Sal Tinajero most likely to be next Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem

Next week the Santa Ana City Council will be swearing in the Council Members who were re-elected on Nov. 4.  They will also be choosing a new Mayor Pro Tem.  This is largely an honorific title, however Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido does miss meetings on occasion, and when he does the Mayor Pro Tem has to run the City Council meetings.

Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez has served her term as Mayor Pro Tem, after the title was briefly given to Councilman Carlos Bustamante when he was runnning for the O.C. Board of Supervisors.  After he lost badly to Janet Nguyen, the title was given back to Alvarez.  Bustamante memorably melted down at the one meeting he had to run, and Alvarez took over the meeting.  So when she got the title back, the rest of the Santa Ana City Council was relieved.

So it is highly unlikely that Bustamante will get to be Mayor Pro Tem again, even though he has seniority over his peers.  Nor will Councilman David Benavides get a crack at it.  He is widely viewed as a lightweight Pulido puppet – and not a reiable one.  In fact there are whispers that Team Pulido may dump him altogether when he runs for re-election in two years.  Both Bustamante and Benavides are allied with Santa Ana’s odious “Usual Suspects.”  They also traveled together to Washington, D.C. a couple of years ago to attend a “Cinco de Mayo” event put on by President George W. Bush.  Talk about Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum!

Councilwoman Michele Martinez won’t get to be Mayor Pro Tem as she challenged Pulido this year.  This leaves only two options – Council Members Sal Tinajero and Vince Sarmiento (pictured above with Rancho Santiago Chancellor Eddie Hernandez.  Tinajero is on the left and Sarmiento is on the right).

Tinajero has seniority over Sarmiento and he has a lot more political experience, having served on the SAUSD School Board previously.  Sarmiento will have his turn in two years.  I suspect that Tinajero will get the nod this time.  He can get the votes, he has the experience and he can actually run a Council meeting.

I cannot imagine that the “Usual Suspects” will be terribly pleased about this.  They hate Tinajero and are going to try to run one of their own against him in two years.  Now they will be taking on the Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem.

My only concern with Tinajero is that he often leaves town while accompanying the debate team he coaches at Fullerton Union High School.  However if both Tinajero and Pulido miss a Council meeting, I suspect that Alvarez could easily step up and run the meeting in their absence.  If however this becomes a concern for his peers, I could see Sarmiento becoming the next Mayor Pro Tem.

Mark my words however, Bustamante and Benavides will NOT be in the running.  They simply cannot get the votes – and Pulido likes to get unanimous votes on these type of decisions.  He won’t tolerate any sort of extended debate on the issue.


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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.