A MODERN FABLE
Reliable but unnamed sources at the state capital insist that AB 46,
Assembly Speaker John Perez’ Vernon disincorporation bill, contains a
secret clause. According to a highly placed aide in the Speaker’s
office, interviewed under an assurance of anonymity, the final version
of the bill will turn Vernon over to Green Dot, the charter school operator, giving a whole new
meaning to "charter city."
Rather than disincorporate Vernon, the city will maintain its legal
identity but will technically be managed by Green Dot. Applying to
cities the Green Dot principle that any one can run a school, a short
list of candidates for Green Dot’s city manager include former LAUSD
Superintendents David Brewer and Ray Cortines.
But former Green Dot executive Steve Barr is favored to be tapped for
city manager. He disappeared from public view following what was
mistakenly thought to be his ouster from Green Dot. In fact, he
secretly entered Eli Broad’s Institute for City Government, a newly
organized training facility to mold municipal administrators with the
proper outlook on city management. The Institute is an offshoot of
Broad’s successful counterpart that indoctrinates "school choice"
Green Dot spokesman Marco Petruzzi would not confirm or deny the
rumor. Instead he read a statement suggesting that Green Dot’s past
performance made it a logical choice for such a takeover. Long-time
charter school critic Robert D. Skeels agreed: "Good idea. Green Dot
already runs its schools like factories."
Following the usual rules involved in reconstituting a school, all
Vernon officials and employees will be fired. Some, at the discretion
of Green Dot, may be rehired. Under Green Dot, employee compensation
will not include any pension benefits, health insurance or sick leave.
As at some charter schools, the work week will include Saturday and a
full ten hour day on weekdays. Green Dot, as a rule, does not welcome
Several local unions, which had vigorously opposed Vernon’s
disincorporation and had devoted both manpower and money to defeat the
Perez bill, were stunned by the sudden turn of events. Said a dejected
representative from the electrical union: "Capital and labor had
united in opposition to AB 46. We gave our all for Vernon. Now this."
Maria Durazo, county labor federation leader, says organized labor has
an even greater problem in store. The Walton Foundation reportedly has
given Green Dot several million dollars to erect worker re-education
camps. There, union members will be disindoctrinated through a lengthy
process designed to imbue them with a politically correct position on
the rights of capital and the subordinate position of workers.
How will a Green Dot Vernon differ from the current city? In keeping
with its practice of cherry picking students, Green Dot will decide
which businesses can stay and which will be forced to relocate in
traditional cities. Using its power as a truly "charter" city, Green
Dot will keep only the best performing businesses, sending the rest
elsewhere. "For all I care, they can go to Bell," Barr said. Those
business owners who resist expulsion will face special assessments,
parcel taxes and other irritating fees that will encourage them to
leave. Eminent domain looms as a last resort.
Many business and property owners, advocates of "city choice,"
expressed outrage and vowed to fight. "Owners Revolution," allegedly
to be headed by ousted state school board member Ben Austin, is
patterned after a highly vocal and abrasive Green Dot subsidiary.
Expect the purple prosed newsletters to be penned by charter advocate
and Emmy winning comedy writer Bill Gunderfest. Already Owners
Revolution has reportedly harassed owners sympathetic to Green Dot.
Several billboards have appeared along Vernon Avenue denouncing the
If the legislature balks, refusing to pass AB 46, Green Dot has Plan
B. Those same reliable sources suggest that already Green Dot and the
present cabal running Vernon have had extensive talks. Under
consideration is a proposal in which the Vernon city council would use
its power as a charter city to contract with Green Dot. That would
allow the school company to run the city, leaving the current council
in office at full salary and with their current pension benefits.
Either way, the term "charter city" will have an new definition.