"I would need to examine qualitative and quantitative data to make an informed decision."
- Getro Elize
This election was supposed to be about Katie Hill defending her seat. Despite overtaking the number of registered voters in the district, the Democrats had been frustrated in their efforts to take the CA-25 House seat. However, in 2018 the Blue Wave proved to be too strong for incumbent Steve Knightand the Trump apologist went down in defeat. CA-25 was finally blue and the Democrats had a new rising star.
Hill's meteoric rise would end as quickly as it began as the combination of a messy divorce and vengeful conservatives were too much for Hill. After a video was released of the freshman congresswoman as part of a thrupple, there were immediate calls for her resignation. Unlike Republicans, who stand by their politicians even after they are caught illegally using campaign funds to engage in an affairor use the power of their office to smear political opponents, Democrats did what they do best and caved. Hill was out of office.
The result is a chaotic mess as two primary elections are being held simultaneously to find a replacement representative. The eventual winner of the special election will be seated immediately and will govern until next January when the winner of the November general election takes office. Therefore, if you live in CA-25, this office will appear twice on your ballot with two sets of candidates that are not completely identical.
Hill's defeated opponent, Steve Knight, is trying to take back his seat. As in 2018, he did not reply when asked questions about federal education policy. Neither did any of his opponents with one exception. Getro Elize, who is running in both elections, provided the answers detailed below. While his answers cannot be compared to opponents in this race, candidates from both CA-29 and CA-30did respond. (NOTE: One other campaign requested an extension but has still not sent in the answers. If they do, I will publish them in another article.)
Question 1: Federal legislation authorizes "Congress to contribute up to 40% of the average per-pupil expenditure" for mandated special education services. Unfortunately, this funding has never materialized. What will you do to ensure that programs and services for those with special education needs are appropriately funded?
Getro Elize:"Thank you for the questions. While I support the IDEA Full Funding Act we have to understand that since this is a mandated program, why it isn't being funded and if those funds are being allocated somewhere else. So, in order for me to answer your question, I would need to get together with members of Congress to fully understand why those funds haven't been allocated and push for a strategy to make sure those funds get to the most vulnerable members of the student population."
Question 2: Currently, special education funding is based on the total student population instead of the actual population that needs services. What will you do to ensure that funding is actually based on the number of children requiring services?
Getro Elize: "I will need more information and to do more research to properly answer your question."
Question 3: More than 35 percent of charter schools funded by the federal Charter School Program (CSP) between 2006 and 2014 either never opened or were shut down, costing taxpayers more than half a billion dollars. What will you do to ensure that federal education funds are not wasted on this program?
Getro Elize:"I will need more information before I can choose a side on this particular issue. I would also need to speak with educators, parents, and students about their experiences with charter schools versus traditional public schools. I would need to examine qualitative and quantitative data to make an informed decision."
Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, an appointed alternate to the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, he was endorsed by the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a "strong supporter of public schools ." His past blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com . Opinions are his own.