SANTA ANA — On Sunday afternoon, a volunteer walking a precinct for the Orange County Labor Federation’s Dignity PAC on behalf of candidate Julio Perez was chased down and pushed to the ground by supporters of Councilwoman Michele Martinez. The volunteer received minor injuries and was forced to stop walking that precinct.
According to reports on a blog run by Art Pedroza, who has previously been paid to blog positively about her campaigns for city council, a video was posted showing the volunteer being chased down and harassed by those supporters. Pedroza also showed a photo of a trashed campaign sign to suggest that this Dignity PAC volunteer destroyed the sign and that the sign had been turned over to Santa Ana PD for investrigation. But there’s no photographic evidence that the sign descruction was true and no eyewitnesses are identified.
To reiterate, Pedroza claims unnamed Martinez supporters allegedly witnessed the Dignity PAC volunteer tear down and destroy a Martinez campaign sign. Pedroza states that the sign has been turned over to Santa Ana police for investigation of vandalism and fingerprinting.
While the details of the incident are still emerging, what is clear is that the volunteer was injured, by supporters of Michele Martinez; it is unclear if this assault was reported to Santa Ana PD for investigation.
There is no excuse for violence in a political campaign. Period.
If a person breaks the law, you call the police. All candidates should make it clear that violence and vandalism, of any kind, is unacceptable in this race and if the Martinez and Perez campaigns want to issue a statement, we’re happy to run it.
If the Dignity PAC walker did destory signs, those leaders of the Dignity PAC need to better educate their walkers and explain that if a home has a campaign sign up, walk to the next house. Likewise, Martinez needs to be clear there’s no place in her campaign for “volunteers” who rely on physical intimidation and violence Martinez keeps touting as America’s 4th Safest City in the U.S., two days after two shootings, one deadly, 1½ hours apart in downtown Santa Ana on Friday afternoon. The case reminds us a bit of the failed BoS candidacy of Hua Van Tran who had a campaign that used former gangmembers which added an element of fear, not enthusiasm, for the candidate.