Mayor Pete Buttigieg Supports Measure EE

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg, as well as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, spoke in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, Calif. today to a crowd of union representatives. The unions that gathered included the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the Southwest chapter of the Carpenters Union, and Educational Workers United (SEIU). Supporters of Pete Buttgieg’s Democractic primary canadidacy were also in attendance.

The gathering, located across the street from a local school, was in support of passing Measure EE in Los Angeles, which aims to expand Los Angeles’ public school budgets by levying a 16 cent parcel tax on each square foot of owned and built property in Los Angeles for the next twelve years. In practice, Measure EE aims to attract high-quality faculty and support, lower class sizes, provide higher quality curriculums, enhance vocational training, provide increased budgets for preschools, and add counselors, nurses, and disability support staff across the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

Janet Berverra, a member of SEIU Local 99, spoke to her desire for Measure EE to pass. She said, “We’ve been underfunded for many, many years. Right now, because of the teacher’s strike, Measure EE is something that came up, and there was more of an urgency. Not just from the teachers, or us as workers, but also the community.” Berverra continued, “Our schools have been in deficit for many, many years. There’s a lot of need, in terms of classrooms, in terms of materials, building and grounds workers, and maintenance workers. If you walk around and do a tour of [LAUSD] schools, you will see how dirty the schools are. Sometimes we don’t even have things such as toilet paper and paper towels.”

Along with SEIU, the Southwest Carpenters Union attended in support of Measure EE, chanting their namesake and holding “Yes on EE!” signs. Los Angeles local and member of the Southwest Carpenters Union Martin Castillo explained, “We understand that our classes are too full right now. There are too many students in each class room. This would eliminate that. I am a homeowner, I am a taxpayer, I’m all for paying more taxes if it means it’s going to better schools.”

Preceding Mayor Buttigeig, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took the stage. He led a call and answer with the crowd, exclaiming “Whose schools? Whose city? Whose country?” to an enthusiastic crowd response of “Our schools! Our city! Our country!” Mayor Garcetti declared, “[Measure EE] brings us all together. These are the days that mark history. These are the moments in which we write the chapter of our destiny, or we let others.”

“[Measure] EE says that this is a city where we aren’t going to define you by the address you grew up in, but we’re going to define you by the ambitions that you have. Our schools are not going to be warehouses for trauma and poverty, but of teaching and potential, wheelhouses that can turn the tide, and can make sure that finally in the City of Angels, where we have more wealth than we’ve ever had before, that everybody shares in that wealth together,” continued Garcetti, before stepping aside to introduce Presidential Candidate and Mayor, Pete Buttigieg.

Speaking before an enthused crowd, Mayor Buttigieg said, “I come from South Bend, Indiana, I’m running for President, and I’m here because our future is at stake…This is what the future of organized labor looks like, and this is a good look, and that’s why we are here today. Our kids deserve a Federal government that ‘gets it,’ our kids deserve a President who might appoint a Secretary of Education that believes in public education, but we don’t have time to wait. Measure EE is about making sure that the local resources are there. We are standing up for this, because our values are at stake.”

Emphasizing an importance on personal engagement, Mayor Buttgieg described how education fits into his campaign, saying, “In our campaign we talk about three issues: freedom, security, and democracy. Every one of those issues is at stake when it comes to Measure EE, and when it comes to supporting the men and women who make public education work. Our freedom is on the line, because education is what gives you the freedom to live a life of your choosing.”

The special election date for Measure EE in Los Angeles will occur on June 4, 2019