During the first few days of August, former city council candidate Mark Lopez – a staffer for Supervisor Shawn Nelson – snagged a job as a special education teacher at Magnolia High School, changed his party registration from Republican to No Party Preference, filed to run for the Anaheim Elementary School District Board of Education in Trustee Area 4 with the ballot title “Educator” and the support of the local teachers union.
Talk about moving fast.
Area 4 is represented by Trustee D.R. Heywood, who has declined to seek re-election. The other Trustee Area 4 candidate is Norma Campos Kurtz, a parent and professional with experience in both the private and public sector, and a considerable public policy experience as an aide to Assemblyman Tom Daly.
Lopez is running as part of a progressive, anti-charter school slate of AESD candidates, along with Area 5 incumbent Ryan Ruelas and Juan Gabriel Alvarez, who is running to oust Area 2 incumbent Jeff Cole. If this slate prevails, the AESD Board of Education will be controlled by left-wing activists and their collaborators – part of the AESD Board majority that spent a million dollars suing the Palm Lane parents in a contemptible and futile effort to kill the school’s conversion to charter status. This progressive majority would be closely tied to AUHSD Superintendent Mike Matsuda, who in the past has expressed support for absorbing the Anaheim elementary district into the AUSHD.
Lopez moved back into Anaheim at the beginning of 2016, after living in Westminster for several years. He then changed his party registration from No Party Preference to Republican, and filed to run for Anaheim City Council from District 5. He ultimately joined the Tait-Moreno slate of candidates and embraced some fairly progressive political positions on repealing the anti-camping ordinance and making Anaheim a sanctuary city. He lost decisively to now-Councilman Steve Faessel.
During that time Lopez became enmeshed with a faction of left-wing activists clustered led by Jose F. Moreno, AUHSD Board member Al Jabbar, AUHSD Superintendent Mike Matsuda, Ruelas and others. This progressive faction is defined by its embrace of identity politics, teacher union influence and opposition to charter schools. They’re now trying to cement total control of the AESD Board of Education, and Lopez is their candidate in Area 5.
When he was running for city council, Lopez was able to secure the endorsement of the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee – despite committee members being aware of Lopez’ past requests for Democratic presidential primary ballots. Lopez has since drifted steadily leftward. Here he is mugging with progressive activists at the OC Democratic Party’s annual fundraiser:
After Heywood decided against seeking re-election, Lopez moved quickly. In the space of a few days in mid-August, Lopez again switched his party registration – this time from Republican back to No Party Preference – and filed to run for the AESD Board of Education with the backing of Ruelas and his left-wing allies – and teenage precinct walkers in the form of the AnaheimBROS high school club.
During his 2016 council campaign, Lopez used Katella High School students to walk precincts for him in their team uniforms:
Here is AESD Trustee and Loara High School teacher Jose Paolo Magcalas and what appears to be a student walking precincts for Lopez on October 8, They’re dropping campaign literature for Lopez and progressive Democrats Ashleigh Aitken for Mayor and AUHSD Trustee Annemarie Randle-Trejo:
Magcalas started the first Ethnic Studies class in AUHSD, in order to “liberate” his students from oppressive “Eurocentric” American history courses; judging by the syllabus, “Identity Politics and Grievance Studies” would be a more suitable course title. In a published paper, Magcalas also explained how the periodic neighborhood outreach walks organized by the AUHSD – in which students are used to knock on doors and tell parents the school district is just awesome – are intended to forestall any potential support for founding charter schools.
In short, Lopez has joined the Moreno-Matsuda political organization seeking to cement control of the Anaheim Elementary School District and elected left-wing candidates to other school districts such as Garden Grove Unified. These are left-wing true believers who see nothing wrong with using public schools to inculcate students with progressive political values, using vehicles such as Ethnic Studies and an emphasis on “civic engagement” – i.e. leading students into progressive activisim.
Whether out of conviction or expedience or some mixture of both, that is the movement to which Lopez has bound himself.