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LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa began his career as an organizer for the United Teachers of Los Angeles. But last week he called UTLA leadership "one, unwavering roadblock to [5 years of education] reform." Union leaders have called him a turncoat who sounds like a conservative Republican. We talk with the Mayor about that and new leadership at the DWP.  Also, Governor-elect Jerry Brown holds a forum on the education budget at UCLA. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, President Obama's hope that direct talks would bring Middle East peace in a year seems less likely than ever. The US failed to persuade Israel to freeze settlements in East Jerusalem, and no talks are occurring at all. What went wrong? What might happen next?

Main Topic School Finance and Education Reform 25 MIN, 33 SEC

The Los Angeles Unified School District is in for change. State money is dwindling, and there will be a new superintendent next spring. Four school board seats will be up for election, and AJ Duffy will step down as head of United Teachers of Los Angeles.  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa got his start as an organizer for that union, but now says that schools "once synonymous with excellence" have become "dropout factories." In a major speech last week in Sacramento, he called the teachers' union, "the most powerful defender of the status quo…" 

Also, Governor-elect, Jerry Brown is making good on his campaign promise to hold a series of public discussions to define California's problems. Last week in Sacramento, it was the state budget. Today at UCLA, he talked to educators about the education budget.

Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles mayor running for governor (@antonio4ca)
Joe Mathews, Host, "Zocalo's Connecting California" (@joemmathews)

Main Topic Do the Middle East Peace Talks Have a Future? 26 MIN, 20 SEC

President Obama said renewing direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians might produce peace in a year. But just three months later, they aren't talking at all and it's back to shuttle diplomacy. Last Friday, Hillary Clinton said the US would continue peace efforts, even after Israel turned down a controversial American offer of billions in high-tech fighter planes in exchange for a three-month freeze on settlement-building in the West Bank.

Daniel Kurtzer, Princeton University
Daoud Kuttab, Al Monitor (@daoudkuttab)
Efraim Inbar, Director, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
Peter Beinart, City University of New York / Atlantic (@PeterBeinart)

The Icarus Syndrome

Peter Beinart

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