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Ratliff Retires Campaign Debt With Broad Base of Support

Hillel Aron | July 30, 2013



Monica Ratliff is sworn in by her mother

Monica Ratliff is sworn in by her mother

Before her election to the LA school board in May, Monica Ratliff was virtually unknown. Now, the race to influence her is on — and all sides have entered.

Ratliff, a former teacher and upset winner over Antonio Sanchez in District 6, has raised just over $30,000 since her election to help retire her campaign debt, according to a campaign finance report just released by the city ethics commission. The donors come from all poles of the education debate, giving her at least a veneer of political nonalignment. Ratliff’s ideological stance — that is, how she might line up on school board votes — has been the subject of much speculation. By some indications, she could be something of a swing vote, like board members Steve Zimmer and Richard Vladovic, even though she received strong teacher support in the general election campaign.

Among post-election contributions, UTLA President Warren Fletcher gave $1,000, the maximum allowable amount in School Board races, while UTLA Secretary David Lyell gave $350, and Brent Smiley, vice chairman of the union’s political action committee and a campaign volunteer, donated $50. The California Federation of Teachers’ Political Action Committee also gave $1,000.

On the other end of the spectrum, the California Charter School Association’s Political Action Committee gave $1,000, while Kathrine Baxter, wife of Frank Baxter, chipped in $500. Both Frank Baxter and the CCSA gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Coalition for School Reform, which spent heavily in an attempt to elect Sanchez.

Dixon Slingerland, the Executive Director of charter operator YPI, and Lisa Bercovici, the Executive Director of Gabriella Charter Schools, each gave $1,000.

Donations like these, to a candidate seeking to retire his or her campaign debt, represent the first opportunity to contribute money to a newly elected office holder.

Other noteworthy contributors include Dan Chang of the LA Fund ($150), prominent city lobbyist Bill Delvac ($1,000), former Board President Jackie Goldberg ($200), the LA School Police union ($1,000), and the blogger / activist Robert Skeels ($50).

Roughly 37 teachers, many of whom volunteered for her campaign also contributed, mostly in amounts of $100 or less.

The report also revealed that Ratliff’s campaign consultant, Fred Huebscher, received a $5,000 win bonus.

Ratliff declined to comment for this story.

Previous posts: “Motley Crew” Attend Ratliff Campaign Debt FundraiserMonica Ratliff Does “Which Way LA?”UTLA President Appears at Sanchez, Ratliff EventsDoor-to-Door in Sunland with Monica Ratliff

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