L.A. Times touts Michele Martinez’ mayoral campaign

The L.A. Times put Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez on the front page of their local news section today, in an article that acknowledged that “After more than two decades in office and nearly 14 years as the mayor of Orange County’s largest city, Miguel Pulido finds himself on unfamiliar ground — fighting for reelection.”

Here are a few of the juicier excerpts from the L.A. Times article:

The leader of the city of 350,000 watches over an area with urban ills not seen in other Orange County cities. Santa Ana is an arrival point for Latino immigrants, who make up much of the city and struggle with unemployment, high housing costs and a low-performing school system. Gang violence, which had been on a general decline since the mid-1990s, has resurged with nearly two dozen homicides so far this year, reaching last year’s total in September.

Albert Castillo, an organizer with the neighborhood group Barrios Unidos, has backed Martinez, criticizing Pulido for being out of touch on issues such as immigration reform, crime and poverty, and for too often favoring developers over small businesses.

“In the beginning he was a good councilman, and I supported him back then, but now he’s gone in with the good old boys and played ball with them,” he said.

Martinez, a fourth-generation Latina who grew up in Santa Ana, has styled herself as a grass-roots advocate of “the people’s agenda,” a more responsive representative of a city where the median age is 28 and where many of its problems involve youth living in poverty.

She has pushed the city to address the causes of gang violence and has opposed the mayor on the relaxing of council term limits. The city, she says, needs to do more to promote small businesses and make city services more accessible and transparent.

“I represent the majority: The majority of our kids are poverty stricken, they come from single households, and they’re around an environment that is in total disrepair like I was,” she said.

“She’s giving him a run for his money,” said Tish Leon, a parks commissioner.

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