Santa Ana residents aim for recall of Lopez

Education - Eleven people file a notice of intent to remove the school board member. Lopez says their complaints are unwarranted.

Eleven Santa Ana residents took the first step Monday toward recalling Santa Ana Unified board member Nativo Lopez, saying he is ignoring parents’ concerns.

The county registrar of voters received a notice of intent to recall Lopez, who is in the middle of a second term he narrowly won in 2000. Lopez denied the residents’ complaints.

”I help literally hundreds of parents throughout the district,” Lopez said. ”My record speaks for itself.”

Residents must collect about 8,600 signatures among the 57,490 registered voters to put a recall on the ballot.

The notice says that Lopez should be removed from office for failing to comply with laws on teaching English, address parents’ concerns about low-performing schools and build schools.

”Our children are at stake here. We are so tired,” said parent Vivian Martinez, who says Lopez is wrongly pushing for bilingual education — a charge Lopez says isn’t true.

Parent Beatriz Salas, who has filed special-education complaints against the district, said Lopez controls the board and district officials.

”That’s an insult to other board members and a whole host of Ph.D.s who are running around in our district,” Lopez said.

Lopez has a week to respond to the notice. If the petition is approved, recall supporters would have 160 days to gather signatures.

Suzanne Slupsky, assistant registrar, said fewer than 10 percent of such notices become ballot measures.

Lopez has encountered controversy before as executive director of the Santa Ana office of Hermandad Mexicana, an immigrant-rights group. Hermandad was accused of, but not charged with, voter fraud over Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s victory over then-Rep. Robert Dornan.

Contact Tapia at (714) 704-3793 or [email protected]

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