Such steps would do wonders to rehabilitate the LAUSD’s reputation. They would also dampen the public anger and frustration that fuels Villaraigosa’s takeover effort and talk about breakup. But Romer and company think they can simply win over the public with dumb P.R. tricks. So they bring in some parents who are disgruntled with mayoral-takeover programs elsewhere, as though a few critics are a fair representation of public opinion in those cities. This stunt would be a waste of time and the public’s energy no matter who paid for it. But for the LAUSD honchos to think it’s OK to let the public pick up the tab for what essentially amounts to a political campaign against reform is dead wrong. The right way to win public support is to get rid of the public opinion manipulators, ASAP, and start talking about the major reforms needed to fix the system. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WOULD Superintendent Roy Romer, or some other ranking LAUSD official, care to explain why, exactly, the district needs the services of an expert in public relations and political campaigns? The Los Angeles Unified School District has a monopoly over schooling for most kids in L.A. It has no product to sell, no competition to worry about. Its only concern should be providing the best possible education to the 700,000 students in its care. Yet like the shameless Department of Water and Power – another monopoly that needlessly hired flacks to bolster its image – the LAUSD has called in the spin doctors to manipulate public opinion. And now it’s spent $1,500 or more of taxpayer money to bring in a bunch of activists and parents from around the country to lobby against Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s education-reform plan because they don’t like the reforms taking place in their towns. If the district wants some public-image advice, here’s some for free: Get serious about fixing your problems, improving education, lowering the dropout rate. Slash the massive bureaucracy and hold staff accountable. Empower parents. Stop kowtowing to the demands of public-employee unions and neglecting the needs of communities.