Bill de Blasio to Join Harvard Institute of Politics as Fall 2022 Visiting Fellow | News

Bill de Blasio to Join Harvard Institute of Politics as Fall 2022 Visiting Fellow | News

UPDATED: August 24, 2022, at 1:41 p.m. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will join the Harv…
See all stories on this topic

Newsletter: Essential Politics: A back-to-school test of teacher unions’ power in Ohio

WASHINGTON —  Teachers in a key state are striking just as students are due to return to school — and just ahead of elections that have national implications. Have school closures and COVID fatigue shaken unions’ power? Or does the tight labor market and a worrying nationwide teacher shortage strengthen their hand? Teachers in Columbus, Ohio, want smaller class sizes, air conditioning in buildings, caps on the number of periods during the school day and pay raises. But the school board will not budge, the local union contends. And so, for the first time in nearly 50 years, thousands of teachers, librarians, nurses and education professionals in the Columbus City Schools district voted to strike days before the school year began. Students are expected to begin the semester online. The strike is only on its third day but has already attracted the attention of Washington politicians and national media. How might Democrats and Republicans respond to the moment? And how might it influence Ohio’s U.S. Senate race? Hello, I’m Erin B. Logan, a reporter with the L.A. Times. I cover the Biden-Harris administration. Today, we will talk about unions, teachers and elections. Democrats have long championed themselves as unions’ primary political allies. A fight over how teachers are treated and compensated could theoretically rejuvenate voters ahead of elections. But the strike may end up harming Democrats in November as it could again make salient issues that angered parents during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Vladimir Kogan, a political scientist at Ohio State University. Remote learning was a headache for parents around the country, and in Columbus the union was a big reason it lasted so long, Kogan said. “I think so far the teachers union has been pretty masterful in shaping the narrative,” Kogan said, adding that it is emphasizing smaller class sizes and air conditioning, not demands for salary raises when discussing the strike publicly, he said. “But no one’s really talking about that because the union messaging hasn’t really highlighted it.” The strike can remind Republicans of everything they dislike about teachers unions and Democrats of what’s at stake, Kogan said. “School hasn’t started yet,” Kogan said Tuesday. “I suspect many parents have no idea that there’s a strike going on now. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.” In a statement to The Times, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is running for Senate, touched on issues that plagued parents during the pandemic but also urged the city “to come back to the bargaining table.” “With our kids losing so much ground over the last few years, it’s clear we need them back in the classroom,” Ryan said. “But that should not come at the expense of their health and safety with no air conditioning, leaky buildings and overcrowding.” In an interview with a TV station in Dayton, Ohio, Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance emphasized the problems that came with remote learning during the pandemic and said students in Columbus needed to be back in the classroom. “If you grow up in a city … you shouldn’t be penalized because the teachers and local leaders can’t get on board to actually get you in school,” he said. Members of the Columbus Education Assn. overwhelmingly approved the strike. Ninety-four percent of its more than 4,500 members rejected the Columbus City Schools Board of Education’s “last, best and final offer,” the union said on Twitter. The school board said it countered with 3% raises annually for the next three years and that all but one school has or will have air conditioning soon. It also agreed to reduce class size in elementary schools. The offer did not meet the annual 8% increase the union had initially demanded for the next three school years. Union spokesperson Regina Fuentes told The Times the union wanted salary increases across the board for teachers, “true timelines” and “true accountable language” for when schools would have working air conditioners. “We have been dealing with these horrible conditions in our buildings for far too long,” Fuentes said. “And we want the district to actually be accountable for getting this work done.” In a Monday night meeting, school board President Jennifer Adair said the board is “saddened by this start to the school year” and said she “fully recognizes the disruption and concern felt by our children and families and across Columbus.” “We intend to continue to find resolution in a way that focuses on the best interest of our students,” she said. — Lawyers for former President Trump on Monday asked a federal judge to halt the FBI’s review of documents recovered from his Florida estate until a neutral “special master” can be appointed, the Associated Press reported. The sets of documents taken from the residence are “presumptively” covered by executive privilege, Trump’s attorneys asserted in a court filing, their first since the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago two weeks ago. — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert who became a household name — and the subject of partisan attacks — during the COVID-19 pandemic, announced Monday he will depart the federal government in December after more than five decades of service, the Associated Press reported. Fauci, who serves as Biden’s chief medical advisor, has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation. He was a leader in the federal response to HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases even before the coronavirus hit. — The judge who approved the search of former President Trump’s Florida estate said “intense public and historical interest” in the FBI affidavit backing the search warrant justified making an effort to unseal portions of it, Bloomberg News reported. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart in West Palm Beach, Fla., issued a written order Monday affirming his finding from a hearing last week that the Justice Department hadn’t made its case to keep the FBI’s search-warrant affidavit completely sealed and rejected the argument that the process of proposing redactions in the affidavit would be too time-consuming and burdensome — a standard argument made in such cases. — Rep. Mike Garcia, a Republican who faces one of the most competitive House races in the country, likened the Biden administration to the Nazi Germany regime during an interview on a conservative podcast last week, Times writer Melanie Mason reported. Referencing the recent FBI search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida residence, Garcia accused the Biden administration and what he called the “deep state” of “weaponizing federal agencies” for political purposes. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has accused Gov. Gavin Newsom of treating California residents like “peasants,” Times writer Seema Mehta reported. DeSantis has claimed California’s policies on crime, homelessness and the pandemic have prompted residents to flee and has crowed about California’s population loss. He may not like much about California, but DeSantis is more than happy to visit the state to scoop up cash for his reelection bid. — Nearly a year after crushing a Republican-led recall attempt, Newsom leads his GOP challenger by more than 2 to 1 in the 2022 governor’s race, even though a majority of voters express dissatisfaction about where California is headed, a new poll shows, Times writer Phil Willon reported. Newsom has the backing of 52% of registered voters, compared with 25% who favor Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle, a Northern California conservative who remains unknown to most of the electorate. Only 19% of voters said they were undecided, making it unlikely that the Republican will have room to close the gap before the November election. — As TikTok, Gen Z’s go-to social media app, has surged in popularity, with more than 138 million active users in the U.S., politicians are catching on, trying to attract young voters, Times writer Priscella Vega reported. But how to do it right? There’s the need to be thoroughly authentic and to keep videos ultra-short, a murky backlash over security concerns, and the danger of coming off like the ubiquitous meme of a Steve Buscemi character asking “How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?” The biggest challenge seems to be passing the “teenager eye-roll test.” — A three-week pilgrimage is officially aimed at pressuring Newsom into signing a bill that would allow farmworkers a choice, including vote by mail, in how elections are held in unionization drives, Timers writer Jessica Garrison reported. But the purpose is broader: to show that the union is emboldened despite decades of diminishing membership. Currently, farmworkers can vote to join the UFW only if they do so at a polling place designated by the Agricultural Relations Board, allegedly making them subject to retaliation. New ways of voting sanctioned by a Sacramento bill would change that. — Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor driving- under-the-influence charges related to a car crash he caused in May in Yountville, Calif., and he was sentenced to five days in jail and three years’ probation, Times writers Nathan Solis and Christian Martinez reported. He won’t serve any additional jail time after already serving two days and receiving conduct credit for two more days. In lieu of serving the remaining day in jail, the court ordered that he complete the day through a court work program. — As Southern California struggles with a third year of punishing drought and unprecedented water restrictions, A-list celebrities may be among the biggest names in water wasters in the tony San Fernando Valley enclaves of Calabasas and Hidden Hills, Times writers Hayley Smith and Sean Greene reported. Sylvester Stallone, Dwyane Wade and Kim Kardashian were among more than 2,000 customers who recently were issued “notices of exceedance” by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, indicating that they had surpassed 150% of their monthly water budgets at least four times since the agency declared a drought emergency at the end of last year. Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for updates about my adorable dog Kacey and to share pictures of your adorable furbabies with me at erin.logan@latimes.com.
See all stories on this topic

This Week in UK Politics | Somerset County Gazette

Rishi Sunak has accused Liz Truss of dodging scrutiny over her vague “emergency budget” plan, l…
See all stories on this topic