Though it was back in March that the Santa Ana City Council unanimously voted for a special election to replace disgraced former Ward 4 Council member Roman Reyna, the Clerk of the Santa Ana City Council didn’t release the official list of nominees until Aug. 15.
Here they are, along with brief biographical details:
Brandon Sisco: Business Owner/Entrepreneur
“Brandon was coding c++ at the age of 13 years old, at 15 assisted the FBI, running wires in attics and being a system administrator at 14, then later at 18 founded Android Genius a local Cellphone repair shop,” Sisco says on his campaign website. “With various ventures Brandon has decided to take the next step in his life in a world of politics to make his community stronger, and more whole.”
Beatriz Mendoza: Victim Assistance Specialist
“In 2015, Beatriz was recognized by Senator Lou Correa with the ‘Women Making a Difference,'” states this bio of Mendoza at the California League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC) webpage. “In November 2016, she was a recipient of LULAC’s Council #147 ‘Woman of the Year.’ Most recently, she was once again honored by (now) Congresswoman Lou Correa as a ‘Woman of Distinction.'”
Manny Escamilla: Urban Planner
“I began working for the Santa Ana Public Library in 2004 as part of the White House Award-winning TeenSpace program,” he states on his campaign website. “In 2015 I was recognized by Library Journal for my work with the Teen Community Historian program to collect, preserve, and share Santa Ana history. I served as a City representative on the Santa Ana Arts & Cultural Master Plan and remained on staff in the City of Santa Ana’s Planning Department until deciding to run for City Council in August 2019.”
Gale Oliver: Bishop/Pastor
(I could find no campaign website for Bishop Oliver)
Jennifer Oliva: Business Owner
“As a lifelong Santa Ana resident, Commissioner Jennifer Oliva is an educator and freelance professional in marketing and creative services,” states her bio posted on the Santa Ana Arts and Culture Commission website. “As a product of SAUSD, she went on to attend Orange Coast College where she studied music and composition as well as journalism and communication. She transferred to Cal State LA and graduated with a B.A. in Organizational Communication and Public Relations as well as an M.A. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Instructional and Strategic Communication.”
Phil Bacerra: Small Business Owner
“Throughout my career, I have worked for city planning departments, helped people and small businesses obtain city permits, and served on our City’s Planning Commission for over five years,” he says on his campaign website. “As a Planning Commissioner, I promoted and supported policies that responsibly addressed housing affordability and attracted economic opportunities for Santa Ana. As a resident, I was able to get the City Council to change the municipal code to make bicycle parking easier and prevent further cuts to our transit lines.”
Bacerra had run against Reyna in November 2018, but lost. After the election, he filed a civil suit alleging that Reyna didn’t actually live in Ward 4. That case ended when Reyna agreed to resign in March of this year, though Voice of OC has reported that the DA’s office is investigating possible criminal fraud in the matter (DA Public Information Office Kimberly Edds didn’t return a request for comment by press time).
Because the Santa Ana City Council couldn’t agree on who to appoint to replace Reyna, they voted to hold a special election this November. Polls will be open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2019, Clerk of the Santa Ana City Council Daisy Gomez said in an Aug. 15 news release.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.