In any election a win is a win. To that end, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido won his race for reelection this year with 49.5% of the vote. His nearest challenger, and best funded opponent since he was first elected, Alfredo Amezcua only pulled in 26.8% of the vote. With all the votes tallied, Pulido was carried to victory by 21,588 votes to Amezcua’s 11,689, a margin of 9,899. A resounding margin of victory over his nearest challenger by any measure for sure.
SinceÂ election night Miguel Pulido’s victory has been called a vindication of his tenure, and validation of vision for Santa Ana. Some of his council colleagues have resorted to calling the victory a mandate.
Since when is getting 49.5% of the vote for a seat you have held for 16 years a mandate?
This was the only contest for elected mayor in Orange County where the victor received less than 50% of the vote. The lowest majority vote was achieved by Tom Tait in Anaheim at 54.4%. Looking back over Mayor Pulido’s three previous elections Pulido has garnered a decreasing percentage of the vote. In 2004 Pulido was reelected with 80.6%, in 2006 68.8%, and 2008 55%.
What I think this election should show the Mayor and Council of Santa Ana, is that in spite of the reelection of all incumbents the public is not entirely satisfied with the performance of their elected officials. They don’t like the lack of transparency, the silencing of unpopular points of view on commissions and at Council meetings. They are not happy with the entitlement attitude of the members of the city council, and their apparent disdain for input from the public. They don’t like the appearance of corruption and back room deals, they aren’t too pleased that their city is the violent crime, and pothole, capitol of Orange County. They want their schools to perform and kids kept out of gangs. They want peace and peace of mind, along with a few more well maintained parks where their kids can play safely.
The Santa Ana City Council needs to move forward on proposals for more transparency, accountability regarding their failure to comply with city ordinances regarding campaign finances and votes, and rules that force better compliance with the open meeting regulations of the Brown Act, including stopping their habit of hiding behind technicalities to escape responsibility for complaince failures.
Simply put, the residents of Santa Ana want ethical government that is transparent, responsive, and accountable. Now that’s a mandate that should be easy to follow.