Santa Ana Council Members Michelle Martinez and Claudia Alvarez: Frenemies for Life?

I must admit, it was an absolutely jarring St. Patrick's Day for me, and not because of the special Jameson I imbibed at Memphis at the Santora in Santa Ana. Just before that, I went to the opening of Chapter One: the modern local, the pretentiously named new restaurant in downtown Santa Ana that promises a groundbreaking menu. All the hipsters and city staff were there to drink and be seen, including Council Members Michelle Martinez and Claudia Alvarez. They sat at the same table, laughing and talking and enjoying themselves like Carrie and Charlotte over Cosmos.

Man, how things change. In 2008, when Martinez ran against Santa Ana Mayor-for-Life Don Papi Pulido, Alvarez railed against her for being a drug dealer in her younger days. Martinez freely admits to this, but only to show youth that that way of life ain't good. It was a nasty political move by Alvarez, one that hurt not only Martinez's chances, but also her personally.


Alvarez, of course, was merely going with the flow and doing the job that Don Papi did on her back in 2000, when Pulido opposed her candidacy for the Santa Ana City Council. And just like that dick move, Alvarez forgot where she came from, forgot Don Papi's barbs, and decided to move to the dark side.

That is also what has happened with Martinez. In the span of a little less than two years, she and Alvarez have turned from sworn enemies into besties, into chicas who need a girls' night out every once in a while to avoid the sausage party that is the rest of the city's council (with fellow Council Member David Benavides–also burned by Alvarez in the past–as a sometimes-wingman). Of course, this is all a charade between Alvarez and Martinez: Rumors are heavy that Don Papi doesn't want to run for mayor in 2012, and Alvarez (who is also mayor pro tem) has long-salivated for the slot. But will her frenemy Martinez sit idly by and wait her turn for glory, or will she get back to her senses and fight the Pulido power? Do dish, girlfriend!

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