Santa Ana Councilmembers Sal Tinajero and Michelle Martinez Admit to Thinking They Broke the Law, Use Same PR People?

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Martinez: Once an outsider, now proudly a vendida
Two bizarre press releases sent late Friday to every reporter in Orange County that covers SanTana (except Moxley--interesting...) told the same story: that councilmembers Sal Tinajero and Michelle Martinez were taking action to retake a City Council vote, and abstain from the new proceeding to avoid possibly breaking conflict-of-interest laws.

Tinajero and Martinez admitted receiving campaign donations from one of SanTana's many soccer clubs, then voting on a matter involving reducing city fees on fútbol fields. What's most fascinating about their admissions, however, is that their press release to reporters (sent from  personal email accounts, not city-issued ones) nearly said the same things word for word, meaning that either Tinajero and Martinez operate on the exact same brain wavelength (set, of course, by SanTana mayor Don Papi Pulido) or that the crisis-management team the two use needs to learn the value of a thesaurus, and quick.

See for yourselves after the jump!

Before we get to them, the cheat-sheet:

*Save the names of Tinajero and Martinez, the first two paragraphs in each press release are EXACTLY the same.

*The quotes where the two say they contacted the Don Papi to see what they can do are nearly alike.

*Tinajero is quoted as saying "There was some confusion with regard to the agenda item as it included both a city parking fee and the turf fee reduction"; in Martinez's press release, it states, "Martinez acknowledged that there was some confusion about the agenda item in question as it included both a city parking fee and the turf fee reduction."

*Both note, "
The City Council voted unanimously for the measure in question, by a 7-0 vote.   It would have passed even if [the councilmember in question] had abstained from voting."

*And both end with promises of ethical behavior by the two, and how chingones each are in their personal careers (Tinajero, yes; Martinez...what's her job again?). 


The only real difference? Tinajero's press release says it comes from his office; Martinez's doesn't mention any such thing.

But don't believe me--compare, and contrast!

Tinajero's email:

COUNCILMAN SAL TINAJERO TAKES PROMPT ACTION TO CORRECT POSSIBLE CONFLICT OF INTEREST

SANTA ANA - Santa Ana City Councilman Sal Tinajero acted promptly today to correct a possible conflict of interest.

Tinajero accepted a check this year from an adult soccer club. He voted at the last Santa Ana City Council meeting for a measure that reduced a city fee that is paid by seven adult soccer clubs, including the one that gave him a campaign donation. The city fee is dedicated to a fund that will eventually pay to replace the grass at the Dan Young Soccer Complex with artificial turf.

"There was some confusion with regard to the agenda item as it included both a city parking fee and the turf fee reduction," said Tinajero. "When I discovered that there was a perceived conflict of interest, I quickly contacted Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and asked him to hold a special session of the City Council, for the express purpose of taking a new vote on this issue, which I will then abstain from."

"Furthermore, I have returned the donation to the soccer club in order to assure that there will be no further conflicts in this matter," stated Tinajero.

The City Council voted unanimously for the measure in question, by a 7-0 vote. It would have passed even if Tinajero had abstained from voting.

Tinajero is a public school teacher. He is also a nationally recognized high school debate team coach. He was awarded the 2009 Golden Bell Award for Excellence in Education by the California School Board Association.

"We will direct our city staff to increase their vigilance in future matters like this one so as to avoid any possible conflicts of interest," said Tinajero.

Now, Martinez's press release:

COUNCILWOMAN MICHELE MARTINEZ TAKES PROMPT ACTION TO CORRECT POSSIBLE CONFLICT OF INTEREST

SANTA ANA - Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michele Martinez acted quickly today to correct a possible conflict of interest.

Martinez accepted a check this year from an adult soccer club. She voted at the last City Council meeting for a measure that greatly reduced a city fee that is paid by seven adult soccer clubs, including the one that gave her a campaign donation. The city fee is dedicated to a fund that will eventually pay to replace the grass at the Dan Young Soccer Complex with artificial turf.

"Accepting this check left the impression of a conflict of interest," said Martinez. "City staff did not apprise the Council that a conflict existed. When I found out I immediately asked Mayor Pulido to conduct a special session so that the rest of the City Council may retake the vote in question, while I will recuse myself."

Martinez acknowledged that there was some confusion about the agenda item in question as it included both a city parking fee and the turf fee reduction.

Martinez also immediately directed her campaign treasurer to return the funds to the soccer club in question.

The City Council voted unanimously for the measure in question, by a 7-0 vote. It would have passed even if Martinez had abstained from voting.

Martinez has been a longtime supporter of youth and adult sports and fitness programs. She is an advocate for nutrition and health programs for young people.

"It is important for the people of our city to know that we, as Council Members, are ethical and are committed to transparency in our local government," said Martinez.
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