Failed Santa Ana Mayoral candidate Alfredo Amezcua convinced his then-friend, Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez, to run for Mayor of Santa Ana, in 2008, against the incumbent, Miguel Pulido. In hindsight that was a ridiculous idea, but Martinez gave it her best. She built a large coalition that included a lot of young people – and she worked very hard, walking many precincts and gaining a number of key endorsements.
However, when the dust settled, Martinez earned 29.3% of the vote, while Pulido came away with 55% of the vote and another challenger, George Collins, got 13.8% of the vote, according to Smart Voter.
Amezcua told a friend of mine, back in 2008, that Martinez was his trial balloon – and that he intended to run for Mayor himself, in 2010. In fact, on election night, in 2008, he left Martinez’ election party, when it became clear she was going to lose – and he drove, in a limo, to Pulido’s election night party.
And, sure enough, Amezcua ran against Pulido in 2010. But the results left much to be desired. Amezcua only got 26.8% of the vote, while Pulido got 49.5% of the vote, in a very crowded field with a total of five candidates, including Collins and two newcomers – Roy Alvarado and Charles Hart, according to Smart Voter.
Amezcua is now coordinating a sustained attack against Pulido and the entire Santa Ana City Council. To that end he has recruited two allies, Art Lomeli and John Acosta, who do not live in Santa Ana, to head up the so-called “Santa Ana Coalition for Better Government” PAC.
Amezcua told the publisher of Rumores, a local Spanish language newspaper, at the close of the 2010 campaign, that he would be a “rock in Pulido’s shoe,” until the next election, in 2012. He is certainly living up to that. He and his out-of-town cohorts staged a lightly-attended “Vigil of Discontent,” at the swearing-in ceremony of our newly re-elected City Council members, and he, and his allies from the Los Amigos of Anaheim, recently held a pathetic press conference where they engaged in innuendo and slanderous attacks against Pulido and the Santa Ana City Council.
What is Amezcua up to? Clearly he is trying to poison the well against Pulido and company, by dredging up empty attacks from now through 2012. But will this strategy work?
The OC Weekly and the L.A. Times both skipped the aforementioned press conference. Amezcua’s publicist used to work for the L.A. Times and as such it was amazing that they overlooked the event, which she engineered for him. The Voice of OC and their friends from KOCE covered the event, as did the O.C. Register, and all of them offered fawning coverage that omitted the fact that the charges were spurious and unfounded. The point of the press conference was to call for an investigation of Pulido and the City Council by the O.C. Grand Jury. The fact that this investigation has not come to pass, and will not, has been overlooked by the lame reporters who covered that contrived event.
But here is the question we must ponder. Given that Amezcua did WORSE than Martinez, even though he had not one but two white candidates splitting the white vote that normally all goes to Pulido, how in the world is he going to win in 2012, if indeed he does run again?
Amezcua purportedly spent a quarter million dollars on his campaign – after losing a fortune on his failed Santa Ana Business Bank, which was acquired at a huge loss by a group from Los Angeles. Can he really afford to do that again in 2012, and is that a good idea given his lack of success in 2010?
Clearly Amezcua’s only hope is to attack, attack and attack, non-stop, until 2012, but here is the problem with that strategy. It is far too early to be doing this. The voters will have forgotten all of this by the time the next election rolls around. It is a failed strategy, right out of the gate.
Amezcua would be better served to tell us what his plans are – how he would improve our city. But so far all he has offered is empty platitudes and promises to build more parks and hire more police – without offering up how he intends to pay for all of this.
Even worse for Amezcua, he failed to earn support from organized labor, in 2010. Pulido had the support of the trades, the firemen and the policemen. There is no way Amezcua gets that support in 2012.
And Pulido earned an endorsement from the Democratic Party of Orange County. Furthermore, the Chairman of the DPOC, Frank Barbaro, focused all of his efforts this past year on reelecting Pulido and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. That will happen again two years hence, I guarantee it.
Pulido leaned left in the past two years, forming an alliance with Martinez and fellow Council progressives Sal Tinajero and Vincent Sarmiento. This too took the wind out of Amezcua’s sails. In fact Amezcua ended up allying with angry white voters in Santa Ana, who early in the race supported Hart, and he still got blow out of the water.
So can Amezcua win in 2012? I just don’t see how that is possible. Unless he starts talking about his ideas for change, he is going to be toast again.