Claudia Alvarez, who had served for 12 years, and Carlos Bustamante, who had served eight, say farewell.
By RON GONZALES / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
SANTA ANA – Two new members joined the Santa Ana City Council on Tuesday, and by acclamation the body named Sal Tinajero mayor pro tem.
Taking the oath of office as newcomers were Angelica Amezcua, representing Ward 3, and Roman A. Reyna, representing Ward 5.
Sworn in for new terms were Vincent F. Sarmiento, beginning his second full term representing Ward 1, and Mayor Miguel Pulido, beginning his 10th term in that position.
Saying farewell to City Hall were Claudia Alvarez, who had served 12 years on the City Council, and Carlos Bustamante, who had served eight. Both received commemorative tiles from the mayor.
The ceremony was a celebration for family and friends.
The mayor’s daughter, Isabel, held the Bible as he was sworn in.
Sarmiento was surrounded by family, as his sister Vicki administered the oath.
Amezcua was sworn in by her husband, Robert Oliver, as her two sons held a Bible.
Reyna’s sister, Denise Reyna Garcia, administered the oath to him, while niece Brittany Fraser, 13, held the Bible.
Alvarez noted her immigrant roots, and spoke with pride about being the first Latina on the City Council and the first Latina mayor pro tem, and pointed to accomplishments that included support for a planned 37-story office tower in Santa Ana and her work against a controversial downtown property improvement district.
Bustamante thanked constituents, staff and his council colleagues.
“I knew a lot of things when I was elected, but I know a lot more now,” he said. Bustamante, accused of a series of sex-related crimes, didn’t seek re-election.
In thanking the council for its support, Tinajero said he intended to nominate one of his colleagues for mayor pro tem after two years. Alvarez had held the position since 2007.
The evening had its moments of laughter, as well as emotion. Reyna and Amezcua stumbled slightly as they repeated their oaths. Amezcua took the wrong seat when she first sat at the dais, while Reyna teared up while taking the oath and as he addressed the audience.
“Even though my name is on the title,” said Reyna, who spoke of the immigrant experience of his family, “it’s not my city. It took a community to raise me. … This is the time when we need to continue to grow together and raise the rest of our family.”
Amezcua thanked her family and co-workers for their support, and also council members for offering their help.
“I know we’ll make a great team, and I look forward to working with all of you,” she said.
Pulido thanked his family, and also Councilman David Benavides, who offered his congratulations to the mayor on his re-election. Benavides had also nominated Tinajero for the pro tem slot.
“I’m very much wanting to put the election behind us,” said Pulido, who had faced a challenge in the November election from Benavides. Now the mayor will be working with a team of rivals that includes not just Benavides, but Michele Martinez, who challenged him in 2008, and Tinajero, who considered a run for the mayor’s seat this year.
“I want us to work as a team,” Pulido said. “I want us to be one city, one downtown and move forward.”
At the suggestion of Martinez, Pulido adjourned the meeting in memory of Mexican American singing star Jenni Rivera, who was killed in a Mexico plane crash Sunday.
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