Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

I met with Alfredo Amezcua before he announced his campaign for Mayor of Santa Ana. I was really hoping he would be the answer to defeating the incumbent Mayor, Miguel Pulido.



In the next few months, Mayor Miguel Pulido’s allies will tear into Amezcua and leave him destroyed.  That is what they did to Pulido’s last mayoral opponent, Michele Martinez, in 2008.

However, Amezcua isn’t really a bad guy.  Is he the solution to our city’s vast problems?  After further review, I don’t think so.  My fear is that he is going to turn out to be a lot like Pulido.

Pulido isn’t a bad guy either.  Like Amezcua, he grew up wanting more.  Amezcua became wealthy as a lawyer, while Pulido took a different road.  He capitalized on his dad’s muffler shop, then began to work the system, first as a Councilman and now as our Mayor.

What Pulido has become expert at is using his various appointed and elected positions to benefit himself.  He now fashions himself a consultant on green matters.  He learned about those as a member of the Southern California Air Quality Management Board.  The AQMD even gave him a free hybrid to use.  But of course he still gets a car allowance from the City of Santa Ana. 

Amezcua, on the other hand, allegedly resigned from the Rancho Santiago Community College Board of Trustees, so that the rest of the Board could give more contracts to his friend, businesman George Pla.

Does that name sound familiar?

Pulio also pals around with Pla.  In fact Pulido engineered the granting of a huge city contract to Pla, to design the light rail system that Pulido wants to install in our city, to connect our downtown with Garden Grove’s downtown.

Amezcua partnered with Pla to start up the Santa Ana Business Bank, which was recently acquired by investors in Los Angeles.  The plan for that bank, I believe, was to make it a depository for local government bonds.  Amezcua worked to pass the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s bond, which was largely wasted on the construction of an O.C. Deputy Sheriff’s training center that we didn’t need.

Amezcua also worked to pass two bond measures put forth by the Santa Ana Unified School District.  In fact he co-chaired the last such measure, and his daughter, Valerie, and his then acolyte, the aforementioned Michele Martinez, also worked on that campaign.   Measure G has since proven to be a total fraud.

Those bond measures raised our local property taxes to record high levels.  And the plan reportedly was to put all of that money in the Santa Ana Business Bank.

The bank’s board was loaded with friends of both Pulido and Amezcua, including Santa Ana Councilman Carlos Busamante – and his twin brother.  The head of the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, Mike Metzler, was also on the board.  So were a number of Santa Ana City Commissioners, including a member of the Santa Ana Planning Commission.

But the plan backfired when the economy tanked, which killed attempts to pass more bond measures.  And the bank was sold, reportedly at a huge loss to its investors.

Now Amezcua chairs a community organization he started to advocate for affordable housing.  He calls this coalition “Sacred.”  But that group has been infiltrated by former Pulido supporters, who some in town refer to as the “Usual Suspects.”  These folks are opposed to affordable housing and are supporters of Pulido’s gentrification efforts. 

Amezcua and his Sacred group have even joined forces with these people to sue the City of Santa Ana for wanting to tear down city-owned properties in the Transit District area, ostensibly because the homes are historic.

I have seen these homes.  They are dilapidated wrecks and are of no value.  They were acquired by the City of Santa Ana using redevelopment funds that are allocated for affordable housing.  Why sue the City over this?

Santa Ana is broke – and our future is dim for many reasons, but particularly because our city leaders have given tremendous contracts to city workers, including huge pensions.  Pulido gets the benefit as the fire and police unions always support him.  But Amezcua won’t change this culture.  He is very connected to big labor. 

We need a Mayor who will be willing to fire city workers and outsource their work.  Neither Pulido nor Amezcua will go there.  They are both partisan Democrats and are simply too entwined with big labor to be able to make such tough decisions.

We need a Mayor who will stand up for our people, but this Friday, when I went to observe the police DUI checkpoint at Rosita Park, I was the only activist in the city to do so.  Amezcua was not there, nor was anyone from his Sacred coalition. Those checkpoints are used to take cars away from immigrants.  The city then extorts these poor residents and forces them to pay hundreds of dollars to get their cars back.

We need a Mayor who will work to make it easier to open businesses in our city.  A recent study found that the City of Santa Ana is the fourth most expensive city in Orange County to do business in.  Pulido has made this worse by advocating for tax increases and assessments.  Amezcua has never opposed any of these measures.

The point I am making is that Amezcua most likely will turn out to be another Pulido.  He will likely work to enrich himself and his friends, just as Pulido has done. 

I had really hoped I could get behind Amezcua, but I just can’t do so, knowing what I know about him.  Like Pulido, he is not an evil person.  But neither of these men have the best interests of our residents at heart.

So what to do?  I spoke this week to two friends of mine who are thinking of running for Mayor.  I believe they will do so, and others may file as well.  We are going to have more choices this year than ever.  It is likely that Pulido and Amezcua will destroy each other.  That may create a perfect scenario for a Latina or an Anglo-American to become our next Mayor.

This vote split doomed Pulido’s candidates for the Council in 2006.  Tino Rivera lost to the aforementioned Michele Martinez, and Jennifer Villasenor lost to Sal Tinajero.  In both races, Anglo candidates split the vote and allowed the non-Pulido canidates to emerge victorious. 

This time Pulido himself may be doomed by a vote split.

My advice to you, my readers, is be cautious in assessing Amezcua.  I know a lot of you want to take out Pulido, but Amezcua’s past history gives us little reason to believe that he is really the answer.  Indeed, he just might make things worse!  We can ill afford that outcome.

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.

13 thoughts on “Will Alfredo Amezcua turn out to be another Miguel Pulido?”
  1. Art would Collins be a good candidate for ward 6th since he has done and continous to do a lot of improvements in his ward six or will he be the best choice for Mayor of Santa Ana in this coming elections?.

  2. Art: Amezcua wasn’t there with you because he was at a fundraiser for the OC Dream Team. On the other hand, he took a limo in 2008 to the victory party of Don Papi Pulido in downtown…

  3. Dear Readers,

    Here is a response that Robert Sanchez posted on Facebook:

    “@ Art I do agree with you, what Santa Ana needs is a Mayor who cares for the city and the people who live in it. I don’t think Pulido is a bad person neither. If Pulido would change and start caring more for the residents by opening more parks, libraries, after school programs, more business friendly and start being more active in the community. I would vote for Pulido. One thing is saying he’s going to do it and the other is actually doing it. (actions speak volumes pay attention to his actions) However, Santa Ana needs a leader that could make this city a thriving place it once was. For all of us to enjoy.

    People only care on what have you done for me lately and what have you done for me right now. Everybody has skeletons in their closets. ( We all have a past and we all learned from our mistakes) If people are so naive to judge a person by his past “NOT” what he’s doing now. (i would feel bad for that person) I’m not saying Amuezca is the answer either but, if Amuezca is trying to make a difference I would vote for him too. I do know and have heard how some people might feel about him at SAC. But, I’m not here to judge. i would vote for the person who has showed this city by doing actions not just talking “He” or “She” is the answer. But, if Amueszca turns out to be another Pulido nobody is going to vote for him next election.

    If Michelle were to run again and prove to all of us she’s the answer she would get my vote. (I did vote for Michelle last election) You have said you know two people who might run for office and if one of them proves he or she could be the Santa Ana’s next mayor. I would vote for them. Of course I’m just one vote. But, I do know many people in Santa Ana do think like me and would vote for the best candidate.

    I’m not speaking for SACRED but, many people from “SACRED” and “El Centro” didn’t got to protest the DUI checkpoints. Due to the “Dream Act Monologues” They were educating people and giving immigrant students hope. “

  4. The blog piece is following the last mayoral election cycle strategy: The challenger is similar to Pulido so why change.

    The strategy had some success and is why it is presented again. The past success with Michele was because she could not articulate a response.

    It is a fact that Alfredo was a supporter of Miguel. The reason for that support given by Alfredo and many Hispanic community leaders was because they believed Miguel would unite the residents and so would bring prosperity for all.

    This never came about. In fact a strategy of divide and conquer third world form of politics has been the reason for the Pulido’s long term in office.

    Pulido uses many individuals to do this division strategy. An example is Alex Vega. He was given the permit to run the Santa Ana College Swap meet a few years ago which failed miserably.

    The purpose of the swap meet was to me mismanaged to produce stereotypes of the Hispanic community in order to infuriate the French Park neighborhood and others with similar demographics against the Hispanics . This is one example that causes the divisions and solidified support for Pulido from neighborhoods with the demographics like french Park.

    Pulido’s argument to this support group was and is…..support me in order to keep these types from running Santa Ana. In order to keep the support from these voters it is necessary to keep the city third world in appearance.

    Pulido takes an active part in this as evidenced in the recent OC Weekly and Register Articles where it is alleged that Pulido votes on issues in conflict associated with a truck vendor business his father owns. The vast majority of Santa Ana residents from all neighborhoods appose the truck vendors but are necessary to keep a third world city appearance and are necessary for Pulido to keep his base supporters angry at Hispanics.

    Recently Alex Vega and Victor Ibarra through a IE committee are attacking Alfredo asking people to complain about Alfredo’s attorney practices to disconnected phone numbers and offering examples of some complaints that have no follow up information. The IE committees treasurer is Kinde Durkee, a close friend and professional associate of Dennis DeSnoo who is Pulido’s campaign consultant.

    It is probably not a conflict but a relationship that has been denied in the Register article by Vega,Ibarra and Pulido clearly exists.

    The strategy is divisive and fact less. I am told that Alex Vega gets cash payments from Pulido to do this divisive activity to help the Mayor’s strategy for political manipulation.

    The campaign needs to stay on city issues. What has Pulido done or not done to produce the sad state of Santa Ana and what ideas does Amezcua have to change the situation.

  5. Dr. Lomeli,

    You know quite well that I supported both Michele Martinez, and George Collins, for Mayor in 2008.

    I wanted to support Al this time but his recent dalliances with the Usual Suspects caused me to reconsider. And a further review of his record revealed that he might well be the next Pulido.

    No thanks. I will wait to see who else files to run for Mayor.

  6. I am not asking anything from you. You have your reasons for what you do.

    Pulido’s record is the problem not Alfredo’s. I would not support Alfredo if I thought he would be the next Pulido.

    1. Dr. Lomeli,

      My reasons for what I do is to support our community. You know that.

      And I beg to differ. Amezcua’s record looks a lot like Pulidos. That simply isn’t debatable.

      The best recourse is to wait and see who else files to run for Mayor, before we committ to any of the candidates.

  7. Are the DUI stops just like the no right turn lane off the intersection of Memory Lane onto Flower. It seems like every day I pass by there the police are having a car towed away and leaving families out on the curb. I’ve seen kids in school uniforms having to get out of their car, their parents heads hanging low and shock on their face. My son just looking on. This is morally wrong.

    Let’s stand against that!

    1. Lucy,

      Too true! Another trap that we must stop…

      You have helped by getting the word out here on this blog!

  8. I am afraid that the people of the City of Santa Ana do not have a voice in the decisions that impact their lives. We go through the motions. Our city and resources are being sucked dry by people and money-makers who do not invest in our city. I seen this before in Inglewood. Our future tax base has been for a long time wasted away in public works and redevelopment projects that have not brought prosperity or community benefits. If all these public policies had worked, we would not have a third of our city living in poverty, 99% of our children going hungry, and close to 20% unemployment. Our streets would be paved. Our kids would be educated. As voters and residents, we are forced to make choices among candidates that are thrust upon us and to learn who they are we only hear what the political consultants and the power-mongers want us to hear. I am sticking with Al Amezqua because at least I seen him out in the neighborhoods and he has helped a lot of people who lack a voice in government. Yes, he has to earn a living and yes he made something of himself from the modest beginning. So, what! At least he has a heart that he has given to the people. It would be nice to have Michelle run but she is not in this race. I expect the race to get nasty. Miguel, I would have expected better from you and that you would take the high road. As for me, change will come when the mass of the disenfrachised speak up and hold our elelcrted officials accountable. If the members of Com-Link are dissatisfied, and Connect to Council, and various neighborhood leaders, then why do they still don’t have a meaningful voice? Whay does the Santa Ana Business Alliance have a PAC when the memebrship is not supported by the small businesses in the city. Why? Why are our neighborhoods crap?

  9. Michele Martinez is the sexiest elected official in Orange County!!!! It is even hotter that she stood up to the Miguel Machine and survived! Pulido & Amezcua better hope she doesn’t decide to run for Mayor again.

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