Julio Perez, who was fired in 2018 as chief executive of the Orange County Labor Federation amidst sexual misconduct allegations from multiple women, has been hired by the Chicano Studies Department of Cal State Long Beach as a part-time lecturer – generating a backlash from a large number of OC Democrat elected officials who have called upon CSULB to rescind Perez’s hiring.
Eight Orange County local elected officials and 11 Democratic Party activists – including the chair of the OC Democratic Party – signed an outraged letter to the Dean David Wallace of CSULB’s College of Liberal Arts.
“The individuals signing this letter call upon you to immediately terminate Julio Perez,” demand the signatories, noting that he “has been credibly accused of several acts of sexual harassment and misconduct” and “has no place in the classroom or on CSULB’s campus.”
The signers include Anaheim Councilman Avelino Valencia, Garden Grove Mayor Pro Tem Kim Bernice-Nguyen, Buena Park Mayor Connor Traut, Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem David Peneloza, Santa Ana Councilmember Thai Viet Phan, Costa Mesa Mayor Andrea Marr, Aliso Viejo Mayor Tiffany Ackley, Santa Ana Unified School District Board Member Valerie Amezcua, and OC Democratic Party Chair Ada Briceno.
In October 2017, several women came forward to spell out a litany of instances of sexual harassment they had experienced at Perez’s hands.
Complicating the matter: two members of the CSULB Chicano Studies faculty are also local elected officials in Orange County: Anaheim Councilman Jose F. Moreno and SAUSD Board member Rigo Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is also chair of the Chicano Studies Department, while Moreno is a past chair and a close personal friend and political ally of Perez. In a Facebook post at the time, one accuser detailed Perez’s creepy sexual behavior towards her while in her teens and early 20s – the same age as the young women who will be in Perez’s class:
The news of Perez’ hiring to teach CSULB students comes almost exactly four years after multiple young women came forward to charge Perez with gross sexual misconduct against them. Garden Grove Councilmember Nguyen noted to anniversary in a Facebook post this morning and publicly asked if Moreno and Rodriguez had a hand in Perez’s hiring:
When I was notified of Perez’s employment at CSULB I immediately looked up the faculty list to verify. What I found interesting is who else is listed as staff ( https://cla.csulb.edu/departments/chls/faculty-and-staff/ ). Two OC electeds, Dr. Jose Moreno and Dr. Rigoberto Rodriguez. I can only speculate they assisted in his employment effort.
Prior to resigning, Perez had been Moreno’s appointee to his “Welcoming Anaheim” committee. Moreno and Perez are both leftist firebrands, and Perez had reportedly urged Moreno to run against liberal Democratic Congressman Lou Correa in 2018. Moreno, who is termed off the Anaheim City Council, is currently pondering making such a run against Correa in 2022.
Even as other Democrat local elected officials were raising their voices, Moreno remained silent throughout the clamor over the allegations of Perez’s sexual misconduct. Indeed, Moreno maintained his relationship with Perez; here is Perez mugging for the camera with Moreno at a celebration in late 2019:
Political observers have already noted the divergence between Moreno response to former Councilman Jordan Brandman’s inappropriate but private texts that made gross references for former Councilmember Denis Barnes, and his apparent toleration for Perez’s alleged sexual misconduct.
In a private text conversation in February 2020, Brandman used grotesque sexual terms to figuratively describe his attitude toward his then council colleague, Denis Barnes. When the texts surfaced more than a year later, Moreno led the charge from the council dais to denounce the texts and demand Brandman’s censure or removal.
Brandman ultimately resigned his council seat in August of this year.
Now, his friend Julio Perez has been hired as a part-time lecturer in the Chicano Studies Department where Moreno works. While Brandman’s text were private and figurative, Perez’s alleged behavior was physical and suffered by actual human beings. It is reasonable to ask if Moreno had any role in Perez’s hiring and question his silence on the matter – especially given his vocal denunciations of Brandman’s far less serious offense.