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The Hon. Jackie Goldberg: Giant of Justice

CLUE-LA is proud to honor Assemblymember Emiritus Jackie Goldberg as one of our 2011 Giants of Justice. Assemblymember Emeritus Jackie Goldberg has a long and distinguished career as a public advocate.

She began her professional life as a classroom teacher at Centennial and then Dominguez High School in Compton, and worked as a teacher, specializing in reading, for more than 18 years. Her work with her students, many of whom were low-income or spoke English as a second language, inspired her to develop and direct a model cross-disciplinary reading program to strengthen critically important reading skills. She was also an active member of the Compton Federation of Teachers and a founding member of Coalition of Labor Union Women.

In addition to her work with her students and with the union, Goldberg was a tireless community activist. She helped start a trilingual neighborhood childcare center, an after-school tutoring program, a food cooperative, and helped secure a public pool and library for her community.

Armed with first-hand understanding of the problems and challenges of the Los Angeles public school system, Goldberg ran for and won a seat on the Los Angeles Unified School Board in 1983. Goldberg was elected in an upset victory over the incumbent and served two terms. During her second term, Goldberg served as President of the Board from 1989 through 1991. Her leadership was instrumental in creating on-campus health clinics, improving curriculum in reading, math and science, and leading the development of school-based management, creating accountability and ownership for the teachers and administrators of each school. In addition, Goldberg was able to nearly double the starting salary for new teachers, ensuring that Los Angeles schools were able to attract and retain the best educators possible.

From 1991 to 1993, Goldberg worked for Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina as her Children’s Services Deputy. She worked actively on issues such as child abuse and neglect, domestic violence and enforcement of child support. At the same time, Goldberg taught at Grant High School in the San Fernando Valley.

In 1993, Goldberg won a seat on the Los Angeles City Council 13th District, and became the first openly lesbian woman to hold office on the City Council. She was re-elected without opposition in 1997.

Goldberg’s Council legacy includes authorship of the “Living Wage” ordinance which guarantees a living wage and benefits to all employees working directly or indirectly for the City of Los Angeles, her work in the economic revitalization of Hollywood, including the successful negotiation with developer TrizecHahn to build a retail entertainment complex in the heart of Hollywood, which includes the current home of the Academy Awards, and to provide a “Living Wage” to all employees of the complex, the creation of model after-school enrichment programs in every middle school in the district, the passage of a citywide ban on the sale of small, cheap handguns known as “Saturday Night Specials” and development of the extremely successful “Slum Abatement” program which holds landlords accountable to the City for the condition of their properties and provides an effective system of redress to tenants who have complaints.

Assemblymember Emeritus Goldberg was elected overwhelmingly to her first term in the California State Assembly on November 7, 2000, and was re-elected in 2002 and 2004. While in the State Assembly, she was a key architect of two major School Bond Issues, authored by then Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg. It was these two bond issues that finally brought relief from the extreme overcrowding in the L.A. Unified School District as well as 14 other “critically overcrowded” school districts. She also chaired the Assembly Education Committee for four years. Goldberg is the author of the Domestic Partner State Law that today provides same-gender couples with both the rights and responsibilities of married couples in the state of California.

Goldberg’s frank and honest demeanor, her knowledgeable command of the issues and her emphasis on consensus-building, pragmatism and foresight in creating legislation won her praise and respect from both her constituency and her colleagues in the School District, at Los Angeles City Hall and in Sacramento.

Currently, Jackie is completing the fourth year of a five-year federal grant, in conjunction with UCLA, to provide teacher preparation courses for both student teachers and Intern teachers to the middle and high schools in Compton, and Los Angeles.

She lives with her spouse, writer/educator Sharon Stricker in Echo Park, where they have lived for more than 30 years. Their son Brian is a middle school basketball coach, and their daughter-in-law Carmen is an attorney with Legal Aid. Their grandson, Alejandro, is 13 months old, and is the delight of their lives.

Join CLUE-LA as we honor Jackie Goldberg and other Giants of Justice at our 8th Annual Giants of Justice Breakfast! Click here to register.

 
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