Critics of Santa Ana trustee seek recall

Cruise Santa Ana neighborhoods and you’ll see lovely jacaranda trees shading the town’s streets. You’ll see nopales, those edible cactus paddles, peeking over backyard fences. And you’ll see pro- and anti- Nativo Lopez signs sprouting from lawns.

Opponents of the school trustee submitted 14,826 signatures on recall petitions, making a recall election likely as early as January.

Opponents are making Lopez, a longtime proponent of immigrant rights, a symbol of problems within Santa Ana Unified, such as low test scores and crowded campuses. Supporters disagree.

On the touchy issue of language, he argues that he has pushed for the district to follow Prop. 227, the 1998 ballot initiative that sought to end bilingual education. He says the recall effort stems from neighborhood opposition to the proposed Lorin Griset Elementary School in the city’s north end.

”The only issue is the school north of 17th Street,” he said.

Anaheim community leaders Amin David and Francisco Ceja have sued Police Chief Roger Baker, alleging civil-rights violations stemming from a confidential background report he ordered on them after they made allegations of police misconduct.

Joining in the suit was the estate of longtime Latino community leader Josie Montoya.

The suit, which also names the Police Department and the city, seeks unspecified damages. The city had rejected a claim made by the plaintiffs.

Santa Ana’s Mater Dei High is celebrating its $18.7 million expansion, and is naming a tower for its beloved longtime janitor, Josef D’Heygers.

”Mater Dei is my family,” he said.

Ron Gonzales directs news coverage in Santa Ana, Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Stanton, Buena Park and La Palma. E-mail: [email protected]

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