Bell-like Scandal Takes Toll on Mayor Pulido’s Elegant Santa Ana Reign

Mayor Miguel Pulido

Santa Ana’s Mayor, Miguel Pulido, has been around a while. He was elected to the Santa Ana City Council in 1986 and as Mayor in 1994. One thing Pulido has learned very well is how to get whatever he can for himself out of the job. During his time as a member of the Council and Mayor, Pulido has managed to get himself appointed to numerous committees and commissions throughout the county. All of these committees compensate their members with a variety of per-diems, insurance, cars, car allowances.

Until the recent scandal over salaries, benefits and meeting per-diems in the City of Bell, nobody really paid much attention to what stuff these local officials get. The scandal has spurred local agencies across the state to start posting the salaries and benefits given to their officials on their websites. These disclosures had encouraged inquisitive reporters and community activists to dig deeper to see what they could find. The results of one such excavation project has the potential to help ring the final bell on Mayor Miguel Pulido’s 16 year reign as mayor of Orange County’s largest city.

The Voice of OC, Orange County’s leading non-profit investigative news source, dug through the layers of mud covering Mayor Pulido’s compensation on Wednesday with Tracy Wood’s story Santa Ana Mayor Double-Dipping On Benefits. Wood found that Mayor Pulido is currently receiving $15,275 in medical and dental benefits paid for by the City of Santa Ana. Pulido also pulled down an additional $17,728 in health benefits paid by the Orange County Transportations Authority (OCTA). Miguel Pulido pulls down two tax-payer funded health plans costing more than $33,000 annually. Many of Santa Ana’s residents do not have benefit of even one health insurance plan, and according to county statistics 23.1% of Orange County’s MediCal eligible clients live in Santa Ana.

Miguel Pulido in City Hall Office

Mayor Pulido, who would not speak with Voice of OC because they broke the story, when asked about his multiple medical insurance plans, told the Orange County Register he knew he was getting double medical benefits, which meant he could use one plan when the other didn’t offer the coverage he needed. “I didn’t understand any other ramifications,” he knew he was getting double medical benefits, which meant he could use one plan when the other didn’t offer the coverage he needed. “I didn’t understand any other ramifications.”

Then yesterday, Voice of OC confirmed that Mayor Pulido had been receiving a free car from the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board of Directors since he was appointed in 2005. They pay for the car, currently a modified Toyota Prius, maintenance, and fuel. But event though the city has faced hundreds of employee layoffs over the past few years, Pulido has taken the $6,000 car allowance to pay for the use of personal vehicles for city business. The problem is that Pulido doesn’t drive any other vehicle than the SCAQMD provided Prius. The picture below is of the care he drove to last night’s community forum where he spoke about city business. A significant percentage of Santa Ana’s residents, some with the lowest family incomes in the county, rely on public transportation, provided by OCTA. In November 2009 Mayor Pulido voted to cut 150,000 hours of bus service at OCTA.

Mayor Pulido's AQMD provided Prius

So we have a grand jury report that criticize a light rail contracting decision (led by Pulido), A City Council that under his leadership has a problem listening to criticism, and revelations now of the mayor double-dipping on both medical insurance and car allowances. I have to wonder what toll these truths will have on this year’s mayoral contest between Miguel Pulido and former Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee Alfredo Amezcua.

One thing for sure, for a part time job, the mayor has got some pretty generous benefits.

  3 comments for “Bell-like Scandal Takes Toll on Mayor Pulido’s Elegant Santa Ana Reign

  1. Steve
    August 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Good, hard-hitting post, devoid of petty innuendo. The Bell scandal may yet prove to be a blessing in disguise if it exposes more of these clueless, career politicians. In terms of its impact on the City, I think the tin-ear approach to listening to criticism may be the more serious issue.

  2. art lomeli
    August 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

    ” when asked about his multiple medical insurance plans, told the Orange County Register he knew he was getting double medical benefits, which meant he could use one plan when the other didn’t offer the coverage he needed. “I didn’t understand any other ramifications,”

    This is dishonest, disingenuous or worst a ignorant understanding of policies that he should know as a board member.

    A board member sits on a Group’s board sworn to implement and protect it’s policies. Pulido sits on the Board giving the benefit, OCTA states Pulido violated a policy he is sworn to uphold.

    A board member violating their own policy can not defend the violation with “I didn’t understand any other ramifications,”

    “Such double coverage violates OCTA policy. The agency requires its 18 directors to reimburse the authority for health benefits if they are also covered by another agency, said OCTA spokesman Joel Zlotnik.”

    The OC Voice and OC Register needs to follow up on the repayment as MR. Zlotnik states should happen. They need to investigate how many years the double dipping…abuse of public funds has occurred and repayment be made for those many years. Are their any other restitution or resignation issues in the OCTA’S bylaws addressing Board members violating OCTA policies?

    The OC Liberal should follow up with the OC Voice and OC register about this.

    The City Manager and Police Chief of Bell resigned due to abuse of public funds.

  3. Vaughn Becht
    September 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    WELL NOW WE HAVE MORE AND MORE OF OUR HONEST AND TRUST WORTHLY POLITICIANS DEMONINSTRATING WHAT THERE REALLY MADE OF HOT AIR AND NOTHING MORE.GREAT MORAL LEADERS THEIR NOT

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