With 40.8% of the vote, Ruiz fended off challengers Bonnie Castrey
and Diane Lenning, who pulled in 31.6% and 27.5%, respectively.
Because he retired Sunday, Ruiz won't return to the boardroom until
Dec. 15, when his next term begins.
Castrey's campaign was heavily backed by the district's teachers'
union, the Coast Federation of Educators, and Ruiz said he believed
the controversy over his retirement was a ploy by the union to
install a more liberal candidate.
"I feel the voters had very good confidence in me, even though the
negative press I received from the union," he said.
Castrey interpreted her loss differently. She said she believes
the majority of voters were opposed to Ruiz but split their ballots
between Lenning and herself.
The teachers' union is not ready to give up efforts against Ruiz.
On Monday, Coast Federation of Educators President Dean Mancina
hand-delivered letters to the Orange County District Attorney's
Office and Orange County Department of Education requesting an
investigation into Ruiz's actions leading up to his retirement and
election. He also mailed a request to the Fair Political Practices
Commission and requested a temporary restraining order to bar Ruiz's
certification as a trustee if he won the election.
In his letters, Mancina requested a restraining order be imposed
against the certification of Ruiz's election until an investigation
can be completed.
Ruiz has been scrutinized by Mancina and fellow trustee Jerry
Patterson for running for reelection without notifying voters of his
intention to retire three days before the election.
"As you can see from looking at the results, 59% voted against
Armando Ruiz," Mancina said. "A hard word to overcome is the word
'incumbent.' Only 41% of the public voted for the incumbent. We're
very disappointed, but we tried our best to get the word out. We
didn't know he retired until Friday night at 4:30. It's such a
devious plan to not tell the public."
By retiring from the board and his counseling job at Irvine Valley
College on the same day, Ruiz is eligible to cash in on a loophole in
state law that enables him to double-dip in both pensions and collect