Santa Ana City Councilmembers Vincent Sarmiento, Jose Solorio, Roman Reyna and David Penaloza tried to pull a fast one last Friday at a last minute special session of the Santa Ana City Council.
What this boiled down to was an attempt by Solorio to fire the current Santa Ana City Manager, Raul Godinez, who was a terrible hire, and replace him with an interim manager of his choice.
But Solorio, who should know better, got punked when Mayor Miguel Pulido, Mayor Pro Tem Juan Villegas and City Councilwoman Ceci Iglesias blew off the special meeting on Friday. You see firing Godinez takes five votes – and Solorio was only able to come up with four votes on Friday.
Solorio and Sarmiento spent the last year ripping the Santa Ana Police Officers Association but now that union is allegedly playing footsie with Solorio, who they believe is going to be our next Mayor, in two years, when Pulido terms out. Which is why Penaloza went along with Solorio on Friday.
Solorio may have fashioned an ad hoc City Council majority, with Penaloza now in league with him, but he won’t be able to fire Godinez without a fifth vote. And that simply is not going to happen.
Make no mistake – Godinez is toast. But he will leave when Pulido decides to oust him. And Pulido won’t let Solorio decide the terms of Godinez’ ouster – or his replacement.
As for Solorio, he needs to calm down. He may have a boatload of campaign cash but he won’t be the only Democrat running for Mayor in two years. It is very likely that former City Council Members Sal Tinajero and Michele Martinez, and maybe even Claudia Alvarez, will run for Mayor.
Now imagine if a fiscal conservative, like Iglesias, decides to run for Mayor in two years? She will easily win if the Democrats split their votes three or four ways.
The Santa Ana Police Officers Association is really blundering by getting in bed with Solorio. Now they have antagonized Pulido and Villegas. Iglesias was already upset with them after they spent a small fortune trying to beat her in last November’s election. They are giving Penaloza bad advice by asking him to team up with Solorio, Sarmiento and Reyna. I am shocked that they would have anything to do with Reyna after they ripped him mercilessly for his alleged connections to the Mexican Mafia!
Cooler heads will ultimately prevail. I expect Penaloza will realize his error and team up with the real City Council majority – then Godinez can go his merry way and we can finally hire a competent City Manager.
Remember Godinez only got the job because he is Hispanic. That is what Tinajero told Pulido at the time. That sort of racist thinking will hopefully be set aside now. We need a great City Manager – irrespective of his or her race.