The OC Weekly is reporting that the ADL has stepped up its pressure on Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez and has called for her to resign her seat (OC Weekly gets testy when we don’t credit them for breaking news). And to make matters worse for Alvarez, there’s a new online petition calling for her resignation.
From OC Weekly managing editor Gustavo Arellano’s story:
Last week, they sent her a letter asking her to apologize to developer Irv Chase; she barely did. Because of that, they’re asking for Alvarez’s resignation–again, not so much because of what she said, but rather because she’s an arrogant pendeja.
“In the letter, we asked Ms. Alvarez to make a much more sincere and personal apology to the Chase family, the Jewish community and to the Santa Ana community,” wrote ADL regional director Kevin O’Grady in a letter just sent out to reporters. “The Councilmember has not responded to our letter. Councilmember Alvarez’s unwillingness to go beyond Thursday’s half-hearted apology highlights her lack of understanding about the tremendous impact of her comments. This dearth of sensitivity and judgment illustrates that Ms. Alvarez is ill-equipped to carry out her duties as a Santa Ana Councilmember. For these reasons, ADL calls on Claudia Alvarez to resign her seat on the Santa Ana City Council.”
O’Grady is referring to Alvarez’s mealy-mouthed mea culpa to television stations, reporters–basically everyone except Irv and his son, Ryan, whom she explicitly said she’d refuse to personally apologize to.
Now, the online petition, which is gathering steam, has this to say:
The people of Santa Ana have enjoyed an antagonistic and bullying relationship with the Santa Ana Mayor Pro-Tem Alvarez for many years. On Aug. 24, 2011 Alvarez made clear that she’s also an anti-Semite focused on dividing our community and citizens by race, ethnicity, creed and faith.
When Claudia Alvarez compared a Jewish property owner to Hitler and accused him of ethnic cleansing she no longer represents me as a citizen of Santa Ana.
Furthermore, the apology offered by Alvarez is weak, insincere and does not make clear her views on the Jewish faith and people.
The council must act by removing her appointment of Mayor Pro-Tem and asking for her resignation from council. The rest of the City Council has no choice but to act to correct this egregious, embarrassing behavior of their governing body.
The petition just got started and is up to 17 signatures. We don’t place a lot of faith in these sort of initiatives because they seldom work. But with the online petition, people are brave enough to place their names to the document instead of hiding behind an anonymous handle on the blogs and news media websites.
So, the ADL, LULAC, the DPOC have all come out with statements condemning Alvarez for her anti-semitic statements and insincere apology. We anticipate the OC GOP will issue a statement similar to Barbaro’s comments. Alvarez’s supporters are mostly anonymous blog commenters and some business/property owners in the PBID who don’t benefit from the business tax. In the middle on this controversy, very quiet Santa Ana city council members, most of whom walked about on a city council presentation over a single word uttered by a volunteer they viewed as racist, who refuse to recognize bigotry uttered by one of their own who is also the pit bull on the council during public comments to ward against “personal attacks.”
The Voice of OC got the inside scoop from some council members.
From their story:
Despite the condemnation from Jewish leaders, Alvarez’s City Council colleagues have shown no indication that they will take action against her.
Councilman David Benavides said he would wait to see how she handles the situation.
Councilman Vince Sarmiento said he also wanted to wait, saying that taking action could be dangerous because “it unwinds the will of the people.”
“I’m also very glad to know that Claudia did do the right thing and make a public apology and retract public comments she made,” Sarmiento said. “I think that’s a good first step.”
Sarmiento also said the controversy presents a good opportunity to have a dialogue about discrimination in the community and the impact of inflammatory statements.
“I think this is an opportunity where we can sit down and talk about relations having to do with different community groups,” Sarmiento said.
I’m hoping when Council member Sarmiento begins this dialogue about the impact of inflammatory statements, he’ll question the use of the terms “hater” so freely uttered last summer in respect to Council member Benavides. The question remains to be seen; which city council member is going to make a motion about censure or rebuke at the next council meeting?