Maybe it’s a case of people wanting Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to show them a little love. Because it turns out that taking control of Los Angeles Unified School District is proving more trouble for Villaraigosa than he ever imagined. And he has a good imagination. The fragile coalition that he was trying to put together with the 26 other cities that send kids to LAUSD began to unravel as Southeast cities renewed efforts to have their own district, undermining Villaraigosa’s hopes for a Council of Mayors overseeing the district. And the mayor’s new political war with Councilman Alex Padilla isn’t helping. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsVillaraigosa endorsed Padilla’s opponent, Assemblywoman Cindy Monta ez of San Fernando, in their race for the state Senate, while the City Council endorsed Padilla. Padilla’s move to draw public attention to district governance last week served to divide an uncertain council on the issue. “Most of us agree with the mayor on the need to change the district,” one council member said. “But we wanted to send a message that while he’s talking with other cities and state legislators, he has a group here he needs to meet with.” Most of this occurred while Villaraigosa was lobbying in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and it was left to surrogates to try to contain the damage – with limited success. Aides said Villaraigosa is undeterred and plans to launch an even more direct assault in the coming weeks, including formal introduction of legislation that would change the way the district is run and give him greater say in its operations. That is not to say the mayor’s opponents are not busy planning their own strategies. LAUSD Superintendent Roy Romer has been sending clippings and letters trying to tell the successes of LAUSD to officials and opinion leaders in defense of the distict. In a letter to one official, Romer said he hoped references to LAUSD being a failing district would be dropped. “That label flies in the face of the facts and does a tremendous disservice to the students, teachers, parents and principals who are succeeding in the face of difficult odds,” Romer wrote. “Rather than casting aspersions, we must engage in a productive discussion to continue to implement reforms.” His efforts, however, might be too late to stop the train Villaraigosa is driving. For City Controller Laura Chick, a recent trip to Cuba proved harder than she thought and provoked issues she believes few Americans – or Cubans – are considering. “My overall impression is that it was like being in a time warp,” Chick said. “The country is beautiful, the people are nice and it is a wonderful place. “But the cars there are the ones my father drove in the ’50s and people are living and working in buildings that we would have roped off and marked for destruction.” And, she said, most Cubans were reluctant to talk to Americans – she was part of a group of lawyers who went on an approved trip to meet with Cuban justice officials. Even those who did talk openly, she said, did not discuss a future Cuba without Fidel Castro. “You have to stop yourself and realize that he has been in charge for nearly 40 years and there is no thought there of a world without Castro,” Chick said. However, she said there was one aspect of the time warp concept she appreciated – a baseball game. “It was just one announcer calling out the players’ names, and the fans and baseball,” Chick said. “No flashing signs. No music. No Dodger dogs.” The truth of politics making for strange bedfellows was seen again last week. State Controller Steve Westly, who has put some $35 million of his own money into his campaign to win the Democratic nomination for governor, received the endorsement of a number of Los Angeles City Council members. Among them were City Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, two of the leading advocates of the clean money effort to have full public financing of campaigns. The idea of the plan is to provide an equal playing field among candidates by reducing the influence of money in campaigns. As you sort through the mail this week leading up to the June 6 election and zip past political television commercials on your Tivo, consider what one insider thinks of today’s political strategies to get your attention. “Political consultants have gotten away with being the least innovative marketers in America for a long time. If the election process was a bank, it would be closed by now for lack of customers.” So says Darry Sragow, one of the state’s top political consultants, in a column for Capitol Weekly that delves into reasons behind low voter turnout. Sragow, who helped Democrats regain control of the state Assembly a decade ago, said the consultants refuse to recognize modern technology and have stood in the way of creative solutions to get more voters to participate. “Political campaigns and officeholders still rely on snail-mailed fliers to junk-filled mailboxes, television ads watched by fewer and fewer viewers and phone calls met most of the time by an answering machine,” Sragow said. firstname.lastname@example.org (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Thursday said he will never compromise on swing at the cost of extra pace.Bhuvneshwar, who is the highest wicket-taker so far in the ongoing edition of the IPL, attributes his success to relentless hard work at practice sessions.”How you practice in nets matters a lot. If you bowl good yorkers in nets and come up with good variation, it helps your on-field performance,” the 27-year-old Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer said ahead of his team’s match against Kings XI Punjab on Friday in Mohali.”In the series against South Africa, my pace had increased but swing was compromised. But this was a turning point for me as I realised that no matter how fast you are, you cannot afford to lose the swing. I worked on this aspect and now I am happy that I have both the speed and swing in my bowling,” Bhuvneshwar said.Defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad will start as favourites when they take on a struggling Kings XI Punjab.Disciplined bowlers have complemented Sunrisers’ batsmen with Bhuvneshwar (16 wickets) and young Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan (10 wickets) proving their mettle with the ball.Bhuvneshwar also said that he does not think too much about the outcome of a game and only focuses on the process.”I think in T20 things are related to pressure and if you handle it well you are on top of your game. I think about process and not too much about results,” he said.”Actually, I never think that I have to be at top every time. Obviously, I have to do well in every game and series, that’s what I try to do. I try to improve and work on the swing and variation in my bowling.”advertisement”Depending on the format, if I am playing a Test match then reverse swing is something I always want to work on. When I made my debut I was not a reverse swing bowler or my pace was not what it is now,” he added.Bhuvneshwar, rated as one of the best death bowlers, captured his first five-wicket haul in IPL when Sunrisers defeated Kings XI Punjab by five runs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad in an earlier game this season.”It is always challenging. I feel if you have to bowl yorkers, your every basic has to be correct. I feel death bowling is the toughest part in short format of the game,” he said.Asked if he feels there are any shortcomings in Sunrisers team which needs to be rectified, Bhuvneshwar said: “As a unit we have done well in every aspect of the game. We want to do well in all the departments of the game.”India’s Champions Trophy squad is slated to be announced soon, but Bhuvneshwar is hardly bothered regarding his place in the team and is only focused on giving his best whenever he gets a chance to play.”Competition is there and it is good. But as a cricketer such things do not remain in the back of our minds. We know when a team is to be selected, there is a pool of bowlers who will be selected. Everyone knows whoever is picked will be on the basis of his performance,” he said.