What is up with the Santa Ana City Council? In their quest to fire popular and successful City Manager Paul Walters, they are talking like tough guys – as if they have some sort of mandate. But do they?
Here’s what Mayor Pro Tem Sal Tinajero told the O.C. Register after this week’s last minute closed-door meeting to ostensibly review the performance of City Manager Paul Walters and Sonia R. Carvalho, our City Attorney (who was added to the agenda just to make this look like less of a lynching of Walters):
“I don’t think he’s angered them,” Tinajero said of Walters. “It’s the mayor’s reluctance to address the fact that there are seven council members. The mayor has to realize that you don’t get to call all the shots.”
Say what? Does this Council have a right to “call the shots”? Really? Let’s have a look at just who exactly has a mandate in this town.
- Mayor Pulido ran for re-election this year, destroying Council Member David Benavides and four other candidates, with 27,092 votes, or 48.2% of the vote, according to Smart Voter . Benavides spent a fortune, as did his friends, who even attacked Pulido’s kids, via independent expenditures, and all he got was 14,995 votes, or 26.7% of the vote. Pulido also ran for re-election successfully in 2010, against local lawyer Alfredo Amezcua and three other candidates. Amezcua spent a quarter of a million dollars on his campaign, but he only got 11,689 votes, or 26.8% of the vote. Pulido got 21,558 votes, or 49.5% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. Pulido beat the stuffing out of Council Member Martinez in 2008 as well, as you will see below. If anyone on the Santa Ana City Council has a mandate it is Mayor Pulido!
- Tinajero ran for re-election in 2010, in Ward 6, against two lame, under-funded, unknown opponents who barely campaigned. He got 21,998 votes, or just 53% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. Tinajero first ran for the City Council in 2006, against the unknown Jennifer Villasenor. He got 13,802 votes or 42.9% of the vote, and she ended up with 12,922 votes, or 40.2% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. He won by 880 votes! That’s a mandate? I don’t think so…
- Benavides got his butt kicked this November by Pulido, as noted above. Previously he ran for re-election in 2010, in Ward 4, with no challenger, garnering 34,785 votes, according to Smart Voter. He was first elected back in 2006, with ample help from Mayor Pulido. Benavides beat a candidate who was unknown at the time, Nelida Yanez. He got 20,253 votes or 65.2% of the vote, versus 10,829 votes, or 3.4.8% of the vote, for Yanez, according to Smart Voter.
- Martinez ran this June for the 69th Assembly District, against four candidates. She spent a small fortune and came in second to last place, with 4,651 votes, or 16.7% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. The winner in that race, Tom Daly, got over twice as many votes as Martinez. She ran for re-election in 2010, in Ward 2, with no challengers, netting 34,651 votes, according to Smart Voter. She ran against Pulido in 2008, for Mayor, and he blew her out with 30,352 votes, or 55% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. There were two other candidates in that race. Martinez only got 16,199 votes, or 29.3% of the vote. Martinez first ran for the Council in 2006, against three other candidates. Martinez barely beat Evangeline Gawronski, a first time candidate at the time as well, by about 700 votes. Martinez ended up with 10,335 votes, or 32.6% of the vote, versus 9,595 votes, or 30.2% of the vote for Gawronski. That is not a mandate!
- Council Member Vince Sarmiento got 32,768 votes, or 62.7% of the vote, when he first ran for the Santa Ana City Council back in 2008, in Ward 1, according to Smart Voter. He had one opponent in that race, Jim Walker, who barely spent any money and stil got 19,490 votes, or 37.3% of the vote. This year Sarmiento ran for re-election, spending almost six figures, and he only got 27,298 votes, or 52% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. He had only one opponent again this year – Estela Amezcua, an unknown teacher who spent no money and did not even buy a ballot statement. Amezcua still got 25,230 votes, or 48% of the vote, almost beating Sarmiento! You call that a mandate? What a joke!
- New Council Member Roman Reyna got wrecked in 2004, when he ran against then Council Member Claudia Alvarez in Ward 5. Reyna got only 10,720 votes, or 23.4% of the vote, while Alvarez, who was running for re-election in that race, got 26,503 votes, or 57.8% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. Reyna barely won a seat on the SAUSD School Board in 2008, by 75 votes, according to Smart Voter. This year he successfully ran for Ward 5 on the City Council against a barely funded, unknown Republican candidate, Karina Onofre. Reyna got 61% of the vote and she ended up with 38% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. That’s not a mandate – not when Onofre wasn’t able to do any campaign mail.
- It should be noted that Ward 3 candidate Eric Alderete, who ran as part of Team Benavides this year, only got 11,876 votes, or 22.2% of the vote, according to Smart Voter. He ran against three candidates and was badly defeated by another unknown Amezcua, Angelica, who was put up, we believe, by termed out Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez. Amezcua spent no money and barely campaigned but she got 19,577 votes, or 36.6% of the vote. Now that’s a mandate!
These Council clowns clearly have no political capitol to speak of. But Mayor Pulido does and I can assure you, my readers, that he is not going to sit idly by and let these people ruin our city. Remember that he was the driving force behind the recall of former SAUSD Trustee Nativo Lopez, who also got too big for his britches and paid the price for it. Tinajero was an ally of Lopez at the time as they were both on the SAUSD School Board. Tinajero survived that recall but will he survive another one?
Pulido has the support of the business community. Even the Voice of OC had to admit that in a recent article. The Benavides Council cabal does not. And Pulido has a clear mandate – and I believe he is ready to use it. You can expect a full court press in coming weeks – and this lame Council is going to be put in its place.
Walters wife Mary recently did a great job of summarizing what these clowns are up to, when she was interviewed by the Voice of OC. I will close this article with some of my favorite excerpts from that article:
- Mary Walters called the situation a “witch hunt” against her husband, whom she said has been emotionally hurt by council members “not being grateful.”
- She was also sharply critical of the council majority, saying that, with the majority in control, she fears for relatives who live in the city. “I don’t think they know what they’re doing,” she said of the council majority.
- Mary Walters, like other City Hall sources, confirmed that the council majority views the city manager as too close to longtime Mayor Miguel Pulido, a perception Mary Walters says is false.
- She described her husband as a fair and compassionate man who, when faced with possible layoffs, took single mothers off the list of city employees to receive pink slips.
- “They’re all ganging up on Miguel,” Mary Walters said. “There isn’t one thing that they’ve asked for that he [Paul Walters] hasn’t done.”
Mary is right. This awful Council is ganging up on Mayor Pulido and they don’t care who pays the price for their base pettiness. Their arguments are insane of course. Martinez, Tinajero and Benavides were all elected together in 2006 and they decided to pay ball with Pulido. Nobody forced them too. They did it and so did Sarmiento. No one put a gun to their heads. They were greedy and former City Manager Dave Ream knew it. He bought them off one by one. It was easy as none of them had any core ethics to speak of. And they still don’t – now they are just even greedier and they want all the power to themselves.
Mayor Pulido has only ever had one vote. But he has something the rest of these nuts don’t have – his wits and his lengthy experience. And if they think they can bring him down they have another thing coming. They want a war? Well now they have one – but they are bringing BB guns to the battle and Pulido is locked and loaded with a vast legion of voters and supporters who will stand by him now in our darkest hour. This isn’t over by a long shot. It is just starting and just as Pulido beat the Hell out of Benavides in November he is going to win this face-off too. Just watch.