Out With the Old (Ladies)

It was predictable that the turnout wouldn't be huge for a special recall election at the end of the month but nevertheless, two 20+ year veterans of the Capistrano Unified School District board who have been clinging to their posts were effectively booted out last night after the night's tallies were in.

Nearly 70 percent of the 24,000 votes cast favored recalling longtime trustees Sheila Benecke and Marlene Draper. Parents and residents have been trying to recall Benecke, Draper and two other trustees since 2005 (See my story about the district's dirty business here) and had partial success when three new board members were elected in 2006. But with a board minority still repeatedly out-voted by the old majority, the parent group, known as the CUSD Recall committee, went out last fall and gathered 60,000 signatures to recall Draper and Benecke this year on charges of corruption, disastrous fiscal management and repeated Brown Act violations.


The hundreds of hours volunteers (and some paid signature gatherers) spent outside grocery stores since last September seem to have paid off. The two newly elected trustees, Sue Palazzo and Ken Maddox, which the Recall group endorsed, will take office immediately.

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