I Remember Claudia Alvarez

Alvarez.jpgI remember SanTana councilmember Claudia Alvarez. I remember back in early 2000, when a friend of mine asked if I could help stuff envelopes for a campaign he was working on for a deputy district attorney. I remember meeting her--young, energetic, sincere--and thinking I wanted more politicians like her in office.

I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember stuffing envelopes in the garage of her mother's realty firm, bundling up next to the heater as my friends and I worked for free. I remember looking in the trash can and discovering some crazy rag called OC Weekly.

I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember going to the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association's annual dinner and seeing her charm the socks off everyone after a brief speech. Everyone whispered this lady had a chance at becoming great.

I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember going to her first fundraiser, at Avila's El Ranchito in Santa Ana. As entertainment, she had a woman singing Mexican standards on a karaoke machine. The lady was so wabby she cracked jokes about Michael Jackson. I sang "Tristes Recuerdos." I sucked.

I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember hanging with the Democrats in 2000 at whichever Anaheim hotel they always have their post-election party. I remember seeing an exhausted Claudia walk in with her supporters, certain of victory over some Papi Pulido puppet. I had stopped volunteering months earlier on amicable terms, having to concentrate on Chapman University.

I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember seeing her at SanTana city council meetings, where she would wave hola to me from behind the dais.

I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember writing this piece highlighting her 2004 campaign for an assembly seat. She was just wrapping up her four-year term on the SanTana city council, a good term. I thought she'd be a great representative for SanTana in Sacramento

I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember the shock when SanTana activists told me she was accepting muchos donations from developers. I remember the disgust I felt when Alvarez's response to my articles was to attack her opponents.

I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember hearing that SanTana's Measure D--which would extend term limits from two four-year gigs to three--was designed specifically for Alvarez, whose second term is up this year. I remember being skeptical that politics could be that craven--until actually bothering to investigate. And I remember the cynical laugh I uttered this morning, when Los Angeles Times SanTana reporter Jennifer Delson revealed the Yes on Measure D campaign is being run out of Alvarez's house.

I remember Claudia Alvarez.

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