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Last night (January 13) KOCE-TV Reporter David Nazar aired a segment highlighting our concerns that we brought to the Orange County Grand Jury asking for an Investigation of Santa Ana City Hall activities including Mayor Miguel Pulido.
And now we are updating with a new video segment by Rick Reiff, Inside OC (see #2 below)
We believe this might be the first television news spots ever on the lack of transparency
at Santa Ana City Hall.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH INSIDE OC with Rick Reiff & Panel discussion, which included Gustavo Arrellano, Nick Berardino, Exec Dir of OCEA; and Buck Johns – aired on Friday Jan 14th, 2011 at 7:30 PM . (see from 9:57 to 17:52 )
We are grateful for the critical role that the objective media play in keeping our citizens informed and elected officials accountable.
This call for the Grand Jury Investigation by the various independent and highly regarded organizations and individuals was a very difficult and unpleasant one, yet we felt compelled and viewed this as a very necessary step because of the significance of the isssues and because of:
- the strong evidence of abuse of public funds,
- abuse of the public trust,
- disdain for the citizens concerns,
- Very likely violations of the highest ethical standards, and of City Codes and CA government Codes,
- and a lack of accountability, Full-disclosure, and transparency on the part of Santa Ana city officials.
Several of the organizations and individuals calling for the Grand Jury investigation have strongly supported over the years and even helped elect several of the officials involved, so this was no easy action to take.
VOICE FOR CITIZENS:
I believe I speak for the organizations when I say that we actually try to give the City Council members and Mayor Pulido the benefit of the doubt and assume that they have made inadvertent or unintentional mistakes, but they are mistakes nevertheless that affect our community.
I also believe that deep down they are good people, with the best intentions for the City, but that unfortunately, they may tend to see disagreements or simple inquiries as political attacks when this is far from it, and thus they make the mistake of failing to provide greater clarity and transparency to citizen inquiries or concerns.
Also there are some individuals who operate under the assumption that because the election is over, that citizens concerns should end, until the next election cycle. For example, several of the issues surfaced close to or AFTER the election. And several of us brought our citizen concerns to the City Council through different means. But we encountered a dismissive DEAD SILENCE!
It is also amazing that somehow there is an underlying theme that the citizens should lie down, and accept a perceived or actual MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS and BETRAYAL OF TRUST by our elected and appointed officials – but this will not happen!
We will and must persevere for the good of our community and to give VOICE TO CITIZENS’ concerns.
MILITARY SERVICE FOCUS:
The groups filing the complaint Wednesday include:
- Los Amigos of Orange County,
- the state’s League of United Latin American Citizens(LULAC),
- The Santa Ana Council of LULAC,
- United Mexican-American Veterans Association,
- MANA de Orange County, and
- the Santa Ana Coalition for Better Government.
If you note, many of the top leaders are also former military veterans, and if I am not mistaken:
- Amin David, President of Los Amigos served in the Army
- Zeke Hernandez, President of LULAC served.
- Nellie Kanisky, Executive Director of Mana de Orange County is a retired US Marine; and her husband is a former police officer injured and disabled I believe in the line of duty.
- Dr. Richard Ramirez, Dean Emeritus of Fullerton College also served, and is part of the Honor Guard of the American Legion.
- Art Montez, former Centralia school board member, also served.
- and several other groups and individuals that for privacy reasons choose to remain anonymous also served.
- and Myself, Commander of United Mexican-American Veterans Association, also served in the US Marines (1987-1994 and was the Top Honor Graduate); and also in the CA Army National Guard from 1994-1997. PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR MY PROFILE.
I point out the military backgrounds, because we have brave men and women who have risked and are RISKING THEIR LIVES IN THE BATTLEFRONT, spending time away from families on multiple combat tours, and paying the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and for our society.
We must honor their service and ultimate sacrifice by being VIGILANT AT THE HOMEFRONT by NOT letting that which they are fighting for potentially turn into a CORRUPTED SOCIETY, NOR A CORRUPTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT that does not FULLY serve or is not fully accountable to our citizens.
Many of the participants at our Press Conference this past Wednesday felt that this was reminiscent of “WHEN GOOD MEN AND WOMEN DO NOTHING – EVIL PREVAILS!” – and that they felt proud of this action on behalf of the community.
The actions and/or omissions by elected or appointed officials are important because of the high level of HONOR and RESPONSIBILITY that comes from this, and because an attitude that something is okay because it is not illegal, and is merely unethical is a view that does a disservice to the community!
- And anything that improves governance, transparency, disclosure, trust, accountability, and ethics is a huge improvement in itself for our city of Santa Ana.
- Furthermore, the City of Santa is a city with one of the highest unemployment rates. We have to be able to attract and retain investments into our community to create opportunities for our youth and our citizens.
- Companies and investors are less likely to invest in a city where they perceive that there is not a fair and level playing field for them, and that the local government might be stacked up against. But they are more likely to invest if there is transparency, and full accountability of our government.
- Also, we believe that Crime, Youth and Gang Violence, and the record high school drop-out rates can be reversed if our youth and citizens see opportunities that also arises from an improved and responsive government.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS & OPEN DIALOGUE:
Finally, myself and the other organizations want to be able to partner and support our Council and our Mayor and to use our talents, energies and passion to improve our City, and this can only happen in an environment of full accountability, full transparency and disclosure, full respect for the limited financial resources of our city, and an environment with OPEN AND CIVIL DIALOGUE – BUT SILENCE IS NOT DIALOGUE.
For example, I am preparing a Powerpoint Presentation that I would like to present to the City Council in which I identify some potentially very significant ANNUAL SAVINGS in the hundreds of dollars for most Santa Ana homeowners that can be implemented immediately! This is an example of how the citizens are ready to work with our elected and appointed leaders.