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Feeding the dysfunction

Posted: April 19, 2010 3:07 p.m.
Updated: April 20, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
"I never hear from educational leaders: Let's change all this," Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, stated in a quote printed in The Signal ("Two days in the capitol," April 1).

The quote was made at a gathering in Sacramento of local leaders and involved citizens from the Santa Clarita Valley who attended the annual KHTS Road Trip to Sacramento, the column said.

His statement is untrue.

As a school board member for the Newhall School District, an active member of the PTA, former president of the Los Angeles County School Board Trustees Association and president of the Santa Clarita Valley Trustees Association, I can tell you first-hand that Sen.
Runner has been actively involved with superintendents from both the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys on special education issues, that he has been contacted related to budget and other educational matters, that parent leadership from across his senatorial district has met with him in his Sacramento office to address educational concerns.

I know this because I was there.

I, along with both school board members and teacher union leaders from both the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, met with him and his wife, former Assembly-member Sharon Runner in his Lancaster office to discuss cuts to the education budget during our multi-year budget crisis.

When AB 1381 (the bill to break up the Los Angeles Unified School District) was moving through the Senate, I spoke with Senator Runner in his office to vote against it because it violated the California Constitution, which clearly states that no municipality shall govern another municipally - so why waste tax dollars and time in court?

Interestingly enough, he told me was going to vote against it. But 20 minutes later at the Senate session, he voted to support it.

Ultimately, the bill died in the courtroom.

Notwithstanding his statement, Senator Runner hears from education leaders.

The senator and I, along with other educational leaders, have engaged in meaningful conversations over many years.

It is disappointing to think that he dismisses the communication he does receive from his local educational leaders and constituents, and that our efforts have been meaningless.

This all points to why there is such dysfunction in government.

Elected officials claim they never hear from the people, and the people claim they are never heard by their elected officials. Senator Runner's statement feeds that dysfunction.

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