Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

SAUSD Trustee Audrey Noji always finds a way to win in November…



Two of the Santa Ana Unified School District’s (SAUSD) Trustees are up for reelection in November – Audrey Noji and John Palacio.  Both have been in office for many, many years.

Noji recently spoke at my 13 year old’s graduation from middle school.  She spoke in three languages – English, Vietnamese and Spanish.  Palacio spoke too, but only in English.

The SAUSD has been reeling for years.  Most of our high schools and many of our other schools are on the State of California’s low performing list.

So far only one challenger has pulled papers – me.  As a teacher and safety consultant I should have a decent shot at replacing one of the incumbents.  Click here to see my campaign website.

So who else will be challenging Noji and Palacio?

So far it looks like the incumbents have managed to shut down all challengers.  I spoke to Alfredo Amezcua, a candidate for Mayor of Santa Ana.  He said his daughter Valerie, who ran for the SAUSD School Board in 2008, is not running this time.  I also spoke to Palacio and he said the same thing.

What about Gloria Alvarado and Cecilia Aguinaga?  They too ran in 2008.  So far neither has filed.

Irene Ibarra already told me she is not reprising her 2008 campaign.  Nor do I expect Mike Gonzalez, a local businessman who ran in 2008, to run again.

What about Gregory Barraza?  He too has not pulled papers.  He also ran in 2008.

I have heard rumors that a Vietnamese candidate might file.  If that happens it will make it very hard for Noji to be reelected.

I expect a high Vietnamese voter turnout in November, due to Assemblyman Van Tran’s presence on the ballot, as a candidate for the 47th Congressional District.  Noji is clearly going after that vote.

It is very likely that the voters will reject both incumbents because of the poor performance of the SAUSD over their tenure.

Will other candidates emerge?  Maybe, but the filing deadline is coming up on Friday, Aguust 6.  We will keep our readers updated as the new candidates jumpt into the race.

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

21 thoughts on “Who will run for the Santa Ana School Board in November?”
  1. Who ever decides to run should be someone who understands what these kids are going through in, school, home and in the streets. Not all of the kids in Santa Ana are college bound especially if we don’t tell them the million and one options they have. I recently was asked to be part of career day at a Jr. High School in Santa Ana and two of three teachers whose kids I spoke to said, “I have never seen these kids pay so much attention to someone as they did to you”. That is because I was not preaching to them I instead listened to them and some did not even know there are careers in Video Games, Music, Graffiti (it is a form of ART), ETC. Please who ever runs should now a bit about popular culture to be able to relate!!!

    1. Luis,

      I have been saying for some time that the Artists Village needs to reach out to our young people…so much talent is going to waste!

  2. New blood is DEFINATELY needed.

    Noji and Richardson have NO kids in the district. They have no business there.

    Get some school site council memebers to run.

    Now thats local activism.

  3. “Noji and Richardson have NO kids in the district. They have no business there”

    Right on! I think illegal aliens should be able to run for school boards (Is that part of the “Dream Act”?), not childless people unless they have a note from a Doctor that it’s because of medical reasons that they can’t have kids! What about Gay people with no kids? Should they be able to run for school boards? Might be a good topic for an O.J. post.

  4. At first I thought Al Amezcua was escorting his daughter Valerie to her prom, but no. I think she’s walking away with the center piece! Do these people have no shame? Did they walk away with the silverware as well?

    Hey Single Moms of Delhi. There is an illegal alien on the Santa Ana School Board. His name is Jose Alfredo Hernandez. At least he was an illegal alien and received a FREE education from us taxpayers. I think he’s a legal resident now.

  5. Hey Ankle Biter why don’t you go back to your original name, Butt Licker and stop with the slanderous remarks?

  6. Luis,
    Grafitti IS NOT art!!! It is a horrendus drain on the resources of the city, and a blight on the community at large. The city is overrun with gangs, there is an ongoing gang war right now with at least 7 gang related shootings in one week. Why can’t city leaders take this seriously? Hell, for that matter, why can’t the city’s parents take it seriously???

    1. Jose,

      The gang war issue, I think, is due to drug sales by the gangs. They recruit youngsters to do the dirty work and because all are heavily armed, violence ensues over turf issues.

      From what I have seen, poverty-stricken families often welcome the drug money into their homes. Is that the right thing to do? No, but people are trying to survive right now.

      Tagging isn’t art, but some of the taggers do have artistic talents that are untapped.

      All of these young people have potential and it is sad to see so many of them going down the drain.

  7. SMOD,
    The State Constitution does not allow illegal immigrants to run for public office. Any US born citizen, or naturalized citizen, can run for office so long as they follow whatever rules govern their candidacy. Whether or not they have children in the district is a moot point, you want a good school board member that’s all. Better a good one with no kids, than a crappy one with kids. Another thing, why would you want to discriminate against Gay people? Would you like it if someone said Hispanics shouldn’t be able to run for office? Get a life and quit whining…

    1. Jose,

      I agree that a gay person could be as good a Trustee as anyone else.

      While you don’t have to be a parent to be a Trustee, it doesn’t hurt to have that experience.

      Do you feel that the incumbents on the SAUSD school board have done a good job over the years? If so, why?

      Or do you agree that it is time for change?

  8. Admin,
    I really don’t think there has been much of a success in SAUSD over the years, this goes way back to when I was involved in another school district. Like a sports team, or city government, you give them a chance and if they don’t produce, then they’re out. Interestingly, the “fundamental schools” appear to be doing very well indeed and I believe this has to do with parents having to be involved in the schools structure.

  9. Delhi Mom,

    Thanks for making my point. The community would be better served if the leadership of the SAUSD were closer in line to the students. Legal or illeagal.

    New York city has long allowed residents to vote on some local issues, there are towns in Northern California (The uber conservative SJV) whhich do also.

    As far as Gays, if they have children in the district they should run and represent thier community. Ironically, it was a GAY couple who lead the charge against a school in Floral Park. Proving once again that they can be involved.

    My point is: Why would a married man, with no children, no background in education, and who is a carreer politician want to run for the school board. In the ccase of Richardson, I can’t imagine he can relate to the issues facing the sudent body of the SAUSD. I have heard him speak countless times and he’s all about the politics.

    I would suggest you run, but I am guessing you live in a “rule of law” city.

  10. Hey jj.

    Nothing I asked is slanderous. Did I touch a nerve? Personally I’m not into tossing salads but perhaps you are. Al and Valerie do look like they went to the Prom together and that’s not a bouquet of flowers in her hand. It’s a centerpiece. Jose Alfredo Hernandez did in fact come to the United States illegally and didn’t become legal until after high school. It’s common knowledge.

  11. It has been a long time since I have written on this blog. It looks great. Good job Art and the rest of the team. As a former Orange Juice blogger I am proud of the accomplishments this site has done with its changes. Congrats.

    On the topic of this thread. I think some of the comments posted here are very valid, however, always consider the problem may not very will be whether the school board members are parents or not. The fact, Noji, and other trustees send their children to schools elsewhere is only an example of the problems which exist in the district. The problem is not whether they are making a political choice about their children. They are simply being smart parents.

    With that said, the trustees should be people who have a passion to change, what we now know, is a fractured education system. I dont believe it necessarily starts at the School Board level. Lets look at the teachers and what they get.

    When I taught at Santa Ana High School, with or without resources we taught because we believed in students, and we felt they could succeed. I went to Santa Ana High School recently as was dissapointed with what I saw. Teachers were reading the newspaper. Students were watching the “Twilight” movies.

    Change the system of teachers, get rid of those who simply do not teach effectively, and remove those trustees who are simply only interested in progression their political career. I believe an entire revamp is in order, but it starts in the philosophy of education in Santa Ana. Cecilia, Gloria, and others may not be those we are looking for. We need new representation with a new light.

    Thank you for reading

    Luis Rodriguez

    1. Luis,

      Thanks for the kind words my friend! I think you are right. Moreover, it is tragic that young teachers always get laid off while some of these burned out teachers keep hanging on, even though they are past caring.

      There are many good teachers too, including veterans, but the burn-outs need to go.

      I do hope that better candidates will emerge. One of the reasons we keep these blogs going is to make sure folks have the info they need, and to inspire the bravest amongst us to jump into the ring…

  12. Admin,
    I have spent 25+ years in Law Enforcement, including working in the Gang Unit, and would argue the point about the gang shootings being drug related. While some gang related shootings may be drug related, most are not, unlike in Los Angeles where a great many ARE drug related gang wars.

    The thing that I had to learn when I went into the Gang Unit, is that the gangsters LIKE being in gangs! Poverty is an excuse and a cop-out. I will show you thousands of poor Hispanic, Asian and White kids who don’t bang. Their parents/parent gives them certain guidelines that control their behaivior, thus keeping them out of trouble. I would hate to tell you how many times I have spoken to parents who have no idea who their kids friends are, or where they live. They have never met the friends’ parents, have no phone number for the parents, and never actually check to see if little Johnny or Suzy is really at the friends’ home for a function. The excuse is always the same “My son/daughter would never lie to me”. Uh… guess again.

    ALL kids lie to their parents, even if it’s a little white lie, because the common sense part of a kid’s brain has not developed yet.

    1. Jose,

      You are right. A teacher I know told me a story recently about a fifteen your old student of hers who had been caught selling drugs. He said he was trying to clean up his act, but he was still selling drugs. Here is the kicker – his parents knew but chose to ignore it as he was giving them a lot of money. Well, he got shot and killed. And the hospital wouldn’t pay for it as the kid was in a gang and sold drugs. Now the parents are in a real hole, paying for the ER and paying for the funeral. Was it worth it? No. They found out the hard way.

      This is why I keep going back to what really makes sense – we need to stop the drug war and take the profit out of it. We need to decriminalize drugs, as much of Europe has. There is a measure on the ballot in November to legalize and tax the sale of cannabis. That is a start.

  13. Admin,
    Not sure I would go to those lengths to de-crminalize… To add to your story about the 15 y/o, I just had the same thing on Friday night. Two 15 year old boys from SA, in my city riding a bike through an industrial area of the city at 11:00 pm. One drunk and carrying a meth pipe in his pocket, the other just hanging with the wrong guy. They were going into a gang neighborhood to “visit my girlfriend”. The drunk kid had a juvenile warrant for his arrest, for cutting off his ankle bracelet and thus violating his probation. This was his FIFTH ARREST as a 15 y/o, each one getting worse than the one before it. Family was pretty upset at the whole thing, but I think they were ready to wash thier hands of him.

  14. Noji needs to go. She helped set up a program that took teachers out of the classroom. All of the former teachers who taught full time as ELD department heads were taken out of the classroom to administrate state testing. That is all they did. We see the low test results yet we continue to pay these “teachers” or should I say new administrates full pay for doing what other teachers do for little or no extra money. The overcrowding due to the loss of the number of teachers does not help our students or our district.

  15. Reason there is no work. The classes necessary to guide our children to creation of businesses and work skills were destroyed by who? My business is in its 37th year by using skills I learned at Willard Jr. High and Santa Ana High School. Shop classes such as wood shop, drafting, welding, machine shop, auto shop. Is this the correct venue to complain about the geniuses that are in the business of helping our children fail?

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