Jack Abramoff gets radio show

Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who served a jail term for defrauding Native American tribes, is now a radio talk-show host.

Abramoff’s show airs Sunday evenings on XM Satellite Radio.

Abramoff, who pled guilty in 2006 to felony counts involving fraud, corruption and conspiracy, served three and a half years at a minimum security prison camp in Cumberland, Md. Following his release, he worked at a Baltimore kosher pizza eatery and lived in a nearby halfway house.

His book, “Capitol Punishment,” which focuses on the culture of corruption in Washington, was published last year. In 2010, Abramoff’s story was the subject of the movie “Casino Jack,” which starred Kevin Spacey.

Prior to his downfall, Abramoff ran two kosher eateries in Washington and established a Jewish school.

“I support myself by public speaking and trying to work on as many appropriate and legitimate ventures as I can,” he told The Washington Post.

“Every dollar I make and virtually every dollar I spend is supervised, and they take a hefty chunk,” said Abramoff, who owes millions in restitution.

Contrite and destitute: The new Jack Abramoff

“Former lobbyist and Washington insider — fell into the abyss, working to repent and repair.”

That economical bio — just 91 characters, including spaces — appears at the top of Jack Abramoff’s Twitter feed, and it only hints at just how hard it is to size up this new man.

Abramoff is an easy fellow to demonize. Once considered one of Washington’s most powerful lobbyists, Abramoff claims to have had some measure of influence with 100 different members of Congress and the Senate. He invited lawmakers and their staff to eat and drink for free at the two restaurants he owned, helped raise buckets of money for their reelection campaigns, even took them on international golfing vacations. He also cultivated relationships with high-ranking officials in the executive branch.

In return, those officials helped advance policies and laws favorable to Abramoff’s clients — whom, it was later found, were being fraudulently charged by the lobbyist. Furthermore, as shown in e-mails uncovered by the Department of Justice’s investigation, Abramoff used a variety of derogatory terms to refer to the Indian tribes that were his paying clients, paying him in the tens of millions of dollars.

Bad guy, that Jack Abramoff.

But Abramoff says he has changed since pleading guilty to criminal charges of conspiracy to bribe public officials, fraud and tax evasion in January 2006. He did his time — spending three and a half years in federal prison and, unlikely as it may seem, Abramoff has now become a very public advocate for reform. Last year, he published a memoir titled “Capitol Punishment,” in which he outlines a reformist agenda. And that is the message Abramoff has been spreading in speeches across the country and in televised interviews; he is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles at American Jewish University on April 1.

I met the former lobbyist at a Coffee Bean in Beverly Hills. He was wearing a blue and green anorak to keep out the late-February chill and, to my eye, he looked nothing like the Washington insider he used to be.

“When I come ask a congressman to help me, who’s my buddy, who I play golf with, who I do this with, who I do that with, what do you think he’s going to do? He’s going to try and do it if he can,” Abramoff said. “And even if he doesn’t do that one thing, he will do something for me — and he shouldn’t do that. That is an un-level playing field. That is bribery.”

Abramoff believes corrupt lawmakers — and the lobbyists who seek to influence them by improper means — don’t see anything wrong with what they’re doing. He should know — he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong, either.

“You’ll hear from Congressmen, ‘A $2,000 contribution isn’t going to buy my vote.’ ‘A meal isn’t going to buy my vote,’ ” Abramoff said, the table between us bare but for his laptop computer. “But we learn, in fact, from the Talmud that they’re wrong.”

Abramoff, 53, has been an observant, Orthodox Jew since he was 12, so it’s not surprising that he points to a talmudic source as part of his new campaign against bribery of public officials. But while he was showering legislators with gifts, Abramoff believed he wasn’t on the wrong side of Jewish law, as the Torah restriction on bribery focuses only on judges.

“Legislators,” Abramoff said, “I never thought or considered them to be judges.”

He later found Jewish commentators who do equate bribing lawmakers with bribing judges, but Abramoff said that, generally speaking, it’s difficult to pinpoint why what lobbyists do is wrong. Even those who don’t live and work inside the Beltway, he said, shrug their shoulders at the thought of a lobbyist buying a meal for a lawmaker.

“But having a restaurant where congressmen can come and eat sushi to their hearts’ content, drink wine and then leave without a bill? Over and over again?” Abramoff asked, rhetorically. “Put him on a Gulfstream, fly him to Scotland to play St. Andrews and Carnoustie and all these places, you know? Raise a bunch of money for him? I think we’re getting into the trouble zone here.”

Abramoff lived in that zone for years. In addition to offering freebies at Signatures, his restaurant in D.C., each year he gave away $1.5 million worth of tickets to local sporting events. In 2002, Abramoff took Bob Ney, then a Republican congressman from Ohio, to Scotland for a golfing vacation that cost more than $130,000 — and that wasn’t the only international golfing junket Abramoff funded. (Ney later pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and falsifying documents and served 17 months in prison.)

“There isn’t one big crime there,” Abramoff said. “There never was.”

Still, there are reasons to feel some sympathy for Abramoff. His mother died while he was in prison, and, unlike many prisoners, he wasn’t allowed to attend her funeral. He sat shivah alone in his cell.

In his absence, his wife and five children lived a life of penury. “She didn’t even put the air conditioning on,” Abramoff said. “She couldn’t afford it.” Even now, Abramoff is attempting to pay off a $44 million court-ordered restitution, which, he says, ensures he remain all but penniless for the rest of his life. 

And yet, Abramoff says he considers himself very blessed, noting that his wife did not leave him, unlike 80 percent of men who spend two years or more in jail.

According to Abramoff, what he did was — and remains — routine for most lobbyists in Washington, in spite of a bevy of new laws passed in an effort to limit the improper influence of lobbyists. Indeed, were he not the one whose reputation and business were destroyed by scandal, Abramoff said he’d likely still be doing the same things he always did, and he might even be among those trying to silence his call for reform.

“They don’t want me talking about this stuff, and I understand why,” Abramoff said. “They’re making money off of it, like I did.”

Abramoff wrote “Capitol Punishment” in 28 days — “minus the Sabbath days, of course,” he was quick to add — and the book includes a good deal of Abramoff’s personal history and a smattering of self-justification. But much of the attention it has received has focused on its concluding chapter, titled “Path to Reform,” in which he lists a few proposals to eliminate bribery of government officials, as much as possible.

To shut the “revolving door” between Capitol Hill and the K Street offices of D.C.’s biggest lobbying firms, Abramoff writes, Congress must institute a lifelong ban on legislators and their aides becoming lobbyists.

“Once I offered them a job, they worked for me,” Abramoff said, referring to the legislative staffers he lobbied. Congressional chiefs of staff, Abramoff said, make anywhere between $90,000 and $185,000 depending on their boss’ seniority. Abramoff says 40 lobbyists in his shop made at least $300,000 a year. Many of them had been staffers on the Hill; as lobbyists, they didn’t have to worry about their bosses getting re-elected.

“You’ve got to ban it,” Abramoff said. “They can’t be allowed to cross the line.”

Abramoff also proposes barring lobbyists from giving gifts of any amount to any lawmaker, and prohibiting lobbyists and special interests from giving any political donations. That’s not to say that Abramoff, a lifelong Republican who describes himself as a small government conservative, is advocating publicly funded elections.

“I think that would breed more corruption,” Abramoff said. “People who don’t know the lobbying world don’t understand that as soon as you have ‘publicly funded fill-in-the-blank,’ we go after the money. There’d be people running for office all over the country to make a living. There’d be no way to control it.”

Abramoff also advocates instituting strict term limits for representatives and senators.

“As a lobbyist, I was against them,” Abramoff explained. “Of course I was against them. Why? Because once you buy a congressman and their office, you don’t want to have to rebuy that office in six years. It’s inefficient. You want somebody in there until they die.”

Even if these reforms could be enacted, though, Abramoff doesn’t harbor illusions about whether lobbyists will find ways around them.

“You’re not going to ever solve these problems entirely,” Abramoff told me. “There is no cure-all. It’s just going to be an ongoing fight.”

These positions may not be winning Abramoff any friends on K Street, but the reforms he’s proposing have won him some fans on the political left, including documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. He and Abramoff met when both were scheduled as guests on the same TV show.

“He was on first,” Abramoff said, “and as he came off, I was going on, and he grabbed me and gave me a big hug and said, ‘God bless you. Your book is amazing.’ ”

“I thought, ‘Wow,’ ” Abramoff said. “Incredible.”

Abramoff will appear at American Jewish University in conversation with Dr. Robert Wexler on Sun., April 1 at 4 p.m.

Abramoff receives new four-year sentence, Phoenix community leader murdered

Abramoff Receives New Four-Year Sentence

Jewish lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced to four years in prison. Abramoff had pleaded guilty to corruption and tax offenses related to influence peddling involving Republican congressmen and midlevel Bush administration officials, some of whom were convicted.

The prosecution noted Abramoff’s cooperation in helping to build cases against some 10 other officials in recommending that he be given a reduced term, largely to motivate others to cooperate with investigators.

However, on Sept. 4, Judge Ellen Huvelle of the U.S. District Court in Washington sentenced Abramoff to nine months more than the 39-month term suggested by prosecutors, citing the erosion of the public’s trust in government that Abramoff’s activities generated.

Wearing a yarmulke, Abramoff offered a wrenching apology to the court, saying, “I have fallen into an abyss,” according to the reports. “My name is the butt of a joke.” Abramoff currently is serving a two-year prison term in an unrelated fraud case.

Prominent Jewish Activist in Phoenix Slain

A prominent Jewish activist in Phoenix, Irving Shuman, 84, was murdered at his office on Sept. 2.

Shuman’s body was found Tuesday evening at his real estate office after he failed to show up for a dinner appointment, according to the Arizona Republic. His car was also stolen.

Shuman, who was active in Jewish organizations and pro-Israel lobbies, had received several honors, including the Tree of Life award by the Jewish National Fund in Arizona and the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix’s Medal of Honor.

“Irv Shuman was a man of exceptional values,” said Rabbi Ariel Shoshan, who studied with Shuman and other Phoenix executives on Thursdays, according to the Republic. “He lived for causes like the well-being of Israel and the furtherance of Jewish education and was an active supporter of over 100 charities.”

Shuman’s gold Lexus was recovered in San Bernardino this week.

Subpoenas in AIPAC trial could reveal U.S. secrets

Subpoenas issued to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and other top Bush administration officials could end up shedding unprecedented light on the Bush administration’s inner workings and the government’s dealings with the pro-Israel lobby.

In an unusually broad ruling Nov. 2 in the classified information case against two ex-officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a federal judge allowed the defense to subpoena 15 administration officials over the objections of the Bush administration.

In addition to Rice and Hadley, the list also includes Elliot Abrams, deputy national security adviser who is also the administration’s top policy official on the Middle East; Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state; Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy secretary of defense, and Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria, Va., not only ruled as relevant government conversations with the two defendants — Steve Rosen, AIPAC’s former foreign policy boss, and Keith Weissman, his deputy and the lobby’s top Iran analyst — but also discussions that involved only U.S. officials.

In addition, Ellis said the conversations between officials and other AIPAC representatives were in play. Such conversations are bound to reveal how AIPAC has been used as an instrument by one faction in government to influence or head off another, especially in the fight over how hard a line to take against Iran.

Defense lawyers were elated with the ruling.

“For over two years we have been explaining that our clients’ conduct was lawful and completely consistent with how the U.S. government dealt with AIPAC and other foreign policy groups,” said Rosen’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, in a statement issued also on behalf of Weissman’s lawyer, John Nassikas.

The attorneys each work at top-flight Washington firms: Lowell at McDermott, Will and Emery and Nassikas at Arent Fox.

“We are gratified that the judge has agreed that the defense has the right to prove these points by calling the secretary of state and all of these other government officials as our witnesses,” Lowell said. “We look forward to the trial of this case.”

The government may still oppose the subpoenas, but Ellis warned that this could endanger its case.

“The government’s refusal to comply with a subpoena in these circumstances may result in dismissal or a lesser sanction,” the judge wrote.

Rosen and Weissman were charged under a never-used statute in the 1917 Espionage Act that criminalizes the receipt and dissemination of classified information by civilians. Free-speech advocates, press groups and lobbyists are closely watching the case.

The defendants have long argued that conversations outlined in the August 2005 indictment were routine and part of the government’s unofficial practice of using the pro-Israel lobby to convey information to Israel, the press, other nations or even other branches of government.

Ellis in his ruling agreed that the defense was attempting to make a valid argument.

“Defendants are entitled to show that, to them, there was simply no difference between the meetings for which they are not charged and those for which they are charged,” Ellis wrote, “and that they believed that the meetings charged in the indictment were simply further examples of the government’s use of AIPAC as a diplomatic back channel.”

Another five officials were left off the list for reasons Ellis kept classified. Defense sources said it was not clear if Ellis had ruled them out absolutely and that defense lawyers would seek his guidance on the matter.

The government did not raise objections to the four subpoenas for officials who were identified in the indictment. One of those officials, Lawrence Franklin, an Iran analyst at the Pentagon, has pleaded guilty to leaking classified information and was sentenced to more than 12 years; he has not begun his sentence. Another, David Satterfield, is now Rice’s top adviser on Iraq issues.

The core of the indictment centers on a sting operation in the summer of 2004, when Franklin leaked to Weissman false information purporting that Iranian forces planned to kill Israeli agents in Kurdistan. Rosen and Weissman allegedly relayed the information to Israeli diplomats and journalists, and tried to pass it on to Abrams.

Ellis dismissed out of hand all of the prosecution’s objections, including whether such subpoenas would interfere with the business of government.

“Inconvenience to public officials in the performance of their official duties is not a basis for infringing a defendant’s Sixth Amendment compulsory process rights,” the judge wrote.

More broadly, Ellis dismissed government contentions that including conversations among government officials or between government officials and other AIPAC staffers amounted to hearsay.

“Such meetings may nonetheless have affected defendants’ states of mind if the contents of those meetings were later communicated to them by other AIPAC employers,” Ellis wrote, allowing all relevant conversations between any AIPAC staffer and a government official to be included.

Ellis added: “Conversations between two or more government officials, even if not communicated to defendants, might be relevant to show that particular government officials authorized the disclosure of nonpublic information to defendants or to AIPAC,” he wrote. “For instance, if defendants can demonstrate that a high-ranking government official authorized his subordinate to disclose NDI,” or national defense information, “to AIPAC employees, such an authorization would be exculpatory to defendants.”

Under this allowance, defense lawyers are free to probe Defense Department officials, including Wolfowitz, who might have sought to head off the State Department’s Iran policy with selective leaks through AIPAC. Wolfowitz and others at the Pentagon toed a considerably harder line on Iran than those at the State Department and would have used AIPAC — also hard-line in how to deal with the Islamic republic — in lobbying Congress and shaping public opinion.

“We are aware of the order authorizing the potential issuance of subpoenas in the Rosen and Weissman case should the case go to trial,” said Gordon Johndroe, the spokesman for Hadley and Abrams. “It is our understanding that no subpoenas have been issued at this time. We cannot comment further because this is an ongoing criminal prosecution.”

AIPAC and the State Department refused comment.

Young Lobbyists


Congressional staff members heard cogent arguments on the topics of separation of church and state, women’s reproductive health and banning assault weapons from some singular constituents recently — the confirmation class members of University Synagogue in Brentwood. Led by Rabbi Morley Feinstein, the students — Alyssa Mannis, Sabrina Benun, Ben Marcus, Eric Rosenstein, Spencer Strasmore and Jack Eller — attended the L’Taken Seminar of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C., in February.

With 250 youth from around the country, the group learned about social justice issues, toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, visited Georgetown and reflected Reform Judaism’s positions in addresses they prepared for the staffs of California’s Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles). The Los Angeles group led the havdalah service at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial on the Washington Mall.

For more information on University Synagogue in Brentwood, call (310) 472-1255.

Shalhevet’s Street Fair

Shalhevet High School students are expecting about 2,000 people at a Sunday, April 10 Israel Street Fair, where musicians, artists and Judaica vendors will offer their goods in the Shalhevet parking lot at Fairfax Avenue north of Olympic Boulevard.

Students have worked tirelessly for months to get vendors, sponsorships, entertainment and security for the fair. The $3 admission and 15 percent of all vendor revenue will support Israeli victims of terror, according to student Zach Cutler, who with his Israel Action Committee co-chair Eliya Shachar, headed up the efforts.

Local dignitaries are expected, and kids will be busy with special art and storytelling booths, Krav Maga self-defense lessons and food from Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog, King David Grill and Delice Bakery.

“We want people to shop, eat, enjoy live Israeli music, and the best way to do that is to have an outdoor festival under the hot Israeli sun,” Cutler said.

The Israel Street Fair takes place, Sunday, April 10 (rain or shine), noon-4 p.m. at Shalhevet, 910 S. Fairfax Ave. Parking is on Fairfax and at Midway Hospital. For more information, call (310) 228-7939 or (310) 462-7201.

Big Money for Big Ideas

For teachers and schools who have been sitting on that great idea, now is the time to put it in on paper and send it to the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE). CAJE is inviting grant proposals for up to $10,000 for innovative educational programs for the 2005-2006 academic year. The grants are available for congregational schools, early childhood centers and day schools, and will be judged on the merit of idea, creativity, the number of people served and the depth of Jewish content.

Applications are due April 15. For more information go to www.caje.org or contact (212) 268-4210.

And the Winners Are….

Three women have been awarded the 2004 Simha and Sara Lainer Distinguished Educator Awards for Early Childhood Education: Delanie Maghen of Sinai Akiba Nursery School in Westwood, Barbara (Bobbie) Match of Temple Adat Elohim Preschool in Thousand Oaks and Jila Parhami of Temple Akiba Nursery School in West Los Angeles were singled out for their excellence in teaching preschool. The $2,500 award is part of the Sara and Simha Lainer Fund for Jewish Education, established in 1989 at the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE), an agency of the Jewish Federation.

For more information contact the BJE at (323) 761-8605 or go to www.bjela.org.

Purim Fun Parents Can Learn, Too

It may be true that children don’t come with how-to manuals, but parenting classes can help.

Educator Simi Yellen focuses on creating discipline, dealing with sibling rivalry and instilling Torah and mitzvahs in her Positive Parenting classes at homes in Beverly Hills, the La Brea area and the Valley. Her class is part of the women’s learning division of Ashreinu, an Orthodox organization that reaches out to unaffiliated Jews.

When parents engage in constant power struggles with their young children, it sets up negative patterns that will last far beyond the time when they need help with eating, getting dressed and their homework, Yellen said.

“The goal of our class is to create a positive atmosphere in the home,” explained Yellen, who learned her methodology of positive parenting from Rebbetzin Sima Spetner, a mother of 13, while she was living in Jerusalem. “Parents and children should not be in conflict all the time. They should be working together.”

The main way parents can increase their children’s cooperation is to shower them with positive feedback when they are behaving, so they become internally motivated to want to do the right thing.

“We should give children lots of praise and attention when they are acting as we want them to act and very little attention when they are misbehaving,” Yellen said.

For more information on Positive Parenting call (323) 651-0177. — Jennifer Garmaise, Contributing Writer

You can reach Julie Gruenbaum Fax at julief@jewishjournal.com or (213) 368-1661, ext. 206.


The Contender

It is three weeks before Election Day. Doctor and candidate Sid Gold sits in a booth at Jerry’s Famous Deli in Woodland Hills and orders a large breakfast. He looks like he could use refueling. The 57-year-old father of four is running a difficult campaign against Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon for the 25th Congressional District, and already on this Sunday morning he has been up walking precincts in North Hills and Sepulveda.

“I think there’s been a disconnect between people and their elected representatives, that they don’t care, that once they’re elected the only thing they care about is lobbyists and big money. The individual gets lost,” Gold said. “As a doctor, I deal with people one at a time, and that is the focus I want to bring as a representative.”

The 25th District encompasses the Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley and the northeast part of the San Fernando Valley, which includes the communities of Granada Hills, Northridge, Sepulveda and North Hills. While not as “Jewish” demographically as the West Valley or the North Hollywood/Van Nuys area, it is attracting more and more families owing to the district’s affordable housing and easy freeway access. The district has long been a Republican stronghold; prior to McKeon, parts of the district (which was reapportioned following the 1990 census) were overseen by Rep. Bobbi Fiedler and current House member Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley).

Gold hopes to change that reputation.

“There’s already a shift going on as more young, married couples move out here,” he said. “We’ve registered 200 new Democrats in the Antelope Valley alone. There are many differences between the two parties, and that’s going to come out in this election.”

A naturalized citizen born in Canada, Gold has lived in Granada Hills for 25 years and prior to that in North Hills. He is employed by Kaiser Permanente as the assistant chief of psychiatry for the Valley service area. He has served as president of the District 17 region of the Los Angeles Medical Association and was chosen to be a delegate to the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association. He has strong ties to the Jewish community in the San Fernando Valley, having served on the executive boards of The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance and of Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School. He currently participates in The Valley Alliance’s planning and allocations committee. His endorsements include California Democrats such as Rep. Brad Sherman, State Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg and Speaker Emeritus Antonio Villaraigosa, as well as Gov. Gray Davis.

Gold feels the Jewish community’s interests have not been supported by McKeon, whom he accuses of insensitivity in the wake of the shootings at the North Valley Jewish Community Center last year.

“His response to the victims was pathetic. He was on vacation at the time but did not send representatives to any of the rallies or meetings,” Gold said, adding that McKeon’s opposition to hate crimes legislation also showed his lack of interest in the Jewish community. “The Republicans have been sitting on the hate crimes bill. The argument is that a crime is a crime is a crime. To me, a hate crime is an attack on the Constitution and should be treated as something special.”

The contender also accused the congressman of not being strong on backing Israel. However, McKeon said that he disagreed with President Clinton’s abstention from the United Nations resolution condemning Israel earlier this month, saying the U.S. should have exercised its veto power.

McKeon also disagreed strongly with Gold’s assessment of his record on the Middle East, pointing out that he had voted for funds to implement the Wye River Accords.

“Our government should encourage both sides to come to the table to discuss peace, as well as provide financial assistance to implement any peace agreement,” McKeon said. “However, I do not agree with the Clinton-Gore administration’s tactics in pressuring Israel to give up lands that it believes necessary for its security. I’ve stood on the Golan Heights. It’s a small area. Israel needs some real estate to provide it with security.”

As for the hate crimes legislation, McKeon said he believed the proposed expansion of hate crimes laws unnecessary, calling them “a legislative press release.”

“The North Valley Jewish Community Center shooting was committed in a state that already has a tough state hate crimes statute, and that certainly didn’t deter the shooter,” he said. “The defendant in that shooting is already facing the death penalty. We can’t get any tougher on him than that, with or without an expanded hate crimes law.”

McKeon also disagreed with Gold’s statement that he was not responsive enough to issues important to the people of his district. He pointed to his record on recent bills he co-authored, including the Higher Education Act Amendment of 1998, which cut the student loan interest rate to its lowest level in 17 years, and the Work Force Investment Act, which provided jobless Americans with a voucher to use to obtain the job-training services of their choice.

“I have always voted as I saw fit,” McKeon contends. “My opponent is simply unhappy that I haven’t supported liberal, big government programs that trust bureaucracies rather than trust people. The fact that I have been reelected every two years [since 1992] indicates that the people of my district don’t have a big problem with the way I vote.”

Though active in the North Valley Democratic Club, Gold has never held public office. His hope is that his personal experience with two of the most important issues in this election, education and health care, may help draw much-needed attention to his campaign.

“As a doctor, I am very concerned that there are 45 million uninsured people in the United States,” he said. “As a country, it is not viable to have so many people at risk with their health status.

“The number one issue, however, is education. The federal government contributes only about 7 or 8 percent to schools and I think we can enhance the rolls and enhance teacher’s salaries. We do not want to continue with a situation like we have here in Los Angeles, with so many uncredentialed teachers.”