Santa Ana – Say NO to the Police-Coup RECALL!

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In a big way, this bogus recall which Santa Ana will be voting on from this week till May 19 is not about Ceci Iglesias at all.

It’s mostly about a police union, a particularly greedy one, wanting to have complete control of the local government. 

It is about them not being able to tolerate even one solitary critical, questioning voice on a council of yes-people.

It is about making politicians in the future, not only in Santa Ana but everywhere, afraid to stand up to police unions anywhere, and say to themselves, “Look what happened to Ceci in Santa Ana.”

Santa Ana voters, please don’t be responsible for that.


Meet the instigator of this recall, SA police union president Gerry Serrano (left).  Back in 2011, before he was a police union boss but had been a Santa Ana cop for years, Westminster police caught him drunkenly fleeing the scene of an automobile collision he’d caused, after insulting the victim’s wife.  He refused to take any sobriety tests, and tried to resist arrest while chest-bumping the arresting officer, calling him “sick,” “pathetic,” a “piece of shit” and an “asshole,” and warning him “never to go to Santa Ana.”  The Westminster cops said he smelled like alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred his words, and they found an empty, unlidded flask in his glove compartment.  Here’s the police report.

“Yes, I sure owe you a solid, Tony.” Hey!  Is Gerry really that short, or is Midget Tony standing on a box?  UPDATE: Look at their waists, Tony IS on a box, LOL!!!

The scandalously crooked DA at the time, Tony Rackauckas, declined to prosecute lucky Gerry for DUI hit-and-run, despite all evidence and for no apparent reason – something nearly unheard of.  Perhaps it had something to do with Gerry’s wife working for Tony as an investigative assistant.  In any case Gerry went on to later support Tony, as police union leader, in re-election campaign ads (see right.) 

Current DA Todd Spitzer told the Voice of OC that he “absolutely” would have filed a DUI case against Gerry given the evidence and his blood test refusal.  “We file those cases every single day in our sleep. That is a classic DUI refusal. He got a break, for whatever reason – whether he knew somebody, whether he was a police officer, or he had connections, I don’t know… If he was Joe Citizen, that case would have been filed against him.”

All this happened in late 2011, and in 2012 Officer Serrano was disciplined over the incident by his chief, SAPD Chief Carlos Rojas, and Gerry nursed a grudge over that for a long time.  Over the next few years he rose in the ranks to Sergeant and, by 2016, became boss of the union.  Now he was finally able to take his revenge on Rojas, bribing council members (according to the sworn testimony of two top Santa Ana officials) to agree to firing Chief Rojas if they wanted to be the beneficiary of $400,000 in union campaign funds.  Once again there were no consequences to Gerry’s dirty deeds, as your council paid Rojas $350K of your tax money to just go away and drop his suit.  [WAIT a Council can do that?  Pay public money to make a lawsuit implicating THEM in bribery go away???  Sheesh, what a country!]

Now, since 2016, Gerry brings that same integrity and sense of caring to his job as a union boss.  Gerry gets paid 346K a year, and his job is NOT to do police work, but to get as much money as possible from you Santa Ana taxpayers, and as little accountability, for his often badly behaved force. 

He enjoyed a great victory last year getting a majority of your Council (Pulido, Solorio, Sarmiento & Penaloza) to approve a $25 million dollar raise which your city was totally unable to afford – well, there goes all your Measure X sales taxes, which you thought was intended for “maintaining effective 911 response; retaining firefighters and police officers; addressing homelessness; fixing streets; maintaining parks, youth and senior services, and unrestricted general revenue purposes” – instead it’s all now going to help cover a 19.3% raise for already well-compensated police.  Remember that, señores y señoras, next time you pay sales tax in your city.

Savoring victory with a compadre.  Looks like he’s drinking again, no?

It was inevitable that, with Chief Rojas vanquished, conservative councilwoman Ceci Iglesias would become Gerry’s next target.  The only councilmember to support a police oversight committee (which all cities Santa Ana’s size should have, let alone the scandal-ridden SAPD), she alone with Councilman Juan Villegas were the only two members to vote against the $25 million raise.  Get that?  The only two of your councilmembers who cared that the CITY COULDN’T AFFORD GERRY’S GREED, and that this raise would have to come out of the taxes of hardworking ustedes.

So Gerry set to work spending over $300,000 to recall Ceci and Juan;  he was only able to get enough signatures to put the Ceci recall on the ballot;  and here we are, it’s your choice now.  There are a lot of things Democrats and liberals don’t like about Ceci Iglesias – she is a Republican “Christian conservative.”  But most of the “Christian conservative” things she would like to see happen will never happen with nearly all her colleagues being Democrats.  

No, she is being recalled simply because she is looking out for your interests against a greedy police union.  And it’s a shame that she (and sometimes Juan) are the only ones.  This is a thing Democrats should be doing.

Iglesias & Villegas

It’s a shame too, even if it’s only natural, that the Democratic Party of OC is jumping at the chance to get rid of the ONLY Republican on a seven-member council.  One-party rule is never good anywhere.  Don’t some of you in Santa Ana remember life in Mexico under decades of the PRI?  One-party rule leads only to corruption.

Well, that’s what I have to say about this.  I hope that those of you who have problems with Ceci will still mail in your ballots with a big NO to recall.  You people voted her in, and Greedy Gerry shouldn’t be able to remove her.  And I don’t want my Anaheim councilpeople mumbling to themselves, next time OUR police union demands something unaffordable,  “Look at what happened to Ceci in Santa Ana.”


[originally posted April 20]


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.