Is John Palacio the anti-Pulido?

John Palacio

Is Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee John Palacio the anti-Pulido?  L.A. Times columnist Dana Parsons posed that question in an interesting column this week devoted to Santa Ana’s wisest local politician.

Palacio and Pulido clearly are polar opposites.  Parsons noted that when he interviewed Pulido a few years back he was in a suit, while Palacio showed up at a Denny’s in jeans and a t-shirt.  But there differences go much deeper than their wardrobe.  Palacio actually cares about the people of Santa Ana, while Pulido sold out years ago.

I ran against Palacio, and Nadia Maria Davis, for the SAUSD School Board many years ago, back in 1998.  He and Davis raised a ton of money.  Davis is now married to Bill Lockyer, who is one of many Democrats vying to replace Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when he terms out. And Palacio is the last voice of reason in a city full of lame elected officials.

I used to malign Palacio for his connections to recalled SAUSD School Board Trustee Nativo Lopez.  But looking back at the recall of Lopez it is obvious that while Lopez was extremely arrogant and overly partisan he was not the problem that his enemies made him out to be.  The SAUSD is today the worst school district in Orange County.  And Lopez has been gone for years.

As for Palacio he recently voted against Measure G, as a Trustee, and he convinced fellow Trustee Rosie Avila to do the same, forcing the backers of the fraudulent bond measure to get more voted in order to pass this tax increase.  Why would Palacio not get on the tax increase bandwagon?

It turns out that Palacio is not a partisan.  Sure he is a Democrat, but he puts the people first.  That’s why he did not think it made sense to raise the taxes of one of the poorest communities in Santa Ana – particularly during the Bush depression.  Santa Ana leads the county in foreclosures – and Palacio knows full well that Measure G will lead to more foreclosures as the working poor fail to keep up with ther increased property taxes.  And renters too will pay the price as their landlords hike up their rents, after doing so once before this year when the City Clowncil raised our water rates.

Palacio has been in the minority on the SAUSD School Board for years.  But he has never given up.  He keeps trying to bring common sense to a school board dominated by hacks backed by Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido.

I hoped that Palacio would run against Santa Ana Clowncilman Carlos Bustamante this year.  Alas he knows what he would be up against in such a race – the entire Pulido machine.  And Palacio rather keep trying to help our kids by serving as the voice of reason on our school board. 

 Be sure to read Parsons’ column.  It is full of nuggets of wisdom from Palacio including this bit about Pulido’s constant push for more luxury condos and townhomes:

Santa Ana lags behind other Orange County towns in the percentage of people who live in houses they own. If city officials want to upgrade housing, Palacio says, “Why are we building housing to encourage outside residents to come to Santa Ana, rather than housing for people who already live here to buy?”

Thank God for Palacio.  If only we had more local elected officials like him.  Unfortunately he is an island in a sea of rank stupidity.  Imagine if some of the lame SAUSD school board candidates in the race this November actually get elected?  Avila was bad enough.  But Cecilia Aguinaga?  Roman Reyna?  The “reformed” chola?  Palacio will have his work cut out for him…


Be sure to check out what James Spady, a professor at Soka University, has to say about Palacio and the dreadful Santa Ana Renaissance Plan over at his blog, the Sunken Road.

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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.