Santa Ana Mayor Vince Sarmiento was part of the City Council, some years ago, that voted for Mayoral Term Limits. The City Council could have, at that time, also extended the Mayoral terms to four years, to match those of the City Council Members. However they opted not to. That is why Sarmiento will have to run again in Nov. of 2022 after he was elected in 2020.
Sarmiento could be in a bit of a pickle next year. The rule of thumb in politics is to not anger more than one constituency. Unfortunately for Sarmiento he has gone out of his way to antagonize those who value public safety. Sarmiento recently resorted to calling members of the Anaheim Police Department murderers after they shot a felon, Brandon Lopez, who had been involved in a high speed police pursuit. However Sarmiento now has to eat crow as the Anaheim Police Department released a detailed video that showed they really had no choice but to shoot Lopez. That video also made it clear that the SAPD was highly involved in the incident. In fact an SAPD officer identified that Lopez had a gun. Sarmiento essentially called his own police officers liars.
On top of that Sarmiento also recently supported two poorly crafted city ordinances regarding Rent Control and Evictions. The net result of these ordinances will be less development and it will become incredibly difficult to evict tenants – even those involved in drug use and petty crimes. A coalition of landlords and other interests are now gathering signatures to place measures on the ballot so the residents of Santa Ana can overturn these ordinances.
Santa Ana is also lagging when it comes to economic recovery despite a massive influx of Federal dollars. Many stores and restaurants remain shuttered and employers are having a hard time finding employees.
Last time Sarmiento ran, in 2020, there was no incumbent on the ballot as Mayor Miguel Pulido termed out. That contest featured no less than six candidates. Sarmiento in fact won with only a third of the vote! Former City Council Member Claudia Alvarez netted almost 20,000 votes in that race. It is likely that in 2022 Sarmiento will face far fewer opponents. If Alvarez runs again we think she could beat him this time.
Alvarez is a longtime Deputy District Attorney with a lot of support from those who value public safety. Crime has been on the increase in Santa Ana throughout Sarmiento’s tenure and he has made it clear that he favors the criminals, not the residents of our city. In fact Sarmiento’s own brother in law, who is also an attorney, was hired by the family of Brandon Lopez and he may end up suing Sarmiento’s own city!
Alvarez would become Santa Ana’s first Latina Mayor of she prevails in 2022, making history in the process. While Sarmiento became our first Bolivian Mayor the fact is there are very few Bolivians in our city. Alvarez, a Mexican-American, would have a closer connection to the majority of our residents.
The stakes for Sarmiento are very high as he almost certainly is eyeing his next move – which could be a run for the O.C. Board of Supervisors. The seat currently held by Andrew Do is going to be redistricted into a Latino seat, according to the L.A. Times. Another option might be the 69th Assembly District, which includes Santa Ana. The incumbent, Tom Daly, will be terming out in a couple of years. However if Sarmiento is to have a shot at those seats he must hang on to the Mayor’s seat in 2022. If Alvarez runs again Sarmiento might become a one-term Mayor. That would spell disaster for his political career.