Sarmiento – a Pulido puppet with invisible strings

I have been keeping an eye on the candidates for Ward 1 on the Santa Ana City Council – and an interesting story has been developing. This week we heard that failed Ward 6 candidate Jennifer Villasenor has been tabbed to run for Ward 1, with Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido’s endorsement. However, it would appear that this is merely an attempt by Pulido to take votes away from public interest attorney Deborah Vasquez, who is also running for Ward 1.

Pulido’s “real” candidate is attorney Vince Sarmiento, in my opinion. This is of course a typical Pulido strategy. Sarmiento will run around telling us how independent he is – while Pulido’s allies funnel money into his campaign.

Indeed, at the last Santa Ana City Council meeting, Sarmiento was seen in the company of several grim-looking accomplices in dark suits. And Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters made sure to shake his hand while he walked up to the front of the room.

Other Pulido allies who are apparently running include Tim Whitacre, who is best known for taking over the recall campaign against former SAUSD trustee Nativo Lopez, and Jim Walker, the Com Link activist who really hates cigarettes. Jose Rea is also running. I am told that he works at UCI – I don’t know in what capacity, but I think he is an instructor.

Sources tell me that Whitacre, inexplicably, has allegedly been helping Rea and Walker to collect signatures for their campaigns. I am not sure what to make of that development. You would think that Whitacre would not want to support Walker, as he only figures to take away non-Latino votes from him. What is he up to?

I really don’t know where Rea stands on the issues – but I do know that his presence on the ballot won’t help the other Latino candidates. In particular he figures to take male votes away from Sarmiento. However, Rea is a liberal, and so is Vasquez, so perhaps the Pulido forces are running him so that he will take away left-leaning votes from Vasquez.

Perhaps Whitacre is running as a sacrificial lamb. He will take the focus off of Sarmiento – allowing him to run as a stealth Pulido puppet.

This race is crucial. If the Pulido forces succeed and take Ward 1 there will be no reform in Santa Ana. Developers will continue to hold sway in the city – and the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, which is partially funded by huge grants from the City Council, will also continue to back candidates who promote these payoffs. Even worse, our parks, streets and libraries will remain in bad shape as the Pulido cabal focuses on serving the elite instead of the population at large.

There will, no doubt, be other candidates announcing before this is over. Indeed I hear that former Loretta Sanchez staffer Mauro Morales is sniffing around for endorsements. Good grief! I hope he ends up backing one of the current candidates instead. Right now, Vasquez appears to be the only truly independent candidate – although Rea could potentially be independent – however he could just as easily end up being another David “Puppet” Benavides. Money and power are very corrupting.

Don’t let Pulido fool you! He will unleash the firefighters and policemen on Villasenor’s behalf – but the one you want to watch out for is Sarmiento. Although his strings are not as visible, the man is destined to be another Pulido puppet. That’s the last thing we need in Santa Ana!

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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.