George McKenna - target of smear campaign

George McKenna – target of smear campaign

Another smear on Los Angeles politics within the LA Unified School District – the following article (released 7/22/14) is re-printed in its entirety by permission of CityWatch news editor:

The Assassination of George McKenna  – by Betty Pleasant

VOICES-THIS IS IT! — For the past seven months, the people of Los Angeles County have been engaged in a great war against the politicians we elected to represent us. For the most part, our battles have been pity-pat encounters to make our local politicians respond to our needs — rather than to their own obsessions to reign over us as little kings doing everything they can to create and/or perpetuate rich dynasties for themselves, their kin and their sycophants.

Well, nuclear war was declared this week when residents of LAUSD’s District 1 received two sets of campaign mailings in support of the election of Alex Johnson, King Mark Ridley-Thomas’ chosen minion, to the district’s seat on the Board of Education. These mailings are the worst pieces of campaign literature I’ve ever seen in my lengthy career. They are full of boldface lies about the people’s candidate, George McKenna (photo), and constitute the nastiest smear campaign money can buy. I did not believe King Mark could stoop that low.

Sentinel publisher Danny Bakewell and I have not agreed on a single thing in almost 50 years — until now. We both wholeheartedly support the election of McKenna — who last week received the overwhelming endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, and today was endorsed by LAUSD board member Monica Ratliff, who, like everyone else, maintains that McKenna’s “years of experience as a dedicated and successful teacher, principal and administrator will continue to serve the students and parents of District 1 well.”

It’s time to fight nuclear bombs with nuclear bombs. The only people who support Johnson are preachers who tow King Mark’s line because they have charter school and preschool contracts with LA County which they believe would be jeopardized if they didn’t back Johnson. They told me that and told others in the community as well. It’s now common knowledge, particularly in view of what reportedly happened in one of our largest black churches a couple of Sundays ago when the pastor refused to interrupt his service to allow Johnson and King Mark to speak to his congregation. The preachers are getting bold, as they come to realize that the election of the truly qualified candidate, McKenna, would set them free.

The first batch of smear literature against McKenna sported the disclaimer that it was not sent by the candidate or his campaign committee. It did state, however, that it was sent by the African American Voter Registration, Education, Participation Project (AAVREP), which, as we all know, is King Mark’s pet organization. He founded it and he is, therefore, responsible for viciously maligning McKenna’s stellar career.

The offending document lists as supporters, King Mark, Rep. Diane Watson (ret.), Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (ret.), Congresswoman Janice Hahn, L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson and SEIU #99, Education Workers United. Now, it really upsets me when people I like do something I hate.

So I called them for an explanation. I called Hahn in Washington D.C. and Watson at her house and both women were appalled that their names appeared on such a raunchy piece of campaign literature.

“You know I’ve never participated in anything like that!” Watson said. “Johnson came to my house and presented himself well and asked for my support if he ran for the school board,” Watson explained.

“This was early when the election was finally agreed upon and I wanted McKenna in the seat, but he said he did not want to run for it. So I agreed to support Johnson, not realizing that McKenna would change his mind,” Watson said.

“Now that he’s in the race, I definitely support McKenna and I do not like having my name on campaign pieces that attack him. I’m going to get to the bottom of this,” Watson said.

Like Watson, Rep. Hahn said she made an early commitment to support Johnson when he took her to lunch, where he made a decent impression on her. “Politics can get really dirty sometimes and this looks like one of those times,” Hahn said. “I must call over there,” she added.

The other supporters named are obvious, as Burke’s support of Johnson is quid pro quo for King Mark’s support of her daughter for the Assembly, and Wesson’s support may have something to do with the rumors that Wesson has been anointed to replace King Mark on the Board of Supervisors when he terms out. We will speak of this, and related matters, some more.

(Betty Pleasant writes Soulvine for the WAVE newspapers … except for this column which they refused to print. She is a longtime urban and South LA voice.)

cw