In reading some recent posts, it seems clear that Culver City activists are trying to understand the results of the recent school board election. Let me point to one factor that seems to have been ignored in the post-election analyses: Both candidates who were elected were endorsed and supported by the Culver City Federation of Teachers.
In addition to that local endorsement, which carries real weight with voters, we helped secure endorsements from our state organization, the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
Our local union purchased ads in the local press and sent out a targeted direct mail piece to high propensity voters. The CFT helped with two direct mail pieces. Teachers distributed campaign literature and staffed phone banks.
Many were surprised that the incumbent, Scott Zeidman, was not re-elected. Incumbents generally do well in Culver City. But if these results suggest anything, they suggest that incumbents, even those with strong records, still need the support of employee unions. Organized labor is alive and well in Culver City.
If you take a look at the history of school board elections over the past several cycles, you will see that our endorsement almost always results in victory. Current board members Karlo Silbiger and Kathy Paspalis were elected with union support two years ago as were Scott Zeidman and Steve Gourley (yes, Steve Gourley) four years ago.
I've been here for over 30 years and I can recall just two candidates with our endorsement who fell short on election day.
But the election is over, of course, and it's time to get to work. Job one is to maintain excellence in our schools despite another round of cuts in funding from Sacramento. As teachers, we'll work with this new board and with the community—collaboratively as partners—to face these challenges.
President, Culver City Federation of Teachers