The Friday night before Thanksgiving isn't exactly the best time to hold a kick-off for a political campaign, but that didn't stop an enthusiastic crowd of about 60 to cram into Libreria Martinez yesterday to rally 'round Alfredo Amezcua. He's the SanTana attorney and longtime man-about-town who's running against longtime Mayor Don Papi Pulido in next year's election for the right to run Orange County's largest city. Not a single sitting councilmember showed up to cheer on Amezcua, a telling sign of the uphill battle Amezcua faces to dethrone the Don Papi. But three key people spoke before Amezcua, representing the strategy he needs to take for victory.
First up was Libreria Martinez's owner, Macarthur Genius Rueben Martinez. "Welcome to a new day," Martinez told the crowd in his ever-inspiring tones. He shared other inspiring thoughts, but I took notes on a "My Name Is..." sticker that I lost. But following him was Amin David of Los Amigos, and while Los Amigos is more effective in Anaheim than SanTana, their network of activism is legendary. After David was the most under-appreciated activist in the town, America Bracho of Latino Health Access, the group that basically reduces the city and county's medical bill by millions with their health programs. She spoke on her own accord lest the IRS start sniffing around her non-profit, but those three make a formidable activist-philosophical counterpoint to the Don Papi's usual cabal of developers, cretins, and gentrifiers.
Amezcua finally spoke, and emphasized his campaign wasn't about dwelling on the past or negativity, but rather confronting the future. One concrete, brilliant promise he made: if elected mayor, he would push for term limits on his own office to escape the current Groundhog Day afflicting SanTana City Hall. Another point: bring in business--no specifics on it, but I'm reporting here!
My final point after the jump!
Unlike Don Papi, Amezcua can easily move from Aztlanistas to corporate types and politicos (see my caption to his picture for proof). In a way, Don Papi took Amezcua's advice from long ago a bit too close to heart. From a 1994Los Angeles Times
profile of Don Papias he was preparing to become SanTana's mayor
Attorney Al Amezcua, who is putting together a committee of community leaders to serve as the mayor's "eyes and ears,"remembers meeting Pulido at the muffler shop when he brought his old Honda there for repairs. Shortly after, Pulido called Amezcua for advice in mounting a challenge to the city's plan to raze Ace Muffler for a shopping mall.
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"I remember him really for the first time taking a very strong position on what he believed in, and doing things the smart way, not screaming, not yelling, but making presentations stating his positions in a very calm, a very sound way," Amezcua said.
He said that while Pulido is not "a flag raiser for the Mexican community," he has shown great talent in working with "every segment of the community," from staunch Republicans to Democrats, from Korean business owners to Vietnamese senior citizens and wealthy whites.
"That's why he's the man of our times," Amezcua said. "This city needs someone who is able to pull everyone in, and almost be at the pulpit to ensure that all voices and all perspectives and everybody's position is taken into consideration."
Can Alfredo do what so many pray for yet none have accomplished? We shall see...