It’s time to batten the hatches, cover our ears, shut off the radio, toss out half the mail. In other words, it’s campaign-ad season, a time to protect yourself from a barrage of lies, damn lies and, worse, misleading half-truths.
But I needed the traffic report the other day, and in an unguarded moment switched on the radio. And before I could find out why it would be faster to walk to work than drive (have you noticed they almost never tell you anyway?), there was a strange ad spot by the supremely well-funded Coalition for School Reform -- the group that received $1 million from New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg alone to back candidates who, to put it simplistically, oppose the teachers union in the three races for the Los Angeles Unified School Board.
This particular ad was on behalf of Kate Anderson, who is running to unseat the somewhat more union allied Steven Zimmer, and it excoriated Zimmer for teacher layoffs and other cuts and for the construction of the ridiculously opulent Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, known for the talking benches that help make it the most expensive public school campus ever built. One shot is fair -- that school really did cost a ridiculous amount, with many unnecessary flourishes -- the other not. The school district had no choice but to make cuts.