Tinajero Helps Open Government To Spanish Speaking Residents

In just over a year in his position as the Santa Ana City Councilmember representing Ward 6 Sal Tinajero has manged to open city governement to our Spanish speaking residents.  Prior to Tinajero’s election the majority of Santa Ana’s residents who are Spanish speakers were essentially shut out of participating in and viewing Santa Ana City Council Meetings.  Thanks in most part to Tinajero’s efforts, this isn’t the case anymore.

Recognizing that the majority of Santa Ana residents are Spanish speakers, Tinajero proposed that the City of Santa Ana follow the SAUSD’s lead and offer live translation services at all city council meetings.  Tinajero convinced his colleagues to go along wth his plan and now translation from English to Spanish and Spanish to English in now available to all residents attending the city council meetings.

Prior to Tinajero’s program being put in place translation services were usually provided by Mayor Miguel Pulido.  The fact that Pulido was doing the translation sometimes led to some precarious situations.  When people were critical of the Mayor and his policies and the Mayor was responsible for offering translation, on occasion the speakers sentiment was shall we say, “lost in the translation”.Sal rectified this problem but he did not stop there.  Do to his efforts the city council meetings are now available on cable television in SAP.  That’s right, if you push the SAP button on your television while you are watching Santa Ana City Council meetings you will get the meeting in Spanish.  Last Monday’s meeting was the first one in which this service was available.

With so many of our residents being Spanish speakers it is important that they are able to participate in our city government.  Councilman Tinajero recognized that something needed to be done and he stepped up and addressed the issue.  The Spanish speaking residents in Santa Ana have long been ignored by our elected officials past and present, but not Tinajero.

Don’t be fooled by those who claim to be progressives and seek “open government”.  They have stood on the sidelines and never sought to help bring our Spanish speakers into the fold by making city government more open and user friendly for them.  I feel that this is the type of progress that is long overdue in Santa Ana and it likely would have never come to fruition without Sal’s efforts.

Tinajero’s actions in regards to helping Spanish speaking residents have not come without some detractors.  Measure D opponent and Michele Martinez ally George Collins has condemened Tinajero for only offering translation into Spanish.  He says there are hundreds of foreign languages and that Tinajero is discriminating against them by only pushing for Spanish translation services.

Don’t buy into this bogus argument.  Collins, a Republican, is simply acting as an agitator on the behalf of the “No on D”/Martinez cabal in an effort to downplay these accomplishments by Tinajero.  Collins has never once advocated for any type of translation services at city meetings in any language until Sal announced Spanish translation services. 

This is a step in the right direction in regards to opening government in Santa Ana.  Lets all hope that these efforts continue and soon both council meetings each month will be available in SAP.  But that issue is until yet to be determined to the new ad hoc committee.

  26 comments for “Tinajero Helps Open Government To Spanish Speaking Residents

  1. Anonymous
    January 15, 2008 at 11:05 am

    So, the City Council did NOT need to study making their meetings more accessible to Spanish-speaking residents, but the City Council needs to study flipping the switch on to televise their second meetings?

    I applaud making City Council meetings accessible to every resident and broadcasting the meetings in Spanish is a great step, but it is just another example of petty politics at work when this can be done but televising both meetings needs further study.

  2. cook
    January 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    How much is this costing the city and why wasn’t this expenditure put to a public vote?

    Little baby steps (like SAP) are fine, but keeping the big picture blacked out (TV broadcasting) is just wrong public policy.

  3. Anonymous
    January 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Why doesn’t Sal stop playing politics with the issue of open government?

  4. January 15, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    The only person that is trying to politicize this issue is Michele Martinez. She has used this issue to grandstand and then have her propagandists over at the OJ whine and cry about it. Sal is actually getting something done in regards to getting open government in Santa Ana. He prefers diplomacy and working with his colleagues to get change as opposed to the soap box style politics of Martinez.

    This myth that she is somehow the big proponent of open government is laughable. When I exposed Ware Disposal destruction of the Logan Neighborhood on the blogosphere she threw an absolute hissy fit. She did the same thing again last week when I wrote about it again. She called a community activist and blamed him for my writings. Clearly she wants all the Ware stories kept under wraps. How is that supporting open government?

  5. Anonymous
    January 15, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Sean, don’t make the issue more complicated than it needs to be: the Santa Ana City Council should televise all of their meetings!

  6. January 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm


    I agree, as does Sal. The fact that he has chosen to work with his colleagues on this issue shows that he believes that by working together he will get more accomplished.

  7. Anonymous
    January 15, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Sal did not take the issue of broadcasting Santa Ana City Council meetings in Spanish and English to a committee.

    So why is Sal supportive of dragging the common sense concept of televising both City Council meetings through a committee to be studied?

  8. January 15, 2008 at 7:34 pm


    Because Sal found support for his plan from his colleagues. He has shown that by working with his fellow councilmembers that he can get things done. He does not feel that using his council position as a soapbox and having bloggers attack his colleagues is the best way to get things accomplished.

    In regards to the ad hoc committee Sal wants to address more than just the televising of both meetings. He is looking for new ways to bring an openess to our local government and he feels that the ad hoc committee is a good start. Perhaps the committee will be able to convince those that have concerns about the televising of the meetings to overcome those concerns.

    The grandstanding approach taken by some is just the wrong way to go about things.

  9. thesunkenroad
    January 15, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    “Measure D opponent and Michele Martinez ally George Collins has condemened Tinajero for only offering translation into Spanish.”

    Sean, I’m glad to see them broadcast in Spanish. And Kudos to Tinajero for getting it done. But do you have evidence that Martinez tried to block Spanish translation? Because on the surface this looks like a guilt by association argument–and one that would pretty unfairly a fellow progressive’s actions. Was there a vote? How did Martinez vote?

  10. art lomeli
    January 15, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    When it was announced that an AD HOC committee was beign formed to study the council televising all council meetings I predicted that the real objective of this committee was primarily a forum to publicaly discredit Michele’s effort on this issue, while making arguments of the committee having bigger and better ideas than hers..

    This was started before the last council meeting, this was done by Sal and Claudia at the last council meeting and continues here.

    Questions are posed on this matter directed at the other council members and the response is to discredit and attack the council member that started the process. It is cheap and vendictive.

    The objective is to place a picture of Michele reluctant to vote in line with the other council members just to be disrruptive. In reality she agrees on many issues with them. On some issues she does not. How intelllegent is it to vote on issues simply to be a consensus council member.

    True leadership is when you have the courage to stand for what you believe and not give into pressures of group politics.

  11. Anonymous
    January 15, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    What is going on with the Ad-Hoc Committee?

  12. January 15, 2008 at 8:22 pm


    Michele did not attempt to block this and I am sure was in complete support of this issue. The problem is that Michele by proxy has unleashed her attack dogs (more like yelping poodles) on Sal Tinajero to try and discredit his efforts on the council.

    Her ministers of propaganda spread lies and mistruths about Sal and her other colleagues like Claudia and Vince and do so with her approval. It is simply shameful.

    George Collins is part of this cabal of folks that has delighted in spreading misinformation about Sal. He is doing so again in regards to the Spanish broadcasts. When will she condemn the actions of her propagandists?

  13. January 15, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    You state that Councilwoman Martinez has the ability to unleash her attack dogs/propagandists.
    Do you honestly believe this?
    You’ve known these characters many years – do you really believe that they can be muzzled and unmuzzled by Michelle?
    If so, do you consider yourself to be Sal Tinajero’s “attack dog” or “propagandist”? Does he unleash you at will?
    Since you’ve started blogging here most of your posts seem to further Councilman Tinajero’s agenda.

  14. January 15, 2008 at 8:43 pm


    Her propagandists aka yelping poodles may or may not be able to be completely controlled by Michele. She does however feed them information or perhaps misinformation which they use in their attacks on her fellow councilmembers. This is wrong.

    Rather than condemn their shameful attacks she has embraced them and alligned herself with them. She does this in the name of change, but in reality she is doing this in the name of power. She is trying to position herself as the “anti-Pulido” in an effort to further her asperations to be Mayor.

    I consider myself as Sal’s friend. He has never told what to say or not say on this or any other blog. I choose what I am going to write and nobody else.

    Perhaps the reason it seems like I am furthering his agenda is because I support his agenda and thus am furthering my own agenda.

  15. art lomeli
    January 15, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Michele has not unleashed any attacks by proxy or otherwise. The criticism is from individual oppinions not from any cabal.

    Sean you where on her advisory committee as was James and I. Michele never directed this activity to anyone then nor now. James can testify to this as the other members of that committee can. George Collins was not a member of the advisory committee. The advisory committee no longer exists.

    You are criticising individuals and accusing Michele of attacking council members while doing the same action you describe as shameful.

    I agree, it IS SHAMEFUL. .

  16. Anonymous
    January 15, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    So, what is going on with the Ad-Hoc Committee?

  17. January 15, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Dr. Lomeli,

    You and I both know that if Michele asked her propagandists to tone it down they would. Collins is closely alligned with Michele’s No on D cabal and has joined them in mean spirited attacks on Sal, Claudia and Vince. Her support for the people behind these attacks only will lead to more tension among the council.

    You are correct that I was a member of Michele’s advisory committee. However I realized that it was going nowhere when she had the audacity to tell John Acosta that he doesn’t understand how things work at City Hall. John has forgotten more then Michele will ever know.

    As a former member of her advisory committee you would think she would have my phone number. But rather than calling me in regards to things I write she chooses to call others to rant and complain. Well I plan to continue to write about Ware and the Logan Neighborhood no matter how angry that makes her.

    The fact that she is angry about me exposing Ware is perhaps the most shameful thing of all.

  18. January 15, 2008 at 8:59 pm


    As far as I know the ad hoc committee has not met as of yet. I may be wrong about that though. Call the City Council at (714) 647-6900 and ask them.

  19. art lomeli
    January 15, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    These individuals you refer as attack dogs do what they want. Michele has not control over them as Sal has no control over you.

    Why is it possible for you to not be controlled but not so for the cabal you mention?

    They are expressing the same right you are exercising – criticising a council member. There is no proof linking her of supporting their commentary. She is not shy of expressing herself. She does not need anyone to speak for her.

    Michele telling individuals to tone down commentary would be a form of sensorship. This is in contrast to the open government that Michele, You and Sal support.

    You aknowledge that, your personal experience within the advisory committee, Michele never directed the activity you accuse her of.

    Michele made available imformation on Ware for you to share with Andrade. She did not give it to you with the direction of exposing it. That was her issue. How is that shameful? That is responsible.

  20. January 15, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Dr. Lomeli,

    Michele’s friend Mario gave me the info on Ware. I was never told not to blog about it. This is a lie concocted by Michele to make her look good to the folks on the 8th Floor who have continually covered up for Ware. No matter how many times this lie is repeated it will remain a lie.

    The information given to me was a matter of public record. The fact that the city has tried to keep the public in the dark about it is the problem. Michele wanted to look like she was fighting for Logan on this issue so she gathered this info from code enforcement officials. She contends that she only wanted Joe Andrade to see it, though she never said that to me. She did this to try and appease Joe and others in Logan to make them believe she was fighting for them.

    However my exposing Ware in the blogosphere and Joe Andrade’s efforts have done far more to bring the Ware case to light. Michele simply was trying to use this matter to help her politically. She was trying to play both sides of the fence. My exposing this info put her in a bind and made it hard for her to play both sides. She chose to try and blame me in order to keep her facade alive.

    She continues to make phone calls and send emails complaining about my blogging about the Ware issue. Why is that?

    I have talked to folks at the city and they tell me my blogging in no way damages their case. Michele has chosen to lie and say that it does. Why is that?

  21. thesunkenroad
    January 15, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    What I see in this is a lot of impossible to prove disagreement about what Martinez may or may not have said on a few occasions. Because when the gloss of nefarious dealings is removed, the facts, as shared in this discussion so far, are that Martinez circulated sensitive information on Ware with an interest in aiding in efforts to deal with that problem company and that she also supported the effort to translate council meetings for Spanish speakers. Tinajero is on the same side on these issues and has taken some leadership. Both Tinajero and Martinez were elected a year ago, and so I find it a bit bizarre that this conversation so far does not acknowledge what every activist in Logan already knows: the problem with Ware is older than the council career of both these politicians. It’s amazing to see the “reform” slate from the Fall 2006 election come to this fragmentation, personally. I respect the devotion all of you cultivate to public issues and to specific figures, but I have to wonder how this discussion makes for a more open government or improves conditions in Logan. The older and more deeply entrenched power in Santa Ana that has produced all this is to blame. On Jan 17 at 6:30pm Martinez is supposed to be holding a public forum on the Renaissance Plan at St.Joseph’s. I know for a fact from face-to-face meeting with Logan folks that they will be there and that they intend to ask about these issues. I hope the turn-out is as good as is hoped. We’ll see and hear then some of what Martinez thinks. I’m not persuaded, Sean, of the argument you’re making that she somehow does not care what happens with Ware. My read from before I met her was that she’s a populist progressive, and I’ve seen nothing in this argument or elsewhere that really shakes that interpretation. Santa Ana needs that kind of representation–it’s also what Tinajero ran to offer. If there’s going to be this little unity, there will be less success. That’s gonna hurt open government and the people of Logan and lots of folks looking for different ways to reform or scuttle the Renaissance Plan. Let’s put more of the spotlight on Ware and documented facts about there conduct, rather than on imputations of impious intentions of our natural allies. Put the pressure directly on Ware. Put it directly on the Renaissance Plan. Because right now, the way it looks to me, the only winner in this argument is Ware. In solidarity -james

  22. thesunkenroad
    January 15, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    BTW: I just posted a flier for the upcoming meeting I mentioned above that was distributed in Lacy:

  23. art lomeli
    January 15, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    She never told you to blog about it either. She had, as you say, Mario give you the information that is of public record. So all she did was give you public imformation, where is the harm?

    Her saying the intention of producing the data was for Andrade to have it and not to have it blogged, without saying so to you, is a justifiable comment. One can do something with a particular intention.The intention not being realized does not make the statement, it was my intention, a lie.

    If she thinks the imformation being blogged damages the case and the city officials say it doesn’t, does not mean she is a liar. It was her oppinion, if the city says otherwise then her oppinion has been corrected and that is all..

    Your position on this is your oppinion and interpretation of the issue.Your oppinion is not necessarily correct and does not justify you in accusing the councilwoman of being a liar.

    Your issue with Ware seems to of been redirected to focus on Michele. You should refocus. The Michele/Ware code imformation is a non issue other than a means to discredit and attack the councilwoman.

  24. Bladerunner
    January 15, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Sean– You claimed you were not attacking Michelle and then you make the comments above? Huh? Juxtaposed with your puff pieces for Sal one wonders if you’ve become his propagandist Primate. Or maybe to use your words, his barking poodle.

    Ponder this: Many people aren’t interested in joining in the bureaucratic/council wee wee match in town. They’re generally pleased with Michelle’s advocacy of change and open government and, although they seem pleased with a number of Sal’s positions, seemed puzzled by the attacks on Michelle. Most progressives and many liberals and conservatives seem to understand that an “inside-outside strategy” works best when trying to accomplish change. The outside agitators (the old Sean Mill) are like John the Baptist, crying out in the wilderness, but helping to force or encourage change. The inside movers (the new Sean Mill) are like Nicodemas, work with the pharisees to get some black letter law put down. Both methods have merit . But other than the Party Central Committees, the only place that needs shaking up and new ideas more then Santa Ana’s Government is the Board of Supervisors. That’s one reason I think you’ve encouraged people to elect a new supervisor in the 1st, someone who will challenge the others and bring in a breath of fresh air. Try giving Michelle Martinez the same encouragement and support that you want to hand out in the 1st S.D.

  25. January 16, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Dr. Lomeli,

    The fact that Michele continues to tell people that I blogged about the information after she told me not to and that she claims that she specifically told me to give the info directly to Joe and for me not to look at it is indeed a lie. She never even spoke to me about the info and yet she continues to say that she did.

    The fact that she continues to say that my blogging about Ware hurts the city’s case even after city officials have said that it does not also shows a pattern of lying on her behalf. She continues to say this simply as a means to discredit what I have written and me personally.

    It is not I that has lost focus, it is Michele. She continues to call folks in Logan and rant about what I have written in the blogosphere and accuse them of having put me up to writing it. She should redirect her anger at Ware and stop worrying about what I write on this blog. The fact that she doesn’t makes me wonder where her priorities lie.

  26. William Spurgeon
    January 16, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Regardless of who leads the charge, Santa Ana needs open government through televising all City Council meetings and Santa Ana needs it now!

    Santa Ana also needs those who pollute our city and lower our quality of life, like Ware Disposal, to be run out of town!

    Sean, I encourage you to utilize your status to get Sal and Michelle to work together to bring about results that truly help the residents of Santa Ana.

    These attacks do nothing towards helping Santa Ana!

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