Zimmer Volunteers Focus on Reaching District 4 Voters

Volunteers gather in District 4 candidate Steve Zimmer’s campaign office before they prepare to walk the precinct.

An energetic crowd gathered early on a Saturday morning to listen to a pep talk from District 4 incumbent Steve Zimmer before hitting the pavement to walk the precinct.

Standing on a chair to address the crowd, Zimmer spoke of his appreciation for their efforts and pride in the commitment of those who showed up, including some of his former students.

“The most important thing that each of you can bring today to these doorsteps is your own story,” Zimmer said. “Your experience with me as a board member and as a leader of this district, that’s what actually makes a difference when people go to the ballot box.”

About 65 volunteers snacked on bagels and cream cheese at the West Hollywood campaign office overlooking Sunset Boulevard before gathering in teams to head out.

District 4 Board Member Steve Zimmer stands on a chair to address the crowd.

Zimmer also addressed the recent $1 million donation from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the Coalition for School Reform, which backs Zimmer’s opponent, Kate Anderson.

“The question out there very strongly is can a very narrow agenda buy a school board seat, kick out a successful incumbent, and destroy the coalition that we’ve built,” Zimmer said. “Our answer to that agenda is a loud and clear…”

“No!” the throng of volunteers eagerly screamed out in unison.

Zimmer said there is one primary focus from now until election day:

“Really, the focused message now is getting out to voters,” Zimmer said. “It’s all about voter contact now.”

Steve Zimmer’s field manager, Esteban Hereida, hands out t-shirts to the volunteers.

Renata Garza, a LAUSD schoolteacher who lives in Pasadena, said she gladly sacrificed her Saturday morning to help Zimmer’s campaign.

“He’s one of those genuinely good people motivated by no other reason that he wants to help students, and I think that’s inspiring,” said Garza who teaches at 49th Street Elementary School.

Others said the children in the district must be the top priority.

“There’s so much fighting going on that no one’s looking out for the interests of the kids,” Amy Sobajian said.

Sobajian, who said she lives near Kate Anderson and knows her, likes both candidates but said she has made her choice.

“She’s a good person, but he knows how to do the job,” Sobajian said.

Longtime volunteer Jeannie Garcia helps organize the food and train volunteers for Saturday’s walk.

About 120 volunteers have helped out in recent months, making calls and walking precincts as well as hosting “meet and greets” and fundraisers, according to Zimmer’s campaign manager, Ari Ruiz.

Volunteers talk to voters about Zimmer’s work on the Board, including a nutrition resolution passed to ensure children have enough time to sit and eat while at school, his experience as a former schoolteacher and his support of SB 48, the resolution that ensures “the school district is the leading voice to include the history of the gay, lesbian and transgender community,” Ruiz said.

Despite the fact the campaign is “obviously up against a lot of money,” Zimmer has endorsements from Planned Parenthood and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, among other organizations, said the upbeat Ruiz.

“It is the broad coalition that is coming together to say that we can do transformation of our school district,” Zimmer told his volunteers. “We can ensure excellence for all kids, and we can do it together.”

  • michael betti

    Ms. Roos- Sadly, you are drinking the Zimmer cool aid and his untruths. He is not moving us to a better or bigger facility. He proposed to spend $2.5 million dollars on a facility that is not nearly equipped to keep elementary school children safe, not to mention there is no plumbing. He has acted in a discriminatory manner, refusing to sit down with a group of local, families who feel this is not in the best interest of our program, our local school or the lower income families he pretends to serve. He is interested in a plan that serves Steve Zimmer but has misled many families and is now jeopardizing our local Venice elementary and middle school. We have never been offered a real “compromise,” only been told what our one option is.

  • Sara Roos

    Ms Beck — please channel your fury surrounding this immersion program’s double-edged success, which is forcing your program to relocate to larger space, more appropriately. Ask for an article explaining the matter — fairly. What I understand is, true to his coalition-building essence, Zimmer has located another school that has space to accommodate you, without displacing others, in a win-win situation. It has not yet been implemented, this change, and while the unknown is still out there looming scarily, it might feel not-good. But I think it is a situation that was forced by your very own success, and as I understand things, Zimmer’s working incredibly hard to come up with a compromise that most (“many?” I don’t know — how many agree with your position now?) seem to agree can work. Compromise sometimes means you aren’t 100% happy with some concession you must make. But this is a big system with a lot of competing needs, and everyone deserves to be afforded some give-and-take.

    Perhaps your perspective on this is completely different from mine. But I can’t see how Zimmer’s been the responsible force behind this difficult situation. And from what I’ve seen, he’s worked in his pretty typically tireless-way, to mitigate it. That you remain beside yourself with the solution does not, it seems to me, relegate Zimmer to complicity or responsibility for your disappointment (or even the problem). I cannot imagine how ‘electing anyone but …’ will change the fact that your school is so successful it has outgrown its space! And I fear for your likelihood of getting anything like the kind of attention you’ve been getting in mitigating this situation, with the alternative. (i.e. be careful what you wish for)

  • Erika Kirsten Beck

    Steve Zimmer wants to move the largest LAUSD dual immersion program out of the Venice family of schools! Broadway Mandarin Immersion has been a success by any measure and shows how LAUSD can stop the outflow of local residents to private schools and neighboring districts. District administrators should focus their efforts on replicating the success of this program in the proposed location rather than uprooting these students and families. Elect anyone but Steve Zimmer.