As a graduate and resident of the Orange Unified School District, I am certainly familiar with OUSD having had some of Orange County’s most raucous elections in years past, and while things have died down (thanks, Capistrano Unified!), this year has proven to be one of the quieter OUSD campaigns anybody can remember.
Robert “Bob” Ausmus
However, in this weird quietness has been an oddly arrogant campaign being run by one of the challengers, Robert “Bob” Ausmus, who is seeking to unseat OUSD Board Member Dr. Alexia L. Deligianni in Trustee Area 3.
Bob Ausmus didn’t even bother to write a candidate’s statement in the sample ballot mailed out to all registered voters in the school district by the Orange County Registrar of Voters (check out page 14 of the PDF sample ballot to see where the OUSD candidate’s statements are), leaving voters with absolutely no information about him. By the way, here’s a picture of the last guy to be elected to the OUSD board without a candidate’s statement:
Steve Rocco, OUSD Board Member, 2004-2008, Convicted Ketchup Thief
How are voters supposed to decide who to vote for when they have no information about a candidate? Are they supposed to vote on signs?
Speaking of signs, Robert Ausmus supporters have acted ridiculously. Some volunteers for Dr. Alexia Deligianni posted her re-election signs in Anaheim Hills. Within hours, the signs were gone. Ordinarily, lost signs are just part of the normal business of campaigns. City crews, the weather, cheap garage sales hosts, etc. often take the signs. However, the timing and systematic nature of the sign removals made it clear that people supporting Ausmus were targeting Deligianni’s signs. First, the signs were posted on a Friday evening and removed within hours in the dead of night. Secondly, nearly every Deligianni sign in Anaheim Hills was removed, but every single instance where a Deligianni sign was next to an Ausmus sign, the Ausmus sign was left untouched. A witness driving by noted seeing a Deligianni sign being taken by a white male who resembled a “boxer” from behind. Also, one of the rare Deligianni signs that survived in Anaheim Hills…well, I think this trio of pictures makes it clear what happened to the survivor signs:
Then, volunteers put out more signs on Sunday night. The signs were still up as of 7 PM on Monday but most of them disappeared during the dead of night. It wasn’t city crews because those guys aren’t out working that late. Plus, you guessed it, the Ausmus signs were left untouched.
If one candidate’s side removed signs attacking their candidate, I’d understand if these were “Stop Ausmus” signs that were being removed because attack signs are a different animal. However, removing an opponent’s signs that simply promote her candidacy is just plain anti-democratic and insulting to the voters.
In further sign abuse, this sign was placed on the campus of Canyon High School, violating the age-old regulation of campaign signs not being placed on school property:
In an abuse of school resources, this email went out from Team Ausmus from a school district email account over an official Orange Unified School District e-mail list sent to the families of the Canyon High School Class of 2015 (today’s sophomores).
From: “Ausmus, Leslie” <REDACTED@orangeusd.org>
Date: September 28, 2012, 2:57:36 PM PDT
To: “chsclassof2015” <REDACTED@listserv.orangeusd.k12.ca.us>
Subject: FW: 09.28.12 Listserv
Reply-To: “chsclassof2015” <REDACTED@listserv.orangeusd.k12.ca.us>
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Lengthy email message edited for brevity. Scroll to bottom of this post for full e-mail.]…
For the purpose of clarification, and because many of you (and your students) have asked, yes, the candidate running for our school board named “Bob Ausmus” is related to me. He’s my husband. :)
As always, if you have questions or concerns, let me know. The best contact is via email at: REDACTED@orangeusd.org . I hope you all have a great weekend!
Sophomore Counselor, Class of 2015
If it weren’t for the never-ending series of abuses from Team Ausmus, it might have been plausible that this was an innocent mistake, but taken in the totality of circumstances, it is clear that this was a flimsy excuse to announce the candidacy of Bob Ausmus to the entire list of families of Canyon High sophomores. (Indeed, we didn’t know about this email until an angry parent passed it on.) If some people ask you a political question, you don’t send a mass email to hundreds of people on a school district email list, you respond to them individually.
My father, who immigrated to the United States after fleeing from Communist Vietnam, expressed his outrage at the actions of the Ausmus side, noting that democracy is harmed when people try to suppress free speech, hide information from the voters, and abuse public resources. He said, “I’m disgusted that he has to steal signs instead of letting everyone get their name out there. That’s just wrong. And then to use a school email list? Unbelievable!”
Unbelievable is right, Dad. The arrogance of the Ausmus campaign of not providing information to voters, stealing/covering opponent signs, and then abusing school resources is utterly repugnant.
Here is the entire Ausmus email to the Class of 2015 parent mailing list: Read the rest of this entry »