It looks like Santa Ana City Councilman Vince Sarmiento won’t be getting a free pass in November after all, as he has drawn an General Election challenger – Jessica Byulnim Cha, a divorce attorney who lives in Santa Ana and also has a law practice on 1851 East First Street.
Cha has an undergraduate degree from U.C. San Diego and a law degree from Syracuse University, according to the California State Bar Association. Unlike Sarmiento she actually practices law and is pretty good – she has a “Superb” rating from AVVO. Sarmiento has a much lower AVVO rating.
Cha also “gained tremendous experience and knowledge as a federal government attorney at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and has been able to use her skills effectively advocating for clients in her private practice,” according to her Linkedin page.
I don’t know why Cha is running but I am glad she is. Sarmiento has been a complete train wreck as a City Council member. He voted to hire our inexperienced and weak SAPD Police Chief, Carlos Rojas, after running our former Chief, Paul Walters, out of town. Sarmiento also was involved in overpaying City Manager David Cavazos and then doubling down by giving Cavazos an unmerited raise and a bonus.
We need City Council members that will fight for Santa Ana’s families – and that is not Sarmiento. While Cha is out there fighting for Santa Ana families in family courts Sarmiento makes a living, for the most part, renting family properties to seedy bars.
We will report more about Cha as we gather the details about her campaign. Suffice to say we are glad she is in the race – and she is a serious candidate as she did purchase and complete a ballot statement. This time Sarmiento won’t be getting a walk in the park. He is going to have to mount a serious re-election effort. Considering that four years ago he almost lost, to a challenger who did not raise money or campaign, he should be very worried indeed.
Update – a pajarito tells me that Cha’s father, Walter Cha, is a big-time property owner in Downtown Santa Ana. If that is the case he might have had something to do with Jessica’s candidacy. I am told that he donates to other candidates and has been generally upset with how our City Council is running our city. More to come…