s union. He proffers amendments to AB 1381. One of them insists that the Inspector General “must report directly to the Council of Mayor’s”.
July 27, 2006 – After much wrangling, due to staunch opposition from Assembly Speaker, Fabian Nunez, an Assembly Committee on Education Informational Hearingis held, featuring speakers on both sides of the issue. The chair, Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, solicits unscreened public comment.
Mr. Krischer brings up the issue of the Inspector General’s budget being under the control of the superintendent. After a contentious exchange, Chief Counsel to the Mayor, Counsel to the City of Los Angeles, Member of the County Board of Education (until recently, it’s President) and Chief Ethics Officer for the City of Los Angeles, Tom Saenz, first avoids, then denies and finally pledges to fix the problem (KLCS Education Channel Video Tape 7-27-06).
August 8, 2006 – AB 1381 is amended. The Inspector General’s budget is now under the control of the Board of Education. However, the language substitutes commanding legal words like require and shall, in directives to the board regarding the IG, for the vagueness of words such as authorize and may. This maintains the uncertainty of whether the Inspector General will even have permission to exist and if so, perhaps who will appoint him.
August 9, 2006 – Chief Legislative Analyst for the City of Los Angeles recommends that the City Council oppose AB 1381 unless the mayor of each city represented in the Council of Mayors pursue a memoranda of understanding with the consent of each respective city’s and county’s legislative body, and that the superintendents power to make contracts be contingent upon approval by the Board of Education.