Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Surreal Politics of Orange County: Update on the First Supe Special

With less than two weeks to go until the February 6 special election to fill the Orange County Supervisorial seat that Lou Correa vacated when he left for Sacramento, the (melo)drama is intensifying as absentee voters begin to turn in their ballots.

Well for starters, the two Vietnamese candidates are fighting over who's winning the Vietnamese vote. Earlier this week, Garden Grove School Trustee Trung Nguyen (R)claimed that he is winning the early Vietnamese vote, and that fellow GOP candidates Janet Nguyen and Carlos Bustamante should drop out and endorse him. However just the next day, Garden Grove Councilmember Janet Nguyen (R) issued a press release stating that she is the favorite among Vietnamese absentee voters. So who should we believe here? I don't know...

But I'm certainly glad that I'm not Santa Ana Council member Carlos Bustamante (R)! I mean, would you want an endorsement mailer singing your praises only because you intend to block a Garden Grove Casino proposal that has no chance in hell of ever happening??!! Would you want a prominent REPUBLICAN blogger calling you out for your horrendous track record on the Santa Ana City Council?

So what has Bustamante done while on the Santa Ana City Council? Glad you asked. For starters he was on the council when the library budget was cut so drastically that today we have a city of over 400,000 with only one public library. Even gang-infested cities in Los Angeles County have more access to libraries!

Bustamante has also presided over a recent mushrooming of graffiti. And the Santa Ana Police Department is vastly understaffed - no thanks to Bustamante.

What about the streets and parks in Santa Ana? Disaster! That is particularly true of our streets. And Bustamante keeps approving massive tower developments that are only going to make traffic worse in our already congested city. What is he thinking? Oh right, take a look at his financial reports. He gets a lot of money from developers.

While I may not agree with Art Pedroza on quite a few issues, I do agree with him that Bustamante has been bad for Santa Ana, and will be even worse for Orange County! Well, at least the Libertarians still like him... I think...

But I certainly know that fellow Santa Ana Council member Claudia Alvarez doesn't! She has done what many of us would think to be impossible, and endorse the man she ran against for State Assembly in 2004. Yes, even as Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido (D??!!) endorsed Bustamante, Alvarez is sticking with her fellow Democrats in supporting Tom Umberg. Well, I'm happy to see that the two are making nice now, but I wonder why. Why is Alvarez doing this? Perhaps Art Pedroza, of Orange Juice, has an answer:

You have to love the fact that Alvarez has made this election work for her. It is a very sound strategy on her part. I believe she will run against Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido in two years. Now she can count on Umberg's support. And why shouldn't he back her? Pulido betrayed his party by backing a Republican in Carlos Bustamante, instead of Umberg.

Now Umberg and Alvarez can make Pulido pay by presenting a united front today. Their conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the O.C. Employees Association office. I expect she will formally endorse Umberg. This is an incredible turn of events given the vitriol that she engaged in against Umberg when they competed for the 69th Assembly District not that long ago.

Again, while I disagree with Pedroza on much of his politics, I must agree with his good insight as to the inside politics of all this. Claudia Alvarez is looking to challenge Miguel Pulido for Mayor in 2008, and if there's ever a time for her to mend fences with Democrats, it's now! Besides, many of us are already angry with Pulido for bypassing the official Democratic candidate and endorsing a Republican for this Supervisorial seat.

Well, enough of Alvarez... Let's get back to this special election, and Democratic candidate Tom Umberg. Santa Ana Democratic activist (and Orange Juice blogger) Claudio Gallegos summed up quite well why we need Umberg on the OC Board of Supervisors. Basically, he will be the one man who can stop wingnuts Chris Norby and John Moorlach from implementing their insane "policies":

... I am here to say that I support Umberg and encourage all those to vote for him. Umberg is the only viable candidate who will stand up for working families. Umberg is the only candidate who supports health care for the poor. He will stand up to the Norby/Moorlach agenda to fire all county employees.

He will take the lead in standing up to Moorlach's plan to drive widowed police officers wives into the poor house. I have to believe Moorlach honestly hates working families, Umberg does not. That is why I encourage people to vote for Tom Umberg for County Supervisor.

Umberg can be counted on to stand up to Norby's stupid plan to build a freeway in a zone where it would be vulnerable to collapse in an earthquake. Tom believes in putting science before dumb ideas. Tom Umberg is the best candidate to stop the 57 Freeway extension.

(emphasis mine)

OK, so NOW do you see why this election is so important to us in Orange County? We need a friggin' voice of reason at the county level, and it doesn't look like any of the Republicans running is willing to challenge the crazy wingnuts! Bustamante has been busy pandering to Minutemen, while Janet Nguyen and Trung Nguyen compete over who can demonize Latino immigrants more...
Sorry, but I just want someone on the Board of Supervisors who will fight for our working-class communities...

Am I the crazy one here?

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