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  • Monday, July 31, 2006

     

    eLECTION Watch 2006 UPDATE 7/31/06

    Two more possible candidates for Orange City Council
    Former OUSD Candidate pulls papers for Council Race

    Orange community activist Phil Martinez, who was defeated two years ago in a controversial race by Steve Rocco for a seat on the Orange Unified School Board, (Rocco did almost no campaigning), pulled papers to run for the Orange City Council. Meanwhile, OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco has filed to run for the Rancho Santiago Community College Board.

    Also pulling papers in what could become a crowded field for the Orange City Council seats was Arnold Crain. Only Darren Smith of the eleven possible candidates who have taken out papers has filed them. After fileing the papers, the Orange County Registrar’s Office confirms the nominating signatures.

    The period to declare candidacy ends August 11 (this is extended until Aug 16th if the incumbent has not filed).

    As of JULY 31, 2006

    Orange City Council
    The following have pulled papers, but not yet filed:
    Jason Lindstrom
    Mark Murphy (current Mayor)
    Mike Merino
    Robert Douglas
    Dennis Bilodeau (O.C. Water Board)
    Fred Whitaker
    John Caglia
    Frank Finn
    Phil Martinez
    Arnold Crain

    The following have filed and are waiting signature confirmation:
    Darren Smith

    Villa Park City Council
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Robert Fauteux (appointed incumbent)
    Deborah Pauly
    Bradley Reese
    James Rheins
    Patricia L. Bortle (incumbent/ appointed Mayor)

    Orange Mayor
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Carolyn Cavecche (current council member)
    Mike Alvarez (former council member)
    Mike Merino

    Rancho Santiago Trustee Area #2
    The following have filed:
    John Hanna (current incumbent)
    Steve Rocco (OUSD Trustee)

    Orange Unified School District
    The following have filed:
    Trustee Area 1:
    7/17/06 Melissa Smith (current incumbent)
    Governing Board Member, Orange Unified School District Trustee Area 1

    7/19/06 Alexia Deligianni (OC Young Republican Director)
    Educator

    Trustee Area 4
    7/19/06 Kathy Moffat (current incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Trustee Area 5
    7/27/06 Paul-Dean Martin
    Theater Arts Educator

    7/27/06 Chris Emami (withdrew and filed again)
    Youth Services Director

    Trustee Area 7
    7/17/06 Larry D. Cohn (former OUSD Legislative Coalition Chair)
    No current ballot designation

    7/20/06 Rick Ledesma (incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Check back to the Greater Orange eBlog daily for UPDATES



    eLECTION Watch 2006 is produced by Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OrangeNetNews@verizon.net
    “Independent, Local, News and Viewpoints”

    Saturday, July 29, 2006

     

    eLECTION Watch 2006 UPDATE

    The period to declare candidacy ends August 11 (this is extended until Aug 16th if the incumbent has not filed).

    As of JULY 29, 2006

    OUSD Trustee Area #5-
    Paul-Dean Martin of the Young Actors Workshop files for the election. For more information on Martin CLICK ON: http://www.pdmyoungactors.com/about.htm

    Orange City Council
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Darren Smith
    Jason Lindstrom
    Mark Murphy (current Mayor)
    Mike Merino
    Robert Douglas
    Dennis Bilodeau (OC Water Board)
    Fred Whitaker
    John Caglia
    Frank Finn

    Villa Park City Council
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Robert Fauteux (appointed incumbent)
    Deborah Pauly
    Bradley Reese
    James Rheins
    Patricia L. Bortle (incumbent/appointed Mayor)


    Orange Mayor

    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Carolyn Cavecche (current council member)
    Mike Alvarez (former council member)
    Mike Merino

    Rancho Santiago Trustee Area #2
    The following have filed:
    John Hanna (current incumbent)
    Steve Rocco (current OUSD Trustee)

    Orange Unified School District Council
    The following have filed:
    Trustee Area 1:
    7/17/06 Melissa Smith (current incumbent)
    Governing Board Member, Orange Unified School District Trustee Area 1

    7/19/06 Alexia Deligianni (OC Young Republican Director)
    Educator

    Trustee Area 4
    7/19/06 Kathy Moffat (current incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Trustee Area 5
    7/27/06 Paul-Dean Martin
    Theater Arts Educator

    7/27/06 Christopher K. Emami
    Youth Services Director
    (withdrew and refilled)

    Trustee Area 7
    7/17/06 Larry D. Cohn (former OUSD Legislative Coalition Chair)
    No current ballot designation

    7/20/06 Rick Ledesma (current incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Check back to the Greater Orange eBlog daily for UPDATES



    eLECTION Watch 2006 is produced by Orange Net News /O/N/N/5
    OrangeNetNews@verizon.net
    “Independent, Local, News and Viewpoints”

     

    Metro TALK

    TWO MORE PULL PAPERS FOR VILLA PARK COUNCIL RACE

    Two more possible candidates have pulled papers for the Villa Park City Council race in November. None of the five candidates that have pulled papers have filed them as of July 28th, 2006. For a complete run down of the names of this and other races go to the Greater Orange eBlog.
    CLICK ON: http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/2006/07/election-watch-2006-update_28.html

    Orange Councilman Jon Dumitru’s Blog
    The Greater Orange eBlog offers a variety of links, including to Orange Councilman Jon Dumitru’s the Around Orange Blog. His latest post is on the Orange County Fair.

    The Around Orange Blog has a great review of the Cheeseburger in Paradise Fundraiser last week for the Kaitlyn Ambriz Scholarship Fund. However, the Dumitru Blog is not all fun and games. On a more serious note, the Councilman posted about his attending the court appearance for the plea of Sara Ward. Ward is the person accused, killing Councilman Steve Ambriz in a head on auto accident.

    For the Around Orange Blog Cheeseburger in Paradise Fundraiser post CLICK ON:
    http://jdaroundorange.blogspot.com/2006/07/poker-tournament.html

    For the Around Orange Blog Sara Ward “I am not guilty” post CLICK ON:
    http://jdaroundorange.blogspot.com/2006/07/sara-ward-i-am-not-guilty.html

    School Issues Links
    In a community email last week the Greater Orange Communities Group sent out a link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) victory in the Tulsa, Okalahoma school superintendent trying to sue anonymous critics on line. We’d thought we pass this one along for all of Orange County:

    EFF Victory in Tulsa Critic Case CLICK ON: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2006_07.php#004827EFF enters OK Critic Case CLICK ON: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2006_06.php#004783

    The OC Blog has been keeping the Capistrano Unified Recall debacle in focus with almost daily updates. To see the CSUSD Category on the OC BLOG CLICK ON:
    http://www.ocblog.net/ocblog/cusd_recall/index.html

    Metro TALK is a community service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization
    GreaterOrangeCO@gmail.com

    Friday, July 28, 2006

     

    eLECTION Watch 2006 UPDATE

    As of JULY 28, 2006
    The period to declare candidacy ends August 11 (this is extended until Aug 16th if the incumbent has not filed).

    Orange City Council
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Darren Smith
    Jason Lindstrom
    Mark Murphy (current Mayor)
    Mike Merino
    Robert Douglas
    Dennis Bilodeau
    Fred Whitaker
    John Caglia
    Frank Finn

    Villa Park City Council
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Robert Fauteux (appointed incumbent)
    Deborah Pauly
    Bradley Reese
    James Rheins
    Patricia L. Bortle


    Orange Mayor
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Carolyn Cavecche (current council member)
    Mike Alvarez
    Mike Merino

    Rancho Santiago Trustee Area #2
    The following have filed:
    John Hanna (current incumbent)
    Steve Rocco

    Orange Unified School District Council
    The following have filed:
    Trustee Area 1:
    7/17/06 Melissa Smith (current incumbent)
    Governing Board Member, Orange Unified School District Trustee Area 1

    7/19/06 Alexia Deligianni (OC Young Republican Director)
    Educator

    Trustee Area 4
    7/19/06 Kathy Moffat (current incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Trustee Area 5
    7/20/06 Chris Emami
    Youth Services Director

    Trustee Area 7
    7/17/06 Larry D. Cohn (former OUSD Legislative Coalition Chair)
    No current ballot designation

    7/20/06 Rick Ledesma (incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

     

    eLECTION Watch 2006 UPDATE

    As of JULY 24, 2006
    The period to declare candidacy ends August 11 (this is extended until Aug 16th if the incumbent has not filed).

    Orange City Council
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Darren Smith
    Jason Lindstrom
    Mark Murphy (current Mayor)
    Mike Merino
    Robert Douglas
    Dennis Bilodeau
    Fred Whitaker
    John Caglia
    Frank Finn

    Villa Park City Council
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Robert Fauteux (appointed incumbent)
    Deborah Pauly
    Bradley Reese

    Orange Mayor
    The following have pulled papers, but not filed:
    Carolyn Cavecche (current council member)
    Mike Alvarez
    Mike Merino

    Rancho Santiago Trustee Area #2
    The following have filed:
    John Hanna (current incumbent)
    Steve Rocco

    Orange Unified School District Council
    The following have filed:
    Trustee Area 1:
    7/17/06 Melissa Smith (current incumbent)
    Governing Board Member, Orange Unified School District Trustee Area 1

    7/19/06 Alexia Deligianni (OC Young Republican Director)
    Educator

    Trustee Area 4
    7/19/06 Kathy Moffat (current incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Trustee Area 5
    7/20/06 Chris Emami
    Youth Services Director

    Trustee Area 7
    7/17/06 Larry D. Cohn (former OUSD Legislative Coalition Chair)
    No current ballot designation

    7/20/06 Rick Ledesma (incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

     

    Metro TALK

    OUSD TRUSTEE STEVE ROCCO FILES FOR
    RANCHO SANTIAGO COLLEGE DISTRICT ELECTION


    On Thursday July 20th, 2006 controversial Orange Unified Trustee Steve Rocco filed for election to the Rancho Santiago College District Area 2. Rocco's ballot designation states "Governing Board Member, Orange Unified School District Trustee Area 6.

    The Greater Orange eBlog will be updated with the latest candidates for the Orange Unified School District as that information becomes available. The current information is posted at:
    http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/2006/07/election-watch-2006-update.html

    Check the Greater Orange eBlog daily for candidate updates. Period to Declare Candidacy for Orange Unified School District: July 17- August 11. The complete field of candidates will not be known until 5:00 p.m. August 11th.

    OCTA OFFERS A FREE RIDE

    The Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA) in an effort to get riders to think about traveling by train on the weekend is brining the Metrolink Ride Free program to the Orange Santa Fe Depot on July 29th. OCTA representatives will be passing out free round-trip tickets at 8:30 a.m. Riders boarding at the Orange Metrolink stop can get a free round-trip ticket to go as far south as Oceanside, or as far north as Los Angeles (or stop off anywhere in-between). The Saturday rides for a round-trip are usually priced at $9.75 to L.A. and $13.75 to get to Oceanside and back.

    Wondering where to go to on a Saturday train ride?
    Just CLICK ON the Metrolink Weekend Service page: http://www.octa.net/metroweekend.asp for ideas.

    Villa Park’s Fauteux is Endorsed by Republican Central Committee


    Villa Park Councilman Robert Fauteux was endorsed by the Orange County Republican Central Committee this week for election to the Villa Park City Council seat he was originally appointed to. The OC Blog posted a complete list of the endorsements. To view them CLICK ON: http://www.ocblog.net/ocblog/2006/07/oc_republican_p_1.html


    Metro TALK is a community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

     

    eLECTION Watch 2006 UPDATE

    a Special News Analysis series by Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OUSD TRUSTEE STEVE ROCCO FILES FOR RANCHO SANTIAGO COLLEGE DISTRICT

    On Thursday July 20th, 2006 controversial Orange Unified Trustee Steve Rocco filed for election to the Rancho Santiago College District Area 2. Rocco's ballot designation states "Governing Board Member, Orange Unified School District Trustee Area 6".

    Period to Declare Candidacy for Orange Unified School District: July 17- August 11


    The following persons have declared their candidacy as of
    JULY 20, 2006

    Trustee Area 1:
    7/17/06 Melissa Smith (incumbent)
    Governing Board Member, Orange Unified School District Trustee Area 1

    7/19/06 Alexia Deligianni (OC Young Republican Director)
    Educator

    Trustee Area 4
    7/19/06 Kathy Moffat (incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Trustee Area 5
    7/20/06 Chris Emami
    Youth Services Director

    Trustee Area 7
    7/17/06 Larry D. Cohn (former OUSD Legislative Coalition Chair)
    No current ballot designation

    7/20/06 Rick Ledesma (incumbent)
    No current ballot designation

    Check back to the Greater Orange eBlog daily for UPDATES




    eLECTION Watch 2006 is produced by Orange Net News /O/N/N/5
    OrangeNetNews@verizon.net
    “Independent, Local, News and Viewpoints”

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    Monday, July 17, 2006

     

    Orange Unified Schools DIGEST

    Freshman Seminar Course Report and Vote at 7/20 Meeting

    At the July 20th Orange Unified School District School Board Meeting, the OUSD staff will present the delayed report on the proposed Freshman Seminar Course. There has been some opposition to the course led by OUSD student Alexander Zhan. Speaking before the OUSD Trustees on two occasions, Zhan has been opposed to the Freshman Seminar class as a requirement for all freshmen students. Zhan has criticized the course as being in the wrong place and required at the wrong time, insisting that those who the course is designed to help should be helped in earlier grades. In addition to Zhan, some adults involved in the Ninth Grade Initiative process also spoke before the OUSD Board about the proposed class not addressing the needs of the many students who would not benefit from the class because they already have the skills it would be teaching. The Freshmen Seminar Class was scheduled to be discussed at the June 22, 2006 meeting, but was postponed. Apparently, the OUSD Administration took the community critiques to heart and now one month later, they are offering not just the originally proposed Freshman Seminar, but also an Honors Freshman Seminar that appears to address issues raised by the community. Information about both classes will be reported on in an informational report (Agenda Item 13 A, page 41) and later approved by the OUSD Trustees in the Consent Agenda, as Item 14 Y (page 119). The later vote for approval will be automatic and without discussion unless it is pulled for discussion and a separate vote by a Board member.

    Four New High School Assistant Principals

    Item 12 B on the July 20th, 2006 Board Agenda is to return a third Assistant Principal to each of the four comprehensive OUSD High Schools. In 1991 OUSD cut the third Assistant Principal position at its high schools. Part of the money to pay for the four new positions will come from the $119,000 in savings from cutting the OUSD Teen Mom Program.

    OUSD Law Firms Price Hike

    A month after the OUSD Trustees approved $225,000 in additional budgeted funds for the OUSD law firm of Parker & Covert, and the specialty law firm Miller, Brown & Dannis ( locally a.k.a. the “Revocation Law Firm" after the Santiago Charter Revocation fiasco), both law firms are increasing their fees. The OUSD Trustees are scheduled to approve (Consent Item 14 D page 49) an additional $80,000 in budgeted fees ($50,000 to Parker & Covert and $30,000 to Miller, Brown & Dannis).

    Parker & Covert fee increase: Partner (Spencer Covert) hourly fees from $160 to $195 (18% increase); Senior Associate Attorneys hourly fees from $145 to $195; Associate Attorneys hourly fees from $135 to $170; Paralegal/ Law Clerk hourly fees from $75 to $115

    Miller, Brown $ Dannis fee increase: Shareholders, Special Counsel, and Counsel hourly fees from $210 to $265 (21% increase); Associates hourly fees from $195 to $215; Paralegals/ law clerks $110 to $125.

    Also on the July 22 Consent Agenda (Consent Item 14 S page 108) is approval of another $100,000 to Parker & Covert for “litigation of ongoing special education matters”.

    Community Donations: Anaheim Hills PTA- $2024.97 for supplies; Prospect PTA-$1042.65 for transportation needs; Villa Park H.S. Baseball Boosters- $7250.00 coaches stipends; Edison International to VPES $254.56 for supplies; Running Springs PTA-$37,468.00 for computers. The complete list of Community Donations is on Page 45 of the July 20 OUSD Board Agenda.

    Other Agenda Items include:

    Item 12 D- Administration Salary Adjustment- 1.5% salary increase for OUSD Administrators (excluding the Superintendent) and California School Employee Association employees “in order to maintain comparability” (this brings the total increase for the year equal to the 4.75% the teachers received).

    CORRECTION: The last eLECTION Watch 2006 incorrectly identified Trustee Melissa Smith as a Republican. Smith is a registered Democrat. However in California, trustee positions are non-partisan.

    “We’re a $220 million dollar business; we’re going to spend the money somewhere.”
    -OUSD Trustee Wes Poutsma 9/22/05

    Digest’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2006

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars spent in 2006: $ 849,717.00:

    2006 Consultant Fee Tally:
    6/22/06 Douglas DeVore Speech $ 2,000
    6/08/06 Focus on Results $164,400
    3/09/06 Bob Sadler 3 Day Workshop $ 10,000
    Total $176,400

    2006 Attorney Fee Tally:
    7/20/06 Parker & Covert $100,000
    7/20/06 Parker & Covert $ 50,000
    7/20/06 Miller, Brown & Dannis $ 30,000
    6/22/06 Miller, Brown & Dannis $ 50,000
    6/22/06 Parker & Covert $175,000
    4/20/06 Parker & Covert: $ 50,000
    1/19/06 Parker & Covert: $200,000
    Total $655,000

    2006 Administrative Conference/Travel:
    2/9/06 Roney and 5 principals to Florida $ 10,623
    2/23/06 Roney and 2 principals Tx/ Fl $ 4,050
    3/09/06 2 to Florida Conference $ 3,644
    Total $ 18,317

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars spent in 2005: $ 978,300.000:
    Total 2005 Conference Administrator/Board Fees: $ 7,500.00
    2005 Attorney Fee Tally: $730,600.00
    Total Watched 2005 OUSD Consultant spending: $ 270,200.00


    The next Orange Unified School Board Meeting: JULY 20, 2006
    Closed Session will begin at 6:30 pm, Regular Session remains at 7:30 pm

    For a complete OUSD Board Agenda CLICK ON:

    http://www.orangeusd.k12.ca.us/board/pdf/agenda_072006.pdf


    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions Just call Jon at the Business Services at 714-628-4015
    Orange Unified Schools Digest is an independent news service of
    /O/N/N/

    Monday, July 10, 2006

     

    Metro TALK

    STEVEN F. AMBRIZ MEMORIAL WEBSITE
    A memorial website has been established for Councilman Steve Ambriz. The website includes information on the upcoming fundraising benefits and the Kaitlyn Ambriz Scholarship Fund as well as pages dedicated to the Ambriz biography, a photo gallery and a place for visitors to share memories about him (the site is new and currently there are only two).

    Two memorial fundraising events are currently planned. The first event, the Cheeseburgers in Poker Paradise Steve Ambriz Memorial Poker Tournament and Silent Auction, is co-presenting by the Orange Firefighters and the Moms Club of Orange. Honoring Ambriz’s birthday (July 22nd) and with proceeds going to the Kaitlyn Ambriz Scholarship Fund, the event will be held at the Orange Senior Center on July 21st, 2006 with of course Hawaiian attire. For more information contact Orange City Fire Captain Chuck Tuggle at ct196@adelphia.net or call him at 714-326-3644: More information and a registration form are on the website, or just CLICK ON: http://www.steveambriz.org/uploads/Ambriz_Poker_Flyer_v08.pdf .
    Greater Orange Community contributors to the event include: Island Restaurants; Jimmy Bones Sport’s and Suds; Orange Hill Restaurants; Kustom Imprints; P.R. Attractions; Buswraps.com; Advantage Mailing; District Lounge;and Melinda Bentley.

    Steve Ambriz Legacy Golf Tournament
    Working toward the goal of $100,000 to create the Steve Ambriz Storytime Room at the new Orange Main Library and History Center now under construction, The First Annual Steve Ambriz Legacy Golf Tournament will be held Monday, August 7th, 2006, at the Alta Vista Country Club in Placentia.

    One of the highlights of the golf tournament will be the Helicopter Golf Ball Drop. 2,500 golf balls will be dropped by helicopter, flown by Commander Chuck Street of KIIS FM Radio. The ball that lands in the hole when dropped will earn a cash prize for its owner, and other cash prizes will be awarded in other ball-drop categories. Each ball is available for a $20 ticket purchase

    The First Annual Steve Ambriz Legacy Golf Tournament has the support of many key members of the Greater Orange Communities. Presenting sponsors Brenda and Mike Carver, owners of R.J. Noble Company, donated $25,000. Selman Chevrolet, Katella Grill, and Print4Less are also sponsors. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, from $250 to $10,000. In addition, donations in any amount are welcomed.

    Event organizers are also looking for volunteers to work the tournament. To register as a golfer, volunteer or donate to the event, please contact 714-288-2404 or email Mzembower@socal.rr.com .

    Visit the STEVEN F. AMBRIZ MEMORIAL WEBSITE
    CLICK ON : http://www.steveambriz.org/

    MORE ELECTION TALK
    Metro TALK has more names to give to our co-workers at eLECTION 2006 ( CLICK ON: http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/2006/07/election-watch-2006.html) for the November Orange Unified School Board election. Those names included Foothills Sentry Columnist and Villa Park Councilman Robert Fauteux not running for an elected term when his current appointed term is up on the Villa Park City Council in order to run in the OUSD election. Another prominent name mentioned is Joe Fortier. Past president of the Rotary Club, a former City of Orange Traffic Commissioner and a former OUSD Principal, talk is he is considering joining what may be a crowed field to try and replace Trustee Kathy Moffat. Another name being mentioned is George Cardenas of Anaheim Hills. A local school and community activist who works for Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, talk is that Cardenas may have his sites on the seat currently held by OUSD Trustee Melissa Smith.

    LOCAL BLOOD SHORTAGE
    Southern California, which imports most of its blood from other states, is currently experiencing a dangerous shortage of blood. Reportedly, with some types of blood our area has a supply of just a few hours.

    For a local donation site, PLEASE CLICK ON:
    https://www.givelife.org/index.cfm?group=home&advsearch=1

    Metro TALK is a community service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

     

    eLECTION Watch 2006

    a Special News Analysis series by Orange Net News /O/N/N/

    Moffat, Nichols and Smith dump
    Fiscal Conservative Rick Ledesma for

    “Three Presidents” Slate vs Education Alliance

    While the Orange Unified School District’s Community Strategic Planning Workshop in May wowed the likes of Foothills Sentry columnist and longtime OUSD watcher and OUSD Legislative Coalition Secretary Marjan Dunn, some other longtime Board watchers who also participated couldn’t help but notice that there was a lot more going on than just “strategic” planning for long term OUSD goals. Hand-in-hand with the workshops “planning” was long term political planning as OUSD Trustees Kathy Moffat and Lissa Smith were asking community leaders for their support in the upcoming November OUSD School Board elections. Thus, at a meeting that cost $3333.00+ a day in educational tax funds, the 2006 OUSD Trustee Election got underway.

    Five years after the June 2001 Orange Recall Election, and three OUSD Superintendents (Van Otterloo; French; Godley) later, the November election will be the first time for four members of the then Quality Education Team also known as the Citizen’s Slate (the slate that won the Orange Recall and ousted the Radical Education Alliance Board ) to face reelection. After losing the June 2001 Recall, the Radical Education Alliance members then ran again a few months later to try and over turn their Recall defeat. In that November 2006 “re-run” election they were soundly defeated (see link below). One of the first reforms instituted by the newly elected Citizen’s Board (and unlike other reforms is still in place), was to realign the off-year Board elections with the on-year primary and national election cycle. That move not only saved money and insured more electorate participation, but it also extended the terms of most of the sitting board members. So now five years later, four of the original five elected Citizen Board Trustees- Rick Ledesma, Kathy Moffat, Melissa Smith, and Kim Nichols-are up for reelection. The only member of the original Citizen’s Board to face re-election so far has been Trustee John Ortega who had no opponents and therefore was automatically declared the winner without an election formality.

    Now, five years later and the Citizen’s Board is no more. With four of the original members now up for re-election, the slate has been wiped clean. Kathy Moffat, Kim Nichols and Lissa Smith have dumped fiscal conservative Trustee Rick Ledesma from their slate that community watchers are calling the “Three Presidents Slate” because all three have rotated into the OUSD Board President’s post. At the May OUSD Community Strategic Planning Workshop and elsewhere, members of the liberal leaning Three President’s Slate have made it clear they want nothing to do with the fiscally conservative and politically moderate Rick Ledesma who apparently has offended the liberal leaning Board majority with his numerous questions and votes contrary to the now customary usual rubber-stamping the Board majority usually engaged in.

    The Incumbents: Ledesma; Moffat; Nichols and Smith

    Rick Ledesma- Fiscal Conservative Republican

    Trustee Rick Ledesma had been elected once before from Trustee Area #7 then was defeated for re-election by Kathy Ward of the Radical Education Alliance in 1997 that took control of OUSD. Ward and her allies were later ousted from power by the Orange Recall. Recall organizers approached Ledesma to take on Ward again. Ledesma agreed and won back the seat he had lost to Ward. He then defeated Ward again in a landslide in the Radical re-run attempt to win their seats back a few months later in the November 2001 Board Election.

    Ledesma was the leading critic of the OUSD administration’s attempt to revoke the Santiago Charter last year. Ledesma’s vehement criticism and opposition to paying for the now infamous OUSD Revocation Report prepared by the revocation law firm of Miller, Brown and Dannis appears to have played a major role in the split between him and the current Board majority. Ledesma also voted against pay raises for superintendents French and Godley, as well as opposed the process used, and the selection of, Dr. Godley as OUSD Superintendent.

    Continually questioning OUSD Administrators about their spending proposals, the Board’s direction and priorities, and especially classroom and program cuts, community leaders say Trustee Rick Ledesma continues to be a true to the principles of the Orange Recall of placing kids and public education first above wasteful spending of scare educational tax dollars and personal agendas. Having long ago proven he is a true fiscal conservative, Ledesma serves as a fiscal watchdog for the taxpayers and as an educational watchdog for OUSD student’s and the educational community. While Ledesma often votes against OUSD Administrative proposals, his greatest strength, whether supporting or opposing proposals, is that he speaks out to make it clear to the public what the OUSD Administration and Board majority are doing. These qualities and his unwavering convictions have cost Ledesma support from the Board majority. Ironically, community leaders point out that at the time of the Orange Recall the current Trustees who now oppose Ledesma possessed the same qualities they now seem to distain in Ledesma.

    Despite continually being blocked by the Board majority Ledesma has accomplished much by speaking out. Ledesma’s role in opposing Dr. Godley’s proposal to end the OUSD Board Meeting broadcasts to the community is one of Ledesma’s biggest achievements. In fact, Ledesma is seen by many in the community as single-handedly not allowing the issue of ending the recall reform instituted broadcast of the OUSD Board Meetings over local cable stations to the community die. For months, meeting after meeting, Ledesma publicly looked for, and asked, for out-of-the box solutions from Godley and Moffat to keep the OUSD Board Meeting cable broadcasts. The community rallied to his cause. Then, in what the watchdog Greater Orange Communities Group described as “one of Dr. Godley’s trademark ‘We found the money’ epiphanies”, Godley found the $8,000 to save the community broadcasts of the OUSD Board meetings.

    Ledesma also is by far the leader in “pulling” items from the Consent Agenda for a discussion and vote. Consent Agenda’s are scheduled to be automatically approved by the Board without discussion. This has included contracts to law firms worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and the controversial pet administrative million dollar program OUSD’s Focus on Results, which Ledesma recently pulled from the June 8th, 2006 OUSD Board Agenda to vote against. The $164,000 spending proposal to continue the Focus on Results program still passed with Moffat, Nichols and Smith joining Wes Poutsma on voting to approve the spending.

    Kathy Moffat- Liberal Democrat

    Liberal Democrat Kathy Moffat represents the mostly very fiscally conservative, and mostly very Republican, Trustee Area #7 located primarily in Villa Park. Moffat, who has never once in her five years on the Board voted against any OUSD Administration proposal, continues to be the most outspoken supporter of OUSD Administration and OUSD bureaucrat’s personal agendas.

    Moffat was the OUSD Board President during the failed attempt of the OUSD Administration to revoke the Santiago Charter School charter. Moffat originally was very vocal in supporting the OUSD Administration’s attempt at revoking the Santiago Charter based on a what is now widely held to have been a trumped up “student safety” issue. However, as community pressure mounted, Moffat became less vocal and changed her position to support what Board watchers describe as a “face-saving compromise” that did little to fundamentally change the original “student safety” issue. Later, Moffat also presided over the controversial selection of Dr. Godley as Superintendent Dr. Robert French’s replacement. Godley is seen by some in the community as the driving force behind the Santiago Charter revocation attempt.

    Moffat was also the OUSD President during the majority of the California State Fiscal crisis and supported administrative proposals for cuts to student-centered programs while at the same time being the most outspoken supporter of the millions of dollars her bureaucratic friends in the OUSD Administration have spent on their personal pet project, the controversial OUSD Focus on Results program. Moffat continues to support the Focus on Results program that OUSD Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Cohen (with no hard research to support the program) described as akin to “marriage encounter training”. In what the Greater Orange Communities Group has called “Moffat’s Focus on Denial”, Moffat continues to insist that the controversial program has improved OUSD state test scores (something the OUSD program is not directly designed to do) even as the number of OUSD’s state identified Underperforming School’s continued to grow to the second largest in Orange County.

    The continued irony of Moffat’s stated beliefs (which give her widespread support across the district outside of her conservative Villa Park home) and her votes to support the personal agenda’s of OUSD Bureaucrats is evident in her biggest accomplishment while on the Board. At the same time Moffat supported Superintendent Godley’s attempt to end the televising of OUSD Board meetings over local cable channels, Moffat’s wanted to improve OUSD’s image with a “news” outlet for Orange Unified. Eventually Moffat found the Seal Beach based School News Roll Call to publish and distribute four “good news” non-political district newspapers a year at no cost to the OUSD taxpayers.

    Kim Nichols-Moderate Republican


    Moderate Kim Nichols has presided over the OUSD Board since the beginning of this year. Until becoming Board President, Nichols’ greatest accomplishment was providing a moderate and well thought out intelligent voice in Board discussions. She has not faired as well in her leadership as Board President.

    Seen by Board watchers as the weakest OUSD Board President since John Ortega (who was seen as well intentioned, but too often apoplectic for being unprepared and lost on procedures). The Nichols’ tenure as Board President began with her introduction as “Kim” by Superintendent Dr. Godley. Then came the awkward chair maneuvering incident as the newly installed Board President “Kim” moved from the customary center OUSD President’s chair of the upper dais of elected Trustees down to the far end to where Godley had moved up to from the customary lower administrative dais. Since that begining musical-chairs-like maneuvering Nichols’ has never come into her own as her dependence on Godley has not gone unnoticed. In the Boardroom and on the cable broadcasts, Nichols and Godley are frequently seen during meetings conferring or passing notes to each other. In addition, unlike Moffat and Smith, Nichols has had obvious trouble controlling the increasing tense Board discussions and in particular the often off-topic Trustee Steve Rocco.

    Melissa “Lissa” Smith- Liberal Democrat

    Democrat Melissa (Lissa) Smith, representing Trustee Area #1 (primarily located in Anaheim Hills) followed veteran Trustee Bob Viviano as the first Citizen’s Board trustee to preside as the OUSD President.

    Smith was OUSD Board President during the two failed Measure A Bond attempts. Aside from shepparding the failed back-to-back Measure A Bonds onto the ballot, Smith’s biggest accomplishment was pursuing and accomplishing the declaring of the OUSD Barham Ranch property as surplus and then its sale to the County of Orange as parkland.

    Recently, the usually outspoken Smith has been more subdued and has mostly avoided commenting on the more contentious issues that have lately been before the Board. Board watchers point out despite her recent lack of comment and debate, Smith’s votes continue to speak volumes as she continues her consistent votes to back the OUSD Administration proposals without question.

    Potential Challengers and the New Education Alliance

    After five years of various heated controversies this November’s Board Election promises to be the liveliest local election since the 2001 Orange Recall. Many names are floating around of potential challengers. Each challenger must live in the Trustee Area they wish to run in, but are elected by the whole district. This includes a new slate that reportedly has the involvement of Mark Bucher, the reported political architect of the original Radical Education Alliance.

    Trustee Area # 4 may be the most contested race and is targeted by a new Education Alliance Slate headed by local activist Hope Grace. At times labeled by local conservatives as a rubber stamp-liberal, Moffat may face some stiff competition from more moderate candidates. However, if Moffat has more than one strong conservative facing her, they may split the votes allowing her participation on the Three President’s Slate to carry her on to re-election. On the other hand, some local political watchers potentially see Nichols and Smith hurt by running with Moffat on a slate if the Villa Park contest becomes particularly nasty and Villa Park voters come out strong on Election Day.

    Among the names as potential Moffat challengers floating across the Greater Orange Communities is Denise Bittel. A local Villa Park and Greater Orange political powerhouse, in addition to being a community and educational activist, her rumored fall-out with Moffat has taken on an urban legend status. Another often cited potential Villa Park candidate is Republican Party activist Deborah Pauley who has long rumored to be eyeing an election ballot debut (she applied for the vacant Villa Park council seat that went to Foothills Sentry writer Robert Fauteux) and has often been mentioned as a possible school board candidate and recently hosted a meeting of the new Education Alliance at her home.

    Ledesma’s Area #7 may also become a heated contest with rumors of OUSD’s Legislative Coalition recent chairman Larry Cohn reportedly eyeing Ledesma’s seat. Cohn has recently made a name for himself as the nemesis of Trustee Steve Rocco who has chosen both Cohn and Bittel as two of his favorite local conspiracy targets.
    While Smith seems strong in the educationally involved Trustee Area #1, Smith appears to have taken for granted the strength of the music supporters in her area and across the district. With the OUSD Save the Music movement based in her area, Smith reportedly came off to many music supporters as unsupportive. By all reports, many of Smith’s constitutes who were new to the politics of OUSD were put off by Smith’s support of the OUSD Administration and her failure to represent her area’s music supporters viewpoints much in the same way Ledesma was unwavering in his supported of the Santiago community during the attempted revocation. Reportedly, some Trustee Area #1 community members are looking for a choice besides Smith. One name that has been mentioned by several sources is Music Matters Committee leader Angel LaMarca. Sources close to the new Education Alliance Slate report that they are supporting 60th Assembly Republican Central Committee Member and Orange County Young Republican Director Dr. Alexia Deligianni to run against Smith.

    Of course in the Greater Orange Communities, one thing we know anything is possible in Orange Unified including a dark horse candidate appearing and winning just like Trustee Steve Rocco. The November 2006 OUSD Election Declaration of Candidacy window is between July 17 and August 11.


    For a complete guide to local politics CLICK ON: http://www.ocpolitics.us/

    For results of the June 2001 Orange Recall Election CLICK ON:
    http://www.oc.ca.gov/election/Live/e7p/frame7.htm

    For results of the November 2001 “Re-Run” Election CLICK ON:
    http://www.oc.ca.gov/ELECTION/Live/E1/frame1.htm

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