If you vote by absentee ballot you should be receiving your ballot in the mail this weekend or at the start of next week. We have developed this Voter Guide to help you sort through the many candidates and ballot measures.
There are three open seats this year on the Santa Ana City Council, thanks to term limits. Incumbents Sal Tinajero, Michele Martinez and David Benavides are out.
Tinajero is running for Mayor while Martinez and Benavides are retiring from the City Council.
There are a half dozen candidates running to replace Martinez in Ward 2:
- Alfonso Ceja-Villa – an Affordable Housing Coordinator (No ballot Statement)
- Paul Gonzalez – A Financial Services Manager (Ballot Statement)
- Miguel “Mike” Gonzalez – Public Safety Consultant (Ballot Statement)
- Irma Macias – Community Volunteer (Ballot Statement)
- Sandra Pena Sarmiento (AKA Pocha Pena) – Teacher/Arts Commissioner (Ballot Statement) Note – she is Santa Ana City Councilman Vince Sarmiento’s cousin
- David Penaloza – Engineer/Educator (Ballot Statement)
Martinez endorsed Paul Gonzalez, who is perhaps the most liberal Ward 2 candidate. He has even promoted drug needle exchanges in our city, on Facebook.
Only one of these candidates has focused on stopping Tinajero’s Measure X sales tax increase – businessman Mike Gonzalez. But all of these candidates have, at public forums, said they are opposed to Measure X.
The Santa Ana Police Officers Association PAC is backing David Penaloza.
Tinajero is backing Sandra Pena Sarmiento, an Arts Commissioner who is also a cousin of current City Councilman Vince Sarmiento.
Ceja-Villa is not running much of a campaign but he has posted some of the ugliest campaign signs around town that I have ever seen!
Macias appears to be a lone wolf candidate as well. She does appear to be walking precincts and delivering her fliers door to door.
Of these candidates we like Mike Gonzalez, David Penaloza and Sandra Sarmiento. I am personally voting for Mike Gonzalez because of his commitment to stopping Measure X.
Here are the candidates running to replace David Benavides in Ward 4:
- Roman Reyna – Santa Ana Planning Commissioner – (Ballot Statement) Note – apparently Reyna filed new voter registrations at as many as four addresses before he finally found one in Ward 4. He is a former Santa Ana City Councilman who used to represent Ward 5.
- Phil Bacerra – Small Business Owner (Ballot Statement) Note – Bacerra was removed from the Santa Ana Planning Commission by Councilman David Benavides after Bacerra refused to run for Ward 2 instead of 4. He was replaced on that Commission by Reyna.
In recent weeks Reyna and company have taken to smearing Bacerra with accusations made by an ex-girlfriend. I knew Phil and that girlfriend when they were dating and never saw him mistreat her, for what it is worth.
Reyna on the other hand has a long record of backing gangs and not backing the police, which is why the Santa Ana Police Officers Association PAC is backing Bacerra, not Reyna.
I personally played a role in defeating Reyna a few years ago when Juan Villegas defeated him in Ward 5. Now Reyna has carpetbagged his way into Ward 4. I still will never vote for him!
Make no mistake about it – the smear campaign against Bacerra is really an attack on the police association. Reyna’s backers are desperate to stop Bacerra. I am not falling for this gambit and neither should you.
Over in Ward 6 there are three ladies running, including two school board members:
- Cecilia “Ceci” Iglesias – Governing Board Member, Santa Ana Unified School District (Ballot Statement)
- Nelida Mendoza – College Board Member/Teacher (Ballot Statement)
- Mirna Velasquez – Businesswoman/Educator (Ballot Statement)
I worked with Nelida Mendoza on the Santa Ana Housing and Redevelopment Commission. She is a nice lady but is fairly clueless and was a lazy commissioner. I would never vote for her for any office.
Mirna Velasquez ran for the City Council a few years ago in Ward 2. Now she is running in Ward 6 and she has the support of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association PAC. But Ceci Iglesias has been in Ward 6 all along. And what I like best about Iglesias is her personal commitment to stopping Measure X! Iglesias has my vote.
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido is by no means perfect. But just look around the city. Pulido’s impact is felt just about everywhere. He has done his best to make our city better but in the last few years he has been handcuffed by Sal Tinajero’s City Council majority – and predictably things have taken a turn for the worse. This is not Pulido’s fault – the fault lies with Tinajero and his Council majority.
Pulido can only run one more time. This year. I will be voting for him. In two years let’s hope we have a few good challengers that don’t include the likes of Tinajero.
There are four candidates running for the Santa Ana School Board, including your New Santa Ana blog editor:
- John Palacio – incumbent Note: Palacio has been on the SAUSD School Board for 20 years – there are no term limits on the SAUSD School Board. Palacio has zero presence on Social Media, to our knowledge. He is a political consultant.
- Valerie Amecua – incumbent – Amezcua retired from the Orange County Probation Department last year
- Cecilia Aguinaga – Realtor/Businessowner/Parent (she does not appear to be running an active campaign)
- Angie Cano – Santa Ana Businesswoman/Economist
- Art Pedroza – Educator/Parent – Pedroza has 15 years experience teaching at Cerritos College. He also is a Sr. Risk Control Consultant for a global insurance carrier. And Pedroza is the editor of the New Santa Ana Blog. Pedroza and his wife of 31 years, Camille, raised four kids who all attended Santa Ana public schools. Two of his kids have finished college, on is in college and the youngest child is in high school.
Over 60% of the SAUSD’s students are not proficient in math and over 40% are not proficient in English. The district also has the highest unfunded debt in Orange County and appears headed for bankruptcy. Please do not vote for the incumbents! It is time for new leadership on the SAUSD School Board. Please vote for Pedroza and Cano.
We will also be voting on several local ballot measures:
- Measure X – Sal Tinajero wrote a ballot measure that will raise our city sales taxes – if voters approve this. I will be voting no on Measure X as we are already overtaxed.
- Measure I – John Palacio and Valerie Amezcua teamed up for the SAUSD’s third bond measure – which will increase our property taxes yet again (keep in mind the fact that we are also paying for two Rancho Santiago Community College District bond measures). (Click here for the argument against this measure). I will be voting no on Measure I.
- Measure AA – This measure will change our City Council elections from an at-large system to a ward-specific system. This measure will make it much easier to run for the City Council and it may make it easier for Asians to win depending on how the wards are eventually redrawn by the City Council. I plan to vote for Measure AA.
- Measure Z – The City Charter Modernization and Update of Administrative Provisions. This measure asks: “Shall the Charter be amended to: modernize and remove outdated language to reflect changes or conflicts in the City or State law concerning gifts and campaign contributions and designated City funds; create consistency in the Municipal Code regarding boards or commissions; and move the qualifications for the Finance Director to the Municipal Code?” You can read more about it here. There is no public opposition to this measure. I plan to vote for Measure Z.
- Measure Y – A business license tax on Marijuana and Commercial Cannabis. This measure will enact both a gross square footage tax of between 25 cents to $35.00 and a gross receipts tax rate up to 10% for cultivating, manufacturing, distributing, selling or testing cannabis and related products to raise between $8 to $12 million to fund public safety, parks, youth and senior services, among other general City services. There is no public opposition to this measure. I will not be voting for this measure as these businesses are already paying other taxes. There are people on fixed incomes who need medical marijuana and this measure will make it even more expensive for them to buy their medicine. In general I never support new taxes.
There are also several legislative seats to consider in the Nov. 6 election:
- State Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) is running for reelection in the 34th State Senate District. We are not fans of Nguyen. While she is a fiscal conservative she has inexplicably declared war on our affable First District Supervisor Andrew Do. We will be voting for her opponent, Tom Umberg.
- Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) is running again for the 69th Assembly District. We have not forgotten Daly’s racist past as the former Mayor of Anaheim. I will be voting for Libertarian Autumn Browne, a longtime public school teacher.
- Tyler Diep, a Westminster City Councilman, is running to replace Travis Allen in the 68th Assembly District. He has our vote.
- Lou Correa is running for reelection in the 46th Congressional District. He has our vote.
And there are a few County offices to consider:
- I cannot support Don Barnes for Sheriff as he was Sheriff Sandra Hutchens’ assistant during the jail snitch scandal – in which many criminals ended up with reduced sentences due to unethical behavior by the OC Sheriff. I will be voting for Duke Nguyen.
- OCDA – this is a tough one. The incumbent, Tony Rackauckas, has been tough on crime but his people also made a mess of things with the jail snitch scandal. The problem is that his opponent, Todd Spitzer, appears to be more than a bit nuts. Spitzer actually conducted a citizens arrest, at gunpoint, of a man who was just trying to talk to him about the Bible, at a restaurant. In this case I would rather vote for the devil I know in Rackauckas than for a possibly unhinged Spitzer. It should likewise be noted that Spitzer greatly contributed to the state’s current public employee pension crisis by pushing for early retirements for cops and police. I will be voting for Rackauckas although I wish someone better was challenging him.
I don’t want to get too far into the state races but I am voting for John Cox instead of Gavin Newsom for Governor. Cox supports the repeal of the Gas Tax and Newsom scares me as he is too liberal and he wrecked San Francisco as their former Mayor. Cox also voted Libertarian in the last Presidential election as I did. Also please vote yes on Measure 6 so we can repeal the onerous California Gas Tax.