UPDATE: Santa Ana Council Member Sal Tinajero’s sister, Myriam Tinajero, has pulled out of the race for the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Area 3. The remaining candidates include Santa Ana Redevelopment and Housing Commissioner Nelida Mendoza-Yanez, LAUSD asbestos inspector Thomas Gordon and Construction Laborer Tony Tapia, for Area 3 of the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Board of Education. Mendoza-Yanez ran for the Santa Ana City Council in 2006, losing to David Benavides. She got over 10,000 votes in that election, according to Smart Voter.
OC GOP Central Committee Member Thomas Gordon won’t be getting a free pass after all. Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ken Khanh Nguyen filed to run today for Area 3 of the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Board of Education.
Nguyen ran for the Area One of the Orange County Board of Education this past June, in the Open Primary, coming in second behind the winner, Republican candidate Robert Hammond. Nguyen ended up with over 13,000 votes, according to Smart Voter. Oddly he listed his occupation as “Parks and Rec Commissioner” even though it is less than a part-time job, paying perhaps $25 per Commission meeting.
Nguyen is actually a businessman, with a colorful record that includes a judgement regarding software piracy. Notwithstanding that, he has been active in the community as the founder of the Little Saigon Foundation and as a member of the Knights of Columbus.
We wrote previously about Gordon here. He is a high school graduate who works as an asbestos inspector at the Los Angeles Unified School District. When he tried to run for the Santa Ana City Council, in 2010, he failed to collect enough nomination signatures and even his own signature was tossed out by the Santa Ana City Clerk. Gordon has a second home in Denver, CO, where he has served on their anti-graffiti task force.
While Nguyen and Gordon will predictably split the white vote, and Nguyen figures to nail the Asian vote, Area 3’s demographics indicate that a Latino candidate could easily beat them both. Area 3 has the highest percentage of Latino voters of the 7 Rancho Areas, with 61% of the voters identified as Latinos. Only 12.5% of the Area 3 voters are Asian or Filipino. Only 16% of the voting age population in Area 3 is white. Those aren’t great odds for Nguyen or Gordon.