Pulido’s candidates call for mayoral term limits at forum

Someone threw a beer bottle at my car, as I passed the Superior Market on my way to tonight’s Santa Ana candidate’s forum, held by the Santa Ana South Main Merchant’s Association, at a union musician’s hall at 2050 South Main St. That was startling, but thankfully the fellow who threw the bottle had poor aim. When I arrived at the forum I was surprised once again, as I found out that it would cost $10 to attend this forum – one reason that it was sparsely attended.

I figured I might not have to pay the fee – but blogging is not on a par with writing for a newspaper, as I found out. I bet however that my article will be up before the Register’s! On top of that, I forgot my wallet, but a friend of mine covered my fee. I think the fee was supposed to cover the money the organizers spent on food – but I went home after work and cooked dinner for my family before heading to the forum.

On that note, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido made a cameo appearance tonight. He brought his kids, and after he introduced his chosen council candidates, he abruptly left, saying he had to take care of his kids, or something to that effect. Councilman Carlos Bustamante was there too – but he took off with Pulido. Couldn’t Pulido have left the kids with Bustamante?

Two of the candidates told me that Pulido was busy drawing doodles on a scratch pad before he made his remarks and then left. He seems to be going through the motions this time around. All the other council and mayoral candidates stayed – and the forum was worth the price of admission. Here are some of the highlights:

Michele Martinez, candidate for Ward 2, ripped the city for not supporting its businesses – “the city isn’t helping you,” she told the members of the business association that sponsored the forum. Truer words were never said. Overall Martinez was on fire tonight – her remarks were poignant and from the heart, and she received a lot of applause.

Thomas Gordon, candidate for Mayor, mentioned that the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed Pulido’s candidates, is having a conference in Irvine. When asked how we can promote or help businesses in Santa Ana, Gordon replied that we could start by spending our money here – not in Irvine!

David Benavides, candidate for Ward 4, said that we need more signage and beautification. Who could argue with that? Frankly however, it would be nice if you could drive on south Main without having beer bottles hurled at your car.

Stanley Fiala, candidate for Mayor, was inadvertently funny – as usual. Of course Fiala opened by endorsing Pulido. He later said we need to legalize drugs in order to control crime in Santa Ana. He then claimed that Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters has refined cocaine and sold it to kids.

One of the highlights of the evening involved the question of mayoral term limits. Everyone was asked if they support mayoral term limits. Guess what? All of Pulido’s candidates said that they do. They better hope Pulido doesn’t read this blog! Maybe they haven’t heard about what happened to outgoing council member Mike Garcia?

Evangeline Gawronski, candidate for Ward 2, said that she agreed with mayoral term limits. She then added that someone can stay in office too long and get away from serving the people, serving himself instead. Sounds like Pulido!

Tino Rivera, candidate for Ward 2, and one of Pulido’s chosen few, said that he supported mayoral term limits – and then he mentioned that he once met deceased L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley. Huh? That was it for his remarks on term limits – he did not elaborate on the subject of Bradley. It was very strange.

I also met Rivera’s wife. Ouch! She was very upset with me. She said she read my blog and she was very upset about what I said about Rivera. She added that he was going to win and that he would not give me the time of day. So? It’s not like I get the time of day from anyone else on the council. She also asked me how I sleep at night. I had to explain to her the fact that blogs are commentary – not news. I don’t think she understands the concept. After I told her it was nice to meet her, she replied “it was not nice meeting you.” She was very angry and upset. Thank God she eventually ambled off. It was terribly awkward.

Nelida Yanez, candidate for Ward 4, was terrific tonight. She mentioned that she supports mayoral term limits, due to the current stagnation of leadership. She also added that she was on the charter review commission. “We need people who think for themselves,” she said. Home run!

Jennifer Villasenor inexplicably mentioned that she has worked for four cities. Then she said she supports mayoral term limits. She said that her number one priority is to serve the people – and if the people want term limits they should get term limits. Watch out Jennifer – that kind of talk got Garcia banished from the council!

Sal Tinajero, candidate for Ward 6, said that he spoke at a council meeting in favor of mayoral term limits. No wonder Pulido hates him! Tinajero also said that the real question is whether we want our city back. Very true! Tinajero also defended himself when Villasenor ripped the local schools. Tinajero pointed out the fact that since he joined the school board the test scores have doubled. That quieted Villasenor. She’ll have to get all-new talking points from Pulido!

Fiala said that term limits are socialism. He asked the voters to terminate anybody they want on November 7. Gordon also said he was opposed to term limits – but that he would support putting the issue on the ballot and letting the voters decide the issue.

There were also a lot of questions about what the city and the candidates would do to help the businesses in south Santa Ana. Most of the answers were forgettable. Several candidates spoke about the need for more things for kids to do. Some mentioned the need to reopen the libraries. That would be a good start! Gordon in particular spoke about the need to bring back the bookmobiles. He also said that the library should be open on Sunday, and perhaps we could cut back the daytime hours during the week, from opening at ten in the morning to doing so at noon. The extra hours could be moved to Sundays.

The closing comments echoed what I heard earlier in the evening, for the most part. Tinajero did add however the fact that he has been endorsed by Garcia, the local teachers and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, as well as the OC Democrat Party.

Villasenor closed by saying that she is the best choice because she is an educated person and she has the work experience. She said she is an independent thinker. That is terribly hard to believe, when you consider that Pulido’s only comments tonight were his endorsement of Villasenor, Benavides and Rivera. Exactly how are they independent?

Yanez closed by saying that she has experience that money can’t buy. Did you hear that Benavides? He recently had to return a donation because of a conflict of interest.

Leon mentioned in her closing that we need to bring in more family businesses to our city. Very true! She cited the lack of bowling alleys – but we also don’t have a local movie theater.

Rivera said he wants to bring the mentality of a business owner to city hall. Well, we already have that in Pulido – who owns a slew of businesses. What Rivera will really bring to the city is the mentality of a jock – but don’t tell his wife I wrote that. She is already pretty peeved at me…

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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.