By Peter Jamison
Charter-school founder Steve Barr will run for Los Angeles mayor in 2017, opening up a potentially challenging front for incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti in what has so far shaped up as an all but uncontested re-election bid.
Barr, a Silver Lake resident and darling of education-reform advocates who has not previously held elected office, said he has grown impatient with what he sees as Garcetti’s passivity in the face of a worsening public-education crisis.
He said that though he plans to draw attention to other measures of urban decline, such as L.A.’s rising crime rate and growing homeless population, the focus of his campaign will be innovation and improvement in the nation’s second-largest school system.
“The school district – and I’m saying this as a big fan of the school district, as a parent in the school district – in some ways is a little bit like an alcoholic who hasn’t bottomed out yet,” Barr said. “It’s getting better, but we can’t afford as a city to just let this thing linger out there, because it’s not just affecting them anymore. It’s affecting our city and it has for a long time.”
Barr said he would file paperwork to run Monday. His entry into the race is likely to revive debate around a recurrent theme in Los Angeles politics: the relationship between the Los Angeles Unified School District and City Hall. L.A.’s mayor, unlike those in Chicago or New York City, has no formal authority over the school district.
To read the full story in the Los Angeles Times, click here.