Hertzberg: Break up LAUSD

Bob HertzbergCandidate Bob Hertzberg is out today with another online-only ad, vowing that his first priority as mayor would be to splinter the Los Angeles Unified School district into smaller pieces. He says within 90 days of taking office, he would lead a task force of teachers, parents, principals and other experts to come up with a plan to create smaller, community-based districts. From the release:

"Good teachers are stifled and parents are excluded," Hertzberg said. "We have a 50 percent dropout rate, so itís no coincidence that we lead the nation in both gang violence and adult illiteracy."

The city of Los Angeles, of course, has no direct power over the schools. Richard Riordan made influencing the independent LAUSD a key part of his agenda as mayor, with mixed success. Hertzberg intends to email the ad to 175,000 people this afternoon after 5 p.m.

Elsewhere in the race for mayor:

• The most intriguing person to watch in Thursday's debate isn't the participants—they'll do what candidates do—but questioner Ron Kaye, managing editor of the Daily News. He orchestrated the paper's strident anti-Hahn and pro-secession coverage during the breakup campaign in 2002, and believes in the Valley struggle versus downtown: "This is about truth, justice and the American way. I have found a way to give expression to my failed idealism...this [the Valley] is the dream of mankind," he told Charles Rappleye in a Los Angeles Magazine profile during the secession race. NBC-4's Colleen Williams will moderate and Jose Ronstadt of KWHY-TV will be the other media questioner. The debate is scheduled to air live from 7 to 8 p.m. on channels 4 (NBC) and 22 (Telemundo).

• KPCC's "Airtalk" with Larry Mantle aired an update on the race this morning. Guests included Raphael Sonenshein of Cal State Fullerton and Joel Kotkin of the New America Foundation. Audio here.

• LAVoice.org checks in on the websites. The candidates are mostly dormant online, except for Hertzberg (who is under the influence of blog evangelist Joe Trippi, who helped Howard Dean) and Walter Moore, who has nothing but the web in his corner right now.

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