Some things Santa Ana should know about their City Manager Paul Walters.


The Pulido Shill site run by our founder is in hysterics this week:  “Save Paul Walters!” screams their top banner ad.  “It Is Time to Save Our City Manager Paul Walters!” trumpets the first of a dozen similar stories posted this past week.  Oh my God!  What sort of danger is poor Paul Walters in?  Does he need us to raise funds for an unusual cancer treatment?  Does he need a bone marrow transplant which only the rarest among us could provide?  Has he been falsely accused of some capital crime and needs one of us to vouch for his whereabouts on New Year’s Eve?

“But I NEED him!” quoth the small dark one.

No, no, settle down.  The former longtime Santa Ana Police Chief, current City Manager, and inseparable cat’s-paw of Mayor-for-life Miguel Pulido, is only facing a performance review from the increasingly Pulido-resistant Council, and MAY end up being replaced by another city manager more distinguishable from the Small Dark Lord.  That’s all, nothing life-threatening or otherwise horrible.  Whether or not it’s a good idea to replace Mr. Walters we can discuss later, but he and his doppelganger and their allies have really been screwing the pooch of late in their efforts to keep him there.  And if the Orange Juice doesn’t tell you about it, who will?

First of all, that quote I attached to him in the image up above – those are not his words, but he DID send it out under his name, with his stamp of approval, to multiple e-mail recipients.  Let me back up.

Mr. Walters’ lovely Japanese-American wife has a brother, Tim Hirota, Mr. Walters’ brother-in-law, who may be turning out to be one of those “friends you wish you didn’t have” for Walters.   Hirota, who wrote for this blog for a short time, but now sticks to his own “Brainy Cattle” blog, is the kind of unreconstructed, gleefully “politically incorrect,” last-decade Republican that the GOP is trying to get away from – not only hateful to liberals and unions but contemptuous of gays and immigrants. [update – Hirota disputes these characterizations here, not too convincingly.]

On Jan. 7 Hirota sent out a clarion cry to his entire e-mail list, which still includes me, begging all his Santa Ana readers to come to the Council meeting that night and support this unjustly threatened fine public servant, Paul Walters.  I wrote him back asking, “Shouldn’t you mention to your readers that the chap is your brother-in-law?” and Tim was all “Nah, doesn’t seem relevant, I knew him before he married my sister anyway.”  Apparently at the same time, he wrote a letter to the Register on behalf of his brother-in-law which got a little nastier.  So far, no reflection on Walters, right?  Except that Walters liked that letter so much he forwarded it to HIS whole e-mail list of supporters – as follows:

n=”left”>From: Walters, Paul []
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2013 12:18 PM
To: ………
Subject: Fwd: Letter to the editor, Paul Walters

I wanted to thank you all for the support you have given to me and my family. I don’t know what the future holds for us but I wanted you to know how we have appreciated you phone calls and emails. Thank

I have attached a letter that my brother in law wrote to support me for your information.  

Paul M Walters

Begin forwarded message:

To: Tim Hirota <>
Subject: Letter to the editor, Paul Walters

This is an open letter to the members of the Santa Ana City Council who are in the process of attempting to remove Paul Walters from his position as City Manager.

It is my understanding that Mr. Walters has executed his duties professionally and competently. I also understand that he was a key figure in successfully salvaging the city budget and preventing bankruptcy. Additionally, in his MANY years as Santa Ana’s Chief of Police, he made Santa Ana a safer, friendlier place to live. I am a life-long resident and I’ve seen the change for the better.With these observations in mind, you MUST PUBLICLY explain – to the people of this city – why this termination would be warranted

He has NOT been accused of wrongdoing, mismanagement or dereliction of duty.

If the City Council cannot present reasonable and verifiable proof, I suggest that the people of Santa Ana IMMEDIATELY begin a recall effort of ALL City Council members:

  • Ward 1: Vincent Sarmiento
  • Ward 2: Michele Martinez
  • Ward 3: Angelica Amezcua
  • Ward 4: David Benavides
  • Ward 5:  Roman Reyna
  • Ward 6: Sal Tinejero

Short of any proof, one can only assume that the Santa Ana City Council seeks to remove Paul Walters – not on the basis of poor job performance or for the “good” of the City of Santa Ana, but because of personal vendettas towards him or because they are using him to exact punishment upon someone else to whom he is connected in some way (of course, what else CAN we expect from a council which seeks to make Santa Ana a “sanctuary city”, thereby subverting their constituency in favor of illegal immigrants…).

Tim Hirota
Santa Ana, California

What a controversial and divisive letter for a City Manager to send out – the Manager of a city that’s so overwhelmingly Latino – given that Latino citizens and voters are overwhelmingly sympathetic to the plight of their undocumented cousins and friends.  Is someone going to ask Walters what he was thinking at least, at tonight’s big showdown meeting?

And tonight should be a zoo, just like the January 7 meeting, which was packed with hysterical Walters supporters, many of whom had been begged to come by a panicked Pulido telling them the council majority “wanted to get rid of Walters” – a probable Brown Act violation by the Mayor since all discussions that far had been in closed session (and a decision at that point hadn’t been made anyway.)

THIS is how pathetic it got:  A group of folkloric dancing kids, and then a group of martial arts kids, showed up and gave their darling performances…and then were asked to say “Thank you Paul Walters.”  Observers say that this seemed to confuse them, as they had no idea who Walters was, but after a little more prodding they did indeed repeat “Thank you Paul Walters!”

And this all comes just two years after Walters, in the words of Santa Ana ethics watchdog Francisco Barragan,  “disregarded the highest level of ETHICS (as expected from a Chief of Police per the CA Police Chief Association); and as required by the City’s own Code of Ethics, when he entered at the very LAST minute the political fray in a very NEGATIVE WAY on behalf of Mayor Pulido in the November 2010 Mayor’s Election rather than remaining neutral as a paid employee/police chief.”

Hear Paul Walters negative campaigning:

Well, has Paul Walters been a good City Manager though?  I don’t know, that’s for you Santa Anans and your council to decide.  Apparently he helped balance the budget after years of deficit, though on the other hand he did that partly by DEFERRING several multi-million expenses from last year into this year and next, so it was only a temporary fix.

It seems that the main reason the majority is THINKING of replacing Walters is because he is so inseparable from the dictatorial Mayor, who uses his staff connections to perpetuate his power throughout City Hall at the expense of the rest of the democratically elected council.  Is this a legitimate reason to get rid of a City Manager?  I know you guys have been passionately debating that elsewhere, well, you can do it here too!

Personally I like anything that helps abridge the power of a big Orange County mover-and-shaker like Mayor Pulido, who has his fingers in way too many pies across the county and state, second only to Curt Pringle, and has become staggeringly wealthy during his 20+ years running Santa Ana.  He’s been unremovable not only as Mayor but on the OCTA Board where he continues to be one of the most stubborn and outspoken advocates for putting toll lanes on the 405 (and after that, all OC freeways.)  I didn’t mind seeing him taken off the Great Park Board last month, even if it took a Republican coup.  And I remember well how we barely shamed him out of drawing a half-million-dollar “finder’s fee” for helping Governor Schwarzenegger sell – and then lease back – a shitload of huge state-owned buildings in a scheme we dubbed “sleasing.”  God knows how else he’s used his position to gather so much wealth.

But all this wailing and rending of garments about poor Paul Walters and the injustice of it all – he is not going to be left up on the hillside to be eaten by wolves.  If he’s let go he’s got a fine lavish retirement ahead of him – his police chief’s “3%-at-50” full salary for life, plus probably a six-month severance package.  The bigger this sturm and drang gets, the more you know it’s Pulido feeling like a stuck pig as more and more levers of power gradually slip from his hands.

I just wanted you all to know about that offensive Hirota dispatch that Paul Walters felt fine about passing on, and I’ll leave you with some more words from Francisco.  Meanwhile, as I write, I see that Adam E, who’s been following this a lot closer than I, appears to have just produced a masterpiece on the topic which I’m going to go check out now.

Here’s Paco:

With respect to the Evaluation of the appointed officers by the City Council:

A)  It is a BEST PRACTICE for the City Council to periodically review any of the appointed officers, i.e. Paul Walters.

B)  I think the City and the City Council would be BEST SERVED by a “continuance” of the National Search for a City Manager.  It may result in the City obtaining a superbly qualified City Manager with either the strong background and/or experience helping other cities navigate the type of issues that Santa Ana will face.  As I stated, I see this as a $25,000 VS $25 million to $60 million question.

The City had previously paid or authorized about $25,000 for a national search for a city manager, and this was stopped without the full knowledge and approval of the City Council.  The significant issues that we face as a city are:  the $25-56 million that the CA State Dept of Finance may want from the City of Santa Ana, and the several millions of dollars more that were DEFERRED through accounting maneuvers into this fiscal year and next.

C)  It is proper to for the City Council to CONSIDER Paul Walters’ PAST ETHICAL lapses and Lapses in Judgment, in addition to his NEW ACTION SUPPORTING DENIGRATING T language about this CITY COUNCIL.

Or it may turn out that except for his ethical lapses and sound judgment, Paul Walters may be a strong candidate for continuing his role as City Manager.

Some other areas on which to evaluate Paul Walters or any other City Manager candidates:

1) Support for an Independent Citizens Police Oversight Commission (CPOC). Anaheim, had several fatal police shootings some of which left the impression of being UNJUSTIFIED. In reaction to this, the community protested and some went to the extreme of attacking/damaging several businesses.

Both Anaheim Police Chief John Welter and Mayor Tom Tait are open and supportive of an Independent CPOC to increase the community’s trust and PREVENT or Minimize recurrence of violent protests.

2) Issue of Homelessness. There are about 4,000 single homeless veterans throughout Orange County, and Santa Ana being the county seat, many of them congregate here in Santa Ana.

Faith-based groups and not-for-profit advocates want to work with the City to address homelessness and a CLEAR and PROACTIVE vision must be articulated and implemented by City leaders (City Council; Mayor and City Manager). Is there a vision and resolved leadership to solve it by Paul Walters in conjunction with local governments, agencies and community partners; Yes or No?

3) Economy and Business. Does Paul Walters or other candidates demonstrate a strong economic and business background and experience in attracting businesses to grow the economic base and increase opportunities for its citizens, youth and businesses?

4) What is being done to encourage civic engagement by our youth, so that they do not fall prey to the temptation or lure of negative options i.e. youth gang involvement.

5) How strong is Paul Walters in doing outreach to the various not-for-profits and in facilitating their involvement for the benefit of the City?

– Francisco Barragan.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.