Tustin Councilwoman Beckie Gomez has resigned her seat on the Orange County Board of Education, as a result of a lawsuit alleging she is violating state law against holding incompatible offices at the same time.
Gomez, a Democrat, chose the close of last night’s OCBE meeting to tender her resignation with two years to go on her second term.
“After being recruited to run in 2016, I received more than one legal opinion which did not indicate an incompatibility,” said Gomez. “With deep regret, I will be resigning as the board of education trustee for Area 1 effective July 1st 2022.”
Gomez recently announced her candidacy for mayor of Tustin, the city’s first direct election for that office. She will square off against current Mayor Austin Lumbard.
On March 2, Gomez was served with an incompatible offices lawsuit filed by Mike Tardif, a Santa Ana resident and long-time Republican activist.
In early May, Attorney General Rob Bonta gave the green-light for the lawsuit against Gomez to proceed.
The litigation mirrored a lawsuit filed against newly-sworn in Trustee Tim Shaw. Shaw, a La Habra City Councilman, had defeated Paulette Chaffee in the March 2020 OBCE election. In January 2021, a close friend and political supporter of Chaffee’s filed the incompatible offices lawsuit. Shaw resigned rather than battle through expensive litigation.
The impending vacancy will be filled by Gomez’ four Board colleagues, whose tenures have been marked by strong support for charter schools, parental choice and traditional curriculum.
Gomez has frequently crossed swords with her colleagues, especially when it came to the Board majority’s approval of charter school applications, skepticism about mask mandates or supporting an early return to in-person instruction. Gomez generally followed a public education establishmentarian line.
The conservative Board majority is coming off a big June primary in which voters overwhelmingly re-elected them over a slate of teacher union-backed candidates. They will now have the opportunity to turn an overwhelming 4-1 majority into 5-0 control- effectively guaranteeing the OC Board of Education will remain friendly to charter schools, inter-district transfers and other educational choice issues for the foreseeable future.