Mayor Pulido enjoys the support of the entire Santa Ana City Council
Several of my friends here in town have been asking me who would be better for Santa Ana – Mayor Miguel Pulido or his challenger, Al Amezcua. Good question! I don’t have an easy answer.
Instead, let’s compare the two on the major issues of the day:
Both Pulido and Amezcua have supported local school bond measures. Amezcua chaired the last one, Measure G, and his daughter Valerie worked on the campaign.
Amezcua was also on the Rancho Santiago Community College District for a few years, before he quit mysteriously. He took part in wasting bond money on a Deputy Sheriff’s training academy we didn’t need. He was also on the board when the fire sprinklers were turned off at Santa Ana College, with no notice given to the students.
Pulido helped bring the Orange County High School for the Arts (OCHSA) to downtown Santa Ana. But that school has not allowed very many Santa Ana kids to enroll.
Both had kids that were in our public school system, although Pulido eventually put his kids in charter schools, and OCHSA.
Pulido has endorsed most of the SAUSD school board members over the years. So has Amezcua. Amezcua’s daugher, Valerie, lost a close race for the SAUSD school board in 2008. Roman Reyna edged her out.
Pulido failed to take advantage of matching state funds to build new libraries. He actually closed one library and failed to open any more.
Bottom line? Too close to call. Neither candidate can brag much about their efforts in education.
Transportation and Public Works
Pulido is on the OCTA’s Board of Directors. However during the last bus operator’s strike he mucked up the works and may have delayed resolution of the strike. This really hurt Santa Ana residents in particular.
I am not aware of any involvement by Amezcua in transportation issues, however he did start the group SACReD and he opposed the new Transit Zone, which will include a street car connecting our train depot to Garden Grove’s downtown.
Pulido brought a lot of federal money to town to pay for the widening of Bristol. However that is now seen as a boondoggle. Under his watch many streets were allowed to decay but over the past year many of our worst streets have been repaired, although some of the repairs are short-term at best.
Under Pulido’s watch our water rates have skyrocketed. He was outed for wasting water and he told the Register that the waste was due to his Orange trees.
I have no idea where Amezcua stands on such issues.
Energy and the Environment
Pulido is a long-time member of the Air Quality Management District in our South Coast District. He even drives a hybrid car they provided to him free of charge.
He is also a consultant on green issues.
Amezcua has no such experience that I am aware of.
Civil Rights and Immigration
During the Prop. 187 campaign, Pulido told some audiences that he supported the measure and others that he didn’t. This year he went out on a limb and supported a measure to boycott Arizona, in the wake of their divisive SB 1070 law.
Amezcua got on a bus and went to Arizona this weekend to protest SB 1070.
Pulido does not support making Santa Ana a sanctuary city. I am not sure where Amezcua stands on that issue. Nor do I know if either candidate would support a new federal amnesty for undocumented residents of this country.
Amezcua does support the Dream Act. Not sure if Pulido does.
Pulido used to be allied with the “Usual Suspects,” racist residents of Santa Ana who are anti-immigrant. However most of them have now migrated to Amezcua’s camp.
Both Pulido and Amezcua are friends with businessman George Pla. Pulido arranged to grant a big city contract to Pla, even though Pla’s company was the high bidder and was not ranked above the other bidders by city officials.
Amezcua started the Santa Ana Business Bank, in league with Pla. That bank sold last year to a group of L.A. investors.
Pulido works his connections whenever he can to make a buck, but he appears to be doing so legally.
Amezcua hangs around with the same people. I am not sure we can trust either one to be entirely ethical.
Amezcua supports mayoral term limits. Pulido does not. However, even if Amezcua got elected I doubt he would be able to get the rest of the Council to support any of his ideas.
The better answer would be ward-specific council elections but I doubt either candidate would support this idea.
Business Development and Taxes
Amezcua helped start the O.C. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and he runs his own law firm in Santa Ana. Pulido is some sort of green consultant and is an engineer.
Both have supported efforts to raise money through fees and assessments. And both have supported bond measures which have increased our property taxes.
Amezcua supported One Broadway Plaza. So did Pulido. They have supported most of the same developments over the years.
Now Amezcua is opposing the latest big public development, the Santa Ana Transit Zone.
I am not sure where they each stand on eminent domain abuse.
Both Amezcua and Pulido are Democrats.
Pulido has great connections in D.C. and Sacramento. While Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has been lukewarm towards Pulido, he is tight with Senators Feinstein and Boxer. Pulido is also allied with Assemblyman Jose Solorio. His relationship with State Senator Lou Correa has been somewhat frosty at times.
Pulido enjoys good relationships with many Republican elected officials as well, but he is not at all tight with Supervisor Janet Nguyen, who is not popular with the Santa Ana City Council.
Amezcua is friendly with Nguyen. They share many of the same supporters. I am not sure if he has many connections in D.C. or Sacramento. However, his political consultant has worked in the past for L.A. Mayor Antonion Villaraigosa. That might open a few doors for Amezcua.
Pulido and Amezcua figure to fight hard for the support of the Democratic Party of Orange County.
Both Pulido and Amezcua enjoy good relations with labor. Pulido has always been supported by the Santa Ana Firemen and Police Unions. The SEIU is not too pleased with all the budget cuts and layoffs at City Hall. They are more likely to side with Amezcua.
I expect the trade unions will go with Pulido.
Too close to call! Pulido will be a popular choice for those who are resistant to change. He is considered the more stable and experience candidate.
Amezcua will enjoy more support with progressives and the working poor.
If Amezcua wins, he will find it hard to work with the Santa Ana City Council. They all support Pulido.
Pulido appears to be turning more moderate. I credit Council Members Michele Martinez, Vince Sarmiento and Sal Tinajero for pulling him leftward.
Amezcua, on the other hand, remains liberal on some issues but is very much involved with the Usual Suspects, who are mostly Republicans.
Who will be better for Santa Ana? Probably Pulido, as hard as that is to believe.
For now I am going to continue to stay neutral and report what both camps are up to.