Two weeks ago I was trying to figure out why 69th Assembly District candidate Michele Martinez wanted to change campaign finance law in the Santa Ana regarding campaign contributions. With the release of campaign finance reports for the most recent period, the picture has cleared up. The developer of a 278-unit, high-end apartment development in south Santa Ana known as The Met, approved by the Council in March, wanted to give Michele some support. Because of campaign finance laws in Santa Ana, such a contribution would be limited to $249.
With a change in the law off the table the developer Ryan Ogulnick CEO of Vineyards Development Corporation had to find another way to back Martinez. Ogulnick formed an Independent Expenditure Committee (MARTINEZ FOR ASSEMBLY 2012, PROTECTING FAMILIES FOR MICHELE) to support Martinez, dropping $10,000 to support his preferred candidate. He got a couple friends, Barry A. Cottle of C&C Development and a Tustin company Own Your Dream, LLC to contribute another $6,000 to the cause.
With their bankroll of $16,000 this small band of developers set out to find a way to support Michele’s Assembly bid on their own. Knowing that Martinez was looking to shore up support in the Vietnamese community of Santa Ana, they developed a television advertising campaign targeting those voters.
Conveniently, Martinez had participated in an April 28th campaign event featuring Orange County Board of Education candidate Ken Nguyen. At that event, the Santa Ana City Council dedicated Truc Lam Yen Temple as the “Birthplace of the Vietnamese Community in Orange County.” For the past several weeks LiberalOC has been trying to find out from Santa Ana officials which city council member requested the designation. The city has refused to answer the question, claiming that there is no written record of the request and therefore nothing requiring disclosure. Because of that refusal, it appears that the city wants to conceal who made the request. Because of these recent developments, I think we can make an accurate guess why.
The developers apparently contacted Ken Nguyen and got video of the event and, from what our sources tell us, his participation in the television ad. Nguyen is featured in the ad saying, roughly translated, “Vote for Michele, she stand for freedom.” We are trying to get a copy of the actual ad to post here.
It isn’t surprising that Nguyen would agree to participate. He gets his image plastered in television ads, raising his own public profile in the Vietnamese community, just prior to election day.
So to summarize…
- On April 28th the Santa Ana City Council dedicates Truc Lam Yen Temple as the “Birthplace of the Vietnamese Community in Orange County,” without the required public notice and vote, spending $470 in public funds for the bronze plaque placed at the temple.
- The temple dedication ceremony was an event that was hosted by OC Board of Education Candidate, and city commissioner, Ken Nguyen. Ken Nguyen campaign signs greeted attendees at the entrance to the temple.
- Video from the event was used, with the assistance of Ken Nguyen, in a television advertisement featuring Nguyen promoting Michel Martinez for State Assembly.
- The television campaign, and IE committee, were initiated by the developer of a Santa Ana hosing project recently approved by the council after Martinez was unsuccessful in changing city campaign finance law to allow the developer to contribute to her campaign directly.
This is just another example of Michel Martinez and her “Pay to Play” games as a Santa Ana City Council member. Is there anyone who actually believes that none of this was coordinated with Martinez?