Tue. Mar 21st, 2023
Tony Tapia and State Senator Lou Correa

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.

Pictured: Laura Morfin, Tish Leon and Nelida Mendoza Yanez

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.

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By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

18 thoughts on “UPDATE: Tony Tapia to run for Rancho Board’s Area 3”
  1. Wonderful coverage of races that most main stream news outlets ignore Art. You are the Drudgereport of Orange County. It’s funny, no one I know reads any other blogs any more. Gracias!
    Why do you think that Nguyen will “split the white vote”? Did you mean to say that Nguyen and Gordon will split the Asian and the Anglo vote? Do all people vote by race in Santa Ana? I seem to remember Pulido beating a white woman (Andres)and a white man who owned a Jazz club, and Moreno having many “white” supporters (basura blanca/poor whites who live W. of Bristol near Alona Park and other pockets of them still living in Santa Ana)and Janet Nguyen getting white female votes, and you Art I believe have many gringo readers and supporters of your views. Maybe it is more complicated than voting by race? Would love to hear more about how we can get college students (those most affected) by the Rancho Board out and voting in huge numbers in November? How about some kind of New Santa Ana “Rock the Vote” campaign? Maybe we can get SACRED and LULAC and SAMPSON, and LOS AMigos, and OCCO, and Sisters of St. Josephs,and St. Josephs balet, and Relampago del Ceilo baile foklorico, and South Main MErchants, and Latino Health Access and Labor Unions and all the other Promotores in Santa Ana to get the vote out in November and make sure our community is heard! ALso, I wish John Raya or John Acosta or Art Montez or Dave Lopez would run for this seat. We need real leaders.

    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      It is a known fact that white voters are more likely to support a Vietnamese candidate than a Latino, and Nguyen, as a Democrat, would have appeal to white Democrats in Area 3, while Gordon, a Republican, would not.

      Pulido has been reliably moderate to conservative throughout his career and as such has garnered white support.

      Moreno had white support as he represented the anti-Pulido faction, which included local watchdogs and gadflys.

      Janet Nguyen has been working the white vote for awhile. Note that her campaign signs emphasize “Janet” not “Nguyen.” And she married a white guy too.

      Acosta now lives in Orange but I think raya is still around. Montez lives in Anaheim. Dave Lopez is an ally of Gordon and would presumably support Gordon.

      I do think that young people would make a huge difference. If the young man I met with last night runs he will definitely be pursuing that demographic.

      1. It’s a known fact that white people will vote Vietnamese over Latino? Is that a fact that only you know and believe? I never heard of that and I think it’s ridiculous for someone to assume that.

        Do you need a white woman to get over your racist mind? Is that what it is? Some of the dumbest things I’ve heard from an ‘Editor’

        1. Silly Chris, of course they will. Republicans vote field their own and Viets are usually Republicans. And many Republicans hate Latinos but are ok with Viets. Just look at Janet Nguyen’s career. She wins with white support.

          1. Man, you’re filled with assumptions. Republicans hate Latino’s? What if you’re a latino Republican? Do they hate themselves? Why would Repubs prefer Viets over latinos? Is it the food? I would love to hear your explanation on that because it’s not an official position of the GOP so I’m wondering how you come to that assumption…

            Truth is latino’s will vote for latino’s, blacks will vote blacks, but outside of that I think everyone else votes whatever they feel like. Because if what you are saying is true, Obama would never had been president…

          2. No, I am full of opinions and this is a blog that features my opinions. That you disagree is fine.

            I was once the Hispanic Outreach Director of the OC GOP. Did you know that? Probably not. I have been involved in politics for over 15 years. In that time I have worked on countless races. What I have seen is the Republican Party go from supporting immigrants (Reagan amnesty) to bashing them. That is a fact.

            Vietnamese and Cuban immigrants were extended a red carpet by the GOP when they failed to hang on to their home countries. Mexican immigrants today are denigrated and attacked by most Republicans.

            Are there Latino Republicans? Sure. But not that many and certainly not enough to matter. Most of us left the GOP – after the GOP left us.

            As for Obama, he followed eight years of Bush that were less than stellar and John McCain proved to be a lame presidential candidate, much like Mitt Romney is proving to be now. (Loved that he ripped the British Olympic efforts as soon as he got off his plane in London. Dope!). I did not however vote for Obama in 2008. I voted Libertarian then and will be voting Libertarian again this November.

  2. I’m worried now that if too many people from our community get into this race it will create an easy path to victory for Gordon, the only white person! What think you Art?

    1. That is a concern but this is an area specific election. Myriam should be able root walk the area and meet the voters. I would imagine that Sal’s volunteers will also be helping her. Remember he is on the ballot too as a mayoral candidate.

  3. Speaking of candidates sisters…is Lupe Moreno the sister or wife of Former Councilmember Ted Moreno? I voted for Councilman Moreno and he fought for the little guy which I am.

  4. Also do you have a photo of Ms. Tinajero the sister? I think maybe I went to school with her at Carr. She was really good at Softball if it’s the same girl.

  5. Nelida Yanez enrolled her sons in out-of-district public high schools. What does this say about a candidate for a seat on an education board? Were the son’s enrolled legitimately through a district transfer or by another means?

  6. Nelida Yanez’s first board position allowed her to enroll her 3 children in the Head Start program intended for low- income families. Two of her children received Gates Millennium Scholarships (financial aid program) intended for “the poor underprivileged students.” When her last child left for college (Stanford) she and her husband enjoyed a month vacation in Europe. Real Estate records in Orange County indicate that she and her husband own two properties, their home and one on East Camile. In my opinion she has underreported their income in order to qualify for aide intended for the low-income families/students. Is this the type of person we want to serve?

    1. It seems as though Mr. And Mrs. Yanez do indeed have a pattern of profiting from the boards and committees which they conveniently have been members on. I shutter to think her true motive for wanting to win this seat???

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