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When I heard from Art that SOMEONE on the Santa Ana City Council would be running for José Solorio’s old Assembly seat, and that Vince Sarmiento’s wife had put the crimp on his plans, and Art and Sean wouldn’t tell me who it was, I went through the list of other possibilities – Pulido, of course not, as Mayor For Life he has much more power; Bustamante – too much of a boob, and a Republican to boot; Claudia – too unlikable; Benavides – doesn’t strike me as that ambitious, more of a local community-organizer type; leaving the two “progressives” Sal Tinajero and Michele Martinez, and Sal just seemed … more likely, more qualified maybe.
But I was wrong! As the Register announced today, it will be 31-year-old “headstrong” Michele – she of the “inspiring life story” and basketball prowess – who will be challenging Anaheim labor organizer Julio Pérez for this safe Latino-Democrat seat.
So I’m going to do an Orange Juice interview with her soon, to be followed by one with Julio. In a safe Democratic district, there’s no reason we shouldn’t try hard to get the best possible Democrat. As in the most “progressive” one. As in, somebody a lot more progressive than José has been. To be specific:
1. We need Democrats in Sacramento that will stand up to the Prison Guards, District Attorneys, vengeful victims’ rights groups and prison-construction interests who keep the War on Drugs going, keep Three Strikes in full swing, and resist all attempts to release non-violent offenders, continuing the most wasteful, unjust, and anti-liberty long-term boondoggle afflicting our state, feeding the insatiable Prison-Industrial Complex. Could Michele, with her empathy and youthful experience of being on the wrong side of the law, be someone we could count on here? Would Julio be? I hope at least one of them would improve on José’s terrible record on this issue, documented here by both Duane and myself.
2. José’s deference to big insurance over us consumers has been so Republican-like (should I say Correa-like?) that it even dismayed the very partisan Liberal OC. I would hope that Michele, with her graduate studies in public health and her work fighting childhood obesity, realizes that until we get universal single-payer in this state and nation, the overwhelming power of the health insurance industry has to be fought and contained wherever possible. And I hope Julio knows that too.
3. This might be harder for Julio as a longtime Union guy: Reasonable, fair public employee pension reform is going to be essential to our budgetary sanity, and it’s obvious that Democrats, bucking long habits, will have to accomplish this on their own with no Republican help (especially once we hit our 2/3 goal.) I’d like to ask both candidates how far they would be willing to proceed on that front.
Stay tuned for the OJ Michele and Julio interviews!