OC media joins together to blast Miguel Pulido and his crooked cabal

This is turning out to be a rough Christmas for Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and his crooked Council cabal. Jennifer Delson, of the L.A. Times, wrote a terrific article in today’s paper outing Pulido and company for their ridiculous aversion to making ALL the City Council meetings available on T.V. and the Internet. Here are a few excerpts from Delson’s article:

In an age when new technology has provided access to increasing amounts of information, the Santa Ana City Council has decided that certain things are not fit for viewing — some of its own meetings.

Mayor Miguel Pulido will allow only one of the two monthly meetings to be broadcast, making Santa Ana the largest city in the state that doesn’t televise all its meetings.

At the Dec. 3 meeting, no council member would second a motion requiring that all meetings be televised on the public access channel and be available on the city’s website for at least five years.

“You have to ask why every other council is doing this and we aren’t,” said Councilwoman Michele Martinez, who offered the motion. “There’s a perception that this council wants to run closed-door meetings.”

Pulido said at the meeting that he preferred to limit viewing because cameras made some council members nervous.”

The best job in many cases involves learning off-camera in an informal setting,” Pulido said.

Arguing that elected officials can’t speak in public doesn’t make sense, said Tracy Westen, chief executive of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles and chairman of the Municipal Access Policy Board, which oversees the Los Angeles city government channel. “These are people who want to be in the public domain.”

The decision on televised meetings comes as the council has discouraged city commissioners from posting their opinions on blogs and has unseated a commissioner critical of the city government.

All meetings are streamed live on the city’s website but are not archived, so the only way to view one belatedly is to check out a DVD at one of Santa Ana’s downtown or Newhope libraries or to pay $5 for a copy .

This is not the first time Santa Ana has limited access to its council meetings. All meetings were shown on cable beginning in 1981, and that continued for 20 years, when they were cut back to one per month. The city again televised all meetings from February 2007 through September, until Pulido decided one was enough.

“In my experience, I haven’t heard of a city that has cut back on their meeting coverage,” said Robin Gee, a board member of the California and Nevada chapter of the National Assn. of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.

Covering meetings is “considered a standard practice because of public perception. It asks why are you choosing some meetings and not others.”

In addition, one meeting a month since October has been held away from City Council chambers, sometimes in the same building but in a different room with no microphones.

The meetings are held in different places “to confuse people, and there’s no signage,” Martinez said.

“I’ve asked why these meetings aren’t in the council chambers. The mayor said it wasn’t an informal setting and we can’t work closely with staff.”

Councilman David Benavides said the untelevised sessions are often discussions of issues without votes. “There is some value to the argument that off-camera . . . allows for a workshop setting that might allow for more relaxed discussion. I don’t think they should be off-camera all the time, though.”

Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez said at the Dec. 3 meeting that despite two years of study by the council’s technology committee, the city had not been able to figure out how to place meetings on the Web for on-demand viewing.

Curt Pringle, mayor of neighboring Anaheim, said his city began offering streaming video last year.

Gustavo Arellano also jumped on Pulido and company on the O.C. Weekly’s Navel Gazing Blog:

LAME. LAME. LAME. Hey, Pudillo el Caudillo: at least make the excuse your city can’t afford the technology like councilmember Claudia Alvarez did. And then remember a council member is a PUBLIC official, not the First Presidency.

Until Delson publishes an article stating that the SanTana City Council will televise ALL its meetings, the Weekly will record all meetings and upload them to our website. It’s not particularly groundbreaking: former city council candidate George Collins has done this for a while on his website. However, I challenge anyone who cares about open government to attend and record SanTana City Council meetings until Papi Pulido reverses himself. Camcorders of Orange County, unite!

So there you go…once again Pulido and his bunch have screwed up and ended up blasted all over the media! What a great early Christmas present for the people of Santa Ana. Thank you Jennifer and Gustavo. Thanks also to Steven Greenhut at the O.C. Register for his article regarding Pulido’s lame Renaissance Plan.

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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.