Fri. Sep 30th, 2022

I attended the Los Amigos press conference today, which was held in their usual meeting place – a German restaurant in Anaheim.  As I expected, it was a giant waste of time.  I wrote about their complaints yesterday.  You can read that post by clicking here.



And I was not surprised to see that failed mayoral candidate Alfredo Amezcua was pulling all the strings.  He and his assistant kept pulling the Chairman of Los Amigos, Amin David, aside, ostensibly to whisper directions to him.

The press conference was conducted by my friend Francisco Barragan, who did a good job with very weak material. Essentially he is asking the Orange County Grand Jury to investigate the Santa Ana City Council, but none of his charges are at all salient.  They are all groundless.

I had the opportunity to ask questions and I took advantage of that.  Amezcua, of course, got up and left the room as soon as I started asking questions.

I asked if Barragan was aware that Assemblyman Jose Solorio was on the Santa Ana City Council in 2002, when the severance package with now retired City Attorney Joe Fletcher was negotiated.  He was not.  I asked if he intended to investigate wht Solorio did on that Council.  His reply was that Los Amigos was asking for everyone to be investigated – but he only called out Mayor Miguel Pulido and Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez by name.

Barragan also complained that SAPD Police Chief Paul Walters called voters, via a robo-call, during work hours.  I then asked if Barragan was aware that robo calls are made by computers and that Chief Walters was not personally on the phone with the voters.  He appeared to be flustered by that question.

He then played the audio of the robo call, wherein Walters asked why Amezcua was insisting that he was endorsed by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, when she in fact endorsed Mayor Pulido.  That is a legitimate good point.  Sanchez did NOT endorse Amezcua.  Barragan insisted that she “supported” Amezcua, but if you look up the word “endorse” in a dictionary, you will find it is synonymous with the word “support.”  This complaint was just more splitting hairs by Los Amigos!

It should be noted that former LAPD Chief William Bratton publicly endorsed L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the last time he ran.  So did L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca.  Public safety officials often lend their support to politicians.  Walters did nothing wrong and he did not deserve to be slandered by Los Amigos.

At one point, Voice of OC reporter Adam Elmahrek mentioned that Supervisor John Moorlach said that back-pay for public employees was illegal.  Of course Barragan agreed.

I then asked Barragan if that means Los Amigos is against the back-pay pensions that the O.C. public employees received a few years ago – that of course is what Moorlach’s comment, which Elmahrek took out of context, was about.

And again Barragan was quite flustered by my question.  I felt bad for him.  He is a good man and deserves better than to be publicly used by the likes of Amezcua.

Finally, Barragan refused to take any more of my questions, so I left.  I was courteous and professional but nevertheless one of those in attendance asked if I was there as a reporter or as an activist.  I said both.  I was there as a reporter and as a twenty year resident of Santa Ana.

The people of Santa Ana voted in November to keep Mayor Pulido in office.  It is sad to see the Los Amigos bunch wasting our time with a public display of sour grapes.  Even O.C. Register reporter Doug Irving noticed that.  He asked Barragan if Los Amigos would still be holding this press conference if Amezcua won.  Barragan said yes, but we all knew right away that this was all about Amezcua spending a quarter million and still getting rejected by the voters.

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

16 thoughts on “Los Amigos press conference turns out to be a giant waste of time”
  1. I was there. This was not just Los Amigos. It was LULAC, it was MANA, it was Veteran organizations. Look at the picture. This picture. not that photo shop gang- banger looking picture on the other post. This was one of the proudest most patriotic days of my life. My attendance there was life changing for me. We will see if it turns out to be “no big deal” or a very big deal. This was not an Amescua deal,even if he was there.

    1. Yes, it was shameful indeed to see Latinos attacking Latinos.

      Amezcua most certainly was in charge. I saw him and his publicist whispering orders to David and to Barragan.

      Can you address the issues I raised? I rebutted all of their points. So far none of the Amezcua supporters have been willing, or able, to discuss my responses to the lame Los Amigos charges.

  2. Sadly this charade was nothing more than a dog and pony show to paint our city in a negative light. Many of those involved in this attack on our city leaders and Police Chief Paul Walters don’t even live in Santa Ana.

    One of the groups calling itself the “Santa Ana Coalition for Better Government” is led by two gentlemen that don’t live in our city.

    If these folks have a genuine concern for Santa Ana perhaps they can move to Santa Ana and become actual members of our community. They could run for office and share their wisdom with us residents.

    This was nothing to be proud of Matt. This was nothing more than an exploitation of the media, the grand jury and the many members of these organizations that are being used by a defeated political campaign.

  3. art: “Yes, it was shameful indeed to see Latinos attacking Latinos.”
    That is hilarious, it happens all the time.

  4. Actually, i think many of these individuals were deeply saddened to have to come to the conclusions that they have formed over the last few years. They were not there to attack their fellow latinos today, they had more important business to take care of. 3 months ago, I was defending the city on this blog site, saying that they were going to provide new security measures for the public after that murder. I was embarrassed and appalled to find what they gave us instead. Just think, had they done something sensible, then you all never would have had to hear from me at all. At least their bad decisions are good for your ratings.

    1. mateo,

      I cannot speak to what you are referencing, however I have offered distinct and clear rebuttals to every complaint made by Los Amigos today. As of now no one has come on here to debate me on the salient points I raised.

      Does that mean everyone agrees with me or is the opposition unable to defend their shaky claims?

  5. Art,
    From reading Geoff Willis’s post at the OJ, it seems the heart of the complaint concerning City Attorney Joeseph Fletcher is whether the City Council had the right to “award” him a payout of 142,080 that was not spelled out under the terms of his contract with the city. I personally have no idea whether this was legal or not, but I don’t think you have offered a “distinct and clear rebuttal” to this particular issue.

    From Geoff Willis OJ Blog;
    In an action that may well violate the California Constitution, the City Council of the City of Santa Ana gave former City Attorney Joseph Fletcher more than $330,000 from the city when he stepped down last week, even though they were under no apparent contractual obligation to do so. The payout includes $142,080 from a severance deal he negotiated last month with the City Council. But it also includes $191,699 in cashed-out vacation and sick time, according to figures released by the city. That brings the total to $333,779. Mr. Fletcher’s contract called for an appproximately $280,000 payout in the event that he was fired, but Mr. Fletcher had indicated his intent to resign several months ago and both parties concluded that this “give away” (my words, not theirs) was done at the end of a voluntary departure.

    1. anonster,

      Do you really think that our Council would willingly break the law? Our Mayor Pro Tem, Claudia Alvarez, is a Deputy District Attorney! Councilman Vince Sarmiento is also a lawyer. They cannot go about breaking laws as it will jeopardize their standing with the State Bar Association.

      It seems like a gross amount of money, but Fletcher was slipping up on the job. The city faced more risk by allowing him to stay. The Council, in particular, is better off moving him along and replacing him with someone more competent. All they are doing is correcting bad decisions made by Council Members who have long since termed out.

      Willis by the way is a Republican who lives in Mission Viejo. What happens in Santa Ana is quite frankly none of his business.

  6. Art,
    “Do you really think that our Council would willingly break the law?” You might ask the people of Bell that question.
    I think a cash strapped city “awarding” someone 142,080 dollars when they are not obligated to do so, just to “move him along”, is not being fiscally prudent.

    1. I am not sure I agree with that notion. A bad city attorney can certainly cost you more than that. In fact you could say that for any overpaid, ineffective public employee.

      Remember Bob Citron? He bankrupted Orange County. In hindsight, it would have been awesome to pay him a million dollars and get rid of him before he could bankrupt the County.

      The fact is, our past City Councils have wasted a lot of money in a lot of awful ways. Think of the needless medians on 17th St., for example, or the Bristol St. widening. Or the Neighborhood Associations for that matter. No other city in Orange County pays to run their local Neighborhood Associations!

      The Bell situation, by the way, stemmed from a bad and corrupt city manager. The City Council played along with him. Mayor Pro Tem Alvarez actually made headlines today by outing the fact that our city manager and his staff may be spending money that is not properly authorized by the City Council. You see? Our City Council is done playing along with Ream – and it is a matter of time before he heads for the exit.

  7. “Yes, it was shameful indeed to see Latinos attacking Latinos.”….. Hmmm

    The very bases for a democracy is an ability to criticize your own.

    Your primitive statement Pedroza, shows how gravely deprived are you morally.

    Your dignity is 1/4 of a man not because you are Mexican but because you are slave.

  8. Art,

    People that attended this press conference said that they felt that the unstated general theme was “when good men and women do nothing, evil prevails”, and felt great about the community being given voice.

    This was in fact a difficult choice, but the independent organizations felt it necessary to come together because of the gravity of the issues.

    If Jesus Christ was there speaking up against the evils of corruption, I think you would be saying that he was just a puppet of Amezcua.

    You have stated several times that you are not a reporter, and thus that you do not have to be objective.

    For articles written by other media present at the Press Conference, please see:

    Voice of OC:
    http://www.voiceofoc.org/oc_central/article_6be1aa68-1945-11e0-b2c8-001cc4c03286.html

    OC Register:
    http://www.ocregister.com/news/coalition-282858-grand-jury.html

    LatinoCalifornia – ARTICLE IN SPANISH
    http://www.latinocalifornia.com/site/?q=node/5410

    1. Why is it that none of you are willing to debate me on my rebuttal of your assertions?

      I was the only one covering that conference who showed up prepared to ask critical questions. I felt bad for the poor kid from the Voice of OC who I caught quoting Moorlach out of context. Doug Irving had a good question but his ensuing article was a puff piece.

      Jesus said he came here to build an empire in Heaven, not on earth. I don’t think he would have been too pleased by the innuendo and slander that passed for substance at your press conference.

      BTW, we offer RSS links to the Register and the Voice of OC. It really was not necessary to provide the links to their puff pieces.

  9. Art;
    Pulido has been Mayor or on the City Council for 20 years now, those “past City Councils”, were his.
    I agree about Ms. Alvarez, when Pulido awarded our Honda dealership a million dollars for their legal fees, she at least wanted to audit the bill, of course, that went down in flames and Honda got their money, no questions asked.
    You may be right, that this was the most cost effective way to get rid of this guy, but the question remains; did they award him this money in a legal manner?
    We would be FOOLISH not to watch this Council like a hawk, as we still have the SAME MAYOR that was at the helm when all those other poor decisions were made.

    I also disagree with you about Willis;

    “Willis by the way is a Republican who lives in Mission Viejo. What happens in Santa Ana is quite frankly none of his business.”

    Being a “watchdog” of public monies is different than just being a busybody, again, ask the people of Bell, I’m sure they could of used a few Geoff Willises attending their City Council meetings.

    1. Is he a watchdog or a partisan Republican sniping at the Democrats who run my city?

      There is only one watchdog in Mission Viejo of any note and that is Larry Gilbert.

    2. Do you think Pulido has magic powers? He has always had exactly ONE vote.

      I do watch the council like a hawk and they are doing a fine job.

      Willis by the way often looks the other way with regards to the MV Council’s actions. Larry Gilbert is the one who serves as a watchdog in MV.

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