On Santa Clara Avenue, in SanTana's uber-exclusive Floral Park neighborhood stands what seems to be a relatively modest house, but only because it’s sealed off by a wall and the sole entryway is via a gate. This is the estate of Papi Pulido, longtime SanTana mayor. Critics have long wondered how the city’s alcalde-for-life could afford such luxurious digs, but I never really gave it a second thought—people live where they live.
But in light of the Orange County Register’s latest expose on elected official hypocrisy (note to Register editors: Doug Irving is the best city reporter ustedes have hired since Courtney Perkes), now we know the truth about what’s behind Papi Pulido’s gated paradise—nothing less than the complete, final transformation of the county seat into a Mexican hacienda.
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The story states that Pulido's property is 1.6 acres, he keeps an orange grove, and that "he often has out-of-town guests staying in three cottages on the property." The symbolism is stunning. The only non-farmers who have orange groves on their property are Lear-esque lords like William Lyon who keep them as living trophies, mementos of their domain over the land. And cottages on one's property! That’s what the old Californios used to have, in their parties of leisure that lasted days. This is where Papi Pulido entertains, has fundraisers, hosted a party for the new Mexican consul, while the rest of the city's population seethed.
Folks: SanTana is on the verge of upheaval of some sort. Everything is in place. You have a city government that largely doesn’t give a shit and walks out of candidate debates, the rich zealously guarding what’s theirs, morons killing others on the streets, political operatives passing out fliers to besmirch mayoral candidate Michelle Martinez, and the disgusting Claudia Alvarez—whom Papi Pulido arranged a special election for—responding to the Papi’s generosity by serving as an attack dog who can do little else but remind voters that Martinez once dealt drugs (hey, Claudia: better a low-level criminal than a low-class political lady of the noche, no?). And, oh, the rumors going around town about Martinez, rumors we won't repeat here...for now.
While the city breaks down, gazing from the comfort of his estate is Papi Pulido, living it up like an old Californio don. Show some tact, Papi: your beloved amigo Larry Agran still lives in a modest Universty Park home despite lording over Irvine for more than three decades. Curt Pringle has more money than Warren Buffett, but he doesn’t live in Anaheim Hills. We’re not saying to live in the Minnie Street apartments you so wonderfully conflict-of-interested on way back when; no, just make more appearances rather than running out on your constituents.
Not that you’ll listen—you’re too good for that. In light of that, we christen this man with a new name befitting his regal nature: Don Papi Pulido, patrón of the Rancho de SanTana, master of nada.