The LookOut columnsWhat I Say

Frank Gruber

What I Say: For the Record

In the column last week on the College Board and School Board election I stated that candidate Andrew Walzer "is a professor at the College, and a member of the faculty union's executive board." My source for that statement was the following question and Mr. Walzer's answer from the questionnaire Mr. Walzer submitted to Community for Excellent Public Schools when CEPS was determining its endorsements:

"What has been your personal involvement with education in our community?

"I have taken a leadership position in the Santa Monica College Faculty Association, serving as the chair of the part time committee, and serving on the executive board of the Santa Monica College Faculty Association. I have been involved in the fight against student tuition hikes, as well as preventing budget cuts to Santa Monica College. I was involved in the struggle to prevent the vocational programs from being cut, and I have also been involved in campaign to elect progressive candidates to the College Board of Trustees. In addition, I was a strong advocate around student access issues to the Bundy Satellite campus."

(View the entire questionnaire)

I read that answer as referring to the present, but Mr. Walzer intended that his answer be interpreted in the past tense as he is no longer teaching at Santa Monica College and no longer a member of the faculty union there. Mr. Walzer informed me that he was hired as a full time faculty member at Los Angeles City College in Feb. 2005. Since then he was elected as an alternate to the executive board of the LACC faculty union.

So instead of being on the SMC faculty and active in its union, as I reported, Mr. Walzer is on the LACC faculty and active it the LACC union. I am happy to set the record straight, because one who is teaching in a community college district may not be a member of that district's board of trustees, but my impression is that this is a distinction but not a difference when it comes to the politics of the race.

In the same column I wrote of David Finkel that the former council member and judge "doesn't have any particular experience in education." I meant that in a political sense, but in so doing slighted Mr. Finkel's extensive experience teaching, including five years of teaching constitutional law at Santa Monica College, where he has served on the Academic Senate. If he wins, he will have to terminate his teaching at the College.

--Frank J. Gruber

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