Is the revolution over for Michele Martinez?

I have been taking a lot of flak for not attacking Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez, even when her actions are disappointing. I have indeed withheld my ire, because I know that Martinez truly cares about the people of Santa Ana. But she has indeed cast many, many horrible votes.

We forget sometimes that Martinez started out as a city insider. She worked for a company that was heavily involved in the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce. She later worked for crooked developer Mike Harrah. She pimped the odious One Broadway Plaza, even as so many of us tried to stop it.

But when Martinez ran for the City Council, her insider friends dumped her. Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido decided she was overly ambitious, so he recruited the friendly but lame Tino Rivera to run for Ward 3. However, Tino turned out to be a lazy candidate and Martinez out-worked him. It certainly helped that Evangeline Gawronski was on the ballot as well. Gawronski split the white vote, and Rivera went down in flames.

Martinez tried, at first, to work with the other Council Members. But it did not take long for Council Members Sal Tinajero and Claudia Alvarez to attack her. They both, at the same time, joined forces with Pulido. Eventually the lot of them came up with the fraudulent Measure D.

The passage of Measure D was a huge blow to a lot of us, and certainly to Martinez. We were outspent ten to one, but we made it close. Still, we lost. And Martinez, in the wake of that bitter defeat, actually praised Dave Ream, our horrible City Manager, even as she joined Pulido and his cabal in voting to give Ream a massive 15% raise.

I think however I was more upset when Martinez voted to increase our water rates, even though I showed her empirical data that indicated our city overspends on the administration of the water department.

I believe that Martinez is trying to play ball with the other Council Members, because she feels she has to. That is an erroneous conclusion, in my opinion. She would be better served to stand for the people of Santa Ana, even if that makes her the only no vote every single time.

Yet I don’t see a reason to bash Martinez. She did not create the disaster that is our City Council. In fact, we would today have enough votes to stop Pulido, if all the Council Members who ran but were not supported by him stuck together. I am speaking of Alvarez, Tinajero, Carlos “Space Commander” Bustamante, and Martinez. That would be a Council majority. But every last one of them sold out to the Pulido cabal.

For awhile folks were talking about running Martinez against Pulido in November. But her comments to a local magazine about how she used to sell drugs when she was a teenager did not help. I understand what she was trying to do. She was presenting herself as a great example to young people that you can leave troubles behind and become a responsible adult. But her comments only provided fodder for the Pulido cabal to use against her.

Recently Martinez was also quite vocal about supporting graffiti artists who are having their work exhibited at Santa Ana College. Again, many of her comments were a horrid idea. I could see Pulido and company gleefully excerpting her comments about graffiti and using them against her.

But brutal honesty is what Martinez is all about. If you tried to repress that side of her, you would fail. I think in time she will figure out that there are some things you just cannot say, as an elected official in Santa Ana. But that may well take a few more years.

It is a sad state of affairs. At this point I am not even sure we can take any of our disgraceful Council Members out. Not without reforming our election laws. We need mayoral term limits. We need to undo Measure D and limit our Council Members to two four year terms. We need campaign finance reform, to stop the developers and the unions from controlling our City Council. But more than anything else, we need hope. And we need leaders who are willing to stand up to Pulido and company.

I thought Tinajero and Martinez would fit that role. It looks like I was wrong. There is no one on the City Council who is either brave or foolhardy enough to stand up to Pulido. What a shame. I will say this however, there is hope for Martinez. She is young and her intuitions are good. But there is no hope for Tinajero. None whatsoever. He truly is a vendido.

Tinajero’s support for Measure D really was the last straw for me. He said nothing when the Measure D campaign took money from Judy Ware. He signed his name to the lies that were the Measure D ballot statement. He is a fraud through and through. He fits right in with Bustamante, Alvarez, Sarmiento and Benavides.

We truly do have the worst City Council in Orange County. And there is no hope in sight…no wonder so many of my neighbors are selling their houses. I can’t blame them one bit.

About Admin

"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.