There’s a reason for that, as I was reminded again yesterday in an email from him, and it’s a reason that both saddens me and, I believe, deprives the public.
Let me start from the beginning.
About a year ago, in the closing days of his campaign for the school board, McKenna was questioned at a candidate forum about his level of support for then Superintendent John Deasy and his overall performance. He declined to answer.
As reporters approached him after the forum, LA School Report pressed him under the assumption that voters might want to know his position, just as appointments to the Supreme Court and the cabinet undergo questioning on key issues prior to confirmation.
Again, he wouldn’t answer, saying, “I cannot tell the voter what my position is on John Deasy. I’ve never supervised him, I never have.”
That was the beginning and the end of LA School Report’s access to the newest board member. Weeks later, another of our reporters approached his chief of staff in hopes of establishing a line of communication, and she was told that neither McKenna nor his staff would ever speak to us again.
In the months after the election, McKenna moved seamlessly into his role as a board member, revealing himself to be a studied, compassionate, and thoughtful contributor on a wide variety of subjects. Listening to his observations on contentious and complex issues, I’ve been impressed by points he made and questions he raised that have elevated the debate, adding perspectives unseen by other board members.