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  • Thursday, October 12, 2006

     

    SMITH FLIP FLOPS on CENSURE

    SPECIAL REPORT ROCCO CENSURE VOTE



    Voting at the September 28th Board Meeting against holding the Public Hearing on Censure, Orange Unified Trustee Melissa Smith changed her vote at the October 12 Public Hearing FOR Censure to give the Orange Unified Board the five votes it needed to Censure Orange Unified Trustee Steve Rocco.

    The vote during the October 12th Meeting was 5-2 for Censure.
    FOR CENSURE: Melissa Smith; Kathy Moffat; Wes Poutsma; Kim Nichols; John Ortega
    AGAINST CENSURE: Rick Ledesma; Steve Rocco

    Orange Unified Schools DIGEST will have a full and complete report on the October 12th Meeting.



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    Comments:
    Candidates Emami and Deligianni align with Rocco

    Following the October 12 OUSD board meeting at which discredited board member Steve Rocco was finally censured for his improper conduct (in this case, publicly announcing that a school principal should be fired without notice), Education Alliance school board candidates Chris Emami and Alexia Deligianni were seen strategizing with Mr. Rocco who had left the board meeting early in protest. In a private meeting that included discussions about how candidates Emami and Deligianni could raise more money, Messrs. Rocco and Emami were heard complaining about the censure vote.

    The Board meeting itself included speeches by numerous community members who supported the censure, and whose speeches were punctuated by applause and cheers from the community. One speaker addressed Mr. Rocco directly, telling him that for the last two years he has subjected this District to ridicule and embarrassment, and further emphatically stating: "We have had it with you Mr. Rocco." A noticeably smaller and less enthusiastic number of speakers opposed the censure, although their reasons ranged from perceived procedural irregularities to extraneous stories about the Partnership (the group that according to Mr. Rocco's paranoid delusion is trying to kill him).

    Community members and virtually all present were subjected to more of Mr. Rocco's insensitivity when he referred to recently deceased City Councilman Steve Ambriz's death, stating that death can do wonders for your popularity. The crowd responded with moans and groans.

    Board members Kathy Moffat and Melissa Smith spoke in direct terms about the obligation to take action to enforce District rules and by-laws. Board President Kimberlee Nichols spoke eloquently about the importance of sending the message to District employees that this District intends to honor and respect the privacy and confidentiality of its employees no matter how inappropriate and invasive Mr. Rocco's conduct may become.

    The censure vote was seen as a victory for those who believe that the Board has its own right to free speech, and that it must take action to enforce its rules and by-laws and protect its employees, teachers, staff, administrators and students from the rantings and misconduct of Mr. Rocco. The only sitting Board member to vote against the censure besides Mr. Rocco was Rick Ledesma, who is currently running for re-election. Mr. Ledesma offered no explanation for his vote, although he has also been linked to Mr. Rocco in recent political maneuverings. Yes Dorothy, Politics makes strange bedfellows, but bedfellows they have become.

    Community leaders are generally not surprised by the alliance between Mr. Rocco and candidates Emami and Deligianni. Candidate Emami proved that he lacks fundamental integrity when he lied in his candidate's statement by falsely claiming to be a teacher. This is the same tactic that contributed to the election of Mr. Rocco who claimed to be an educator in his ballot designation. Candidate Emami's efforts to "take a page from Mr. Rocco's book" backfired when a judge ordered that candidate Emami's claim to be a teacher is "false and misleading," and further ordered that these statements be stricken from his candidate's statement.

    Candidates Emami and Deligianni are actively supported by the Education Alliance, the same extreme fundamentalist group that supported the Board Members who were recalled by this community some 5 years ago.
     
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