The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council (ERNC) has added its voice to the chorus calling for Ref Rodriguez to resign his position as NELA’s representative on the Los Angeles school board.
In a letter sent to Mayor Garcetti on May 14, the ERNC said it had lost confidence in Mr. Rodriguez to fulfill his duties and urged the Mayor and the City Council to support the push for Mr. Rodriguez’s resignation. The vote on the ERNC to send the letter was eight in favor and three abstentions.
Mr. Rodriguez was charged last September with several campaign-finance related crimes. He has pleaded not guilty. After repeated delays, his preliminary hearing on the charges is now set for July 23. Separately, Mr. Rodriguez’s former employer, the PUC charter school system, alleged last October that he engaged in financial improprieties while working there in 2014. He has denied those allegations. In addition, Mr. Rodriguez was arrested in Pasadena last March, during work hours, on suspicion of public intoxication, though he was later released without being cited or charged.
The ERNC letter made reference to the importance of due process, but went on to state the ERNC’s belief that the allegations against Mr. Rodriguez prevented him from adequately serving students, parents and taxpayers.
Mr. Rodriguez, for his part, has stayed put. In May, he voted with other charter school supporters on the board to select Austin Beutner as the new superintendent for the L.A. Unified School District. Mr. Beutner is a former hedge fund investor with no background in the education field.
At Mr. Rodriguez’s preliminary hearing in July, prosecutors will present their evidence to show that the case should go to trial.
T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel, and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times. Hendrickson is committed to local news reporting and to finding a way forward for local news outlets in today's challenging media markets.