If you have been hiding under a rock, on vacation, or otherwise indisposed you may not have heard about Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez‘s anti-Semitic rant while chairing a council discussion of the PBID that funds Downtown Inc, in the heart of downtown Santa Ana. In an apparent violation of the City Code of Ethics and Conduct Alvarez characterized the business practices of downtown property owners Irv Chase and Ryan Chase to ethnic cleansing, and renting office space from them as renting from Hitler. Ms. Alvarez added insult to injury when, as Mayor Pro Tem, shut down the vocal objections of the Chase’s to her remarks stating; “Mr. Chase you’re out of order.” The Chase family are survivors of the Holocaust.
Item 85A, introduced by members David Benavides and Carlos Bustamante, outlines the options the City Council has to address the conduct of Councilwoman Alvarez.
1. Ask for resignation from the City Council.
2. Remove from the Mayor Pro Tem position.
3. Remove from the Public Safety Committee.
4. Remove from the Orange County Water Board.
5. Condemnation of comment made by Councilmember.
Mayor Miguel Pulido, wanting the matter to simply go away, refused to place this matter on the agenda forcing Benavides and Bustamante to do so themselves. Since the incident, Mayor Pulido has remained speechless, as have Council members Sal Tinajero, and Assembly hopeful Michele Martinez. I guess we can call it the “silence of the lambs.”
The big question hanging out there is whether any of the lambs will do anything about her behavior. The council has routinely ignored the flagrant violations of the Code of Ethics by Councilwoman Alvarez. Be it in her role as Mayor Pro Tem, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, or simply as a member, she has been given pass after pass for her outrageous conduct.
Councilman Sal Tinajero, who passionately proclaimed last year that criticism of the actions of the City Council were being made because the Council members are Latino has had nothing to say about anti-Semitism on the part of Ms. Alvarez. Tinajero also participated in walking out during a presentation of recognition awards to members of a committee which organized the 2010 Fourth of July Celebration, because one of the committee members was an anti-illegal immigrant activist and member of a recognized hate group. Maybe he thinks only anti-Latino rhetoric should be challenged?
Then we have Councilwoman and State Assembly hopeful Michele Martinez. You might think that she would hope to stake out a broad appeal to all of her current and potential constituents by condemning the comments of Councilwoman Alvarez. You’d be wrong. Not only did she ignore the comments when she spoke immediately after Alvarez’s divisive commentary, she has remained silent since then as well. Although as we have pointed out, she dropped Alvarez from the list of Council colleagues joining her to launch her campaign kick-off event.
We then have Councilman Vince Sarmiento, who is supposed to chair the review this month of the City Code of Ethics. He also has been silent on the matter but spoke eloquently about rejecting such speech when it came to the Council recognition of the 2010 Fourth of July committee. You have to wonder how thourough a review of the Code of Ethics will be performed when he cannot even speak up to immediately condemn hate speech from the dias.
So for all their talk about ethics, conduct, and comdemning hate, there are four members of the Santa Ana City Coucil who have thus far remained pretty silent on the hateful rampage of Claudia Alvarez. The fireworks will begin with Public Comment sometime after 5 PM in the City Council Chambers. We cannot know exactly what time because, in an attempt to limit public debate, the coucil schedules the start of their meeting immediately after closed session which begins after 5. You have to be in the Council chambers to submit your speaker request card prior to the beginning of Public Comment or you won’t be allowed to speak. Since there is no telling when they will get down to business, and since this meeting is likely to be very well attended, I suggest you get there as early as possible.