It has been a while since a candidate for Orange County elected office threatened a LiberalOC blogger, four years to be exact. Then it was Tan Nguyen, who was challenging Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in 2006. Nguyen believed that our founder Mike Lawson had been defacing his campaign signs and told Mike that he has a lot of supporters that are â€œpassionateâ€ and he would â€œhate to see anyone get hurt.â€Â This weekend however, this experience was kicked up a notch by Santa Ana Councilman Sal Tinajero.
I was walking from the Elks Club parking lot to the Santa Ana Zoo for the OC Labor Federation Celebration, when Sal came walking up to me yelling something about his Dad. It turns out that an anonymous commenter wrote a comment on a post about Tinajero’s campaign financing that he found objectionable.Â
The comment mentioned that Tinajero’s father had been killed stealing roosters when he was a teenager. While I understand that that is a painful memory for Sal, it is backed up by thisÂ LA TimesÂ reportÂ (and here) related to the incident. The report quotes Tinajero, who was 15 at the time, saying, â€œMy dad wouldn’t go over there to steal roosters.â€ That statement was contradicted by the following from a police officer at the scene.Â â€œIt does not appear that he was an uninvolved bystander,â€Police Sgt. Collie Provence said, pointing out that witnesses had indicated that Tinajero had a rooster in each arm when shot.Â
I stopped walking and waited for Tinajero to catch up to me as he was yelling explicatives with his kids in tow. â€œWhy are you writing lies about my dad? He was murdered, read the f&$king case.â€ Tinajero yelled. Through his angry ranting I was able to discern that he was talking about a comment which I quite frankly did not remember. â€œDon’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s my f&$king kids’ grandfather,â€ Tinajero exclaimed. â€œIf you ever write about my dad, or allow a comment about him, I’ll f&$k you up!â€
Okay, this guy is a Fullerton school teacher and coach of the debate team and he can’t even reign in his anger enough to not launch into and explicative laced tiradeÂ threatening someone with physical harm in front of his little kids. Maybe politics is getting too much for him to handle. When you’re in politics people are going to say and write things you don’t like, things that may even be painful. That doesn’t mean you respond by threatening physicalÂ violence, especially since this was a comment posted that did not violate our terms of service.Â
Now, I don’t really think that Councilman Tinajero actually would physically harm me (others on the blog have encouraged me to file a police report on the threat, but I have decided not to), but I’m reminded of Tan Nguyen’s admonition to Mike Lawson four years ago; â€œhe has a lot of supporters that are Passionateâ€ and he would â€œhate to see anyone get hurt.â€ I had no plans to ever write about a nearly 25 year old case until I was threatened by Councilman Tinajero. That happens to be the quickest way for an elected official to get me to write about something they don’t want written about. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t, Dan Chmielewski would have.
As far as threats are concerned I probably am more worried about, one of Tinajero’s most vocal supporters, Orange Juice blogger Sean H. MillÂ who has threatened physical harm to several people through text, email, and in public. Mill has notorious anger management issues, which Council member Tinajerowas well aware of when he recognized Mill as a model Santa Ana resident for his service as his Planning Commissioner.Â Mill recently criticized a former Santa Ana commissioner Glen Stroud for conduct at a recent candidates forum where, according to Mill, Stroud “became unhinged and hurled an â€œfâ€ bomb right in front of Councilman Tinajeroâ€™s young son.” Interesting comment whenÂ given the image I remember for of Tinajero’s young son cowering behind his mother as his father launched a F-bombs in my direction.Â But Mill will surely defend this since IOKWSTDIÂ “It’s OK When Sal Tinajero Does It.”
This incident happened only a few weeks after Tinajero backed the removal of a city commissioner for allegedly bullying a student commissioner by encouraging the kid not to call people racists based upon, we believe,Â MillÂ goading the 42 year oldÂ NAMBLA-pedo-promoting School Board Candidate Art Pedroza toÂ persuade or coerceÂ the teenage boyÂ into believing he had been bullied. I find it amazing that Tinajero would engage in far worse behavior, in front of his own kids.
We haven’t written a post about the case of Sal Tinajero’s father’s deathÂ until now.Â I wouldn’t be writing about it if I was not threatened by the Councilman.Â Comments about this subject have appeared on the Orange Juice blog and on Navel Gazing.Â We don’t know if Tinajero threatened editors for either blog.Â Sean Mill defended the deletion of a similar comment on the Orange Juice blog as “not germaine to the post” yet there are hundreds of other examples of comments not germain to the post allowed on OJ regularly, so this comment, like the scrubbing of Tinajero supporter Judy Ware’s “Usual Suspects” card is another example of the Ministry of Truth at work (is Judy Ware a “Usual Suspect” or not?).
But since Tinajero referenced comments about his father at a recent candidate’s debate and has made public statements regarding his father’s “murder,” perhaps it’s time to revisit this as an illustration of Tinajero’s honesty and integrity.Â Councilman Tinajero’s statements about the case contradict the statementsÂ of the Police Officer on the scene.Â The man who shot the senior TinajeroÂ was questioned, released, and ultimately arrested for shootingÂ Tinajero’s father.Â That arrest did not contradict the circumstances that led to Tinajero’s father being “murdered” while stealing two cock-fighting roosters. We are trying to find out what ultimately happened in that case. Maybe the cock stealing issue was effectively refuted in the murder trial? Tinajero is free to provide that information if he has any other than his assertions reported in 1986.
I believe that the death of his father served as an inspiration to Councilman Tinajero to run for public office to improve his city and make the lives of people who live in Santa Ana better.Â Yet there is still considerable crime in Santa Ana.Â Threatening to commit a crime won’t help reduce the crime rate in Santa Ana.
For political leaders and political bloggers here in Orange County, painful anonymous comments, including those which areÂ personal attacks, are a price to pay for free speech.Â This is not a Santa Ana City Council meeting where Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez can silence criticism because it is seen as a personal attack. Tinajero’s beef should be with the commenter who made the statements, not us, nor OJÂ nor OCWeekly.Â And this is bigger than Councilman Tinajero.