Campaign against Kayser turns negative with charter-funded flyer
Vanessa Romo | January 30, 2015
An arm of the California Charter Schools Association‘s political action committee has unleashed the first campaign attack with a full color, glossy flyer aimed at District 5 board incumbent Bennett Kayser.
The message targets a very specific demographic: Latinos.
It features five sad looking brown-skinned kids with their heads in their hands. Above them: “Bennett Kayser tried to stop Latino children from attending schools in white neighborhoods.” On the other side, it says, “He’s not for us.”
The flyer was paid for by “Parent Teacher Alliance in Support of Rodriguez, Galatzan, Vladovic, and McKenna for School Board 2015” — a reference to a Kayser challenger, Ref Rodriguez; and incumbents Tamar Galatzan, Richard Vladovic and George McKenna, who are also running for reelection.
As an offshoot of the association’s PAC, the group was formed specifically for these elections.
Kayser did not immediately respond, but one of his colleagues did.
In a news release this morning, McKenna expressed outrage that his name appears on the flyer, saying the “literature is misleading and racially inflammatory in nature.” McKenna also makes clear he has not sought the group’s endorsement.
“I reject the statements, accusations and positions promoted by this group as it relates to Board Member Kayser, whom I strongly support for re-election,” he said.
He continues: “I was not consulted prior to the release of this literature nor did I give Parent Teacher Alliance permission to use my name. I request that their endorsement of me be withdrawn and that my name and/or title not be used by them in any of their literature.”
Throughout his time on the board Kayser has been openly and staunchly anti-charter, voting against them whenever possible. So it comes as no surprise that CCSA’s political arm would go after him. As of today it has spent $55,424.40 trying to defeat him, while no money has been spent to oppose any other candidate.
The CCSA group has also spent another $28,574.80 supporting Rodriguez, a pro-charter challenger and PUC charter school founder.
Meanwhile, Kayser, a former teacher, continues to benefit from his ties to the teachers union. He is UTLA’s strongest ally on the board and the union’s political action committee, PACE, has spent $13,831 on phone banks and canvassing efforts to get him re-elected.
Kayser has also been endorsed by SEIU 99. It is the first time the service workers union with approximately 30,000 members working for the district, has thrown its support behind him, largely due to Kayser’s yes vote to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2015.