It's not uncommon for politicians to grandstand at any community event, but most of them make the token effort to relate their comments to the occasion at hand. That scenario happened again and again this Saturday, when secular saint Rueben Martinez re-opened his beloved bookstore, Librería Martínez, in downtown SanTana.
Democratic nominee for insurance commissioner Hector de la Torre was there, at Martinez's insistence to shill for his campaign, but de la Torre nevertheless praised Mr. Martinez's to the heavens. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez was there, gave a plug for the book she co-wrote with sister Linda, but used her moment to tell a touching anecdote about the importance of literacy.
Assemblymember Jose Solorio was also there, and held up a copy of a book to urge the packed store to buy books that day, a tactic also followed by SanTana councilmembers David Benavides and Vince Sarmiento.
And then Mayor Don Papi Pulido took the microphone.
Don Papi Pulido (introduced by Solorio as a “strong mayor…the people's mayor”–WTF?) took twice as long to speak as anyone else, told the oft-told tale that when he first came to Fullerton in the 1960s, he spoke no English, but didn't mention one word about reading–or, if he did, it was lost in the rambling. Papi asked Sarmiento and Benavides to stand behind him, an obvious slate-mailer photo-op, and then began rambling about speaking to elementary school kiddies, specifically a long-winded anecdote about how he once challenged the chess world champion and lost in 29 moves–but only because the champion was blindfolded. The worst part, however, was when the Don Papi mentioned he knew how to speak French, then proceeded to fire off a couple of sentences.
By contrast, Alfredo Amezcua, who's running against Don Papi for mayor this year, spent his remarks speaking about a non-profit he and Mr. Martinez help, a non-profit that promotes literacy and never mentioned his campaign.