Steve Zimmer, a second term member of the LAUSD school board, became furious because of the charter industry’s vicious attacks on Bennett Kayser. And why should he not be furious? The charter industry accused Kayser of being biased against Latinos and mocked his disability (Parkinson’s).
Here is the speech that Zimmer gave:
“This (election) is NOT just about Board District 5.
This is about the ENTIRE CONTROL and FUTURE of LAUSD.
“This is about CONTROL. Make NO mistake about it.
The control of the (LAUSD) school board hangs in the balance.
“And listen…. you don’t have to applaud on this line,
but you can.
— (CROWD LAUGHS)
“I have a lot of dear friends in the room,
and sometimes we have disagreed,
and sometimes we look at an issue,
we see it from a different lens,
and sometimes there are painful moments.
“That’s true for me.
That’s been true for Jackie (Goldberg) in her service.
That’s been true for Bennett.
“But the difference between the people
who believe that it’s ALL of us TOGETHER—
—that it’s ALL of us working together,
that… that… that our employees,
that our teachers are our greatest partners.
“NOT our enemies,
NOT … NOT… litigants to be challenged in court,
NOT … NOT…. people to be blamed for
the crisis that is facing our children,
but the VERY PEOPLE who can
lift our children out of this crisis.
“Even if we disagree on some issues,
the difference between
the folks like Bennett Kayser,
the folks like Jackie Goldberg,
Jeff Horton before her…
“ … the folks… the folks who have tried
to fight the fight over the years that
I am proud to associate myself with.
“The difference between THAT and…
“And what the folks who are
trying to destroy Bennett Kayser—
NOT BEAT Bennett Kayser—DESTROY him
AS A PERSON, not just as a political figure, but
DESTROY him as a person.
“The difference between…
we who believe that it’s ALL OF US together.
“those who believe that it’s ‘us against them’…
“It’s NIGHT and DAY.
“We CANNOT let them
take control of the school board
because if they take control of the school board,
they’ll have control of who becomes the
next Superintendent of this district.
“They’ll have control over the budget.
They’ll have control over the policies.
They‘ll have control over the schools.
“And it took us too long for us to realize it—
Bennett realized it WAY before I did,
and I give him credit for it EVERY day—
“What John Deasy tried to do to this school district.
“He tried to bring public education DOWN.
And the MISIS crisis was NO accident.
That is… that WAS INTENTIONAL, because
if you read their websites,
if you read what they’re trying to do…
“ ‘Stability’ is an ugly word.
“ ‘Disruption’ is what it is about.
“But WE know
WE the teachers
WE the principals
WE the school workers
WE THE PARENTS
WE KNOW that disruption causes
REAL collateral damage
to REAL children EVERY DAY!
“And Bennett and I have been
about trying to re-STABILIZE and
re-HUMANIZE our schools.
“And at the end of the day,
we are about an ALL-kids agenda—
ALL kids, NOT SOME kids.
“And if you go to a door, and if you’re on a phone.
and people say,
“ ‘Why should I care?‘
“ ‘Why should I vote?’
“PUBLIC education is about
EVERY CHILD that comes to the
schoolhouse door—those who are the most gifted,
and those who have the most DIFFICULT
of challenges that are facing them.
“What makes public education PUBLIC education is
that it’s EVERY child that comes to the schoolhouse door,
and no one, NO ONE—NOT ME, NOT anyone else—
has been a better champion of that than Bennett Kayser.
the MOST reprehensible,
the most DISGUSTING thing that they have done
is to somehow challenge—that while
Bennett has struggled, and continues to struggle
valiantly, publically, VICTORIOUSLY
against Parkinson’s disease,
they have SOMEHOW THOUGHT that it is okay
to suggest… to suggest that somehow,
because of this struggle, he is incapable of serving.
“Every … ANY one of us could go to a neurologist
some time over the next year,
and come out with that diagnosis—ANY ONE of us.
“And thank God we have Bennett Kayser to
show us that this is NOT a death sentence,
that it’s NOT a way of having to fade into
that you can serve with pride,
“And DAMN THEM, DAMN THEM
for questioning that!
Damn them for questioning that!
“Don’t let that win!
“Because I’ve known Bennett for over 20 years,
but in our private conversations…
what he now knows is that there is a new
empathy for what our children with
the most challenges face.
“THERE IS NO ONE MORE APPROPRIATE
to serve on the Board of Education.
than someone who INTIMATELY
and PERSONALLY understands those challenges
because he will NEVER turn way from them.
“So these next three weeks, Bennett…
these next three weeks…
they are about you, but they are also about
the future of public education
in this country, and in this city.
“We will NOT let this stand, Bennett,
and we WILL stand by you.
“But the last thing I want to say, Bennett, is….
“Thank you for your courage, for enduring this
on behalf of all of us, and most especially
on behalf of all the children who need you
“Thank you, Bennett!”
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Here’s where you can donate on-line to Bennett’s campaign:
Here’s his website in general: