OC GOP Goes Back to Its Mexican-Bashing Roots in Fullerton City Council Race

In my latest book, I devote a chapter to the many sins of the Orange County Republican Party but also hinted that they were finally evolving from the slimeball campaigns of the past when it came to scoring easy points off of demonizing Mexicans. Specifically, I pointed to the 2006 Tan Nguyen affair, where GOP chair Scott Baugh fully repudiated Nguyen and only the farthest extremes of party activists (i.e., the CCIR crowd) stood by their Tan.

So much for that goodwill. As noted by OC Blog, the OC GOP recently mailed out a hit piece on Fullerton City Council hopeful Karen Haluza, whose day job is planning manager for SanTana. Over pictures of apartment slums and the proposed One Broadway Plaza Freudian tower are these ominous words: "Stop Urban Planner Karen Haluza from Turning Fullerton Into Another Santa Ana!" (underlined in the original). If you still don't get it, the flier retells the same point on the other side: Will Karen Haluza Turn Fullerton into Another Santa Ana?"

The OC GOP plays its hand against Haluza with a racist brilliance not seen since the days of Tom Fuentes and his poll guards. "Santa Ana," of course, is code in Orange County for "Mexican" and all their supposed ills. I'm amazed the flier didn't show mango ladies and cholos, although it also had in caps the non-sequitur "LOW INCOME HIGH DENSITY APARTMENTS."

The statement is a non-sequitur, because Haluza isn't what the GOP makes her out to be. Indeed, if she wasn't a Democrat, they'd love her, as her vision is gentrifying Mexicans outta towns.

Haluza is one of the principal bureaucratic minds behind the Renaissance Specific Plan, the conflict-of-influenza-plagued dowtown redevelopment proposal that SanTana pols have crafted to scrub clean the city to let hipsters, yuppies and anyone who's not working-class Mexican to roam free and spend cash. Its vision is to build many loft developments like SOCO Walk, the dull-as-fuck section of Fullerton next to the train tracks near downtown and nearby historic barrios. This region has already seen the type of gentrification dust-upsthat the type of developments Haluza favors unleashes on longstanding communities. Haluza's no fan of low-income housing--indeed, one of the main critiques of SanTana lefty activists is that the Renaissance Plan would gentrify the area and doesn't allow for poor folks to live in the area long.

Don't get me wrong: I'm no fan of Haluza. I think the Renaissance Plan is full of it, and friends of mine report Haluza becomes prickly when asked pointed questions about the Plan--not the best of qualities for someone wanting to serve the people. But the OC GOP mischaracterizes what Haluza stands for by using the spectre of SanTana to slur her, when they could've easily (and truthfully) talked about the Renaissance Plan. Hey: when it comes to scoring political points by bashing Mexicans or doing real work, what do you think is our wont?


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