What The Santa Ana City Council Gave Up For Lent

Santa Ana Fire Station on Sycamore between 3rd and 4th Streets (Photo from Bowers Museum Blog)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. At their meeting last night the Santa Ana City Council decided what the city would have to give up for Lent. On a 6-0 vote, with Council member Michele Martinez recusing herself because she took contributions from PAC’s representing Santa Ana fire fighters, the City Council turned to ashes the 128-year history of Santa Ana’s independent Fire Department, outsourcing it to the Orange County Fire Authority.

After April 20, 2012, the only remnants of the Santa Ana Fire Department left will be the emblems on their fire trucks, which the city managed to negotiate to continue with the Santa Ana moniker.  I guess that’s the least the city leaders could do given the fact that they are the ones who drove the fire trucks into the proverbial ditch through either financial mismanagement, ignorance, or both.

Mayor Miguel Pulido

Usually, when a ship runs aground, the captain and his officers are held responsible. In the case of Santa Ana, that captain is Mayor Miguel Pulido, and the officers are the members of the City Council. But that level of accountability has yet to land on the head of Mayor Pulido or any of the officers responsible for steering the cruise ship Santa Ana into troubled waters and on to a jagged reef. 

The move to the Orange County Fire Authority is expected to cut $10.5 million from the $30 million budget deficit the city is facing. Much of the savings generated by the outsourcing of fire services come from reductions in the staffing levels from a minimum of 63 firefighters on duty to 48. Read more about the vote from Adam Elmahrek of Voice of OC here.

The city council recently approved contract reductions for general employees and police officers to address the deficit. But much of the reduction in costs negotiated with police are short term, kicking millions of dollars in costs down the road to be paid in less than a year and a half. That bill will come due, and it appears city leaders are hoping that the economy picks up between now and then to deliver the revenue needed to pay the outstanding bills.

I ‘ve been going through old mailers from the Santa Ana Firemen’s Benevolent Association sent out during the last election. As you can see, they spent a bit of money pushing for Miguel Pulido and his slate during the last election, as they have done for years.

It appears that may have been a bad investment.

  9 comments for “What The Santa Ana City Council Gave Up For Lent

  1. JohnJacob
    February 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    All that is left for Michelle Martinez in her search for endorsements is the Santa Ana Police Officers Association – You can bet that they will do whatever the City Council says – especially with Paul Walters as “interim” City Manager.

    • Repulsed
      February 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      To John Jacob
      She does have the endorsement of the SAPD Management Assoc. EGAD! When dose it stop

  2. February 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    The overlooked aspect of this story is Michelle Martinez’s recusal: WHAT POSSIBLE CONFLICT OF INTEREST COULD MICHELLE HAVE TO REQUIRE HER TO RECUSE HERSELF?

    • February 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      The answer to your question is…

      because she took contributions from PAC’s representing Santa Ana fire fighters. since the vote was about the firefighters, she couldn’t vote. I guess she finally learned from her multiple violations of the city law prohibiting such votes.

  3. February 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

    we’ll note Michele is frequently asked for comment by VOC and us but this “very accessible” councilwoman is not accessible. But I’m sure if you show up at her fundraiser tonight with a check, she’ll chat with you.

  4. just asking?
    February 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Actually she could have voted. Union contributions are not directly donated by employee’s. Odd as that sounds the item was about service provider and transfer of employees. The union is a separate entity. A good practice to publicly disclose the donation and timing, but not required to do so beyond campaign filing requirements.

    • Al Simmons
      February 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Actually, that is incorrect.
      It was not about the service provider exclusively, it was 3 motions, 2 of which involved the fire unions.
      Item 60 A on the agenda was “Agreement with the Firemen’s Benevolent Association”.

      According to the current Secretary of State campaign finance filings for Martinez, she accepted 2 donations from the Santa Ana Firemen’s Legislative Action Group (aka Firemen’s Benevolent Association of Santa Ana, CA. Political Action Committee, both of which carry the same committee id#).

      The full text of the council motion can be found here:
      http://www.santa-ana.org/coc/documents/cc_agenda_20120221.pdf

  5. miguel and sal
    February 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    so your telling me that Miguel and Sal did not get any money from the Fire Assoc.? I mean you can see them on the flyer. It may be an endorsement, but you know that they get money with those endorsements or at least political signs or something.

    Either way, Martinez is freaking out because she is behind Julio in everything. I think we will find out some more info on the 69AD every soon seeing how candidates had to turn in paper work. Lets see how grassroots her campaign really is.

    And to top it off, it is sad that she thinks she can win with Solorio backing her up when he clearly is backing up Daly. I mean the guy is trying to pretty much Daly into office with that double endorsement and having one of his employees work for Daly’s campaign.

    If she can’t read between the lines, then she doesn’t belong at the state legislator.

    • February 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      The mailer was sent out by the firefighters not Miguel or Sal. Neither Sal or Miguel have taken any money for any campaign in the past 12 months.

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