Santa Ana Council Member Michele Martinez is hosting a workshop for those who are interested in running for local office in Santa Ana, on Saturday, July 9 , from 10:00am – 12:00pm, at the Corner Bakery, located at the City Place, across from the MainPlace Mall.
Chapter One: the modern local celebrates their grand opening
Chapter One: the modern local, brought out the big scissors and ribbon to host their official grand opening on Friday, May 20th at 5 p.m.
As the newest addition to the vibrant Artists Village in Downtown Santa Ana the modern local celebrated with their loyal customers, the Mayor and City Council members during a ribbon cutting ceremony. Following the festivities, tapas and drinks flowed all night.
Tim O’Connor, Jeff Jensen and Jeff Hall quietly opened Chapter One on St. Patty’s Day, and have been creating a buzz throughout the Orange County and Los Angeles communities since. With a focus on a seasonal, farm-to-table-fare, ingredient-driven menu and a worldly beverage program, Chapter One has already created an enthusiastic following.
Their motifs including; daily After Office specials, Late Night Kitchen, live music and brunch on Sinatra Sunday’s, Tentacle Tuesdays, Wine Dinner Wednesdays, and Service Industry Nights have made Chapter One: the modern local a downtown destination. This public house that goes further to celebrate its “local,” is a product of its ideals and creative style as well as its community and local history, and they are excited to be a part of the next chapter of this city’s prosperity.
About Chapter One: the modern local
You feel the pulse of the local as you arrive. The flame of the kitchen, the sound of the tins, the buzz of the crowd: a welcoming swirl of energy. The interior blends the comfort of home with the excitement of downtown, while the staff embraces you with their hospitality like an old friend. There is something for everyone, but nothing guests will ever forget. The local produce and seasonal fare will satisfy your appetite as well as your imagination, while the handpicked selection of beers, wines and spirits from across the globe complement your plate and elevate your experience.
Chapter One: the modern local is located at 227 N. Broadway, Downtown Santa Ana, 92701, and is open daily from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Call (714) 352-2225 or visit http://chapteronetml.com/ for more information. You can also like the restaurant on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
Fighting Obesity: ‘Making Connections: Move More, Eat Healthy OC Summit’ May 26
Defeating obesity is the aim of the May 26 “Making Connections: Move More, Eat Healthy OC Summit” at Cal State Fullerton. The program will feature presentations by health care providers, elected officials, and business, education and community leaders.
Thursday, May 26
8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Portola Pavilion, Titan Student Union
Cal State Fullerton, 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton 92831
The summit aims to make connections among education, government, business and community groups to identify best practices in promoting healthy eating and increasing physical activity, and to kick off a campaign aimed at reducing obesity and improving health. Stakeholders and policymakers representing education, government, business and community groups are encouraged to attend.
- 8:30 a.m. Opening remarks from CSUF President Milton A. Gordon; CSUF alumnus and state Sen. Lou Correa (B.A. economics ’80), chair of the Orange County Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative Advisory Council (NuPAC); David Riley (B.A. business administration ’77), director of the Orange County Health Care Agency; CSUF alumna and Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michelle Martinez (B.A. criminal justice ’09), summit chair.
- 9 a.m. Adam Hurtado, a contestant on season 10 of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” will share his experience.
- 9:30 a.m. Panel discussion on “Innovative Approaches to Prevention and Intervention,” with Al Zelinka, Fullerton’s director of community development; CSUF alumna Pam Keller (B.S. child development ’86, multiple subject credential ’92), director of the Fullerton Collaborative; CSUF alumnus and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido (B.S. engineering-mechanical ’80); Cathie Olsky, deputy superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified School District; Soo Kang, Stanton’s program coordinator; and Theresa Wyles, principal of St. Polycarp Elementary School. Amy Buch, health promotion division manager for the Orange County Health Care Agency, will serve as moderator.
- 11:30 a.m. Keynote address: James F. Sallis, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and soon-to-be vice president of the American College of Sports Medicine who Time Magazine called an “obesity warrior,” will speak on the process of building a healthy environment through policies and best practices in the 21st century.
- 1:30 p.m. Panel discussion on “Best Practices and Program Evaluation,” with Stanley Bassin, clinical professor at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine; Alberto Geddisman, owner and director of the Wellness Center in Santa Ana; Jie Weiss, CSUF associate professor of health science and associate director of the university’s Center for Healthy Lifestyles and Obesity Prevention; and Dee Eastman, director of Saddleback Church’s Daniel Plan. Jeannie Kim-Han, director of CSUF’s Office of University Research, Initiatives and Partnerships and the Center for Internships and Community Engagement, will moderate.
- 3 p.m. Closing remarks by Barry Ross, vice president of St. Jude Medical Center’s Healthy Communities and NuPAC chair, and Shari McMahan, acting dean of Cal State Fullerton’s College of Health and Human Development.
Cal State Fullerton, Orange County NuPAC, County of Orange and Health Funders Partnership of Orange County
$2 per hour or $8 for a daily permit. Details available online.
Frances Teves, Government Relations, 657-278-5876 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mimi Ko Cruz, Public Affairs, 657-278-7586 or email@example.com
State Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-69) has reportedly convinced Santa Ana City Councilman Vincent Sarmiento to run for the 69th Assembly District in 2012, when Solorio will term out.
Sarmiento was appointed to the Santa Ana City Council when Solorio resigned to go to Sacramento. Now, I am told, Sarmiento will return the favor, as the Santa Ana City Council will appoint Solorio to replace Sarmiento, in Ward 1.
I am told Solorio will have a tough time getting four votes from the current Santa Ana City Council – he can rely on David Benavides, Carlos Bustamante and Mayor Miguel Pulido, but Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez is no fan of his, nor is Council Member Sal Tinajero. Council Member Michele Martinez will be the all-important swing vote.
Julio Perez, the political director of the OC Labor Federation, was considering running for the 69th, according to various sources, but that is now unlikely. Sarmiento should be able to raise a lot of money, with Solorio’s support.
The 69th is a predominantly Democratic district. That may change via redistricting but until that happens, Sarmiento will be the presumptive victor, should he win in the Democratic Party’s primary, as the OC GOP has not been able to challenge for the seat since the days of former Assemblyman Jim Morrissey, who infamously hired a Democrat to run his campaigns.
The 2011 Santa Ana Earth Day and Health Festival was a big success. It was held on Saturday, April 16, at Centennial Park. Kudos to Santa Ana Parks and Rec Director Gerardo Mouet for putting on such a fun event!
There were dozens of representatives from Santa Ana city agencies, as well as many Orange County agencies. Representatives of Supervisor Janet Nguyen, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Assemblyman Jose Solorio and State Senator Lou Correa were also there.
There were also dozens of booths representing our local community organizations and charities. And there were a lot of activities for kids!
Attendees were fed free hamburgers, cooked up by our friends from the Santa Ana Firemen’s Benevolent Association. The VIPs got a lunch combo from Lee’s Sandwiches of Santa Ana, which included a delicious chicken sandwich, a cookie, fruit juice and chips.
The Santa Ana VIP basketball game featured members of the Santa Ana City Council, including Councilwoman Michele Martinez who helped to put the entire event together, and Mayor Miguel Pulido. Many City Commissioners were in the game too including Sean Mill, a Planning Commissioner.
Check out the picture slide show above to see who was there!
It is beginning to look like a free-for-all for Assemblyman Jose Solorio’s 69th Assembly District seat, which includes most of Santa Ana and parts of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Tustin and Orange, in 2012.
I am hearing that Santa Ana City Councilman Vincent Sarmiento is not going to run after all. I cannot blame him. Term limits would limit him to three two-year terms – and having to move to Sacramento would be tough on his family and his law practice. Plus Sarmiento could end up being our next Mayor if Mayor Pulido retires in the near future.
Looking at the rest of the Santa Ana City Council Members, it is tough to figure which one might run for Solorio’s seat. Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez would likely win this time, after losing to Solorio a few years ago, but she has a good job as an Assistant O.C. District Attorney. She will also be a top candidate for Santa Ana Mayor if Mayor Pulido retires.
Councilman Sal Tinajero has a good job as a Fullerton teacher and debate team coach. He too has young kids and while he could move his family up to Sacramento, it would surely be a hardship for them.
That leaves Council Members Michele Martinez and David Benavides, as I don’t expect Mayor Pulido to run for anything other than re-election in 2012.
Of the two, I prefer Martinez. She works for a non-profit involved with childhood obesity, and the move to Sacramento would mean a bigger salary for her. More importantly, she works well with others and is fairly progressive. She might we be more effective than Solorio, who has done a good job but he tends to be overly status quo.
Benavides works in the mortgage industry. He seems like a good guy but his friendship with Minuteman Lupe Moreno is a problem for me. He also has far too many Republican allies for my taste.
Solorio may not back any of these people. He has hired O.C. Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly’s wife, who used to be a county lobbyist. Daly, in turn, has hired AUHSD School Board Trustee Jordan Brandman. Either Daly or Brandman could run, even though they would both be carpetbaggers, from what I am told. They have ample time to move into the district. Neither one has a solid record with regard to Latinos, in my opinion.
Anaheim City Councilwoman Lorri Galloway is terming out in 2012. She too could run for Solorio’s seat.
What about the Republicans? They have no shot at this seat. Nor do they have any viable candidates. The GOP is a non-sequitur in the 69th A.D. Even after redistricting they are not likely to pick up this seat.
One guy who could really toss a monkey-wrench into the works is Alfredo Amezcua, who got blown out by Mayor Pulido last year. Amezcua could win the 69th if he is willing to spend another quarter million of his own money. He would have a better shot at the 69th, ironically enough, than he would running for Mayor again.
A reader sent me a note today indicating that Julio Perez, the Political Director at the OC Labor Federation, is apparently thinking of running for Solorio’s seat. He has no previous experience running for office, as far as I know.
The OC Labor Federation has an awful record of spending millions on failed candidates, such as Republican John Leos, who lost in a first-time bid for the Anaheim City Council last year. Good luck Julio…
Photo: Karen X. Fritsche/KPCC
So you missed Larry Mantle’s “Santa Ana Gentrification Wars” radio show, that taped on Tuesday, March 29, at Libreria Martinez? Not to worry. Click here to hear the show, which was part of Mantle’s Air Talk program.
- Eric Altman, Executive Director of OCCORD, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, a labor-funded non-profit organization that is headed up by two white male executives.
- Michele Martinez, Santa Ana City Councilwoman – Ward 2; Human Resources and Education Foundation Director
- Carlos Bustamante, Santa Ana Councilman – Ward 3; Director of Administration at Orange County Public Works
- Carolina Sarmiento, member of the Centro Cultural de Mexico, a longtime Santa Ana nonprofit that figures into the gentrification game
- Art Lomeli, a dentist who lives in Orange Park Acres and who heads up the Santa Ana Coalition for Better Government
Reviews were mixed. Apparently little was accomplished on this show.
The Voice of OC blog provided a recap, which indicated that a lot of the discussion on the show was about the failed attempt to force a so-called “Community Benefit Agreement” on the Station District redevelopment project, which was going to include affordable housing but was derailed by a lawsuit.
These “Community Benefit Agreements” are nothing more than extortion. They are attempts by folks who do not own property to force their will on developers. They usually fail as developers and city governments have no reason to sign on to their demands, which do not respect property rights.
Furthermore, these agreements are advanced by non-elected busy-bodies who have no mandate and really should have no say in what happens in our community. We already have an elected City Council. It is their job, along with our City Planning Commission and our Planning Department, to resolve these issues.
Here is what our reader Cook had to say about the program: “The book store was packed, must have been more than the 100 people limit. Nothing ground breaking happened, but there was a lot of exchanging ideas and talking points.”
And here is what our reader Junior had to say about it: “There were no NEW ideas – it was regurgitated talking points – from all sides.”
What did other folks think? Well, the comments left on Mantle’s blog are interesting, to wit:
From David: Thanks again for hosting such a great event. I was fortunately to be part of the crowd when AirTalk was being recorded.
A believe that the core question was not answered directly and that was whether these businesses are displacing the natives in the Downtown Santa Ana area. Granted the redevelopment is supposedly be bringing in affordable housing but economically, how many natives can afford housing even when it’s affordable?
When Larry Mantle had asked as to whether they couldn’t compare this project to other cities such as Santa Monica, I think a better example would have been a local city, such as Westminster.
Asian Americans have a strong community in the City of Westminster and have a strong ties to the local businesses in the area. There has been development projects in Westminster as well but they are definitely helping the community by allowing more local businesses to be developed without having to worry for big corporations. I don’t see why Santa Ana can’t follow this business plan.
From Delores: As a Heinz 57 mutt, I love the culture here in Santa Ana. I think most Anglos do. Sadly last night it sounded like Carolina was an apologist for her family’s weath and for living in Floral Park. She has the luxury of being a rich kid who never purchases in downtown and yet cries foul for the community. The truth is, the 80,000 people who live in the sphere of influence of downtown do not shop downtown they head to Target, WalMart and Main Place. Downtown no longer has the 2nd place tax base that Art referenced. That was 7 years ago. As Carlos stated; the whites didn’t want the browns in the 70’s and the browns do not want the whites in 2011. It wasn’t right then, and it’s not right now! Change is afoot. Not unlike Borders, it is survival of the fittest. If you offer good service, value and quality; bridal shop, jewelry store, clothing store, tax preparation, etc., you have nothing to worry about. If your business is being pushed out by the worldwide web (travel, CD’s, movies) you should change your product. The color of downtown is not red, yellow, black, brown or white; it is green Carolina. If it’s not green, who will pay for what you ask for? Who will pay for affordable housing, green space, community centers, healthcare, and on and on????? Developers aren’t standing in line waiting to get a project in Santa Ana. It’s the contrary, the City is courting these developers to please take a look at Santa Ana.
From Holly: As a former longtime resident, I have seen the city of Santa Ana persistently navigate major redevelopment projects over the last 25 years. I’m thinking of the Bristol Corridor Project, the Delhi Community Center Redevelopment and all of the Santa Ana Schools that have been built on former business locations throughout Santa Ana. There were many of these same concerns expressed very actively & effectively from the community then, too and the City heard them and incorporated their concerns. The desire for accessible shopping and parks, open space, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods and a good community center are not unique to just Ward 2 in Santa Ana. Which leads me to believe that perhaps, in these very trying economic times – that the community’s desire for the labor to be ‘only from Santa Ana’ and that it be ‘Union’ only, is one of the true sticking points. To which I would say: only the attorneys for and against the lawsuit will benefit. The community of Ward 2 of Santa Ana will continue to struggle and the Station Area redevelopment project will languish, not improving the situation for anyone. Anyone except the attorneys on both sides of the pending lawsuit, that is.
From Michael: Perhaps the close minded people who want to fight something thing that is met for the betterment of all the community, had better step back and think a little. Breaking the law has consequences, regardless of peoples national origin, race or creed. I was appaled at the comment of one Hispanic woman who said what about the undocumented people who don’t have a voice in this matter. Well the truth is they shouldn’t have any voice period. Break the laws of our country and pay the price without complaining. The second issue is what is called the right of imminant domain. Just remember the courts have always upheld this issue and if people do not want to move forward with a community betterment project, this law can be imposed on them. I am a native of Los Angeles and have watched as the once great and beautiful city of Santa Ana going down to where it has become like a third world city. I congratulate the city council in their vision to bring Santa Ana back to its rightful place in So Cal. It is a total waste of money and time as well as increases a projects cost immensily to bring a lawsuit and with the state of our economy, is there money to waste? I think not. The council and developer get my vote.
Click here for an audio link to Larry Mantle’s “Santa Ana Gentrification Wars” segment of Air Talk.
KPCC’s Larry Mantle is hosting a radio show about Santa Ana on March 28, at 6:30 p.m. You can get a free ticket by clicking here. Mantle’s program is entitled “Santa Ana’s Gentrification Wars.” KPCC Radio 89.3 is also known as National Public Radio NPR.
The show will run from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., at Libreria Martinez, which is located at 216 North Broadway, in Santa Ana .
Here is how Mantle is describing the show on his website:
Does downtown Santa Ana need a face lift? The Santa Ana City Council has proposed multiple projects to upgrade housing and bring new business activity to the area. But some very vocal and active groups oppose this redevelopment. They argue that these changes will push out family owned businesses and negatively transform the character of downtown Santa Ana.
On March 15, AirTalk goes “on the road” to Libreria Martinez in Santa Ana to debate the pros and cons of that city’s revitalization process. Will the refurbishing of downtown Santa Ana improve or hurt the quality of life and well-being of residents there? Join Larry Mantle and guests for an in depth discussion about Santa Ana’s gentrification wars.
The public is invited to attend. ADMISSION IS FREE. But RSVPs are required.
- Eric Altman, Executive Director of OCCORD, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development a community-based non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of Orange County’s working families
- Michele Martinez, Santa Ana City Councilwoman – Ward 2; Human Resources and Education Foundation Director
- Carlos Bustamante, Santa Ana Councilman – Ward 3; Director of Administration at Orange County Public Works
- Carolina Sarmiento, member of the Centro Cultural de Mexico, a longtime Santa Ana nonprofit that figures into the gentrification game
It is obvious that Mantle has no clue about Santa Ana. Our Downtown has already had a face lift! The project he is thinking of is likely the Station District, which has been derailed by a lawsuit. The land the city bought in that area was bought with grants for affordable housing. In fact the Station District included a lot of affordable housing.
OCCORD is a union-backed organization that is funded in part by Alfredo Amezcua, who lost badly last year when he challenged Mayor Miguel Pulido. It is ironic that they are focusing on gentrification when their top two executives are white males.
The reality is that our city has seen a huge influx in the last few years of Vietnamese Americans. At the same time many white residents have died or moved out. We are the most diverse city in Orange County – so arguing about gentrification seems rather silly.
Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez has been very busy of late, doing what she loves to do – fighting obesity and promoting healthy living.
She recently honored:
- Adam Hurtado for his successful fight against obesity and for seeking a healthier lifestyle.
- Alfred Mata for the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) campaign.
Hurtado starred in the most recent edition of the Biggest Loser T.V. show. Hurtado was the runner-up, but it is what he has done since he left the show that has made a real difference.
Hurtado weighed over four hundred pounds before his stint on the Biggest Loser. He now weighs 244 pounds!
And because of Martinez, the City of Santa Ana became the largest city to pass a HEAL resolution. Here is the press release, which she published earlier this week on her blog:
Charlotte Dickson, CA Center for Public Health Advocacy, (530) 219-1487, or
Michele Martinez, City of Santa Ana, (714) 380-4339
Santa Ana Becomes Largest City to Pass HEAL Resolution
Santa ana, CALIF., February 7, 2011 … The Santa Ana City Council voted today to take on the obesity crisis by adopting a resolution and joining the ranks of other cities around the state as a member of theHealthy Eating Active Living Cities Campaign (HEAL), a statewide campaign aimed at reducing local obesity and physical inactivity rates through the introduction of city policies. Santa Ana now has the distinction of being the largest city in the state to enjoy this designation.
While citizens play an integral part in the diet and exercise choices they make, Santa Ana policymakers recognize that local government plays an important role in creating environments that allow for easier access to healthy food choices and indoor and outdoor recreation venues.
“Personal responsibility is a factor, but the environment plays a major role in the shaping of behaviors and lifestyles,” said City Council Member Michele Martinez. “We’ve been working toward these goals for a while, but before HEAL we didn’t have a way to define them. The first step is defining all of our successes, planting the seeds and seeing where we can go in the future. The long-term goal is to bring true systems’ change to Santa Ana.”
In California, where more than half the adult population is obese or overweight, a recent study showed that the epidemic is costing the state more than $41 billion a year in health care costs and lost productivity. The City of Santa Ana is committed to addressing obesity and diabetes related illness among Santa Ana residents by improving food and physical activity environments. Part of the HEAL resolution is to address walking and biking connectivity between residential neighborhoods and schools, parks, recreation resources and retail by developing a bicycle and pedestrian master plan, as well as increasing open space and the number of parks, particularly in park-poor neighborhoods.
“A lot of people want to exercise and stay fit but don’t have easy access to public parks and trails,” said Gerardo Mouet, Santa Ana’s executive director of the Parks, Recreation and Community Service Agency. “Increasing access to public parks is one of the few ways for many people to have an active lifestyle.”
Support for the health of residents and the local workforce through prevention policies and programs would decrease chronic disease and health care costs and increase productivity. The resolution also focuses on childhood obesity by encouraging the participation of the youth in healthy activities through various city-sponsored programs, such as the Police Athletic and Activity League and the Library Youth Health Ambassadors, and through programs offered at city parks, joint-use parks, trails and recreation centers.
For more information about the HEAL Cities Campaign, visit www.healcitiescampaign.org.
Kudos to Martinez, who is really making a difference in our community!
A few folks in Santa Ana have been mighty perplexed about the current City Council majority. I would definitely include failed Santa Ana Mayoral candidate Alfredo Amezcua in that number, along with former Mayoral candidate Thomas Gordon, and many former Santa Ana City Commissioners – who were give the boot by the current City Council majority.
You need four votes on the City Council in order to get anything done. Currently the majority on the City Council is made up of Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez, along with Council Members Michele Martinez, Vincent Sarmiento and Sal Tinajero. Mayor Miguel Pulido primarily goes along with the majority, although at times they differ. Council Members David Benavides and Carlos Bustamante are sitting at the little kids’ table – utterly bereft of power and influence at City Hall.
But that could change in 2012. Alvarez will be terming out. I am not sure what she intends to do at that point. She could run for Mayor, or for the SAUSD School Board. Or she could walk away and concentrate on her job as a O.C. Deputy District Attorney.
Current SAUSD Trustee Romany Reyna is an ally of Benavides. Reyna previously ran for the Council seat held by Alvarez and now all he has to do is wait for her to term out and run again.
I have however heard that Reyna is having second thoughts, as well he should. If he runs for the Council in 2012, he will vacate his School Board seat. If he loses his Council race he will be done in local politics. I don’t know that he is willing to take that chance. It depends on who ends up running against him for Alvarez’ seat on the City Council.
If Reyna does run for the Council, and he wins, and Bustamante is re-elected, they will surely team up with Benavides and likely with Mayor Pulido – and the new City Council majority will be quite different from the current majority.
Both Reyna and Benavides are religious conservatives. Bustamante is a Republican. Pulido is more moderate than that bunch, but he has been pulled to the left by the current Council majority. There is no telling what this new right-leaning majority might do, once empowered.
Pulido will also face a few challengers in 2012, including the aforementioned Amezcua. Past Republican Assembly candidate Otto Bade also told me recently that he intends to run for Mayor in 2012. Bade lost his concession this year at the Santa Ana Zoo, where his La Perla restaurant will be replaced by a Knowlwood’s restaurant.
I think Amezcua and Bade would ally with the new, conservative faction if either one of them were to prevail against Pulido.
I also think that failed Mayoral candidate Charles Hart intends to run again in 2012. Hart was recently appointed to the Republican Party of Orange County’s Central Committee, representing the 69th Assembly Caucus. If he were to somehow win in 2012, perhaps as a result of a Latino vote split, I think he too would end up allying with the new, conservative faction.
To make matters worse for Alvarez and company, Councilman Sarmiento is likely to be running for Assemblyman Jose Solorio’s seat in the 69th Assembly District. Sarmiento will be tough to beat. As such, he will be vacating his City Council seat – and the Council majority will have to find someone to fill that spot. That will happen after the November election, so if the new faction takes over, guess who will be appointing Sarmiento’s replacement?
And that’s not all. I fully expect at least one or more of the other Council Members to run against O.C. Supervisor Janet Nguyen. Either Sal Tinajero or Michele Martinez would have good odds of beating Nguyen, unless she redistricts her seat and adds more Vietnamese voters to it, while weakening the Latino vote, which she just might do.
So where does all this leave the people of Santa Ana? It leaves us two years for our Council majority to get the job done, before they dissolve and/or get replaced. That is a small window and it is closing fast.
If the majority fails to replace itself, the fact is that many of the ousted and bitter former City Commissioners will be back and business as usual will return to City Hall. Imagine that – in two short years our progress might well be stopped and reversed. That is a chilling thought.
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.
UPDATE: Voting will close on Friday, Jan. 7, at 10 am
This poll is now closed. Find out who won at this link.
As we start the New Year it is worth pondering who was the Woman of the Year in Santa Ana. I tried to come up with a list of leading women in our city, but I am sure I left a few out. Please let me know!
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez got the most press this year in her successful battle against Van Tran.
And what about Ceci Iglesias, the independent Congressional candidate who collected over 11,000 signatures in order to get on the ballot? She certainly worked hard, even though she did not prevail.
Councilwoman Michele Martinez won without a challenge, but she had a rough year as her mom passed away. She remained very active though in the community and started a new job at a health related non-profit.
Supervisor Janet Nguyen took over as the Chair of the OC Supervisors and she had a baby, so it was a momentous year for her as well.
I also included a slew of education and community leaders and a few business owners. Jackie Cordova, the co-owner of Calacas, deserves a lot of credit, in particular, for her work on this year’s Noche de Altares (Day of the Dead) event. It was a huge hit due in great part to her contributions.
Remember that you may vote for up to three nominees!
We started a new decade this year – and a lot of political change came to Santa Ana in the previous ten years. We now have an all-Latino City Council. Candidates with names like Franklin, Bist and Christy are no longer electable in Santa Ana. But they were at the start of this decade. Let’s take a look at what happened in Santa Ana politics, starting in 2000.
In 2000, Brett Franklin got 20,370 votes as he won reelection to Ward 3 on the Santa Ana City Council with 43.7% of the vote. That would be his final term on the Santa Ana City Council. That same year, Claudia Alvarez defeated Nancy Lutz, in Ward 5, by just over four thousand votes. This would be Alvarez’ first term on the Santa Ana City Council.
In 2008, Alvarez backed the successful Measure D, which extended City Council term limits to three terms. She will term out in 2012. It is likely that SAUSD Trustee Roman Reyna will take her seat. By then, Alvarez might be appointed to a judicial bench, or she could end up running for the SAUSD School board, essentially trading places with Reyna.
Franklin termed out in 2004, and he ran that year for Area 1, on the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Board of Education. He came in last place, with less than 18% of the vote. He got less votes than some unknown guy named Reuben Ross. Alfredo Amezcua won a seat on that board that year, with over 54,000 votes. He later had to resign from that seat, allegedly because he did not live in Area 1.
In 2002, Lisa Bist won reelection to Ward 2, handily, with over 65% of the vote. Alberta Christy won in Ward 4, and Mike Garcia won with over 42% of the vote, in a very crowded field, in Ward 6.
That same year, John Palacio and Audrey Yamagata-Noji won reelection to the SAUSD School Board. But Lupe Moreno, a known Minuteman, barely lost to Yamagata-Noji by about 500 votes. Moreno got more votes than Nadia Maria Davis, who lost but later married Bill Lockyer. Davis won a County Supervisorial race this year, in Alameda. Palacio and Yamagata-Noji were reelected again this November. Some things never change!
In 2004, Jose Solorio easily won reelection to Ward 1 on the Santa Ana City Council. He did not finish the term. Two years later he ran for the 69th State Assembly District, which had been held by Lou Correa. Solorio thoroughly beat an underfunded student Republican, Ryan Gene Williams, who later changed his name to Ryan Trabuco.
Another newcomer won a seat on the Santa Ana City Council in 2006. David Benavides won that year against Nelida Yanez, in Ward 4. Benavides replaced Christy, who termed out. He won reelection this year with no problem as he ran unchallenged.
In 2006, council outsiders Sal Tinajero and Michele Martinez also won, in tight races that saw them defeat better-funded insiders. Two years later, Martinez challenged Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido. She lost but then joined Pulido’s team. She is now an integral part of the City Council majority, as is Tinajero.
Neighborhood activist Thomas Gordon entered the local political scene in 2006 as well. He ran, unsuccessfully, against Pulido, for Mayor of Santa Ana. He did win a seat on the OC GOP Central Committee in 2008, and he was reelected to that seat this year. He was supposed to run this year for Ward 6 on the Santa Ana City Council, but he did not collect enough nomination signatures. That is too bad as he would have made the race more interesting.
The last decade also saw the rise of Latino Democrats in our local legislative seats. Correa served in the 69th Assembly District from 1998-2004. He then won a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, where he served from 2004-2006. He left the Board of Supervisors to run for the 34th State Senate District, which was vacated by Joe Dunn, who termed out.
Dunn served in the 34th State Senate District from 1998 to 2006. He went on to serve as the head of the California Medical Association. Last year he started the Voice of OC, a watchdog news blog. He still serves on their Board of Directors. He also started a law firm, in Sacramento, that also engages in lobbying. While he is mostly in the shadows today, he remains very influential in Orange County politics.
Correa was not the first Latino to win a legislative seat in Orange County. He was predated by Loretta Sanchez, who abandoned her married name, Brixey, after losing a race for an Anaheim City Council seat in 1994. Two years later she defeated Bob Dornan in the 46th Congressional District. She now serves in the 47th Congressional District.
Speaking of firsts, Janet Nguyen moved from the Garden Grove City Council to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, after Correa won in the 34th State Senate District. She is now the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and she just had her first baby. Her main competitor in the local Vietnamese Community, Van Tran, lost this year against Sanchez. He also termed out of the 68th Assembly District, where he was replaced by Allan Mansoor, the former Mayor of Costa Mesa.
Nguyen will likely redistrict her seat this year, moving to make it more Republican. She may end up running against one or more Santa Ana City Council Members. That will be most interesting!
One of the Santa Ana City Council Members, Vince Sarmiento, is likely to run for the 69th State Assembly District, where Solorio is terming out. Solorio is likely to have to wait two years for Correa to term out of the 34th Senate District.
The one constant in the past ten years has been Pulido, who easily won reelection as Santa Ana Mayor this year. That means he will start yet another decade in office. He wisely moved to the left last year, leaving his closest competitor, Alfredo Amezcua, in the dust. Pulido will leave office when he wants to.
What will the next decade bring? I suspect that we will see the first Vietnamese American elected to the Santa Ana City Council, perhaps as soon as 2012.
If Dianne Feinstein retires from the U.S. Senate in 2012, Sanchez will likely run for her seat. If Sanchez moves on, Correa will surely run for her seat. He will likely face Tran, or maybe even Nguyen? The congressional seat will be hotly contested to be sure.
I also believe that the last Republican on the Santa Ana City Council, Carlos Bustamante, is a marked man. He openly campaigned for Tran this year, against Sanchez. The local Democrats won’t take that lying down. He is surely toast. His seat comes open in 2012.
In 2012, SAUSD Trustee Rob Richardson will have to run for reelection. He won a seat on the SAUSD School Board in 2003, after Nativo Lopez was recalled that year. Will Richardson finally lose in 2012? It isn’t likely, but then again, it is a new decade. Who knows what is in store for Santa Ana in this decade?
Last evenings city council installation ceremony was great success that had a very upbeat vibe about it. Mayor Miguel Pulido and Councilmembers Michele Martinez, David Benavides and Sal Tinajero all reaffirmed their oath’s of office and the 2010-2012 Santa Ana City Council was seated joining their colleagues Claudia Alvarez, Carlos Bustamante and Vince Sarmiento.
Despite a small gathering of protesters organized by the failed Amezcua campaign the evening went off without a hitch and each of the councilmembers and the mayor offered up encouraging words for our city’s future. It looks like all seven members of the council are committed to moving forward with an agenda that will help improve the quality of life for all of our residents and not let the naysayers and malcontents hold us back.
The highlights of the evening had to have been Councilmember Benavides daughter holding Benavides late father’s Bible during his swearing in and the moving tribute to Councilmember Martinez late mother. Benavides father passed away last year and Martinez mother died the day before the election this year.
It was great to see the families of all of our elected officials and many of our city staff. Sometimes in the brutal battles that take place in the political arena we lose sight of the fact that these folks are human like the rest of us and have families that love them very much. Last night allowed us all to see that very human side of our leaders. Mayor Pulido’s son Miguelito even helped entertain the crowd at the Bowers Museum reception by playing classical guitar along with his classmates from the Orange County High School of the Arts.
There was one matter of business before the council last night and that was the selection of Mayor Pro Tem. The council unanimously selected the current Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez to continue on in that position. The solid support from her colleagues is a testament to the leadership shown by Alvarez durin her tenure on the council.
Last night’s event left me feeling very good about the future of our city and I am excited to watch what our city leaders do to move our city forward over the next two years. Lets hope the malcontents and the naysayers will get on board and help make Santa Ana a better place.
On Saturday afternoon I received an email from a group calling itself “Santa Ana Coalition for Better Government” and they were announcing their plans for a protest at City Hall Tuesday. As Art Pedroza wrote on Saturday this group is just a front operation for failed Mayoral candidate Alfredo Amezcua. It is evident that Amezcua and his supporters have no plans on be gracious in defeat.
The protest, which they have labeled a “Vigil of Discontent”, is scheduled to take place prior to the inaugaration of three of our finest city leaders, Mayor Miguel Pulido, Councilmember Sal Tinajero and Councilmember Michele Martinez along with Councilmember David Benavides. Amezcua and his supporters want you to join the “community” in protest, doesn’t he realize that it was the community that overwhelmingly defeated him in November.
This event is nothing more than a side show created to make people think that the residents of Santa Ana are opposed to the great council majority that will lead our city for years to come. As we all saw from the election results the residents support our Mayor and council majority. This is sour grapes from the Amezcua camp and a demonstration that they lack any class whatsoever.
I find it laughable that Amezcua is now “discontented” with Mayor Pulido and company. It appears that Amezcua, a long time ally of Pulido and the “white” power structure here in Santa Ana, only started to express his discontent once Pulido refused to invest in Amezcua’s failed Santa Ana Business Bank and once Pulido turned his back on his old “angry white” voter base and began to allign himself with the more progressive Latino’s on the council.
The time for politics and campaign rally’s is over Al. It is time to help our elected officials and other city leaders move Santa Ana forward. Cheap publicity stunts like the one you have organized for Tuesday does nothing to bring the community together or help make Santa Ana a better place. You lost, move on. Stop with these silly vigil’s of malcontents.