Capo Recall gets over $90 grand of local grassroots contributions. And latest Maddox-Winsten goofiness.

First, a press release from my friends at Capistrano Unified Children First, the group behind the recall of wasteful incompetent trustees Ken “Lopez-Maddox” and Mike Winsten.  This is pretty spectacular, and reminiscent of back in May when they first collected signatures for this recall, and got WAY too many signatures in WAY too little time.  This movement really has the wind at its back!

For Immediate Release

October 8, 2010

More than 900 individual contributions totaling more than $93,000.00 were made to the parent-led organization, Capistrano Unified Children First Inc., to support the campaign to elect five effective school board members and to pass ballot Measure H.

Donations in the amount of $5 to $25,000 have been contributed during the past year.  Almost all contributions were made by residents and voters of the Capistrano Unified School District. None of this money was contributed by any outside organization or labor organization.

Unlike the current trustees, who received tens of thousands of dollars from interests outside of CUSD and have the advantage of a massive political machine, Children First is a true grassroots effort. We are looking out for all of the families in CUSD.

Children First is a political action committee and recently filed its required financial disclosure forms with the California Secretary of State’s office as required by election law.  That report covers contributions, expenditures and cash on hand as of Sept 30, 2010.  Additional contributions have been received since that date.

Children First successfully placed Measure H on the ballot for this November.  Measure H will change the way trustees are elected to a “by trustee” voting method. This change will result in millions of dollars in election cost savings to Capistrano Unified. Children First is also supporting the recall of two of the current trustees and the election of five pro-public education community leaders to replace the current school board members.

“Our CUSD community should be proud of what we have all accomplished to help restore balance and sanity to our school board.  The overwhelming show of support from all of these individuals is matched by an army of volunteers that are united to change the way we elect trustees and to elect new leadership that will benefit our children. On November 2 the community will take back our school district which has been hi-jacked by enemies of public education.” Fran Sdao, President of CUCF.

Children First is still actively soliciting financial help with the 2010 election.

Contact: Linda Verraster, Press Relations, (949) 370‐3480,

Capistrano Unified Children First is a Political Action Committee licensed by the

State of California (FPPC# 1314460)

Meanwhile the two recall targets continue to be not just wasteful, dishonest and arrogant, but kind of bizarre.  In their latest e-mail to their supporters, Winsten and Maddox – the lifelong Democrat trial lawyer who just changed parties to get on this board, and the formerly “moderate” Republican assemblyman beloved by labor despite his anti-immigrant flirtations – include a link to a story they evidently find inspiring:  “Lawyer Jailed for Refusing to Recite Pledge of Allegiance.”

Do Mike and Ken really find that an edifying tale?  It sounds pretty fascist to me.  Some bizarre Mississippi Judge “Littlejohn” throws a cranky old defense attorney into jail for refusing to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance in his court.  I mean, we’re all patriotic, but that is extreme, and un-American on the part of this judge, don’t you think?  What sort of people are Mike and Ken attempting to appeal to here, do they really feel personally good about this case, and what does it have to do with their struggle to convince voters they should stay on the CUSD Board?

Another thing I couldn’t help noticing (because people wouldn’t stop calling me and pointing it out) was Mike’s shameless two-facedness in his Capistrano Dispatch statement here a couple days ago:

“Perhaps the real problem is the local media’s systematic choice to give more headlines to the public policy debates and political drama going on in CUSD, than on the less sensational but positive stories of how well CUSD provides a free world-class education? “

Can you believe this is the same cat who helped make the sky-is-falling video “Not As Good As You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School,” about how terrible this same district was, back when he was wanting to get on the Board.  Now that he’s been in charge a couple years, he whines about how nobody wants to talk about how great it is.  And has it gotten better under his reign?  Um, NO.  Class sizes are larger (okay, that’s not totally their fault) they’ve lost dozens of great administrators and principals which is their fault, and there’s pretty much no way you can say they’ve improved things.  So, it’s laughable for this Cassandra to whine now about how nobody sees the District as a glass half full.

I’m still tracking down – I want to finally hear first-hand from a witness before I report it as fact – the famed rumor that Mike and Ken went to the Teamsters to beg them for support.  Nothing wrong with getting some Union support, it’s just SO hypocritical when their constant unvarying refrain against their opposition is “Union tools, Union thugs.”  Ken particularly has had a close relationship with that Union so it makes sense.  The Teamsters haven’t been returning my calls, probably realizing that this would be embarrassing to Mike and Ken.  So still just think of it as an unconfirmed rumor, which Vern is trying to track down.

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.