Steve Rocco, the reclusive candidate who has had Orange County voters scratching their heads since his unexpected election to a local school board last month, broke his silence Friday. ***He doesn't seem any nuttier than Keyes...
Political observers and voters were stunned when Rocco defeated a heavily favored candidate Nov. 2 for a seat on the Orange Unified School District board without ever handing out a campaign flier or making a speech. After his victory, he holed up in the house he shares with his mother, drawing widespread attention from the news media and stirring intense speculation among district residents.
Rocco is a frail man, with a pale, gaunt face covered partly by a scruffy beard. During Friday's interview, held at his lawyer's Santa Ana office, he wore large glasses with clip-on sunglasses attached. A frayed piece of black fabric tied around his left arm, he said, was to memorialize his father, who he said died Nov. 9. Rocco periodically scribbled notes on a piece of paper, meticulously noting the time each entry was made. He refused to be photographed. ***
When asked to explain his message, however, Rocco faltered. He said he has no particular issues that he hopes to address as a trustee, but said he cares deeply about education and would diligently prepare for the district's monthly meetings.
But his election, Rocco said, also would give him a platform to counter what he believes is a 25-year conspiracy against him. Rocco said a cabal of county politicians, judges and officials — "the partnership" — have been trying to silence him as he works to uncover a tangled trail of corruption and scandal.
And his apparent aversion to the media would be a welcomed change.