Capo Recall News: Measure H is by-area voting! And we have all five candidates.

This great mass movement I described here – drawing conservatives and liberals together in defense of their cherished public education system – now has letters to remember:  Measure H will change future School Board elections to the by-area system, saving the district $200,000 each election cycle, making it easier and less expensive for anyone to run, and bringing accountability to local issues and concerns. Remember, the current board promised to institute this popular reform, and then turned their backs on us once they were in power.

Measures A and B will recall two of the worst (most wasteful, arrogant and incompetent) trustees – Mike Winsten and Ken “Lopez-Maddox.”  And three others who are up for re-election we are replacing.  Two of them who aren’t quite so bad we are leaving alone.  So we have FIVE new candidates, who just happen to be two Republicans, two Democrats, and an independent, which makes good sense as we’re trying to bring balance, sanity, and accountability to the Capistrano Unified School District:

John Alpay is running in District 3 to take the place of propagandist Mike Winsten when he’s recalled.  John’s an executive with an MBA and law degree, as well as a father of three beautiful children who will soon be entering the district’s schools.

Also a member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee, he says he’s “running to bring leadership and focus back to Capistrano Unified School District. As a father of three, I am running to ensure all of our kids receive the best education possible, free of special interest politics that take away from education.”

Or, in his favorite shorthand version, he’s running to represent three interests only: taxpayers, children and homeowners. Here’s John’s website.

Lynn Hatton is running in District 7 against Larry Christensen. Lynn’s “spent the last twenty years working with schools throughout California to improve student achievement and classroom instruction.  She is a business woman working in education who believes that every child should be given the tools necessary to be successful in college, career and beyond.  As a CUSD Trustee, she would ensure that students are the focal point for every decision made so that we can:
Prepare all CUSD students to graduate college- and career-ready;
Strengthen parental/community outreach and create local business partnerships;
Provide focused support for the most important resource for our students – the classroom teacher.

All of this will be done with the promise of preventing reckelss spending of our taxpayer dollars while creating a transparent decision making process.  Lynn’s husband teaches at Cal State Fullerton and they have two children who attend school in the Capistrano Unified School District.Here’s Lynn’s website.

Gary Pritchard is running in District 5 to take the place of the curiously named Ken Lopez-Maddox when he’s recalled.  Gary, whose name may be familiar from his run against Mimi Walters in 2008, is an Aliso Viejo resident and father of a first-grade student at Oak Grove Elementary. He’s taught music and  ethnomusicology at Cerritos College for eleven years, where he has served as department chair, “worked successfully to bring money into our community college district and worked with the local high schools to offer additional career opportunities to students.”

His plans, which you can read more of here, include:  “protecting taxpayer dollars from reckless spending, eliminating unnecessary out-of-court settlements and awards of contracts to campaign contributors; restoring confidence and trust in our District by working collaboratively with students, parents, educators, and community members … and supporting the trustee election ballot initiative (Measure H) to change trustees elections to the By-Trustee Area voting methodology which will increase local control of our District and to reduce election costs.”

Martha McNicholas is running in District 6 against Ellen Addonizzio.  Martha “is recognized in the CUSD community as a tireless volunteer at her children’s schools, as well as for having served on several district Attendance Boundary, Budget and Calendar Committees. She has been an active member on an education advocacy action committee and a past director of the CARE Foundation (formerly CUSD Foundation). Ms. McNicholas is a cancer survivor and serves as a Team Captain for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Martha is an engineer who earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.  For 35 years, she has applied her technical and analytical skills and logical approach to problem solving as an engineering manager, project leader, quality-assurance engineering manager, product designer, and failure analyst. She is currently self-employed as an engineering consultant.

She and her husband Tom (also an engineer) have lived in Laguna Niguel for over 22 years. Their daughter is a 2008 graduate of Dana Hills High School and is currently attending the University of Colorado in Boulder, studying Environmental Engineering.  Their son is a junior at Dana Hills High School and runs Cross Country and Track.

(Have I mentioned that of the current trustees, only Mike Winsten has kids in the district’s schools?  Ken Maddox took his out and put them in private school as soon as he was elected.)  And finally…

Saam Alikhani is running in Area 4  against histrionic Chriss Street assistant Anna Bryson.  Saam, an incoming Freshman at UCI after being selected “Dolphin of the Year” at Dana Hills High School, has been the student trustee for the district for the past year, often strenuously resisting the Board’s abuses.

Saam “has advocated for Capistrano Unified before multiple state officials and legislators in Sacramento for more education funding and to emphasize the importance of public education. Saam’s unique perspective will ensure that the Board of Trustees will act in the best interest of public education and will conduct itself in a fiscally responsible manner.

“Mr. Alikhani has pledged to help eliminate the wasteful spending, oppose votes that might benefit friends or associates of any member of the Board of Trustees and work diligently to help rebuild trust and cooperation among all parties within the CUSD community.”

Watch Saam Announce His Caandidacy!

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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.