Thu. Sep 29th, 2022

The General Election is coming up quickly, on Nov. 8, 2022. Here in Santa Ana we will be voting for a new Mayor, several City Council Members, a School Board Member and a couple of ballot measures as well as a new Orange County Supervisor.



The Orange County Supervisor Election (District Two)

Our current Mayor, Vicente Sarmiento (whose actual name, per the State Bar, is Vincent Flavio) opted not to run again for Mayor, after one term. Instead he is running for Orange County Supervisor. The main reason for this is likely the paycheck as our Mayor and City Council Members have part-time positions. They make a monthly stipend and then get extra money for serving on various boards and commissions. However Sarmiento still has to work as a part-time cannabis and bankruptcy lawyer. We suspect he would much rather pull down a six figure salary, with benefits, as a County Supervisor.

We cannot however, in good faith, support Sarmiento. We dislike that he has called police officers murderers. We are not pleased that his own sister (and her hubbie) are suing the Cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana on behalf of a criminal who led police on a dangerous multi-city pursuit, in a car he stole from his own girlfriend – then engaged in a hours-long standoff before jumping out of the car holding something that made it look like he was armed. So of course he was shot by the police and now Sarmiento’s own family is trying to leach millions of dollars from local taxpayers – on behalf of a dead criminal.

We also are not thrilled by Sarmiento’s ongoing leftward tilt – he fashions himself to be a Bolivian Bernie Sanders. And we mightily dislike that his family made their fortune running seedy bars in Santa Ana. Moreover crime, homelessness and drug use have all escalated during Sarmiento’s brief mayoral tenure. he has failed in every regard!

Fortunately we have a choice in this year’s O.C. Supervisor election as Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Bernice Nguyen is running as well. She, like Sarmiento, is a Democrat and she is fairly progressive. the difference is that she does not hate the police. That is why our popular Orange County Sheriff, Don Barnes, endorsed her this week. And that is part of the reason we too are endorsing her. Nguyen also has a plan to deal with homelessness.

We also like that she is both Vietnamese and Mexican – representing two of the major demographics in Santa Ana. If she wins can we finally have a Spring Roll and Tamale Festival in Downtown Santa Ana? That would blow the Orange Street Fair away!

It should be noted that a majority of the Santa Ana City Council Members has endorsed Nguyen including Council Members Phil Bacerra, David Penaloza, Thai Viet Phan and Nelida Mendoza.

The Santa Ana Mayoral Election

There are four candidates running to replace Sarmiento as Mayor of Santa Ana. The top two candidates are Valerie Amezcua, a SAUSD Trustee who retired from the O.C. Probation Department and Sal Tinajero, a former Santa Ana City Councilman who is now a Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee. The other two candidates are Jesse Nestor, a young Libertarian with no political experience and Jose Solorio, a former Santa Ana City Councilman who also once served in the California State Assembly.

Tinajero is part of the same political coalition that Sarmiento hails from, which includes Santa Ana’s top police-hater, Councilman Johnathan Hernandez. Tinajero’s website states that his priorities include: “Redirect funds towards health and youth agencies.” That is code for “defund the police!” He also supports the creation of a police oversight committee, which will no doubt be populated by anti-police activists like Hernandez and will consistently act to neuter our police.

Amezcua says on her website that she will: “implement new ideas to reduce homelessness and build housing, I’ll work with first responders to make neighborhoods safer, and I’ll build stronger partnerships with our schools and youth programs.

Note that Amezcua says she will work with law enforcement while Tinajero is making it clear he sees law enforcement as the enemy! For that reason we have endorsed Amezcua for Mayor. She has our full support.

Solorio came in fourth place when he ran for Mayor two years ago, in a crowded field. He was once a star in the Democratic Party but today he is clinging to his past and his current campaign does not seem to be getting a lot of support. He is a good guy but he has apparently lost his cachet and we are not sure how he can get his mojo back. Perhaps he will split the male vote, which can only help Amezcua.

The Santa Ana City Council Election

Santa Ana’s City Council Elections are now ward-specific and three seats are up for grabs – Wards 2, 4 and 6.

We are supporting the incumbents in each of these Wards – Nelida Mendoza in Ward 2; Phil Bacerra in Ward 4 and David Penaloza in Ward 6.

Each of these incumbents has been challenged by an anti-law enforcement candidate in the mold of Councilman Hernandez: Benjamin Vazquez in Ward 2; Amalia Mejia in Ward 4 and Manny Escamilla in Ward 6.

If you would like to see the SAPD defunded then by all means vote for Vazquez, Mejia and Escamilla.

The SAUSD Election – Area 4

The SAUSD also now has ward-specific elections. Three candidates are running for Area 4 including Andrew Linares, an attorney and parent; Sylvia Iglesias (sister of controversial firebrand former Trustee Ceci Iglesias) and Katelyn Brazer Aceves (an unknown who is part of the anti-law enforcement coalition typified by Councilman Hernandez).

We are supporting Linares for this seat. He also has the support of SAUSD Trustees John Palacio and Valerie Amezcua. Iglesias is fine too but Linares has been very involved in the community for several years and we believe he will be a voice of moderation on a school board that has tilted too far to the left over the past few years.

68th State Assembly District Election

The 68th State Assembly District includes most of Santa Ana. Voters will have two choices – Santa Ana businessman and resident Mike Tardif or Anaheim City Councilman Avelino Valencia. The seat has been vacated by the incumbent, Tom Daly, who opted not to run again after the FBI started digging into the political corruption in Anaheim.

The corruption under investigation in Anaheim stems from the deal that former Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, a Valencia ally, made with the Angels to develop their property. The deal was struck down in the courts and in the aftermath Sidhu was forced out of office. It turns out that the special interests who funded Sidhu for years have also been backing Daly and now Valencia. The entire Anaheim political cabal is crooked. Given that corruption we don’t see any good reason to vote for Valencia. Tardif has our endorsement.

We also like that Tardif is opposed to any new taxes and he backs suspending the onerous California gas tax.

Ballot Measure W: Business Tax Equity and Flexible Tax Holiday

The argument in favor of this measure was written by Santa Ana City Council Members David Penaloza and Phil Bacerra. The measure will make the city business tax more favorable for small businesses and will also make it easier for new home businesses to get a business license. This sounds like sensible reform so we encourage you to vote Yes on Measure W.

For the record no one filed an argument against Measure W.

Ballot Measure X: Voter Ballot Measure to Amend the Santa Ana City Charter

This ballot measure will amend the City Charter by imposing a lifetime ban for the Mayor after completion of four terms and a lifetime ban for Councilmembers after completion of three terms, requiring approval of two-thirds of the City Council to adopt a budget, expanding the application of the Code of Ethics, utilizing gender neutral language throughout the Charter, changing references to the “Clerk of Council” to “City Clerk” and making other minor clean-up updates.

The argument in favor of this ballot measure was written by Santa Ana City Councilmember Nelida Mendoza. No one filed an argument against it.

We don’t see any reason to oppose this measure. We encourage a yes vote on Measure X.

The 46th Congressional District

The incumbent, Lou Correa, has been serving Orange County for many years in various capacities including a stint as an O.C. Supervisor. He is opposed by Republican Christopher J. Gonzales, an attorney.

Gonzalez’ endorsements include the California ProLife Council – which is pretty tone-deaf considering the national backlash to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to scuttle Roe vs. Wade.

We have always supported Correa and will continue to do so. The last time we spoke to him, a couple weeks ago, he noted that he is working hard to increase funding for law enforcement. That is certainly appreciated since crime remains out of control in California.

Please be sure to vote. This is an important election. If we are not careful we will end up with a City Council and Mayor that will defund our police. We simply cannot afford that outcome!

State Ballot Measures

The information below is courtesy of our friends at the California Policy Center.

Prop 1: Constitutional Amendment to create unrestricted access to abortion

California lawmakers have the authority granted to them to put anything on the ballot that they want, so what do they do this year? In response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, state legislators put Proposition 1 on the ballot to ensconce the most extreme abortion policy in the country in the California’s Constitution.

But while polling consistently shows the majority of Californians support Roe, Prop 1 would allow abortion right up to the moment of birth. As California’s Flash Report editor Jon Fleischman explained in his op-ed in the Orange County Register:

“Right now, a woman can have an abortion in California up to the point where the baby can survive outside the womb or is “viable.” Viability has been the standard for decades.

…Based on polling, it is likely most Californians are comfortable with that viability standard. But legislative Democrats are testing how far voters are willing to go to allow legal abortions up to a baby’s due date. That’s what will be on the ballot this November in California with Proposition 1.”

Of course, the messaging in support of Prop 1 will be backed by hundreds of millions of dollars, but the campaign is about a lot more than access to abortion. As Gov. Newsom focuses on a White House run, he’s desperate to deflect attention from California’s myriad problems: rampant homelessness and crime, a failing electricity grid, high gas and housing prices, and the fact that more people are leaving the state than ever before because the cost of living has skyrocketed while the quality of life has nose-dived on his watch.

Prop 26 & 27: The high-stakes battle over legalizing sports betting

California’s Indian tribes are in a heated battle over bringing sports betting to the Golden State. The two sides have already spent $370 million on their campaigns for and against competing ballot measures, Propositions 26 and 27.

California does not allow sports betting, but online gambling industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel are pushing Prop 27 to make it legal across the state. You’d hardly know Prop 27 is about gambling from the marketing. They’re pushing the measure as a matter of fairness for smaller tribes who don’t have massive casinos — and as a panacea to help California’s homeless!

On the other side is Prop 26, the tribes’ measure that would allow Californians to bet on sports so long as they place their bets in-person at tribal casinos or California’s horse tracks. There’s also a third coalition, led by the politically-savvy San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which has raised millions to fight against Prop 27, but isn’t contributing to Prop 26 either. This group has submitted signatures for their own ballot initiative to legalize sports betting both online and in-person — but they’re aiming for the 2024 election.

With all the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in this fight, there’s one sure bet: the biggest winners are the political consultants who are paid obscene amounts of money to run these campaigns.

Prop 28: Funding for Arts Education in public schools taps California’s general fund

Proposition 28 purports to fund “Arts Education” in California’s schools by earmarking more of the state’s general fund for that purpose. But California’s government-run schools already control the lion’s share of the general fund as a result of Prop 98, which passed in 1998 and requires at least 40% of the state’s general fund go toward public schools and community colleges. If passed, Prop 28 would mandate an additional 1% of the general fund budget go toward arts education.

Contrary to the claims of the state’s teachers’ unions, California already spends generously on students. This fiscal year, the San Jose Mercury News reports education funding will hit “a record $95.5 billion for public schools under the Prop 98 funding formula. It works out to about $17,000 per student…And that doesn’t count one-time money from the federal government.”

Teachers unions will of course claim that California teachers are always underpaid, but you can go to Transparent California to see that is patently untrue. As CPC senior fellow Edward Ring explains in his article this week, teachers in LAUSD — the state’s largest school district — make an average of $115,946 in salary, health insurance and pension benefits for about 185 days of work.

To be sure, Prop 28’s backers have a lot of nerve. As California’s students have fallen desperately behind on education basics as a result of extended school closures during the pandemic, you’d think their focus would be on catching kids up on reading and math.

Why should voters approve more arts education funding when California’s government-run schools are some of the worst performing in the nation — and California is facing so many serious challenges? The San Jose Mercury News called out Prop 28 this way:

“It’s fiscally reckless to keep earmarking unpredictable state general fund money when we don’t know what the future needs of California will be as it confronts, for example, a housing shortage, climate change, inadequate water supplies and wildfires.

…The answer is not to lock in a bigger share of the state general fund pie for schools. The answer is for schools to better spend the money they have.”

Prop 29: SEIU’s thuggery against kidney dialysis clinics is back on the ballot — again

Prop 29 is backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which picks a fight every two years against kidney dialysis clinics. SEIU wants you to believe that there is somehow an urgent need to have more SEIU employees in the approximately 650 dialysis centers operating in California. Voters rejected SEIU’s Prop 8 in 2018 (59.9%-40.1%) and Prop. 23 went down in flames in 2020 (63.4%-36.6%).

This year, SEIU wants to mandate that a doctor, nurse practitioner or a physician assistant with a minimum 6 months experience be on site 24 hours a day at California’s dialysis clinics, which would increase costs at these centers and could force some to close. Patients could be forced to travel farther for this lifesaving service that they receive three times a week.

The California Medical Association opposes the measure because, let’s face it, it’s not really about protecting patients. Instead, SEIU is trying to strong-arm the kidney dialysis centers to unionize. The unions have more than enough money to put these propositions on the ballot every election cycle and they hope the kidney dialysis industry will tire of spending tens of millions of dollars to defend itself and ultimately capitulate.

Again, the San Jose Mercury News pulls no punches in exposing Prop 29 for what it is:

“Proposition 29 is the worst kind of abuse of California’s election system…The Service Employees International Union realizes by now that it has little chance of winning voter approval. But that’s not the game. Rather, they’re using the initiative system as a form of political blackmail designed to force the leading kidney dialysis firms to eventually cave to demands to unionize clinic workers.”

If you’re ever in doubt about how cynical California’s powerful unions are, consider that this dialysis treatment is a matter of life and death for 80,000 Californians whose risk of dying increases by nearly a third if they miss a treatment.

Yet another example of how California’s corrupt unions could care less about the lives of Californians, literally.

Prop 30: Lyft’s wealth tax to fund electric cars opposed by teachers’ union?

Gov. Newsom has mandated that ride share companies magically transform the fleets of cars owned by their independent contractor drivers to electric vehicles by 2030, but he didn’t explain how the average Uber or Lyft driver is supposed to pay for their own high-priced electric car. Rideshare leader Lyft responded by backing Prop 30, a wealth tax on Californians earning more than $2 million a year that would fund subsidies and rebates to meet Newsom’s mandate.

Taxing the wealthy to fund his green dreams might sound like something Newsom would eagerly support, so why has he come out swinging against Prop 30? He’s joined the California Teachers Association in an aggressive campaign against Proposition 30 unveiled earlier this week.

If you’re scratching your head about why the teachers’ union would weigh in on electric vehicles, you only need to read the press release from Newsom and the CTA to understand what’s going on.

“Prop. 30’s narrowly focused tax increase puts a special interest lock box on income taxes that traditionally would fund transitional kindergarten, public schools, community colleges, healthcare, public safety, and other priorities,” CTA President E. Toby Boyd said.

In other words, if anyone is going to fleece the richest Californians, it’s going to be teachers’ unions! The CTA doesn’t want all that cash going to any cause the unions don’t control.

Will Californians pass Prop 30? If they do, California’s marginal income tax rate — already the highest in the nation at 13.3 — would increase another 1.75%. At that rate, you can expect a mass exodus of those wealthy Californians that Prop 30’s proponents are counting on.

Prop 31: Referendum on flavored tobacco ban for kids…and adults

Proposition 31 is a referendum on Senate Bill 793 (Hill, 2020), the California legislature’s ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products. SB 793, the “Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act,” was signed into law by Gov. Newsom in 2020.

What’s wrong with banning flavored tobacco and vaping products to kids? Nothing, except of course it was already against the law to sell them to anyone under the age of 21 prior to the passage of SB 793. But SB 793’s title is intentionally misleading. It bans the sale of flavored tobacco products to all customers regardless of age.

Here’s the Orange County Register’s take:

“California has a lot of problems and not all of them are directly taxpayer related. But…they all interconnect in one important way: Control. Our state’s government and its boosters think they know better than you. They know better how to spend your money. They know better how to use your land. They know what’s best for you. And, if you disagree, the nanny state will just make it illegal.”

Precisely.

Ballots are scheduled to drop on October 10th, so grab your popcorn. California voters are going to face a deluge of advertising in the coming weeks and the mega-millions that will be spent on these battles will surely be something to behold.

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.

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