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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is the tide turning in Santa Ana?

(Art Pedroza)

Today I attended a fundraiser for mayoral candidate Michelle Martinez in the same Santa Ana neighborhood in which my good friend, Orange Juice Blog founder and Ward 3 Council candidate Art Pedroza, who also attended the event, lives. School board candidate Valerie Amezcua was co-headlining.

The combination of media-types and politicos that attend these house parties always represents an interesting mix. Today the discussion ranged from Barack Obama to Prop 8 to analysis of local races, a discussion that revealed a basic truth: the Obama 'change wave' has forced its way around the usually long-draping 'Orange Curtain.' The question we ask ourselves here in the county seat is: is it large enough to turn the tide at the local level?

With polls showing the enigmatic Jim Walker within striking distance of entrenched incumbent Vince Sarmiento in Ward One, Art Pedroza neck-in-neck with the equally entrenched Carlos 'Busty' Bustamante (so named by local bloggers for sexist comments involving the words 'implants' and 'water bra' in reference to OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens) in Ward 3, and Michele Martinez running a well-oiled grassroots campaign in the old-school, populist vein against perpetual Mayor Miguel 'Papi' (yes, as in 'Godfather') Pulido, is Obama's message resonating in these largely Democratic contests, and if so, how strongly?

Is the electorate ready to remove all of the incumbents? Will they be wise enough? Will they be brave enough? Will they be strong enough? A little over a week is remaining in this historic election cycle which will represent a fundamental shift in U.S. policy no matter which Senator is elected President of the United States. It's 2000 all over again. We all remember what happened last time.

For thousands of candidates, not just two, it's game time.


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