A debate between candidates for the Rancho Santiago Community College District followed by a debate of SAUSD School board candidates was a bit of a snoozer last night for the 50 brave souls who were mostly friends and family of those running. With few exceptions, all candidates seemed aligned on most issues about taxes, the high cost of education and the bond measures facing voters (this is where there was some differentiation).
Termed out Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez delivered what I thought to be the contradiction of the night. While expressing support for Measure Q, a bond issue affecting only a small sliver of Santa Ana, Alvarez commented on money wasted by Measure E, a previous bond where the majority of funds were directed to the Santiago Canyon Community College campus. It made me wonder if Alvarez had been on that campus recently as the new construction of buildings and parking facilities are first class in every way, so Alvarez has an unusual definition of “waste.”
There is more to the district than simply Santa Ana College but Alvarez and Tony Tapia seemed to pander to that campus only. And for Alvarez to call these funds a waste after she’s cost Santa Ana taxpayers close to $50,000 on a needless lawsuit associated with her trying to extend her council terms for an extra two terms and a political makeover after making anti-Semitic comments strikes us as rank hypocrisy.
Alvarez cost the city more than $36,000 in legal fees to fight a lawsuit filed by her city commissioner Max Madrid. The city spent close to $10,000 on a preliminary legal ruling of Measure B that the city clerk used to determine that Alvarez couldn’t run for city council again, and there’s the thousands of dollars in in-kind services the city spent on Alvarez’s community meeting on tolerance (which was by invitation only) after she compared Irv Chase, a Jewish property owner, with Hitler in August 2011. Perhaps Alvarez should be more upset about wasteful spending directly related to her work as the city’s Mayor Pro Tem. After uttering her concerns about wasteful spending, Alvarez’s comment generated a single person clapping — New Santa Ana blogger Art Pedroza.
Thomas Gordon was the only candidate to speak out against the measure.
I had to leave shortly after the SAUSD debate began. Of those on the dias, Valerie Amezcua was the one most in control of the material and the candidate who exhibited considerable passion for students in the district. When asked a yes or not question on support for Prop 30, the Jerry Brown initiative designed to provide more funding for schools, Ceci Inglesias showed her Republicans stripes and said she was against it when the rest of the candidates were for it.