The Rocco Horror Picture Show

The world wants to know: Who is Oranges newest school trustee?

A maker of film, a producer of fine wieners and a supermarket. But mostly the supermarket. Rocco claims Albertsons hired a man to steal his bicycle and was also behind his arrest in the early 1980s for allegedly stealing records from a local library.

According to Rocco, a judge dismissed the record theft because of an illegal search. But a source who asked to remain anonymous said Rocco was a frequent seller at the Santa Ana swap meet, where he routinely displayed albums clearly stamped as property of a public library. Rocco decorated his stall with signs that warned "I'm watching you" and "No bargains" and would chase away potential customers with angry threats.

"He didn't want anyone to think he could be talked down in price," the source said. "He's really crazy. I'm glad he's finally done something for himself. Whoever voted for this guy deserves exactly what they get."

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So who voted for him? Orange Unified isn't merely conservative. It's OC's Falluja. Voters there have proudly backed Christian trustees who banned a gay student club at El Modena High in 1999, refused a $25,000 grant for poor students under the pretext of resisting federal "control" and tried to add creationism to the curriculum.

Some hoped Orange would join the mainstream of American life after the teachers union led a 2001 recall of three trustees. But the margin of the union win was microscopic—just a couple of hundred votes. And exit polling by The Orange County Register showed an electorate split almost evenly between voters who identified themselves as supporters of teachers or moral conservatives.

Despite his own peculiar politics, Rocco may owe his victory to those moral conservatives. In a Nov. 9 letter to the Register, Jason Hufnagel claimed Rocco's victory was "an informed protest vote" against the union-backed Martínez. Offered the chance to vote for Martínez, Hufnagel figured "many voters would have proudly voted for Bozo the Clown."

And that's pretty much who they got.

Research assistance by Gustavo Arellano.


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