Carlos Bustamante: The Great Brown Flop

Disgraced Santa Ana councilman is the latest OC GOP Latino golden boy gone pendejo

Alas, it wasn't to be. Despite the crude remark against Hutchens, Bustamante won a 2008 re-election campaign and participated through 2010 in GOP politics, hosting a fund-raiser for former state Senator Van Tran's futile race against Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. But by then, Bustamante was ready to follow his Great Brown Hope destiny. Already, rumors of sexual impropriety swirled around him, ones Republicans always conveniently ignored (after Bustamante's arrest, former Santa Ana councilman Tom Lutz would tell The Orange County Register, "This is all very shocking to me. In saying that, of course I knew him as [a] flirt with the girls but thought that was just show and that's where it ended"). Bustamante survived two county internal investigations in 2011 into allegations he was a pervert before finally resigning—although not his Santa Ana council seat. Throughout this year, Bustamante nevertheless showed up around town, trying his best to appear chipper but no longer the arrogant cabrón with a once-bright future.

It's a pathetic path that most closely mirrors not Vasquez's career, but that of another OC GOP Great Brown Hope: George Jaramillo, the former assistant sheriff to disgraced Mike Carona. Jaramillo also had a rags-to-riches story his supporters trotted out whenever possible. As with Bustamante, Jaramillo had no real experience other than his ethnicity (he was Bolivian). And Jaramillo was also a known pig with rumors of sexual impropriety swirling around him. It remains to be seen if Bustamante will follow Jaramillo's path to jail.

Bustamante, looking pretty
Bustamante, looking pretty
Jaramillo’s booking photo
Jaramillo’s booking photo

This story appeared in print as "The Great Brown Flop: Disgraced Santa Ana councilman Carlos Bustamante is the latest OC GOP Latino golden boy gone pendejo."

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