Democratic Capo Unified Trustee Gary Pritchard has abruptly resigned his position on the school board which means a meeting for an appointment will be scheduled for the board’s September 9th meeting. Pritchard, who ran and lost for a seat on the Aliso Viejo City Council last year, has also sold his home prior to resigning and no one seems to know where he’s headed next.
The resignation has caught the DPOC and local Democratic Club officials by surprise, so now OC Democrats are scrambling to find someone who can be offered for an appointment by the August 28 deadline, and even if Democrats do, the seat will likely go to a Republican.
The Capo district has struggled of late with allegations of racism and bigotry against Latinos and LGBTQ students leading to at least one suicide at an Aliso Viejo school that’s part of Capo Unified. Pritchard is a solid Democrat and a friend of this blog, but his decision to quietly resign puts Democrats in a tough spot. If the seat goes red, it’s a setback for any progress made against student bullying based on race or sexual orientation.
Last fall, Aliso Viejo hosted Santa Ana High School in a Football game. Signs of “Build the Wall” and “We Like White” were posted around the stadium and the football field.
From the OC Register:
Santa Ana High School principal Jeff Bishop said his school’s football team and its students were the target of provocative and racially insensitive signs when it played at Aliso Niguel High School on Friday night.
Bishop posted on Facebook that in and around Aliso Niguel’s on-campus stadium he saw posters that included offensive comments, including “Build the Wall,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign promise that a wall would be built on the United States-Mexico border if he was elected. It is a phrase often repeated by crowds at the president’s rallies.
“Build the Wall” has been evaluated to be anti-Hispanic by many who object to Trump’s aggressive immigration statements and policy. Santa Ana’s student body is predominantly Hispanic, while Aliso Niguel’s student body is predominantly white.
Aliso Viejo’s football team travels to Santa Ana on September 12 and I believe students there will cheer their team on and keep the politics out of what’s supposed to be a high school football game.
Pritchard’s departure means Aliso Viejo council member Tiffany Ackley and DPOC South Vice Chair Annie Wright are the de facto go-to leaders in this part of the county. Ackley has already demonstrated her chops in successfully getting the Aliso Viejo City Council to fly the Pride Flag moving forward. Wright continues to grow the Aliso Viejo Democratic Club which builds a bench for future elections.
We wish Gary Pritchard well. We just wish he let people know what his plans were sooner.