Mayor Eric Garcetti, who rarely insinuates himself into Los Angeles public school politics, is endorsing Tamar Galatzan for a third term representing LA Unified’s District 3 board seat.
“Tamar is an innovative problem-solver and a strong and thoughtful advocate for Valley schools and kids,” Garcetti said in a news release from the Galatzan campaign. “She has shown strong leadership on critical issues concerning our students. And she isn’t afraid to make the tough choices about spending taxpayer dollars and fighting for the resources for her schools.”
Garcetti’s endorsement is repayment, of sorts. Galatzan endorsed him for mayor in 2013 when he was running in a close campaign against Wendy Greuel. Greuel, the former city controller, has also endorsed Galatzan, the campaign said.
Of the four board incumbents facing reelection on March 3, Galatzan has drawn the largest number of challengers — five. George McKenna (District 1) is running unopposed. Bennett Kayser (5) and President Richard Vladovic (7) are each facing two challengers.
In any race without a majority winner, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff on May 19.
Galatzan was first elected in 2007,prompted by her concern over the district’s truancy and drop-out problems rates. Re-elected in 2011, she became a strong ally of former superintendent John Deasy, whose management style and battles with other board members led to his resignation in October.
Galatzan, who also serves as a city prosecutor and is the only board member with children in LA Unified schools, often supported Deasy on issues opposed by the district’s teachers union, UTLA.
“The mayor and I each have school-age children, so we both understand what it will take to prepare our kids for college and the workforce,” Galatzan said. “I am honored to have his endorsement, and I pledge to continue the hard work to help our district and our students succeed.”
Garcetti’s endorsement represents his first foray into board politics. A message to his office seeking to learn if he intends to endorse other candidates did not draw an immediate response.