From this morning's LA Times - Ray Cortines Begins Stint as Education Advisor to L.A. Mayor
...Ramon C. Cortines is back, starting today, in a different role, as the top education advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. And once again, the fit, self-assured 74-year-old educator is striding into conflict, this time over Villaraigosa's bid for substantial authority over L.A.'s public schools.more
Cortines' current message is about rhetorical disarmament and an agenda far more ambitious than books and bathrooms."It is important that a working dialogue is created between the school district and the unions and the mayor's office" — regardless of whether the mayor gets new powers, Cortines said in an interview Monday.
In other words, Villaraigosa may choose to bash the school district as a failing institution — especially if that's what's needed to win the political battle over control — but Cortines will play the role of good cop. That includes a meeting today with schools Supt. Roy Romer, who has chastised the mayor for saying the district is failing.
Cortines' approach is a model of consistency. In 2000, he also played peacemaker, refusing to become interim superintendent without the OK of outgoing Supt. Ruben Zacarias, who had just been dumped by a slim school board majority. Cortines also set to work immediately on knitting together a fractious school board.