Yesterday was a good day for the voters of Santa Ana. Superior Court Judge Charles Margines ruled against Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem/Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez and her front-man and Max Madrid in their attempt to subvert the will of the voters and allow her to seek two more terms on the Santa Ana City Council.
The written decision was not immediately available but Voice of OC confirmed late Friday with Santa Ana Public Information Officer Jose Gonzalez that the decision was in favor of the City Clerk, Maria Huizar, who was the named defendant in the case. Back in April, Huizar announced that, based upon a previously reported but undisclosed legal opinion by outside counsel had determined that, Council member Alvarez is ineligible to seek a fourth term on the Santa Ana City Council. Huizar told the Voice of OC in April:
“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.
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.
On July 9th 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.
At the time the suit was filed Alvarez tried to avoid any appearance of connection to the suit, attempting to make it appear that Madrid was acting alone. However Alvarez ended up joining the suit last Tuesday when it became apparent that if she did not, the judge might rule, as I predicted, that Madrid did not have standing to sue.
At the last Council meeting Alvarez apparently became unhinged over the attacks on Madrid, and the Council decision to defend the City Clerk in the suit (which the city is required by law to do). During Council member comments Alvarez alleged a conspiracy between the City Clerk and Council members Bustamante and Benavides to deny her the ability to seek a fourth term.
From the Voice of OC story on that meeting:
“The very office in the city of Santa Ana that is supposed to be the most objective and supposed to be Switzerland and is the one you rely on to hold fair elections has fallen subject to the influences of council member Bustamante and council member Benavides,” Alvarez said.
In his article, Adam Elmahrek broke down the allegations Alvarez made at the meeting revealing that her conspiracy theories were unsupported by the facts.
While Alvarez and Madrid could appeal the decision, their time is running out quickly. The filing period for council nominations closes in two weeks. Still, as I left Santa Ana last night I could hear the voices of residents reprising the tune sung by Munchkins in the Wizard of OZ after Dorothy’s house had ended the reign of the Wicked Witch.