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Villaraigosa-backed school board candidate leads money race

May 12, 2013|By Howard Blume

The money race among two remaining candidates for the Los Angeles Board of Education is competitive, but outside spending has skewed resources decidedly toward the one backed by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Antonio Sanchez has collected more than $67,000 in contributions for a May 21 runoff in District 6, which stretches across the east San Fernando Valley. Opponent Monica Ratliff has raised nearly $27,000, according to reports posted Friday by the city Ethics Commission.

The outside spending tells a more one-sided story. A political action committee spearheaded by Villaraigosa has raised $900,000 since the primary to elect Sanchez. It also had sizable resources left after compiling nearly $4 million in its efforts to elect Sanchez and two other candidates to the board in March. One of those candidates, incumbent Monica Garcia, won. The other, challenger Kate Anderson, lost. Sanchez finished first but not with the majority of votes needed to avoid a runoff.

Sanchez also is benefiting from campaign spending by labor groups. The L.A. County Federation of Labor has spent more than $150,000 on his behalf since the primary. Affiliates of the Service Employees International Union have spent at least $47,000 for Sanchez.

United Teachers Los Angeles, the teachers union, has endorsed both candidates and funded neither, effectively removing its influence from the race, a huge advantage for Sanchez. The union did, however, make a token $1,000 donation to Ratliff, a teacher.

Though trailing in funding, Ratliff can boast of a certain pedigree to her contributors. They include former school board members Jackie Goldberg, David Tokofsky and Julie Korenstein, the longtime board member for the east Valley. Other contributions came from leaders of the administrator union, a UTLA officer, noted education historian and activist Diane Ravitch and current board members Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte and Bennett Kayser, both allies of the teachers union. These contributions were generally in the $100 range.

Sanchez’s recent donors include charter school operators, a top Chamber of Commerce official, several union locals, philanthropists Megan Chernin and Casey Wasserman and campaign committees set up on behalf of Kevin De León and Ricardo Lara.

The largest previously announced contributor to Villaraigosa’s coalition is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has put $1.35 million in the race, including $350,000 since the primary.

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howard.blume@latimes.com 

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