2020 LAUSD ELECTIONS

Leaders Are Built In Times Of Crisis

Treating every child as if they were his own, school board member Scott Schmerelson moved mountains to get LAUSD students out of harm’s way.

Carl J. Petersen
3 min readOct 26, 2020

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It was a no-brainer. They had to move and we moved them.

- Scott Schmerelson

Five years ago, the effects of decades of negligence by the Southern California Gas Company came to a head as a corroded pipe sprung a leak at the Aliso Canyon storage field. Concerned neighbors noticed a foul smell but were told that there was nothing wrong. This cover-up lasted for “months” as people in the area “were left in the dark” as the utility company refused to offer a comprehensive explanation about what was going on at the site.

In the months that it took to cap the leak, more than 100,000 tons of methane leaked from the site, doing untold damage to our atmosphere. Thousands of residents had to be temporarily located as they fled immediate negative health effects and unknown long term damage. In schools near the site, “about 50 children per day saw school nurses for severe nosebleeds.

As the crisis unfolded, most local politicians towed the gas company’s official line that there was nothing to be concerned about. Calls to the area’s Los Angeles County Supervisor at the time, Michael Antonovich (who is now a Marilyn Koziatek endorser), were reported to have been returned by utility officials. The City Councilman for the area, Mitch Englander, and his Chief of Staff, John Lee, were also unresponsive to calls for help and instead denied that the leak posed any significant health risks to the constituents that they were supposed to represent.

One noticeable exception was the newly elected LAUSD School Board member Scott Schmerelson. Taking his commitment to his constituents seriously, he attended listening sessions with the public while other…

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Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children. www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com