Focus on the SAUSD School Board Candidates: Mike Gonzalez

There are a lot of candidates running for the Santa Ana Unified School District’s Board of Education – nine candidates in total.  One of them is businessman Mike Gonzalez.  He has not run for office before, but he has an impressive array of endorsements, including:

  • Lou Correa, State Senator
  • Miguel Pulido, Mayor, City of Santa Ana
  • Sal Tinajero, Councilman, City of Santa Ana
  • Vince Sarmiento, Councilman, City of Santa Ana
  • John Palacio, Board Member, Santa Ana Unified School District

Why would all these well-known politicians endorse a political rookie?

Here are a few excerpts from Gonzalez’ biography, from his Smart Voter website:

Santa Ana Unified serves a substantial minority community with over 90 percent being Latino. Although I was born in Los Angeles, I attended and completed during my youthful years, schools in Mexico. In my adult life I attended Santa Ana College. I have various state licenses and certifications.

Given my personal experiences in both countries, I bring a very strong understanding of the needs of the Santa Ana community.

As a successful businessman, I have continued to be involved in the community. Working in the community is a personal mission to empower the community through citizenship and community involvement.

I have been elected/appointed to local, national and international positions of leadership i.e.; Fiesta Patrias Committee of Orange County, Institute of Mexicans Abroad of Orange County, and the League of United Latin American Citizens Commission on Immigrant Affairs.

So what does Gonzalez want to do as a School Board Member?  His candidate’s statement sheds some light on this:

I will work with teachers, parents, staff, business and community leaders to develop a strategic master plan to address academic performance. Student test scores must improve. The number of schools that are academically under performing must be provided with the resources to succeed. The student drop out rate must be reduced. The number of high school graduates must increase. Learning English must be a priority. Summer school and after school tutoring services must be expanded to assist students. Failure is not acceptable.

Having safe schools and modern facilities with state of the art technology and equipment is a priority. School over-crowding must be eliminated.  We need more fundamental schools. We must restore special education services.

We must increase parental involvement by increasing the number of PTA’s.

I spoke to Gonzalez the other night at the NAACP Candidates Forum, where Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and his Council cabal shamefully walked out of the forum after the candidates’ introductions.  I noticed that Pulido was on Gonzalez’ flier.  Gonzalez saw me looking at Pulido’s photo and he reacted by saying someting along the lines that he had no choice but to use Pulido to promote his campaign.  I don’t hold it against him.  But this may be the wrong year to try to ride Pulido’s coattails.

I am told that Gonzalez is the guy the Mexican government turns to when they need help with one of their constituents.  He is a generous man – people call him because he comes through.  Recently a Mexican citizen came to L.A. to try to buy an electric wheelchair.  He was killed and the Mexican government turned to Gonzalez to help the man’s family.  There are quite a few tales of this sort.

As a politician, Gonzalez is a work in progress.  But he has proven himself as a businessman and as a humanitarian.  Whether or not that will be enough to get him elected is anybody’s guess. But anyone that can line up endorsements from the likes of Correa, Tinajero and Palacio needs to be taken seriously, if not in this election then almost certainly in elections to come.

You may email Gonzalez at this link.

The Focus on SAUSD School Board Candidates series now includes posts on Irene Ibarra, Gregory Barraza, Roman Reyna and Gloria Alvarado.  Up next: Valerie Amezcua.

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.