Campaign Fire Drill in Santa Ana

SANTA ANA — My phone rang several times over the weekend when residents of Santa Ana called to report that fire trucks were driving around the city with signs promoting the campaigns of Mayor Miguel Pulido, Councilman Sal Tinajero, and Assemblyman Jose Solorio. The callers were upset that while the fire truck has no decals to identify the fire agency and appears to be decommissioned and no longer in service; the intent is clear to those neighbors just getting a quick look that on duty Santa Ana firefighters and a working fire unit is driving their neighborhoods in support of three local candidates for public office. One person wrote in an email to me:

Who is paying for the driver and the diesel fuel?  The taxpayer? Santa Ana Firefighters through their union dues?  Campaign contributions made to the identified candidates?

Mayor Pulido makes every effort to talk about the benefits of being “green”, even driving an electric car provided by the AQMD (he was one of several involved in a car wreck on Sunday), yet the old fire truck drives through our neighborhoods emitting foul smelling fumes from it’s diesel engine.

Fire truck as it drove through the neighborhood south of Warner and West of Bristol Streets. The time was approximately 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, October 17.

From what I can tell, this is a decommissioned prop fire truck that gets hired out by local fire fighter unions to promote their endorsed candidates around election time. No taxpayer funds are used to support this campaign advertising effort. But from the looks of it, I can see how some people might get the wrong idea.

  7 comments for “Campaign Fire Drill in Santa Ana

  1. junior
    October 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Disgusting – well at least we know which candidates are bought and paid for by public employee unions.

  2. Northcountystorm
    October 18, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Yes, no taxpayer funds are used for this. I suspect that the people who emailed you were partisans of one or more of the candidates running against Solorio, Pulido, or Tinajero and if their candidate was the incumbant, he or she he would seek the firefighters endorsement and the people sending you the emails would have no objections to the truck. In the future though I think the firefighters union might want to have some form of disclaimer on the truck that it is not being operated at public expense.
    Given the GOP assault on public employees(except Meg Whitman in currying police and firefighter union support)the engine may have some negative impact in some parts of town.

  3. cook
    October 18, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    What about the others running for council seats? The fire fighters don’t support them?

  4. Northcountystorm
    October 18, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    The other council members running(Martinez & Benavides) have no opposition and the firefighters are focusing their efforts on those candidates they support who have opposition.

  5. Claudio Gallegos
    October 19, 2010 at 7:52 am

    You are correct, NCS. The SA Firefighters union owns a truck they use for campaign purposes. They use it every two years to promote Pulido’s chosen toadies running for City Council. This is the first year he has put his name on the banner, for obvious reasons. This is also the first time they have gone south of 17th. I have always heard they usually romp around Floral Park and Park Santiago and sometimes Downtown. Interesting they are going to the center part of town. Wish all these Pulido insiders would let us see what they polls that have been done are really saying. They are acting like this is a campaign where Pulido might actually lose, not like one where he is supposedly up by 20 points.

  6. art lomeli
    October 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

    ” I suspect that the people who emailed you were partisans of one or more of the candidates running against Solorio, Pulido, or Tinajero and if their candidate was the incumbant, he or she he would seek the firefighters endorsement and the people sending you the emails would have no objections to the truck.”

    Some of those concerned would be those that appose the incumbent OTHERS WOULD BE THOSE THAT PERCIEVE THAT TAX PAYER FUNDS ARE USED FOR THE TRUCK AND FOR THOSE ON IT.

    Both do not want tax money used for these purposes and rightly want an explanation. The point is knowing this….no tax money is used.

    It might work against Pulido,Tinajero and Solorio if enough people believe/perceive tax payer’s money is mismanaged in this manner.

    Does any one know if the off duty firefighters are indeed off duty and if they are in Uniform.

    Both would be city violations.

    • Devon Jones
      October 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      No tax $$$$ and no On-duty firefighters. It is an advertisement just like you see on all the street corners, businesses, personal property. They are advertising who they are supporting, just like you or I can.
      Maybe they have a decent working relationship with their City boses…unlike where I work.

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