Alvarez and Bist mad about Honda deal…but what about the BMW deal?

Alvarez and Bist mad about Honda deal…but what about the BMW deal?

The O.C. Register published an editorial today regarding the redevelopment deal that saw the City of Santa Ana spend millions to acquire land formerly used by a strip club, for a Honda dealership expansion. The deal has been questioned by two Santa Ana council members, Claudia Alvarez and Lisa Bist. They referred the matter to the Orange County Grand Jury. All that is well and good, but my sources indicate that Alvarez had no problem approving a similar deal with a BMW dealer.

I tried to find more information about the BMW deal online, but I was only able to confirm that the transaction involved declaring an Orange County Health Department facility “blighted” so that the BMW dealer could have that parcel. The building had been used to house restaurant inspectors. I find it hard to believe that the County of Orange would allow any of its facilities to become “blighted.”

My sources indicate that the BMW deal happened before or during Alvarez’ 2004 campaign for the 69th Assembly District. You may recall that she lost that primary, barely, to Tom Umberg. Now she is running again for the 69th, this time against Jose Solorio, who is also on the Santa Ana City Council. Solorio backed the new Honda deal.

Why is Alvarez now opposing the Honda deal, if she supporte the BMW deal? Could it be political grandstanding? Doesn’t she drive a BMW? Has anyone looked into how she acquired said automobile, and under what circumstances?

I do agree with Alvarez’ contention that the City of Santa Ana overpaid for the land that was given to the Honda dealership. Insiders tell me that they did so because they considered it a good investment, based on getting rid of a notorious strip club, while bringing in more sales tax revenue.

There is more to Alvarez’ complaints – you can read more about this story online at I don’t have any beef with the complaints, indeed I hope the O.C. Grand Jury does something about this transaction. I don’t care how the city spins it – they overpaid, period. Did anyone even try to let a business acquire the land on the free market? I know that many of the other dealers in the area are upset that they did not get such a sweetheart deal.

The bottom line here is that Alvarez’ intentions cannot be trusted. I took a few minutes to check out her campaign finance reports from 2004. She was given a $1,000 contribution by the California Motor Car Dealers Association, in February of 2004. Did Don Crevier, the owner of the aforementioned BMW dealership have anything to do with that? Can that be considered quid pro quo?

Questions need to be asked of the Santa Ana Council regarding their dubious car dealership redevelopment deals, but questions also need to be asked of Claudia Alvarez. I hope someone takes the time to check out her council race financial reports as well. You can look at her 2004 Assembly reports at

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.