Pulido Pays Big Success Fee To Pedroza. What For?

Miguel Pulido - Photo: Chris Prevatt/LiberalOC

Prior to December 2009 Art Pedroza, writing for the Orange Juice Blog and the New Santa Ana blog, was a relentless critic of Santa Ana Mayor Pulido, and Council members Michele Martinez, Sal Tinajero and Claudia Alvarez. Inexplicably his coverage of Pulido, Alvarez, Tinajero, and Martinez turned 180 degrees from opposition to support virtually overnight. 

In the months leading up to the election, virtually all postings that had been critical of these elected officials vanished from the Orange Juice and New Santa Ana blogs. At the same time the rhetoric in opposition to perceived opponents of Mayor Pulido and Council members Martinez, Tinajero, and Alvarez was ramped up to levels of hostility that had previously been targeted towards these same council members. In the mayoral contest, the attacks against Mayor Pulido’s primary opponent Alfredo Amezcua rose to a fever pitch. The attacks were personal and based primarily on false allegations meant to destroy the character of Amezcua and Pulido’s other opponents. 

With the release of the year end campaign finance reports filed on January 31, 2011 we now have a clear picture of exactly what was going on behind the scenes at the Orange Juice and New Santa Ana blogs. The campaign finance filing for Mayor Pulido indicates that his campaign consultant Dennis DeSnoo paid Art Pedroza $5,150 for “web services.” Apparently Pulido had no problem paying Pedroza for positive blog coverage leading up to the election so long as that information was not disclosed until after Election Day. Art Pedroza, of course, appears to have had no problem failing to disclose that he was being paid by Pulido for his commentary. 


Councilwoman Michele Martinez - Photo: Chris Prevatt/LiberalOC

The fact that Pedroza was paid for positive blog postings doesn’t surprise me. We already know that Council member Michele Martinez paid Pedroza $385 for “Consulting Services” which, since she will not say what consulting he provided, we can logically conclude was probably for similar propaganda services. It should be noted that Martinez reported paying for consulting services, not campaign advertising, which she did receive. 

I have believed for some time that Art Pedroza is just nuts. Any reasonable person reading his commentaries would have to conclude that his rants are those of someone clearly unhinged and possibly bordering on psychotic break. The fact that the compensation amount Pulido paid for Pedroza’s “web services” matches the section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code (5150) for an involuntary psychiatric hold of a person deemed to have a mental disorder that makes them a danger to themselves and/or others is not lost on me. 

Given the significant difference from the amount that Martinez paid, I suspect that Pulido’s payment to Pedroza may not really have be for “web services” at all. Mayor Pulido had made a point of not endorsing Art Pedroza‘s bid for Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee, but was initally listed by Pedroza as having endorsed his candidacy.  At the time Pedroza decided to run for school board his house was in foreclosure, he had several credit card lawsuits pending and he was facing a federal lawsuit for copyright infringement, among other illegal actions and business practices related to his blogs. 

Full disclosure here, Pedroza and Orange Juice have been sued by this blog, Dan Chmielewski, Claudio Gallegos, Ryan Trabuco, and me. Among the things Pedroza did which prompted the lawsuit was to link web domains similar to the Liberal OC and Chmielewski’s business name to the website of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) through the Orange Juice Blog. The judge in the case has already ruled against the Orange Juice Blog as a business entity to the tune of $17,000, the portion of the suit against Pedroza personally is scheduled for trial in May.  

It’s a bit suspicious to me that even though Art Pedroza claimed in August 2010 that he had no money to pay his bills he was able to come up with the filing fees to run for school board, launch a campaign website, and purchase campaign signs. In the early days of the campaign season I learned from a source that Michele Martinez allegedly bragged that she encouraged Pedroza to run for the Santa Ana School Board at the behest of Mayor Pulido. At the time I wondered why Pulido would even care about the Santa Ana School Board election.

I’ve learned that the reason may be related to Mayor Pulido’s long-term dislike for SAUSD Trustee John Palacio who was up for reelection. Apparently years ago, Palacio was among a group of individuals who protested against Pulido in front of his family’s muffler shop carrying signs, in Spanish, accusing Pulido of being homosexual. He has apparently been butt-hurt over that ever since. 

If this is the case then Mayor Pulido seems to have missed the irony of paying Art Pedroza to have his mayoral campaign promoted on a website that featured a post, authored by Pedroza, that directly linked its readers to NAMBLA, a website and organization that promotes men having sex with boys, and to gay porn. Another complication for Pulido may be that his payment can be perceived as funding for Pedroza’s candidacy against his old adversary. 

A month after the election the public learned that Mayor Miguel Pulido was in line to receive a $500,000 finder’s fee for bringing together potential buyers for several state owned buildings. In an interview with the LA Times Mayor Pulido referred to the payment as a “Success Fee” for bringing these folks together, contingent on the sale successfully going through. Hours later Pulido reversed course and told the LA Times that he was no longer in line to receive the compensation. 

If Pulido’s payment of $5,150 to Pedroza was for the purpose of secretly funding Pedroza’s campaign for school board and avoid the required reporting of that funding, that would be a serious violation of campaign finance laws. The problem of course is that proving a direct connection between the thousands of dollars Pulido paid to Pedroza for “web services” and Pedroza’s campaign is difficult if not impossible. 

What can be proved is that Art Pedroza had no money, and then suddenly had enough money to run for school board against a Pulido rival. Pedroza was also paid a significant “Success Fee” by Mayor Pulido’s campaign. I think most readers here are smart enough to connect the dots.

I guess Pulido, DeSnoo, and Pedroza figured no one would notice.

  20 comments for “Pulido Pays Big Success Fee To Pedroza. What For?

  1. cook
    February 7, 2011 at 8:17 am

    He got’s to eat.

  2. Santa Ana Voter
    February 7, 2011 at 8:46 am

    He’s also gotta turn his computer hard drive over as ordered by a Federal judge and he’s also gotta pay a $17,000 judgement as ordered by a Federal judge. Me thinks Pedroza might be dragged off in handcuffs by a Federal judge who finds him in contempt and his computers seized and forensically examined while Santa Ana Councilmembers scurry like the rats they are.

    • booper
      February 7, 2011 at 9:27 am

      In all fairness (for which both sides of this ongoing feud seem to often disregard), the funds paid to Art Pedroza may have been for campaign advertising on the websites and blog page services.

      • February 7, 2011 at 10:07 am

        There’s a category for advertising, and then it would have been paid to the Orange Juice as a business entity and not to Art personally. And if it was for blog services, don’t you think he had an ethical responsibility to disclose he was paid to set up that Blog?

        I will note Sal Tinajero’s reports were not filed on time. So it’s unclear who he paid to set up his blog. But I’ll put all my eggs in one basket and suggest Art probably did.

        Did Sean Mill get a cut?

      • Angry Bird
        February 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm

        Isn’t it interesting that folks think everyone is so stupid, that they cannot connect any dots? Yes, it is entirely possible that Mr. Pedroza was in fact paid for advertising, but why does the expense not show as being paid to his business, vs. him personally? In addition, what a co-inky-dink that all of the negative and disdainful commentary of the Mayor immediately became glowing praise for him and his allies on the council when “advertising” money began to flow to the Pedroza machine? Doesn’t that violate a number of journalistic ethical practices? But of course, the best part of this is the tie between the amount of $5150 and the California State code for arresting someone deemed dangerous to themselves or others. Its to laugh.
        Angry Bird–

      • Marcus Wilson
        February 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm

        I hope you’re right, but I doubt anything is gonna happen to Miguel Pulido. He’s had the expept help from David Ream and expert protection of Ream’s buddy, Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters. They know how to get away with crap, so why should he go down?

  3. SantaAnan
    February 7, 2011 at 9:06 am

    When Art Pedroza appeared at a press conference where seven Latino organizations were complaining about abuses at Santa Ana City Hall, one activist asked him, “What are you doing here?” Pedroza sheepishly said he was a reporter. After the question though, Pedroza left the press conference, where more than 35 community members were present. Pedroza then went on to report how he was turned away from speaking when actually, he himself left, embarrassed by the fact that he has no press credentials of any kind. By changing opinion so abruptly, Pedroza has become Santa Ana’s fool — payasito. People are only reading him now as they do Weekly World News. Everyone knows that what he writes means nothing. And he did this for $5,000.

  4. February 7, 2011 at 9:11 am

    The judge told Pedroza if he ignored any of his direction in the future, he would no longer treat Art “with kid’s gloves.” And Pedroza promptly ignored the order to have a third party examine the hard drive at his expense. Additional sanctions are expected in the case against Pedroza personally and these sanctions are not dischargable if he files bankruptcy as he has threatened to do.

  5. Gadzooks!
    February 7, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Wow! I could have done better web work than that for a lot cheaper, even if I charged my top tier prices.

    I guess the real cost comes when you have to buy off a blogger to stop telling the truth about you. I couldn’t have offered Pulido that service, but then I don’t think I would ever sell off my ethics at any price.

    It just goes to show what a sham the OJ blog is, and how sleazy the owners are. When a political blog allows candidates to pay for the slant they want, there is no integrity.
    I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the mayor’s guy Desnoo, having been in the business as long as he has, must know a competent, reasonably priced web designer who could have done this same work. It’s kind of surprising to see that Desnoo would involve himself in this type of blatant payoff. This certainly calls into question his integrity and credibility as an election consultant.

    The notion of the 5150 is not lost on me either. After watching Pedroza’s antics for a long time, I came to the conclusion that he simply must have sincere mental health issues, and the mayor must think so too. There’s no way that $5150 is a coincidence.

  6. Repulsed
    February 7, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Does it ever end. Here we sit in a City that is imploding and except for a handful of you guys NOBODY is paying attention!!!!

    Pulido is soooo dirty he just can’t hide it anymore

    • Marcus Wilson
      February 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

      You’re surprised that no one’s paying attention? This has been going on for more than 20 years. It’s a little late to start paying attention to Santa Ana corruption now. They got away with it.

  7. Get a clue
    February 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    What pathetic tools Art and Sean are. Are they so dazed and confused that they don’t realize they are being played, used like a $20 hooker. Miguel has screwed and discarded scores of GOOD folks throughout his term, people with deep roots and deep pockets and he still kicked them to the curb. Sean will bend over for a couple of votes on OBP, the trolly folly, and some other projects designed to line Miguels pockets and then he will disappear AGAIN. And Art will continue to be the butt of a thousand jokes

  8. Steve
    February 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I’m convinced that what this is about for Sean and Art is nothing more than access…a craven, self-important desire to have access to those “in power” in the city of Santa Ana. They were both on commissions, then off…and out of the loop to a degree not acceptable to either of them. Well that didn’t last long. They figured out a way to realign themselves with people who could get them “back in the game”. Trouble is, as everyone knows, they had to sell their souls to get there.

    • Get a clue
      February 8, 2011 at 8:10 am

      You are right Steve. And, most of the council has that same craven, self important desire to be “in power” yet do nothing at all for the City and residents. Think about it, in FOUR years, Sal installed the translation headphones at council meetings, Michelle had some sort of walking club, that lasted about six months, and somthing with bikes??? Vince made a woodchip park out of a empty lot for the children, and now I hear adults are playing soccer in it…….nice

      • Steve
        February 8, 2011 at 8:54 am

        I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say these people do nothing for the City. There IS a little problem called “lack of funds” that reared its ugly head a few years ago. For me, what is FAR more disturbing is the lack of accountability and transparency, and the back-room deals with developers and business types. There’s also this very strange and unhealthy vibe on the Council whereby some of the members feel that the Council should always be “unified”. Dissent and disagreement among themselves is discouraged and that approach spills over into how they relate to the public.

  9. Angry Bird
    February 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

    What a kettle of fish!! We have Miguel who is so risk averse, he is scared of his own shadow. Claudia who is MAD with her powaa and desire for more, and her insatiable ability to find a way to punish anyone who dares to cross her. As the saying goes, “when she gets alzhiemers, it will be the Irish kind, where you forget everything except for the grudges”. Then there is Michelle Martinez, unemployed and aimless. We have Sal Tinajero who seems to crave the affection of the Mayor, and oh so willing to accept the mackeral he throws him from time to time. Let’s not forget Carlos Bustamante who hasn’t been seen in his own ward in so long, most folks don’t even know who their councilman is.

    They make one bumbling decision after another. Most recently deciding to give part time employees benefits! This is akin to offering the orchestra on the Titanic a 50% increase in pay and an extra weeks vacation a year. Six months from now they will be laying off a new group of full time employees in order to pay for this folly.

    And all the while we can now count on the likes of Art Pedroza and Sean Mill to be at each and every council meeting like journeymen sycophants to sing the praises of this council. Let me get my pitch pipe………..

  10. Art is a Hyporcrit
    February 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    On New Santa Ana, Art is claiming to do “full disclosure” in going after OCCORD yet still fails to do full disclosure on the Mayor paying him $5,150. Art is a corrupt dishonest pig who deserves to be exposed. Somebody do a real expose on him. Word on the street is he allegedly can be found trying to arrange hookups with transgender women on Craigs List. Sounds like a good sting Voice of OC or OC Weekly should do.

    • Marcus Wilson
      February 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      So that’s why he kept writing stories with the headlines of “Tranny This”, “Tranny That”.

  11. Marcus Wilson
    February 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Santa Ana is terminal. Your taking up valuable cyperspace writing about the post mortem. No matter what, it’s juat a crappy town and waste of time/space. Thank you, though, I like your blog.

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