Santa Ana resident Karina Onofre pulled papers to run for Ward 5 for the Santa Ana City Council this morning at 8AM, officially becoming the first candidate to officially pull papers for the Santa Ana City Council ‘s fall elections. We’ve written about Onofre, describing her as liberal on some issues, Libertarian on others and fiscally conservative. And while she hasn’t changed her stripes, she has changed her party affiliation to Republican stating on her website that she is a “proud Republican.” She cites the backing on OC GOP chief Scott Baugh for her candidacy.
“Of course I am still running for Santa Ana City Council in Ward 5, and not just running, but preparing to WIN! Our city needs transparency and incorruptable polititians to represent our people. We have just put up a huge billboard on Main St with my name and picture,” Onofre told TheLiberalOC. ”Also, I wanted to share with you that as a moderate Democrat, fiscally conservative, I have…re-registered to vote as a Republican, and have Scott R. Baugh’s support and endorsement as well as Jim Righeimer, who is the Mayor Pro tem of Costa Mesa. So, I am now running as a moderate Republican.”
What led Onofre down this path? Could it be a lunch with Santa Ana Council member Sal Tinajero several weeks ago?
Tinajero reached out to Onofre to arrange a lunch to discuss the upcoming race after becoming aware of her political aspirations. She says that he told her to run for school board instead promising his endorsement if she did so. But if she kept on the path to City Council, Tinajero’s loyalty to Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez would not be swayed and that Alvarez would have his support this fall, should Alvarez be allowed to run.
“I arranged a meeting with Ms. Obnofre to get to know her and understand what her vision was for the city of Santa Ana,” said Tinajero. “I shared with her the diffculties of running in Ward 5 because Claudia Alvarez and Roman Reyna have a high name ID. I did explain that I worked with Claudia Alvarez for quite some time and would be supporting Claudia Alvarez if she’s allowed to run for city council again. I explained to her how when I was 29, I was going to run for city council but elders in politics showed me the statistics and the diffculty to win in that election at that time. Their advice to me was run for the school board since education is a huge priority for me. In reading her bio, it seemed that education was a big priority for her. ”
Reyna, a SAUSD Trustee, is also expected to enter the race. Sources close to this blog say he will run even if Alvarez gets a favorable legal ruling allowing her to run for a fourth term.
Tinajero added, “I don’t think I’m that powerful to make someone change their mind to make them switch political parties. But I do believe she (Onofre) had difficulty gaining traction with stakeholders in the community. A candidate needs to understand that one must roll up their sleeves and work within the community sometimes for many years before they are able to receive support from those who are elected. If you look at Roman Reyna, he was been working with kids his entire life, and he helped to create the Weed and Seed Program. When I first ran at 29, I had already been teaching for four years and prior to that was heavily involved in baseball leagues, pop warner football and TKO boxing. When the community benefit from your work, they are more willing to support you in your race. It saddens me that Ms. Onofre would switch her political party and join a party that I believe in anti-gay, anti-Dream Act, and is anti-affordable healthcare for all Americans. ”
Alavrez’s candidacy depends on a superior court judge’s ruling on a lawsuit filed by Alvarez’s city commissioner, Max Madrid, a staffer for State Senator Lou Correa and the treasurer for the Measure D campaign that extended Alvarez’s term to a third in 2008. Madrid and Alvarez, who wrote the ballot measure, now cite its lack of clarity on a start date insisting that Measure D reset all council limits at zero. An outside counsel for the city determined that Alvarez is ineligible to run and the city clerk has also informed the Mayor Pro Tem of this ruling. Rather than run — and lose — for Mayor, Alvarez is seeking a legal loophole to keep her on the City Council through 2016. A ruling that Measure D resets to zero would benefit virtually every member of the city council, save Carlos Bustamante who is facing multiple felony counts associated with his work for the County of Orange Public Works Department and might not run for a third term in Ward 3.
But why would Onofre, who was recently honored by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, align herself with Republicans which trail Democrats in voter registration in the city is puzzling especially since she insists that she is a moderate? There isn’t really that much difference between Santa Ana politicians who say they are moderate Democrats or moderate Republicans.
“…given the circumstances, the Democrats it seems are also afraid of Claudia Alvarez running again and will support no one else other than the incumbent,” said Onofre. “The beauty of Democracy is that We, the People, can vote for laws and vote for politicians to represent us. In exchange, we expect the politicians we voted for to respect us, and to abide by the laws that together we enact. If Claudia (Alvarez) runs for a fourth term, she will express she thinks she’s above the law and rather than follow the law, wants the law to follow her. It is preposterous to really believe that Claudia Alvarez would be behind such selfish actions that go against what our city needs, which is a healthy and constructive City Council made up of representatives that are not like fixtures in it for themselves, but are there as valuable assets serving and representing the people. However, I really don’t think Claudia Alvarez would go against what is right for our community, and go against what the people voted for and want, which is for her to be out of office by the end of this year. She accomplished a lot of good things in the dozen years she was in office, and I wish her the best in her future political endevours.”
Onofre tells us she’ll be walking neighborhoods to introduce herself to voters and believes the personal connection she can make will be effective. Additionally, Onofre shared information from the city clerk’s office that a decision on an Alvarez candidacy will be made prior to the deadline for filing papers. Should the city fail to defend the will of the voters for Measure D and allow Alvarez to pull papers, Onofre is expected to sue to keep Alvarez off the ballot.