Friday Mixer: Polls, schools and optics

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On today’s Mixer, we welcomed Gene Maddaus from the LA Weekly and Howard Blume, the education reporter from the Los Angeles Times.

There are a couple of new polls that came out this week. One comes from the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, showing 46% of likely voters backing Wendy Greuel and 45% who back Eric Garcetti.

Nine percent are still undecided.

The Cal State survey shows Greuel polls better with Whites and African-Americans… Garcetti with Latinos and Asians. Greuel has the support of a majority of women. Garcetti has more men backing his campaign.

The other poll (released today) by SurveyUSA — for KABC-TV/Channel 7 — shows a tie between the two – at 46% each. The same poll a month and a half ago showed Garcetti with a 7-point lead (47-40).

Meanwhile, the mayoral candidates may’ve pow-wow’ed about education at the KCRW debate this week… but did they wow anyone?

Everyone wants to be the education mayor. Do either one of them have the chops for it? Our panel says no. But they also admit that mayors either grow into that role (Antonio Villaraigosa) or ignore it altogether (Richard Riordan).

Speaking of Mayor Villaraigosa, his Coalition for School Reform continues to rear its head in a local school board race. That sole race that’s advanced to a runoff — LAUSD Board District 6 — pits the mayor’s former aide, Antonio Sanchez against San Pedro Elementary School teacher  Monica Ratliff.

Sanchez has had no issue with money, and it shows. In the primary, he commanded an 84-to-1 lead in campaign money and won the race. Contributions are still pouring into his coffers, most notably from outsiders, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He had doled out even more money during the primary.

Sanchez has the backing of Villaraigosa (and by extension, Bloomberg), because Sanchez is a backer of LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, who Villaraigosa is trying to keep at that job.

The union — which endorsed all the candidates in the primary — gave $1,000 to Ratliff for the May 21 runoff. And continues to give fits to Deasy. So far though, he’s been able to gather a Board of Education majority to support most of his policies.

Finally, a photo may be worth a thousand words. But how about a non-photo?

Eric Garcetti went to Google to tour their new, swanky Venice digs. And while he was walking about, some techies there wanted him to try out the new Google Glass optical contraption. Reporters, including Gene Maddaus, wanted to snap a picture of the candidate wearing the tech specs.

His people said no, worried that a photo of Garcetti wearing the glasses would pose a problem. Namely, a Greuel opposition research problem.

Learning a lesson from former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.