The OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano is a huge fan of far-left Democrat Julio Perez – one of four Democrats vying for the 69th Assembly District. That’s fine. What is not cool is Gustavo’s continued allegation that Santa Ana Council Woman Michele Martinez “sold out” to Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido. That is not just untrue – it is complete B.S.
The reality is that Martinez was elected to Ward 2 on the Santa Ana City Council by running AGAINST Pulido’s handpicked candidate, the useless Tino Rivera (a Republican who switched to the Democratic Party for that race). That was a tough race – Martinez was unknown and vastly underfunded. The other candidates included a Com Link Board Member, Evangeline Gawronski, who ran a credible campaign; a candidate, Tish Leon, who took out a loan on her house; and Rivera. Martinez punked them all, garnering 32.6% of the vote, according to Smart Voter.
Think about it – Martinez began her career in politics by taking out Pulido’s handpicked lame candidate. This is a sell out? Really?
Two years later, Martinez shocked everyone by running against Pulido himself! She ran hard – but was up against the entire Pulido machine – and the Usual Suspects were still on Pulido’s side at the time. It was an ugly race marked with awful attacks against Martinez. The race included two gadflys – George Collins and Stanley Fiala, but Martinez accounted well for herself, ending up with 29.3% of the vote, according to Smart Voter.
Two years later, the man who convinced Martinez to run in 2008, lawyer Alfredo “Al” Amezcua, threw his hat in the ring, opting to run against Pulido. It was quite a turn of events as Amezcua was always Pulido’s boy. He was in fact one of Pulido’s hatchet men. He was quite a thug during the Nativo Lopez recall campaign – on Pulido’s orders – going as far as to threaten a Santa Ana teacher who supported Lopez. But Amezcua’s love for Pulido waned when Pulido did not invest in Amezcua’s disastrous and ultimately failed Santa Ana Business Bank. Amezcua’s investors lost over 40% of their stake in that dreadful scheme.
Amezcua was a big part of the Nativo Lopez recall campaign
And even worse, someone told Rancho Santiago Community College District Chancellor Eddie Hernandez that Amezcua had registered to vote at his law office when he ran for the Rancho Board of Education. Amezcua was caught red-handed as he did not live in the area he ran for. He resigned. And Pulido’s pal Mark McLoughlin ended up getting Amezcua’s seat. Amezcua knew McLoughlin well. McLoughlin and his wife hosted the election night party when Lopez got recalled.
It was all too much for Amezcua to bear and he turned on Pulido. He ran Martinez against Pulido to test the waters – and then he jumped in and ran in 2010. But it was an epic fail. Amezcua and his pals cornered Martinez and tried to force her to support his mayoral campaign – but things had changed since Martinez’ failed mayoral campaign.
An Amezcua campaign sign in Debbie McEwen’s front yard
Martinez had looked into the abyss and realized that Amezcua had royally screwed her by pushing her to take on Pulido. She had to figure out a way to make an impact on the City Council, and she approached them after the 2008 election. They took her in – which in itself was amazing. And then she began to have an influence on the Council. She joined with Council Member Sal Tinajero and together they began to pull the City Council to the left. At the same time, Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez began to ask hard questions about Santa Ana City Manager Dave Ream and his goons.
Since 2008, our City Council, which is now all-Latino and includes only one Republican, the disgraced Carlos Bustamante, has dumped Ream and his Lieutenants and removed most of the Usual Suspects from our City Commissions. While Ream left our budget in tatters – and in the red – the Council and our acting City Manager, Paul Walters, have steadily climbed out of the budget hole. This Council voted to support Harvey Milk Day and they voted to oppose Arizona’s racist SB 1070. The past Councils would have taken the reverse positions on those issues. Chalk it up to Martinez and Tinajero – the progressive heart of the Santa Ana City Council.
Did Martinez sell out? Hell no. She grew up and she has made a real impact on our City Council. I too have been accused of selling out – but the truth is I started this very blog in September of 2009, in order to support Amezcua’s campaign. I was never a fan of his, but businessman Art Lomeli asked me to support Amezcua, as the lesser of two evils. Sean Mill and I met with Lomeli and Amezcua and we signed on, but just a few weeks later it was terribly apparent that Amezcua was in bed with the same Usual Suspects that our Council majority had dumped off our City Commissions. Mill and I showed up to several of Amezcua’s SaCRED meetings – this was a group founded to support affordable housing. But one night we arrived and found a gaggle of Usual Suspects was already there.
There was no way that Mill and I were going to stick with Amezcua if he was going to re-empower the Usual Suspects, and to make matters worse, his publicist, Jennifer Delson, called me and said that Amezcua wanted me to stop blogging about him. I was trying to support the big dope! At that point it was game over. I determined that Amezcua was the threat in the 2010 Mayor’s race – as Pulido was now working with us. And that is how I ended up in Pulido’s corner, after kicking his tail for some fifteen years over at my old Orange Juice blog.
Pulido’s consultant retained my services to design a website for him – and I did a good job. Imagine that. Pulido put his campaign and his image in my hands – that should tell you a lot about him. And what about Amezcua? We kicked his tail and drove his Republican Usual Suspect pals nuts.
Did I sell out? Hell no. I made a few bucks and kept the Usual Suspects out of City Hall. That my friends was a win-win. Amezcua himself told me during the campaign that he should have worked with me, after he and Pulido appeared at a Com Link meeting. Well Al, you should have. Epic fail on your part!
Now Amezcua is backing Perez for the 69th. That figures. He is still pissed that Martinez got a higher percentage of the vote than he did when she challenged Pulido. And she did that with a lot less campaign money.
Will Martinez beat Perez? I hope so. People have taken her lightly before and all she has done is win. She fought the power in Santa Ana and she prevailed. Let’s hope she does so again. Gustavo says Perez is the 69th. Not true. Perez makes a living off the dues of working people. Martinez grew up in Santa Ana. She struggled without a dad and with a mom who was dealing with addictions. Martinez prevailed with a lot of help from many good people – and unlike Perez she had to work for what she has. Perez, if he gets to Sacramento, will join the blue horde of tax and spend union hacks that have bankrupted this state. Martinez on the other hand will be progressive on the issues that really matter, but I trust her not to be a job killer, like Perez. She is our best hope.
14 thoughts on “No Gustavo, Michele Martinez and I did not sell out to Miguel Pulido”
Tino Rivera is a good man with a wonderful family. He graduated from Santa Ana schools as did his kids. No need to call him names.
He might be a nice guy but he had no business running for our City Council. He even went on vacation to Hawaii during his campaign! FAIL.
Art- I know you use this term a lot and being one of the newbies, maybe you can help me understand it: “Usual Suspects”. Who are they? What do they stand for? Thanks in advance.
They are the metiches who used to rule Santa Ana back in the day. Mostly older, white Republican residents. They have enjoyed having their Neighborhood Associations subsidized by the city for many years, even though at best they represent 1% of the residents in this city.
How are have their Associations been subsidized? I feel I need a Santa Ana for dummies class to figure out how things work.
The city spends a lot of money on the NAs. Here is some homework for you:
Art doesn’t like Com-Link and the neighborhood Associations.
These groups help promote transparency in local government and cut across ethnic divides and economic classes. Art is a toss back to the older years of segregation of the peoples, a place for everyone and everyone only in their place.
Its great for conflict on blogs that raise a few bucks in ad fees.
I served on Com Link’s board. Twice. I have no problem with them except that we shouldn’t be spending public money on them.
As for transparency, no one has worked harder to bring down the old power structure in this city. I was very effective at that on the old OJ blog and have continued that good work here on the NSA.
The Usual Suspects were the old guard. We finished them off.
This blog is Santa Ana, whether you like it or not.
Thanks for the links to the old stories…good reading. I agree that City funding of the Associations seems like a waste- if it is good, let the residents pay for it themselves directly.
I especially liked your Usual Suspects descriptions. Although, a few points that maybe hit home:
1. I personally don’t see what is wrong with having Halloween early for the kids during the daylight hours (if the City funds it, that should be cut…). Much safer and you can actually see the kids’ costumes. Halloween is crazy in our neighborhood.
2. Bear locks on trash cans seems strange, but I get there point…I don’t really like people going through my trash and recyclables especially when they drop things out of the can onto the street- isn’t that illegal and we are supposed to call the SAPD on it?
3. As a poor Spanish linguist, it can be frustrating when signs are not in Spanish and English- although I guess there is nothing wrong with walking in someone else’s shoes to keep us humble.
I think the Floral Park Halloween deal was actually a week before the real Halloween. They just don’t want to give candy out to the poor kids. We buy extra candy every year so as to not disappoint the kids.
I don’t mind folks taking cans out of my trash. I feel bad that some folks are in such dire straits. Thank God we aren’t in such a bind!
You are right about putting ourselves in other’s shoes. Very wise…
Floral Park Halloween (put on by the Mothers Group I believe) generally is on the weekend before the 31st if I recall. During day light hours. Would not make much sense to do it on a weekday since it needs to be light out. Halloween is an optional “holiday”- no one should feel obligated to give out candy. I personally feel it gives a bad message- put a hand out, say a word, and get something in return without doing anything substantive for it or learning a lesson. We always give out candy and usually get about 250 kids or so…and one group of teenagers asking for beer (really, are you serious- yep!)- so many kids that we set up the lawn chairs and don’t bother with the doorbell. Our first year we were overwhelmed and did not know what to expect. When we started seeing the vans of kids get unloaded and scatter, we knew we were going to fall short of candy. Now friends come over for the show. By the number of kids in the neighborhood, it does not feel like there is any shortage of houses giving candy out. I really can’t believe there is a high percentage of those who participate in the Floral Park Halloween weekend that don’t also do regular Halloween also.
My thoughts on the trash is probably two fold: 1- we try to recycle our own cans and use it as an opportunity to teach the kids a little bit about economics. Remember, we pay the CRV when we buy the soda/water/etc… 2- since we don’t have cans in our trash bins, I would prefer to not have others going through them. They have nothing to gain and it can add to street litter. I also feel bad for those in that situation, but they are wasting their time going through our trash. I don’t always know why we are so blessed when others struggle so much just to eat, which is why charity is a part of our family’s belief system. I would rather get some of our CRV back, teach our kids about economics and the environment, give to charity, and possibly keep some privacy.
“The OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano is a huge fan of far-left Democrat Julio Perez – one of four Democrats vying for the 69th Assembly District”…… Hmmmmmm
What is pathetic in Arellano story is his notion than a Latino/a can lead others to better life when a Latino/a is incapable to take care of its own life.
I recall his opportunity to show himself on the KFI 640AM as a substitute one time and blew it grandiosely.
Latino Arellano, allegedly an intellectual one, is dumb as a doorknob.
He believed that he can impress the KFI intelligent audience by playing his socialistic quebradita as a bumper music.
Go Michele “Kaťuša” Martinez
Playing for change
Allegedly that is what Nelson does and than he is bitching about corporations.
I am sure that he would not complaint if a corporation would publish his music.