Now Miguel Pulido may be controversial, but not in ways that we'd think a Latino mayor of a heavily Latino city would be controversial. He doesn't lead immigrants' rights marches. He doesn't declare Santa Ana as a "sanctuary" for undocumented immigrants. Actually, Pulido doesn't really care about immigration.
So how is Miguel Pulido controversial? Follow me down below to find out...
(Cross-posted at Calitics)
"If I were a Curt Pringle [the white mayor of Anaheim], would anybody be saying how come he's not out there marching?" Pulido says. "And in a way, they're discriminating — inverse discrimination, so to speak — against me, by making the assertion that because I'm Hispanic, I'm at fault for not participating."
He notes that his critics on the issue generally are other Latinos. "If I had a different heritage, they'd have a different conclusion," he says. "That goes against all that I stand for, because I want to treat everybody the same and I want to be treated the same way."
When I then begin to ask how he wants to be judged on the issue, he says firmly, "As a mayor. Not as an Anglo mayor. Not a Hispanic mayor. As a mayor."
Another mayor in a heavily Latino city might play it differently, I suggest. "Correct," he says.
"But don't say that because this mayor is Hispanic he's got to behave this way. That really gets to me, because then the implication is that you are different and should behave differently because of that. And to me, I am an American first."
Wow. That's deep. Well, I guess people here do wonder why a guy who immigrated here from Mexico City as a little boy wouldn't stand up for his fellow immigrants, but that's beside the point. That's not the only controversial thing about Pulido.
Here are some more reasons why Pulido is so controversial here. He hasn't done anything about the recent spat of gang violence in Santa Ana. He hasn't done anything about opening more parks in a city that's in such dire need of open space. He hasn't done a good job of keeping our roads in good working condition, as some parts of town look like third-world countries due to the crappy state of their streets. He hasn't improved our libraries... Oh wait, that's right, HE'S CLOSED THEM! In his twenty years on the City Council and twelve years as Mayor, I'm struggling just to find good things that Pulido has done in this city.
I guess that's the real controversy here. It's not that Miguel Pulido has ever done anything controversial. No, it's just that HE HASN'T DONE ANYTHING, PERIOD! That's the difference here.
Say what you will about Antonio Villaraigosa, but a least he's doing something. At least he cares about Los Angeles. At least he cares about what happens to the people who live in LA. We can't even get our mayor in Santa Ana to care. He's too busy comparing himself to Curt Pringle.