The Orange County Grand Jury issues a report regarding the sweetheart contract given to Cordoba Corporation, despite being the lowest rated bidder by city staff. You can read about it HERE. I wish I could say I am shocked, but I am not, this is the culture of the City Council of Santa Ana. I know people say “pay to play” goes on all the time in politics, but Santa Ana’s elected officials at the city and school board levels have repeatedly shown it does not take much to play if you are a connected yet flawed company.
I Could to on and on about how shocked I am but instead I am going to get straight to the point. The Grand Jury has not gone far enough and needs to dig more. If they did this with Cordoba, who else has Mayor Pulido and many members of the City Council have done this. SO many times have I seen on agendas for both the City Council and the School Board items on the consent calendars for contracts with outside firms for a god awful amount of money, yet we never see any benefits from these contracts.
This explains why Mayor Pulido rakes on all these endorsements and checks from contractors, because all it takes is one check and he and his cronies on the council will give them an overpriced contract to do absoultely NOTHING. The best part, they will not have to answer any questions for why they are charging them so much, unlike other municipalities, who at least make most of these companies jump through some hoops to get a contract. The contract with Cordoba got so much attention because the Council got sloppy. They made a blatant error when one part of the plan went awry, a better company saw the potential for this project and decided to make a bid. This brought unwanted attention, something Mayor Pulido fears more than anything.
What the Grand Jury needs to do is keep digging into all these overpriced contracts and expand into the SAUSD board. This is the tip of the iceburg, I am sure they will find that all of Mayor Pulido’s well connected friends have gotten sweetheart contracts where he has intervened in the process. Subpoenas need to start going out like candy and people need to start talking.
Onto the last point, the suggestion by the Grand Jury that the Council attend ethics training. Yeah, that will work! Do you not think they have, I know I had to as a Commissioner. Lastly, do you think Mayor Pulido, Mayor Pro-Tem Alvarez or other members of the Council who are corrupt even care what the training has to say. This action with the Cordoba contract shows Pulido’s arrogance, that he is somehow untouchable. The Grand Jury needs to go back into investigation mode and start calling people to come and testify under oath.Â He, and other members of the Council have gotten into a mindset that they will get Police, Fire and Chamber to endorse them and throw a gazillion mailers their way. Mayor Pulido will make calls to all his connections in both parties telling them to cut off any challengers on money and all will go according to plan. That is the culture of this city and it needs to change.
I know because talking to many fellow Dems who are familiar with Pulido, they do not like him, yet they lack the huevos to actually tell him enough is enough. Instead they simply “do not want to talk about it.” Well the time is now to talk about it. The time is now to truly elect real leadership. The time has come to hold our leadership accountable rather than make excuses that we can’t because they are Democrats. It is time to stop turning a blind eye. I truly hope this investigation by the Grand Jury is not over and I hope once all findings are done, that Tony Rackauckas actually steps up and does a thourough investigation into them. R Scott Moxley got the ball rolling HERE, it is up to the Grand Jury and the rest of the media to keep it going. And people of Santa Ana, there is a better way.