Lies Serrano’s people told to get their Jessie Recall Signatures.

[Police union boss Gerry Serrano, recall spokestroll Tim Rush]

“Oh, you like Councilwoman Jessie Lopez too? So do we! Sign right here so we can KEEP her!” We don’t know HOW many signatures the recall gatherers got THAT crooked way, but there were definitely some, I talked to them. And who can blame the gatherers, paid by the signature as they were – they were willing to try ANYTHING! Go ahead and laugh at voters in a hurry who didn’t look closely at what they were signing, but remember that when you hear about the “over 6600 signatures” they got to hold the recall election.

And no wonder that nearly half the people us counter-recall canvassers talked to, who had already signed, quickly agreed to retract their signatures. It’s too late for that now, now that they’ve all been turned in.

Another thing the gatherers conveniently didn’t mention was the NEARLY A MILLION DOLLARS COST to the cash-strapped city of Santa Ana to hold this unnecessary recall, when Jessie (and Thai Viet Phan) are up for re-election anyway next year. THAT convinced a lot of people to withdraw their signatures. Recently Serrano-funded Mayor Valerie Amezcua (who it’s clear would like to get rid of her more progressive colleagues) addressed the City Manager at a meeting: “Some folks are going around saying the recall election will cost the city a million dollars! Is that true, Ms. Ridge?”

And Ms. Ridge responded, “It will at least be OVER HALF A MILLION.” Over half a million, nearly a million, “pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” We’ll see the total cost when it happens, and that ship has sailed now, but either way, what a waste, when next year anyone who doesn’t like them can vote them out at NO extra cost to the city!

And I had the impression, talking to voters in Ward 3, that Jessie can easily beat this recall even if signatures were gathered by hook and by crook. “She’s done so much for the community,” was a common refrain, and many folks I talked to have known her and liked her her whole life. If only everyone who voted for her in 2020 turns out to vote NO ON THE RECALL, she’ll be fine.

Vince Sarmiento‘s description of her as “the hardest-working politician I’ve known” is backed up by Santa Ana Republicans in her Ward like well-respected former school board member Robert Hammond who says she responds to questions and concerns “within 24 hours, 48 at most. We’ve never had representation like that in this Ward.” (Previously they had that other Amezcua lady (no relation), and before that Solorio, so that’s easy to believe.)

But back to the lies Serrano’s people (at first well-paid low-info folks from as far out of town as Denver, and toward the end some Spanish-speaking local ladies) told to voters to get recall signatures. As we’ve discussed previously, there were two main ones:

LIE 1: Jessie is anti-police.

FACT: It’s just the union boss, Gerry Serrano, who’s unhappy with her because (along with three of her colleagues) she voted for a contract that doesn’t give HIM everything he wants – most offensively, it forces him to do some actual police work, and not spend 100% of his time causing political trouble, to get his hefty pension. Jessie actually voted to INCREASE the police budget and manpower, and has a close and productive working relationship with Chief Valentin (whom Serrano also hates.)

LIE 2: Jessie is responsible for higher rents, and evictions.

FACT: This is an ORWELLIAN lie (i.e. the OPPOSITE of the truth.) Jessie and three of her colleagues are actually responsible for bringing the strongest rent control and eviction protection to Santa Ana in all of the OC – in a town of renters that really needed those reforms. No doubt the recallers would justify this lie by pointing to bogus landlord-funded studies that purport to show that these reforms could lead somehow, eventually, to higher rent. But it hasn’t happened, and rents and evictions would certainly be much worse without Jessie’s reforms. Jessie has your back, renters.

The progressive 4-member majority – the majority that answers to the people of Santa Ana rather than its special interests – hangs on a thread right now, and that thread is Jessie Lopez. Ward 3, Jessie has had your back, now you need to have hers.


Last week Jessie printed an excellent piece making her case in The Register. I’ll copy over most of it here, then you can click and read the rest:

Jessie Lopez:

Santa Ana must stand up to Gerry Serrano’s
cynical and corrupt attempt to oust me

This is not a recall, it’s a coup: Santa Ana Police Officers Association President Gerry Serrano is using taxpayer dollars to increase his power, spike his pension and corrupt Santa Ana politics.

Over the past 12 years, Serrano has wielded his political connections to sweep a DUI charge under the rug, run political opponents out of office and recall City Council members who stand up to him. He also uses the might of his POA to influence elected officials at every turn, spending nearly $1 million in campaign donations to impact local races. This is all paying off quite well for Serrano, as he’s amassed a small fortune — making more than $2 million between 2017 and 2021 — at the expense of Santa Ana taxpayers.

During his tenure as POA president, the city has been bombarded with meritless legal claims, frivolous lawsuits and false allegations against senior public officials. Newly elected officials have been on the receiving end of either robust campaign contributions or negative attack ads. Even federal law enforcement have been looking into him, with a federal subpoena by the FBI.

As he has said in his own words, he is willing to “burn the place down” to boost his own pension, all on the backs of Santa Ana taxpayers.

This current recall attempt — which could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars — is a direct reaction to the demands of Councilmembers Benjamin Vazquez, Jonathan Hernandez, Thai Phan and myself to open up the books and allow for a public review of millions of dollars in healthcare funds being given to the POA every year.

After months of stonewalling and bad-faith negotiating by Serrano, in December 2022, the city legally imposed its last, best and final offer. In addition to requiring the city’s auditing ability to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately, the new contract included a 3% raise for frontline officers and giving active police officers access to city-sponsored healthcare plans with greater selection and affordability. This offer also would have required Gerry to perform actual police work instead of spending all day lobbying.

Apparently it was too much to ask this “officer” to do any actual police work or to let a firm audit millions of dollars of taxpayer funds meant to help retired cops with their healthcare. Unsatisfied with the changes to the contract and in an effort to continue receiving millions of unaudited or unaccounted taxpayer money, Gerry Serrano launched recall efforts against me.

Clearly, we’ve made him uncomfortable. Gerry’s association has already dropped more than $257,500 to unseat me, blanketing the neighborhoods of my district with paid canvassers who approach doors with countless lies. These canvassers walking our neighborhoods will not tell you any of this — nor will they tell you that this power grab would waste thousands of taxpayer dollars.

All the while, the city continues to pay nearly a million dollars a month to an association where their president has rejected any and all accountability measures.


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.