"Rocco the Vote" is a cautionary tale about the need for informed participation in local elections. The video chronicles the election of Steve Rocco to the Orange Unified School Board, in Orange, California. Rocco won the election despite the fact that he never campaigned or attended any school board meetings or candidate forums. Unknown to the district and only barely known to his neighbors, most voters chose him over his opponent because his ballot designation said he was a teacher/writer, although he had not taught in more than 20 years. The video contains school district video of Rocco disrupting school board meetings and abusing other trustees. The district censured Rocco for disclosing confidential personnel information in public session. He sued, claiming that the district was censoring him. The lawsuit was dismissed for lack of merit, and the judge ordered Rocco to reimburse the district more than $37,000 for legal fees and costs. Rocco's unruly behavior causes a concerned group of citizens to launch a recall.
KOCE-TV Producer Brenda Brkusic hosts this 24-minute documentary about the election and attempted recall of Orange Unified School District Trustee Steve Rocco. She takes us along on her own journey of discovery as she tries to figure our exactly what went amiss during this local school board election that changed history. The film was produced by Fred Smoller, Jay Boylan, Brenda Brkusic, Ed Miskevich, and Janet English.
One aim of the video is to help high school teachers fulfill the State of California History-Social Sciences Content Standard, Principles of American Democracy for the 12th grade (12.2.4). "Understand the obligations of civic-mindedness, including voting, being informed on civic issues, volunteering and performing public service..." The video asks young people to assess what is wrong with our political system and what can be done to fix it. Students are encouraged to assess the state of democracy here in the United States, and consider ways in which it can be improved. Among the questions it raises is, "how can we make our political system more user friendly? The video is short enough to allow for some class discussion in a typical 50-minute high school class period.