Speaking to a group of environmental activists recently, LAUSD School Board Member Scott Schmerelson pointed out that his opponent had solicited and accepted a very generous campaign contribution from Keith Brackpool, founder of Cadiz, Inc. Brackpool is a notorious felon and longtime proponent of a plan to pump groundwater out of the Mojave Desert and deliver it via a 35-mile pipeline to the Colorado Aqueduct despite studies showing that Cadiz was planning to extract more underground water than could be naturally replenished, horrifying environmentalists with regard to the ecological impact of a pipeline stretching for miles across the desert.
Scott called on his opponent to reject money from Brackpool and any other donors with ties to Mercury Public Affairs, a corrupt lobbying firm implicated by Robert Mueller in the Paul Manafort indictment as being complicit in a scheme to hide foreign influence pedaling.
“My opponent appears to care very little about who donates to her campaign,” said Schmerelson, a former longtime teacher and school principal who is seeking re-election. “Keith Brackpool, whose Cadiz company sought to drain the water table in the Coachella Valley for its own commercial purposes and has consistently supported developer’s interests over the good of the environment, is now surprisingly interested in a school board race in a country where he is not even eligible to vote. We need to question why that is.”
In 1983, Brackpool was convicted of criminal charges related to securities trading in his native England before moving to the United States and founding Cadiz. Then in 1991, Brackpool was forced to resign his post as chief executive in North America for the Albert Fisher Group, a highflying British food company whose chairman had hand-picked him for the job. The resignation was the direct result of Brackpool’s personal dealings with Polly Peck, a British conglomerate that had imploded in a spectacular accounting scandal resembling the Enron Corporation fiasco.
“We should be very skeptical about convicted white collar criminals bankrolling school board candidates with toxic profits from promoting anti-environmental policies,” stated Board Member Schmerelson. “LA Unified is the largest school district in the country with an elected Board. We are committed to preparing our students to be college and career ready. But our children are telling us that all the preparation in the world will be meaningless if we are unable and unwilling to transform our energy systems to avoid the frightening reality that we are rapidly, and perhaps irreversibly, destroying the health of the planet that they will inherit.
Scott Schmerelson, in collaboration with students and climate change activists, introduced and unanimously passed an historic policy initiative entitled, Transitioning Los Angeles Unified School District to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy Resulting in Healthier Students and MoreSustainable, Equitable Communities. This resolution instructed the LAUSD District Facilities leadership team to convene and oversee a task force consisting of renewable energy experts, representatives of local utilities, clean energy advocates, students, parents, teachers and our labor partners to begin a planning process that commits to the goals of achieving 100 percent clean, renewable energy in its electricity sector by 2030 and in all energy sectors, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), cooking, and transportation, by 2040.
“I am humbled by how much I have learned from our students about their hopes and fears for the future of our planet,” concluded the Board Member. am proud of my record on fighting for environmental justice and I challenge my opponent to reconsider soliciting campaign donations from individuals like Keith Brackpool who view droughts, water shortages and other consequences of climate change as merely great opportunities for investors to profit.”