The Buzz: Antonio Villaraigosa endorses Torlakson rival in state schools’ chief race

akoseff@sacbee.comApril 21, 2014 

In an unusual move, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has broken with the California Democratic Party to endorse a rival over incumbent Tom Torlakson in the race for state superintendent of public instruction.

Villaraigosa, a former Assembly speaker with a possible eye on a future governor’s race, announced his support for former charter schools executive Marshall Tuck last Thursday, calling him the “only candidate with the experience needed to bring major change to California schools.”

“Marshall will bring real strategies, not politics, to Sacramento,” Villaraigosa said in a statement.

The endorsement is not entirely unexpected: In 2006, Villaraigosa selected Tuck to lead a nonprofit that assumed control of 17 failing schools in Los Angeles Unified School District.

The move puts Villaraigosa at odds with the state party, prominent Democrats and California’s two biggest teachers unions, all of which have endorsed Torlakson.

Villaraigosa and Torlakson served together in the Assembly from 1996 to 2000, where Torlakson joined Democrats to elect Villaraigosa speaker in 1998.

– Alexei Koseff


CAMPAIGN WATCH

Good Friday was a good day for opponents of a ballot initiative to regulate health insurance prices. The coalition of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies reported collecting nearly $24 million from Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. The contributions follow more than $13 million from WellPoint and Anthem Blue Cross last year. Opponents of the effort, which would allow the insurance commissioner to deny premium increases deemed excessive, argue it will drive up the cost of care.

– Christopher Cadelago


WORTH REPEATING

“Sending him to jail is a waste of time. He is already screwed for life.”

Willie Brown, former mayor and Assembly speaker, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle about Sen. Leland Yee, the San Francisco Democrat facing corruption charges

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