For Those Who Want to Talk About Benavides Instead, That Discussion is Moving Here


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Santa Ana City Council cropped desat red

One tactic to prevent discussion of an issue is to flood the area where it is taking place with discussion of another issue. We published a story earlier in which an anonymous source using the name “Ana Tansa” — now self-described as a “mentor” to recently departed (as of March, or was it January?) Santa Ana Housing Division Manager Sidney Stone — raised some charges of what might be costly favoritism to an outside interest by Santa Ana Councilmembers Vince Sarmiento and Michele Martinez.  A vigorous debate continues there.  Personally, I don’t know who or what to root for, but given the allegations I look forward to it being hashed out so far as is possible.

However, one tangent in that comments section has threatened to engulf it, which makes continued discussion there unlikely.  That involves an issue involving Councilmember David Benevides.  As with the other issue, it may or may not actually be a problem, but it is a legitimate matter of public concern — and it’s getting in the way of that discussion.  So we’re moving that whole topic over here, where those who want to discuss it may do so.

Santa Ana has a history on this blog of being a huge source of endless gladiatorial combat among largely anonymous commenters — the Santa Ana Unified School District threads being the primary example — and that’s fine so long as  people don’t use the Dark Arts of online commentary to block that discussion.  As it looks like that is what’s happening on that other post, we’re going to stop it from happening.  This may mean a larger crackdown on comments and commenters than we’re used to here, but these sorts of fights seem more likely than most to require a referee.

Here is the material raising questions, and questions about those questions (and so on), about Benavides becoming the new Executive Director of Kidsworks and whether they are getting an unfair advantage as a result.  Once again, I do not know what to think about the underlying issue and one motivation is to allow Benavides and his supporters to give whatever explanation and rebuttal they consider appropriate here.

Comments from the other post:

Anonymous [actually commenter later using the name “Transa”]

Why was the post about FedTech committee member David Benavides funneling CDBG funds to his employer Kidsworks just deleted? It has seemed weird that Benavides’ name has been consistently left out as a member of the FedTech committee, and now we know why. I smell a rat, and that rat is David Benavides. Remember Councilmember Benavides’ video encouraging NewSong to come in and buy the Santora building, a deal in which he was involved a real estate agent? No? Probably because they buried that, too.

Greg Diamond

I deleted it because of the personal allegations at the end. The author can try it again while staying on topic. I’m not going to edit them; either the whole thing goes in or out. If you think that you have something useful to add to our understanding of this deal, leave the other crap out.

Greg Diamond
Posted March 29, 2015 at 1:18 PM

“Ana” says that the FEDTech committee “currently” has two members, Sarmiento and Martinez? Is or was Benavides also on this committee? If once but no longer, when did he leave? Do we know why? Should be fairly easy for someone (likely Adam, as we don’t seem to have volunteers here) to check.

Anonymous [Transa]
Posted March 29, 2015 at 1:35 PM

Benavides was still on the FedTech committee as of last month.

Ross Street Annex Whistlblower
Posted March 29, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Again, I never suggested that P. David Benavides association with kidsworks is in anyway relative. What I said is people the department that Sidney ran was a complex organization and he was perhaps “in over his head”. I also noted he was the third choice. In the interest of remaining the host’s “safe zone” I will ask aloud when you look at Stones profile online, one name repeatedly appears as being “similar” and it is noted that people who looked at Sidney Stones professional profile also looked at this “other person”. We all KNOW what’s happening at city hall, if this website chooses to selectively profile something that is their right. Just don’t ask the question and then nuke the answer because it does not fit into your political scope.

No one to my knowledge has connected Benavides new employment anything other being a realtor is a tough job. What we do know is ALL of the council tries to stack departments with their guys. That’s called AMERICA.

Greg Diamond

Just trashed another mostly OK post, Anonymous, because at the end you get into insinuations that may be defamatory. Try it again without those, if you want.

If you want to speculate about people’s sex lives go see if Pedroza is interested (or these days maybe Liberal OC.)

Ross Street Annex Whistlblower

I don’t know anything about Kidsworks being involved. I just answered who the dismissed individual was and why I was told he was let go. It was a bit more credible than someone Ana Tansa who has second or third hand information spreading rumors.

You asked. I answered. How about somebody actually coming to the city and asking instead of playing keyboard cowboy to destroy your favored candidates opposition.

Transa
Posted March 29, 2015 at 1:38 PM

FedTech has 3 Councilmembers on it: Martinez, Sarmiento AND Benavides. Here is a link to the City website PDF of a FedTech agenda that clearly lists his name – http://www.ci.santa-ana.ca.us/coc/documents/agenda_fedt_20150127.pdf

It’s interesting that Ana Tansa has carefully avoided mentioning that fact. It casts a shadow on this “whistleblower’s” credability.

It’s also troublesome that Benevides went from being the chair of Kidworks’ Board of Directors to being their Executive Director. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Was there a national search? And if there was, what qualifications did Benavides have to win the spot over other candidates?

Finally, if Elected Officials are prohibited from double dipping into city funds by drawing both a salary & grants/funding/contracts for their organizations, then WHY is Benavides squeezing out the biggest chunk of Santa Ana’s CDBG money into Kidworks, his EMPLOYER?

Other organizations with excellent track records in Santa Ana, like the Delhi Center, OCCCA, The Center OC and Serve the People (who serve Santa Ana’s homeless) get NOTHING but Benavides’ Kidworks walks away with $30,000?

Where is the “Justice” with that??

 David Zenger

Benavides would be breaking the law by directing funds to his employer. Conflict of interest. I doubt if that’s happening – that would be too obvious. How he became an employee is irrelevant.

Perhaps he wasn’t there the day the committee met.

Transa

Excuses Zenger…silly & weak excuses. Your bias is clear as day.

Benavides IS directing CDBG funds to his employers. I agree, it’s way too obvious, but B’s never been the brightest bulb on City Council as evidenced by his past Santora real estate fiasco.

Who would be dumb enough to make a public video (where one identified themselfs as a sitting councilman in order to exert influence for personal gain) directing his own church (Newsong) to buy a building he himself was representing as a realtor? Someone with no morals and/or sand for brains.

If you want to verify this violation of THE LAW then why don’t u ask for the list of the 30+ non-profits “competing” for CDBG funds and their staff recommended funding totals. As you review it, you will notice how the highest allotments go to orgs with ties to either David Benavides or City Manager Cavasos.

David Zenger
Posted March 29, 2015 at 2:27 PM

Oh, bullshit. I couldn’t care less about Santa Ana and its “leadership.” Never met Sarmiento. never met Benavides, don’t know, don’t care. I wouldn’t spend a nanosecond asking anybody in Santa Ana government for anything

I do care about anonymous people just making stuff up on the internet, so if I’m showing a bias, that’s it.

If what you said is true then why haven’t you (or anybody else – like say, Pulido) filed a complaint? According to you Benavides has blatantly, serially, willfully and publicly violated Section 1090 of the California Government Code. That is a crime. The people of Santa Ana are waiting for you to step up do the right thing.

Transa

People in Santa Ana ARE stepping up Zenger. They are the EQUITY for ALL team. Read up on them & you will see that many groups in the city are uniting to bring order & equity into this mess.

Also, city staff are not blameless here. The Downtown Laison mentioned above who left for Ventura was a terrible choice for the position. Besides belittling local business owners & residents, ignoring requests for info, inclusion & clarification, not processing invoices, fomenting an even bigger parking crisis than ever before and choosing to spend over $2000 a pop in public money for $400 benches… what can be said, but that the people of Santa Ana are glad she’s moved on.

Probationary Periods are for a reason. It makes parting ways easier if it isn’t a good match.

It appears that many such folks hired by the new City Manager didn’t pan out. Even our new PIO has had to leave due to the many issues & complaints against her coming from other staff members, the general public & several city stakeholders.

We can only hope that more such incompetent staffers will be soon shown the door.

David Zenger
Posted March 29, 2015 at 5:27 PM

“People in Santa Ana ARE stepping up Zenger.”

That’s nice. Are they using their own names or just passing along anonymous gossip on blogs?

skallywag

“.. passing along anonymous gossip on blogs.”

Sounds like Diamond’s on the job again.

Greg Diamond

I’m trying to facilitate an informed discussion here. If that means deleting some or all of your comments to this post at some point, it will only be because you seem determined to impede that. So: don’t do that.

skallywag

“Benavides IS directing CDBG funds to his employers.”

I highly doubt that. That would be a conflict of interest and probably illegal. He likely recused himself on that particular vote. If you have proof otherwise let’s have it – or STFU.

Vern Nelson
Posted March 29, 2015 at 2:13 PM

Santa Ana has devolved into THREE cabals of Klepto Democrats?

Ross Street Annex Whistlblower

The running joke with staff is the difference between council and pirates? Pirates share the booty. To many, the whole Santa Ana Spring, Pulido Attacks and the Sunshine Ordinance was so the others could get in on the action. That’s what you are seeing here.

Remember how council boasted about the city survey and how they would implement change? 1,500 people took part, 500 of them were my co-workers, few of whom even live here. That left a little under 1,000 residents surveyed, an estimated .0025% of the population. Yet, council, used those results to form a “strategic plan” which has more to do with rewarding a select few than improving the city, it’s government or reputation.

As they say same circus, different clowns. But these clowns can sign BIG checks.

Anonymous [Transa]

A board member scooping up an Executive Director position is pretty snaky in the best circumstances. And given Benavides council position on keeping bars open until 4am, I doubt he was the best candidate for a job involving children. I’ve seen ED hungry board members chase away, downgrade and even sabotage qualified candidates. How extensive was the search? Who else applied for this? How many applicants? The previous Kidworks ED was earning $95K. How much did they shell out for this turkey?

And while we’re talking about city staffers being fired, can someone look into the news that PIO Tanya Lyon was canned? Adam?

skallywag

All of the Kidsworks stuff is NOYB anonymous – private company.

Transa

It’s a PUBLIC NON-PROFIT not a private company. All it’s financials can easily be found online. #UseGuidestar

skallywag

Kidsworks is not a government organization. As a non-profit a certain limited amount of their information may be required to be made available to the public. In every other sense it is a private organization. Their meetings are not required to be open to the public and their hiring practices are not required to be made public.

Transa

Public NonProfits who receive Gov money are required to be open to the public. #LookItUp

You can also put aside your ideological showboating. I’m a long time registered Republican as was my father before me. I believe in profit but not profiteering.

Lets face it, Benavides is known to be a pretty shady character and not too subtle with his hustle & poverty pimping.

Do you really think he knew nothing about the projects & work at play in the same committee where he was a sitting Councilman? David was present in the flesh at FedTech’s Feb meeting along with his colleagues Michele & Vincent.

Why don’t you request the audio as you all were instructed to?

This sure DOES seem like a witch hunt!

skallywag

“Public NonProfits who receive Gov money are required to be open to the public.”

That’s exactly what I said – but only open to certain required information.
#readwhatwaswritten

Transa
Greg Diamond

Stick with one nickname, by the way. You can call yourself “Transa,” but then don’t post as “Anonymous.”

To be fair between different alleged “factions” here, I’ve let you post your slam on Benevides. I’m hoping that the work week will bring more info on the material alleged here on Sarmiento — simply because that is what is apparently coming up on the Council’s April 7 agenda.

At some point, I may get the sense that you’re beating this drum here to distract from the other allegations made. At that point, I’ll either open up a separate item on the Kidswork thing or direct you to the Open Thread. I don’t mind your talking about it, but I do mind your filibustering to make discussion of the original issue significantly more difficult.

Transa

Zenger must be dyslexic or unable to read plain English. I already gave the name of the coalition which has successfully gathered over 1000 signatures to support the rebranding of DTSA into a hub for multicultural art & wellness. They/We/All are also looking into the distribution disparity with regards to CDBG funds and other irregularities. #EquityForAll

Transa

Click on the televised Santa Ana City Council meetings to see our faces & hear our voices as we speak during public comment. It’s no secret who we are. Meet us in the flesh on April 9th. #EquityForAll #NotAnonymous

====================

So that is where we stand.  Continue or don’t — it’s up to all of you!


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)