Tokofsky said to quit schools race *

School board incumbent David Tokofsky, a critic of the mayor's bill to dilute the board's powers, has filed papers with the City Clerk dropping his campaign for reelection, according to a usually reliable source who says the Times and Daily News are preparing stories for Sunday's papers. If true, it would throw open the race for another board seat — and clear the way for Mayor Villaraigosa to back a candidate more friendly to his agenda — and ignite speculation as to why Tokofsky changed his mind after filing to run. Tokofsky was a teacher at Marshall High School who won election in 1995. His district stretches from Silver Lake and Los Feliz through Northeast L.A. to the cities of Bell, Cudahy and Maywood. It is a heavily Latino area, and Latino leaders have targeted him in the past without success.

* 11:10 pm update: In Sunday's Times story, Tokofsky cites wanting to spend more time with his children, the low pay of board members ($24,000 a year) and tiring of battles with the mayor. A Villaraigosa aide claims that Tokofsky's withdrawal "is a huge victory for the mayor." Also: Tokofsky tells me that although he felt confident he could beat a candidate backed by Villaraigosa, he didn't relish the battle after three terms — especially if the mayor's bill minimizing the role of the board is held to be constitutional. Since he withdrew before noon Saturday, Tokofsky says, a new candidate will have a week to pull together a campaign and qualify for the March ballot.

Earlier today: Mayor names his school team


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