So Which Santa Ana City Council Member will Challenge Janet Nguyen for Supervisor

Claudia Alvarez - Photo: Chris Prevatt/LiberalOC

A tipster tells us that one member of the Santa Ana City Council is likely to challenge Janet Nguyen in 2012 for the First District supervisor’s race.  With councilmember Vince Sarmiento being touted as the candidate likely to run for Rep. Jose Solorio’s Assembly seat, we’ve narrowed it down to Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez, Councilman Sal Tinajero or Councilwoman Michelle Martinez.  A email was sent to each of them Thursday night asking for comment. As of today, the only member of the trio to reply was Tinajero who denied he was running but suggested Alvarez as the likely candidate.

Of the three, Alvarez is termed out and will be looking for a new office to go for.  She’s been rejected by voters in her previous attempts for the Assembly, so challenging Nguyen makes sense.  She has a high profile position with the DA’s office but she also invokes strong emotions from rank and file Democrats.

Councilman Sal Tinajero - Photo: Chris Prevatt/LiberalOC

Tinajero is said to still be harboring a desire to try for the Assembly seat held by Solorio, but a primary challenge against his councilman colleague would destory the kumbaya the council majority wears on its’ public face.  Tinajero did not demonstrate an ability to raise the sort of money he would need to in a bid for Assembly when you look at funds raised for his last council run. Sarmiento can, and Sarmiento has a better record legislatively and is probably more electable.  But a Tinajero candidacy for Assembly might be a better option as the councilman can run from a safe seat on the council. 

Martinez has a fresh face and lots of energy, as well as a bit of a war chest because she was unopposed in the last council race. Despite being unopposed, she invested in lots of campaign signs under the guise of marketing herself to voters.  She was the second highest vote getter for the council behind David Benavides.  By 2012, she will only have had six years of elective office under her belt. But she is a tireless campaigner. 

Councilwoman Michele Martinez - Photo: Chris Prevatt/LiberalOC

Martinez also comes with some baggage that voters in the First District might not forgive as easily as voters for city races have.  Martinez’s signature effort to curb gang violence — EPIC — has been on hold for two years due to budget issues and while she lists it as an accomplishment on her website, the New Santa Ana Blog reported it was an “EPIC fail.” When asked directly if the program was a success, a failure or an incomplete, Martinez could only provide an explanation of the current status of the program and work being done in conjuction with the Santa Ana Police to curb gang violence.

Regardless of which one of these three challenge Nguyen or move on to higher elective office in 2012, all three carry some significant baggage into the election that they will need to address with voters.  Alvarez continues to lack an understanding of the Brown Act while Tinajero and Martinez have had to return campaign contributions from developers for projects that they later voted on. And both blamed city staff for the “mistake” when they should have taken responsibility for managing their campaign finances better.  City staff is not responsible for tracking campaign contributions.

  7 comments for “So Which Santa Ana City Council Member will Challenge Janet Nguyen for Supervisor

  1. cook
    January 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Before the next election are not the districts going to be redrawn?

    The council woman from ward 5 is in her first of three possible terms.

    Measure “D” set term limits at 3. Starting Feb. 2008. Any prior terms elected to or served can not be used to limit the current 3 term limit.

    Once you can understand why Governor Brown can serve a third term when there is a 2 term limit, then you will understand why Alvarez can stay 5 terms when there is a 3 term limit in Santa Ana.

  2. Repulsed
    January 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    For the sake of what’s left of the once great City of Santa Ana…….Please be wrong!

  3. Al Simmons
    January 31, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Cook- Your analysis is wrong.
    The original city ordinance limited the council members to two terms. Measure D extended it to 3.
    Nothing in the new ordinance invalidates the prior served terms and resets the clock, so Alvarez is already in her third and final term.

    • cook
      January 31, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      The Constitution of the United States

      Article I – The Legislative Branch

      Section 10 – Powers prohibited of States
      (States include cities and counties etc.)

      ex post facto Law,

      Measure “D” limits can not apply before Feb 2008

  4. kepdapeace
    January 31, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Interesting that Martinez should even be held accountable for her anti-gang program. Gangs have been out of control in Santa Ana for 50 years. No simple propaganda program is going to abolish gangs in a sanctuary city where councilmembers are more interested in being big shots rather than actually do the job they were elected for?

    Alvarez or Nguyen? What’s the difference other than Alvarez doesn’t have to have answers to publicly posed questions texted to her like Nguyen. They are both idiots with no sense of public service. Aren’t they both lawyers?

  5. I've got a secret
    February 4, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    City Hall insiders and a certain planning Commissioner are well aware of the dark dirty secret in Vincent Sarmiento’s closet. Count him out. Expect those same folks to root against Michele Martinez and Claudia Alvarez using those same bully tactics to exert pressure. Watch for muchacho gordo del gallo and his thugs to extort molest and annoy others out of the race.

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