Candidate Garcetti Waffles on School Board Endorsement*

At a candidate forum in Northridge yesterday, Mayoral hopeful Eric Garcetti did some serious dodging when asked if he would vote for School Board President Monica Garcia, who is running for re-election in East Long Angeles’ District 2:

“I admire Monica Garcia a lot,” said Garcetti, who has complained about teacher-bashing and recently received an endorsement from UTLA. “It’s important to have a reform agenda at the school board.”

Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti, far left, at yesterday’s candidate forum

Garcetti went on to call for an end to the shrill, highly polarized education debate, but never quite answered the Garcia question.

When pressed by the moderator to clarify, Garcetti said he admires Garcia but didn’t go so far as to say whether or not he would support her.

His campaign has thus far not gotten back to LA School Report with an answer.

Moderated from Cal State Northridge by Austin Beutner, himself a former candidate for Mayor, the forum focused primarily on city finances, including tough questions by Beutner on the funding of public pensions.

But Beutner did ask the candidates one education question, and it was a surprisingly specific one:

“In School Board President Monica Garcia’s bid for reelection, who would you vote for?”

Garcia is running against four other candidates: Isabel Vazquez, Annamarie Montanez, Robert Skeels, and Abelardo Diaz. All but Vazquez have been endorsed by the teachers union.

Mayoral candidates Kevin James and Emmanuel Pleitez, both long shots, pled ignorance.

“I have no idea,” said James, “I haven’t looked. He added that he’s heard of and likes Abelardo Diaz. (See our post on James here.)

“I like Monica,” said Perry. “She’s not afraid to push back.” After the debate, her spokesperson clarified that Perry would vote for Garcia. (See our post on Perry here.)

Greuel also said she would support Garcia.

After saying he admired Garcia, Garcetti called for a cessation of hostilities in the education debate:

“The conversation has gotten so shrill, that you’re either with teachers or against them. You’re either a reformer or you’re not. The next mayor has to bridge that back… We’re so focused on the bad teachers — which we should be — that we’ve forgotten all the rest of them.”

Beutner, clearly dissatisfied with what appeared to be a dodge, pressed Garcetti for an answer. Garcetti replied: “I admire what Monica Garcia has done.”

We asked a Garcetti spokesman for clarification. He said he’d call us back.

You can watch a recording of the forum below. The education question comes up at around the hour and sixteen minute mark.

Video streaming by Ustream

Previous posts: Mayoral Candidate Perry Offers Mixed Praise for Villaraigosa,
Mayoral Candidate James Proposes Trade DiplomaTeachers Endorse Garcetti for MayorMayoral Candidates’ Education Views

*Due to an editing error, a previous version of this post omitted LAUSD Board District candidate Isabel Vazquez.