Breaking Bad News for the clowns on the Capo School Board.

Can I get a big “Ruh-Roh?” I’ve just stumbled across a bulky complaint filed today with the Registrar of Voters, against the candidate statements of all five of the beleaguered “reform” trustees of the Capistrano Unified School District  –  “Lopez-Maddox,” Bryson, Christensen, Addonizio, and Winsten.  And I understand that this complaint could essentially put their campaigns on hold for up to thirty days, while a judge considers the merits.

Let’s start with the stuff all their statements have in common.  With this Board’s typical clueless arrogance they spend most of their time making boasts about their recent achievements that are at best arguable and often false, ignoring the fact that the Elections Code expressly limits these statements to their education and qualifications.

  • All the statements commence by complaining about how hard it is to bring change when the District spends most of its money on “salaries/benefits for public employees” [which ironically Maddox and Bryson are] but as the plaintiff points out, “the highest expense for any California school district will be employee salaries, so it is confusing to the voters to suggest that Capo is any different.”
  • They all falsely brag about balancing the district’s budget, when in reality they’ve been tapping into its reserves.
  • They all brag about “refusing to raise taxes,” when not only was nobody trying to get them to raise taxes, they also would have no ability to.
  • They all falsely brag about “reducing administrative expenses,” when they are actually paying the new Supervisor a much higher salary than the one they terminated.
  • They throw in the words “conservative” and “family values” which are political words inappropriate here.  Not to mention, their claim to have pursued “conservative fiscal policies” is absurdly false by any stretch.
  • Speaking of inappropriately political, they include the address of their website, which includes vicious and dishonest political attacks on the people running against them, and those people’s families.
  • Most of them boast of “reducing class size” which is UTTERLY FALSE – class sizes have risen during their tenure.
  • They all repeatedly claim that they did everything “despite union opposition” when there was no union opposition at all to most of what they list.

Ken Maddox?  Ken Lopez-Maddox?  Ken Maddox-Lopez?

Whatever it is this guy on the right is calling himself today, his candidate statement presents by far the richest trove for criticism and ridicule.

His job. Ken lists his occupation as a “businessman / tax consultant,” and also brags of having been a policeman for 17 years, as well as a volunteer firefighter.  In actuality his main job is as a state employee, at the Board of Equalization. He also phrases the sentence about his education deceptively, implying his Masters Degree in Management is from UCLA, when it is actually from the less prestigious National University.

His record as legislator. He takes credit for a lot he didn’t do during his time as Assemblyman.  He claims to have authored California’s Amber Alert system, which was actually authored by George Runner.  He claims to have authored the “Safe Surrender” bill to protect newborns, but that was authored by Jim Brulte.  He exaggerates his work toward class size reduction in the legislature, which is ironic as he has now overseen his own District’s withdrawal from the voluntary class-size reduction program, and its growing classes.

His name. It’s still unclear why he adopted his third wife’s maiden name; it’s said to have been an attempt to mend bridges after a very Latino-unfriendly political career.  But this has caused the most comical confusion.  As the plaintiff points out, most of his career has been as Maddox, he originally ran for this Trustee position as Maddox, and he still appears on KFI’s John and Ken Show as “Ken Maddox” (which makes sense given that radio duo’s famed hostility to immigrants.)  More recently he has been frequently calling himself “Lopez-Maddox” and it was under that name that this recall was approved by the Board (after getting way over the number of required signatures, but under the name “Maddox.”)  Adding to the confusion, the displays in the lobby of the “Taj Mahal” where the Board meets say “Ken Maddox-Lopez,” and that is also the formulation he used in this candidate statement.  After detailing all this, the plaintiff charmingly concludes:

[…his] real name must appear on the ballot, not a fictitious name that will mislead voters, especially in the context of a recall election… [Therefore] Petitioner is entitled to a peremptory writ of mandate ordering Respondents to change the name of “Ken Lopez-Maddox” of Maddox-Lopez to his most commonly used names of “Ken Maddox-Lopez/Ken Maddox.”

Sadly, Ken will be unable to produce or disseminate any campaign material until the judge sorts out that great puzzle.

And that’s today’s Breaking Bad News for the Board…

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.