Former Los Angeles school board member Roberta Weintraub is seeking a political reincarnation--this time as the successor to Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, who is expected to easily win election to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seat now held by Ed Edelman.
"Nobody should believe this will be a cakewalk, but I've got good name identification and I intend to win," said Weintraub, 58, as she assessed her prospects in a 5th City Council District election that is likely to produce many ambitious aspirants.
Other possible candidates for the open seat are Carol Schatz, vice president of the Central City Assn., an organization of downtown businesses; transportation consultant Ryan Snyder, vice president of the Los Angeles Board of Transportation Commissioners; Michael Feuer, executive director of Bet Tzedek legal services, and Yaroslavsky's wife, Barbara.
Weintraub, who resigned last June from the San Fernando Valley-based school board seat she had held since 1979, has already pumped $10,000 of her own money into her campaign coffers. Some political analysts wonder if Weintraub--best known for leading the fight to dismantle the Los Angeles Unified School District's desegregation plan and whose political base has been in the Valley--can pull votes on the liberal Westside. Sixty percent of Yaroslavsky's district is on the south side of Mulholland Drive, while the rest is in the Valley and includes Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys.
But Weintraub says she has a track record that easily transcends her reputation as a foe of court-ordered desegregation. She points to her role in establishing contraceptive-dispensing health clinics at high school campuses, setting up day-care centers for student mothers at schools in the east San Fernando Valley, and working to build a dozen magnet school programs that seek to offer an alternative curriculum to a multicultural student body.
Currently, Weintraub serves as a Mayor Richard Riordan appointee to the city's Library Commission, co-directs Students Run L.A., a group that trains youngsters to participate in the Los Angeles Marathon, and is an appointee to the Board of Governors of the California Bar Assn.
If Weintraub were to win a seat on the City Council, it would amount to a reunion of sorts. Two other former Weintraub colleagues on the school board--Jackie Goldberg and Rita Walters--now sit on the council.
Staff writer Greg Krikorian contributed to this story.