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What You Need To Know Today: LAUSD Board, Canceled Council Meeting, Spooky Trails

Three students seated around a semi-circular table look down at sheets of paper as their teacher, in a blue UCLA Bruins t-shirt, looks on. One student has his hands raised in a stretch.
Elia Lara, a third- and fourth-grade teacher at UCLA Community School, leads a small group discussion of a Spanish-language text. UCLA Community offers bilingual programs in both Spanish and Korean, mirroring common languages spoken in the neighborhood around the school.
(Kyle Stokes
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Friday, October 14.  

Today in How To LA: What you need to know to vote for LA school board members, a canceled city council meeting after demands for two councilmembers to resign; plus a spooky outdoors trail adventure for your consideration. 

Back when I was an education reporter, I had to be well acquainted with all the inner workings of a school district (up to 11 school districts at one point!). That often meant working through early mornings to catch parents as they dropped their kids off at school or working through late nights at board meetings — taking note of every little thing the board members and district administrators were discussing.

Shifting gears from a classroom teacher to an education reporter taught me the importance of knowing how the entire sausage gets made. All of the discussions and decisions that affect our kids happen at those public meetings with the district officials, community members and, lest we forget, the elected board members.

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The seven Los Angeles Unified School District board members are in charge of more than 542,000 students who attend public and charter schools in the city. Board members have the power to hire and fire the superintendent, set forth a budget and decide how it will be used, work with parents on issues in their district and vote on charter schools who hope to vie for the district’s resources. Some of the top issues for this next term include: 

  • Making difficult budget decisions due to a dwindling student enrollment 
  • Serving students academically after the worst of a life-upending pandemic that caused many learning setbacks 
  • Supporting students through their mental health challenges 
  • Successfully implementing the Black Student Achievement Plan after redirecting a third of the school police budget to the initiative. 

This week, my colleague Kyle Stokes interviewed the three of the four candidates for District 2 (María Brenes and Rocío Rivas) and District 6 (Marvin Rodríguez) to talk about their platforms for our Voter Game Plan program. Candidate for District 6 Kelly Gonez declined to participate in the roundtable discussion.

Kyle also has a comprehensive guide on all things LAUSD which features more information about all of the candidates. Throughout the next few days, check out LAist for interviews about the candidates. Right now, you can read profiles on Kelly Gonez and Marvin Rodríguez, who are running for District 6.

LAist launched the Voter Game Plan to help you make the very best, knowledgeable decisions about the people, measures and propositions that impact our everyday lives. Explore our guides here.

About How to LA Newsletter
  • This is the web version of our How To LA newsletter. Sign up here to get this newsletter sent to your inbox each weekday morning

By the way, don’t forget: the last day to register to vote online is Oct. 24!

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

The News You Need After You Stop Hitting Snooze

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

  • An L.A. City Council meeting was supposed to be held today, but after increasing calls for the resignation of councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, Mitch O’Farrell, the acting City Council president canceled the meeting. 
  • L.A.’s office of the chief legislative analyst will be the temporary caretaker of Nury Martinez San Fernando Valley District. This week, Nury Martinez resigned from her District 6 post after her racist remarks were leaked last weekend. 
  • Some Angelenos fear that the City Council scandal pushed the unity building between Black and Latino Angelenos back. But some community leaders feel the long history and commitment to cooperation between the two deeply marginalized communities will help keep the bond together, even through the pain. 
  • There’s an update to former L.A. Councilmember José Huizar’s corruption case and it has to do with his brother Salvador. He’s agreed to testify against him and plead guilty about lying to federal investigators about his role in the crime. 
  • One of my bucket list dreams is to be a MacArthur Fellow. While I wait for my big break, Angeleno musician and professor Martha Gonzalez has just reached that pinnacle of success. Gonzalez is one of just 25 “extraordinarily talented and creative” fellows who have been awarded the esteemed $800,000 ‘Genius Grant’ that they can use as they see fit. 
  • According to Stop AAPI Hate’s co-founder Cynthia Choi, scapegoating “simply happens when a group is unfairly blamed for current events.” And according to the advocacy group, 20% of hate incidents have included racial scapegoating of Asians and Asians Americans. 
  • Consumer relief might not be coming soon as inflation continues to increase, but there’s good news for retirees: they will have a 8.7% cost of living adjustment from Social Security, which is significantly more than what the everyday employee will be getting.
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Wait! One More Thing...Getting Outdoors This Spooky Season

An old house decorated for Halloween with purple and orange lights with people milling out front.
Heritage Hill Historical Park is open for nighttime touring this weekend and next. This is just one of the places hosting events in this weekend's list.
(Courtesy of OC Parks)

I have one really spooky outdoor activity for you this weekend. Have you ever been on a witch house trail? No? Well, Buffy the Vampire star and novelist Amber Benson (who played Tara Maclay in the series) curated this exploration guide through trails. Travel around these magnificent, architectural homes with The Friends of Residential Treasures: Los Angeles (FORT: LA) and sign up on FORT:LA to download the guide.

Not only does exploring the outdoor trails sound exhilarating, there are so many cool seasonal events happening this month that you should check out including Fall-O-Ween, ArtNight Pasadena and Bob Baker Marionette Theater Presents: Are You Afraid Of The Dark? A Live Benefit read. Check out the rest of the events here.

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