Grand Jury Exposes Santa Ana City Council…Now What!

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.  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.

Picture courtesy of Lou Delgado

  5 comments for “Grand Jury Exposes Santa Ana City Council…Now What!

  1. Mike Tardif
    May 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Findings of the OC Grand Jury
    In accordance with California Penal Code Sections 933 and 933.05, each finding will be responded to by the government entity to which it is addressed. The responses are to be submitted to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court. The 2009-2010 Grand Jury arrived at the following findings:

    Inadequate RFP: Santa Ana political leaders and administrative staff followed inconsistent and inadequate guidelines in developing the Request for Proposal and inadequate documentation in support of their final decision. The original RFP stated the scope of the project but did not include the transit vision of the Mayor and Council.

    Recommendations of Expert Panel Ignored: Santa Ana City staff created an expert panel to evaluate the capabilities of the three applicant groups but the findings from this evaluation were ignored in awarding the final contract. The contract was awarded to the lowest-rated bidder with a poorly documented process.

    Mismanagement of Planning Funds: The process for awarding the Phase II planning funds was mismanaged and compromised by miscommunications and lack of direction between City Council and staff.

    The Project is Behind Schedule: Delays in the contract process put the Santa Ana Street Car Project several months behind its original schedule which could affect future funding. There continue to be problems in meeting critical deadlines.

    Lack of Transparency: Elected City officials violated the intent and specific provisions of their Code of Ethics and Conduct as well as provisions of AB 1234, the Government Transparency and Fair Process Act. City leaders and elected officials failed to provide transparency and public input in the contract award, possibly violating the Brown Act.

  2. Mike Tardif
    May 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Sean Mill posted: “… Stroud (was) present during the Grand Jury questioning of Mayor Pulido and City Manager Dave Ream … he also was involved in asking questions of the two.”

    Mill is attempting to paint the Orange County Grand Jury and their findings against the City of Santa Ana’s corrupt Street Car “bid process” (more like a political payoff process) as tainted by the presence of Mr. Stroud.

    Wow 18 co-jurors, they must have all been idiots to let one man cloud their thinking. What clap-trap Mill is spouting. I am very glad that Mr. Stroud was a member of that Grand Jury. I am sure that he was able to provide valuable insight as to how these corrupt Santa Ana officials and staff operate.

  3. Mario Thissen
    June 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    “The contract was not flawed and we recognize that the Grand Jury found no illegal actions by the City. There was no factual violation of the Brown Act and no secret meetings. It is the responsibility of councilmembers to meet with their constituents, including business owners who are seeking to do work in the community. All meetings regarding the merits of the project were properly noticed. The recommendations in the report are general and benign. We have reinforced our existing City policies by adopting improved RFP/RFQ guidelines to ensure the decision making process continues to be transparent in the view of our residents, stated City Manager David N. Ream.” Click Here to read more

  4. Anonymous
    June 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    “It is the responsibility of councilmembers to meet with their constituents, including business owners who are seeking to do work in the community.”

    Good luck getting a meeting with any one of those clowns.

  5. Repulsed
    June 3, 2010 at 7:59 am

    The fox has clearly stated, “I am diligently guarding the henhouse, and the chickens are in no danger whatsoever”

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