By T.A. Hendrickson
Jackie Goldberg, a veteran local politician, won a decisive victory on May 14 over Heather Repenning, a former city commissioner, for the Board District 5 (BD 5) seat on the Los Angeles School Board, which includes Northeast Los Angeles.
The task now before Goldberg, who was endorsed by the L.A. teachers union, is to find the money to deliver on her promise of smaller class sizes and more counselors, nurses and teachers aides. The potential sources of that money are the L.A. Unified School District, state government and new taxes.
The election of Goldberg ended a 10-month stretch in which BD 5 had no School Board member due to the resignation of the previous member, Ref Rodriguez, who pleaded guilty to an election-related felony. The election also gave pro-union members a majority on the seven-member School Board, raising expectations that demands made during the teachers strike in January will now be met.
Despite the importance of the election, voter turnout was abysmal. Overall, only 8.7% of registered voters in BD 5 cast ballots. In the Northeast L.A. part of the board district, turnout was better than average, but that’s not saying much: In the Eagle Rock zip code of 90041, 13.6% of registered voters cast ballots. In the Highland Park zip code of 90042, turnout was 10.1%. And in 90065, which includes Glassell Park, Mount Washington and Cypress Park, turnout was 9.5%.
The Boulevard Sentinel computed the local turnout from precinct level voter data.