In accepting a donation from Keith Brackpool, LAUSD School Board candidate Marilyn Koziatek proved that she is willing to accept any source of funding for her dirty campaign against Scott Schmerelson. The fact that Brackpool "breached financial-disclosure laws in the UK" did not bother her enough to reject his contribution. Neither did the fact that he also founded Cadiz, a company that seeks to make billions of dollars in profits by plundering the groundwater of the Mohave Desert, a plan that is opposed by "environmentalists, local ranchers, protectionists, and Native American tribes".
The newest ethics filing from the Koziatek campaign shows that Brackpool is not the only questionable donor supporting the challenger in the LAUSD Board District 3 race. On September 1, 2020, two executives from The Cordoba Corp. each donated $1,200 to the candidate supported by the charter-school industry. These donations were made less than two weeks after the Los Angeles District Attorney raided the firm's offices.
The raids are "part of a corruption probe into a failed solar project that cost the City of Industry $20 million and left taxpayers with nothing to show for it". The project was planned to be built on "one of the largest and most valuable swaths of open space left in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties." An investigation by the California News Group found that the Cordoba Corp. was secretly paying Frank Hill, "a former state senator previously convicted on corruption charges", as a consultant at the same time the firm was representing the City of Industry in a project with a company in-part owned by Hill. Hill's company is alleged to have fraudulently billed the City of Industry for his services.
While the case is still in the investigation phase, all parties should be considered innocent until proven guilty. However, those under investigation should not be able to interfere with the process through the legalized bribery that is our campaign-finance system. Koziatek needs to return this money immediately.
Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a "strong supporter of public schools." For links to his blogs, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.