Suit filed to allow Alvarez two more terms on Council

Claudia Alvarez – Photo: Chris Prevatt/LiberalOC

Yesterday Max Madrid, one of Santa Ana Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez’s appointed commissioners, filed a lawsuit against the City of Santa Ana seeking to allow Alvarez to run for a fourth term. Four years ago the voters of Santa Ana were asked by the Council to approve measure D, an amendment to the city charter, that extended the number of consecutive terms a member of the Council could serve from two to three. The initiative was specifically developed to give Alvarez the opportunity to seek a third term on the council. The objective was so transparent that the campaign was run out of her home. Coincidentally, Mad Madrid was the treasurer of the campaign.

Max Madrid (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

Madrid’s suit, on behalf of Alvarez, claims the rather than extending terms for existing members of the council in 2008, the charter amendment actually reset the clock on all existing terms. Based upon that assumption, when Alvarez was reelected in 2008 she was actually starting the first of three four year terms on the council.

Last year the Interim City Attorney Joe Straka determined that the amendment passed in 2008 only extended existing terms rather than starting them over. Alvarez was unmoved by Straka’s opinion and in an effort to settle the matter he went out and got the second opinion. The opinion, which cost the taxpayers of Santa Ana $8,000, has not been released because of claims of attorney/client privilege. However in April City Clerk Maria Huizar announced that the independent determination was that Alvarez could not run for a fourth consecutive term on the council.

From the VOC story:

However, Huizar cautioned, the opinion could be overturned by a Superior Court order. But at this point city officials have no reason to believe that anyone will challenge the issue in court, Huizar said.

“As of right now,” Alvarez can’t run, “but that could change between now and the nomination period,” Huizar said. The nomination period begins July 16 and ends Aug. 10, she said.

Meanwhile, Alvarez remains coy about her intentions. When asked whether she would attempt another run, Alvarez would only say it’s the “$64 million question.”

Despite Huizar’s claims to the contrary it was almost immediately rumored that Alvarez was likely to challenge the ruling. Those rumors now appear to be true.

When contacted about Madrid’s lawsuit Councilman David Benavides told Adam Elmahrek of Voice of OC,  “I’m hopeful that she’s not behind it.”

It is doubtful that Alvarez will ever admit complicity in the lawsuit, but that does not dismiss the obvious relationship between Alvarez, Madrid, and Measure D.

A cynical person might conclude that the Wicked Witch of the West (Ward 5) has sent one of her flying monkeys out in search of her fourth term.

Alvarez consults with her flying monkey.

I wonder if her colleagues, specifically Councilman Sarmiento and Mayor Pulido, will reconsider their underhanded maneuver last year which blocked a vote to remove Alvarez from her position of Mayor Pro Tem. Given the costs that the city will incur fighting this lawsuit, should Alvarez really enjoy the privilege and standing of holding the Mayor Pro Tem title? It would be fun to see the look on her face when splashed with the cold bucket of water (consequences).

  10 comments for “Suit filed to allow Alvarez two more terms on Council

  1. Santa Ana Resident
    July 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Do none of the Santa Ana city council members understand the meaning of the word “NO”?
    The city has already gotten multiple professional legal opinions (bought and paid for with taxpayer dollars) that make it clear that Claudia Alvarez can not run again yet here she goes, trying to defy them.
    Most, if not all, of the Santa Ana voters knew what they were voting for; (Admittedly, Claudia Alvarez’s appointed commissioner Max Madrid may not have been sharp enough to understand, but the majority of voters sure did) Term limits of a total of 3 terms and no more. Period. Certainly not 5 terms like this lawsuit seeks to allow.
    This is ridiculous. The law is not ambiguous, it is abundantly clear: 3 terms and no more. To undermine the intent and will of the voters is pretty sleazy.
    Claudia Alvarez has already been told she can’t run for another term, but she just doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “NO”.

  2. July 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

    The council majority should move to strip her of her Mayor Pro Tem status if she does indeed pull papers.

  3. Santa Ana Citizen
    July 10, 2012 at 9:33 am

    well, this is a surprise to no one. what a farce and abject waste of city resources for this narcissitic woman. there is no doubt collusion. Madrid is a similar embarrassment, and should
    be. He is an appointee that was nominated by Alvarez as a commissioner of the Parks and Rec. he has an interest in Alvarez’s continuance as it perpetuates his own appointment. He is indirectle depriving the City of financial rwsources in a time of financial mismanagement and crisis resulting in the loss of the City’s Fire Department.

  4. MikeM128
    July 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Typical politician looking to keep power. She is not a servant of the people. She is only a servant of her desire to maintain any power she can get.

    Term limits have been created for a reason. To skim off the scum so that more scum can be created.

    One of these days I hope we will get lucky and elect someone who actually serves us instead of themselves.

    • July 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Mike — so like when Moorlach wanted to extend term limits so he could stay on the BoS for a lot longer? What about Dana Rohrabacher who said he’s only serv for six years and is now in his 20+ year in Congress? Republicans are just as guilyt of power hunger as Democrats

  5. jose s.
    July 10, 2012 at 10:32 am

    As I’ve said before she’s desperately trying to hold on to this job because she knows this is the highest she’s ever going to go in politics. She’s just not a very likable creature.

  6. thats a no vote
    July 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    She is acting like a spoiled child. This city needs new leadership so badly. And to leave her on for four more years and then add Planning Comminisioner Eric Aldrete, council’s choice to replace Carlos should he resign, would just put us back with the same old thing.

    Good riddens Claudia and lets get new blood for the 4th ward.

  7. junior
    July 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Why would the court recognize that Madrid has standing to bring this lawsuit? He is not a party with a direct interest – that would be Claudia.

    There are three standing requirements:

    1.Injury: The plaintiff (Madrid) must have suffered or imminently will suffer injury—an invasion of a legally protected interest that is concrete and particularized. The injury must be actual or imminent, distinct and palpable, not abstract.
    2.Causation: There must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of, so that the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant and not the result of the independent action of some third party who is not before the court.
    3.Redressability: It must be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that a favorable court decision will redress the injury.

    Madrid does not meet the first requirement – no need to go further.

  8. cook
    July 10, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Isn’t Madrid a resident of Santa Ana and a voter?

    I think that gives him standing, but maybe the case should have been filed in Federal court as it would deal with “voting rights”.

    • Dan Chmielewski
      July 11, 2012 at 9:30 am

      He hasn’t been harmed by denying Alvarez the ability to run for a term she is ineligible for.

      Part of his argument is wasting taxpayer dollars if she can’t run yet he seeks reimbursement of legal fees and court costs from the city for filing this. Max will likely discover he’s a stooge here and will be left with a big bill from lawyer Steve Baric who works with Van Tran. Team Claudia needs Republican lawyers?

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