Santa Ana's Grand Choo-Choo Conspiracy Continues

Back in January, I theorized out loud about a SanTana scandal of Chinatown-esque proportions: the introduction of a light-rail system most likely involving the Cordoba Corporation, whose CEO sits alongside SanTana conflict-of-influenza-afflicted councilmember Carlos Bustamante on the board of the Santa Ana Business Bank. Last month, SanTana announced they would join Garden Grove in asking the Orange County Transportation Authority for about $300 million to make their choo-choo dreams a reality.

Today, we received an email blast from SanTana councilwoman Michelle Martinez announcing a charity basketball game this Saturday at Hector Godinez High School as part of the city's Nutrition and Fitness fair. The teams will feature "Elected Officials and Community Leaders," a fairly accurate statement (the rosters include politicos and non-profit types) save for one person: Cordoba Vice President of Transportation Jose de Jesus Martinez.

As we explained in January, Martinez was hired last year by SanTana officials to consult on their mass-transit plans to the tune of at least $10,000. He and other Cordoba workers accompanied City Manager Dave Ream, director of planning Jay Treviño and other SanTana bureaucrats to a Portland conference advocating mass transit solutions (thankfully, public records show Martinez and his crew went on their company's dime).

Martinez is the only participant in Saturday's game highlighted by his ties to a private practice. Even other people who have their own private practices (such as dentist Arturo Lomeli) don't bother putting their business' name out there. I say Martinez's participation is the beginning of Cordoba's efforts to ingratiate itself to sanTaneros--but then again, it's Chinatown. Wait, SanTana officials burned that down in 1906...


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