Sources inside the Miguel Pulido for Mayor campaign have told TheLiberalOC that the Pulido campaign is seizing control of an unauthorized website touting Pulido’s re-election campaign put up by Santa Ana blogger Art Pedroza’s OC PR and eMedia Solutions company. The site, www.mayorpulido2012.com, was set up by Pedroza in mid-August and TheLiberalOC was made aware of it on Wednesday. The campaign is “taking control of the website and no money is changing hands” said a source for the Pulido campaign.
The site has a blog format and features stories about Santa Ana, Pulido’s candidate’s statement, and photos of Pulido with actress Darryl Hannah, city commissioner Max Madrid, Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang, and at civic events.
The campaign also said the site would no longer by controlled Pedroza and he will not be compensated for it. Pedroza was paid $5,150 by Pulido’s campaign in 2010 for “web services” which was obsensibly to set up a blog for Pulido and for positive blog posts and comments.
Once one of Pulido’s biggest critics, Pedroza is now a cheerleader for the mayor and uses his New Santa Ana blog to tear into Pulido’s leading opponent, council member David Benavides. Case in point — an announcement of an endorsement from the Santa Ana Police Association for council candidate Eric Adelerte was a feature story yet an endorsement by the same organization for Benavides was unreported and, in comments, Pedroza said i was because the Benavides campaign “doesn’t send press releases” to him.
Can this marriage be saved? The speed by which the Pulido campaign moved to take control of the site from Pedroza once informed about it and the emphasis that Pedroza would not have anything to do with the site moving forward and would not be paid for it or to maintain it sends a signal that the Pulido camp wants little to do with Pedroza for the coming campaign. Candidates running for office in Santa Ana tell TheLiberalOC that Pedroza has approached them about web service work similar to what Pedroza did for council members Michele Martinez and Sal Tinajero in 2010. They tell us that Pedroza suggested he was “handing the mayor’s website” for the upcoming election in a bid to convince them to sign on.
The Mayor Pulido 2012 website appears to be nothing more than a deceptive new business ploy by Pedroza to trick candidates into believing Pulido or his campaign had hired Pedroza for this work. The Mayor and his campaign took swift action to correct this perception and “the site will be in the campaign’s control by 5 O’Clock today,” said the source.
The Pulido campaign didn’t pay Pedroza until after the election until after the 2010 race and Pedroza never disclosed that he had been paid by Pulido, Tinajero or Martinez in any of his blogposts during that election cycle. Pedroza’s web services work may also have included the “Amezcua Facts” website which was attack site against Pulido’s opponent Alfredo Amezcua. During the course of the lawsuit against Pedroza by TheLiberalOC, we discovered Pedroza had owned the Amezcua Facts site as it was redirected to Pedroza & Associates, a safety consultancy owned by Pedroza after the Amezcua Facts site had been taken down.
Two big questions remain: Will Pedroza now turn on Pulido for the very public rebuke? And was the Pulido campaign completely honest with us when they contact us this morning. We’ll be watching to see if the Pulido campaign reports an payment to Pedroza for the web property after the election.