OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Carlos Bustamante’

Santa Ana City Council To Discuss Term Limits Monday

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on July 13, 2012

Apparently the City of Santa Ana is going to be discussing term limits at their meeting on Monday. We here at OC Political have received a tip that item 85B on the agenda will be discussed. The item was agendized by Councilwoman Michele Martinez and is titled “DISCUSSION OF POTENTIAL BALLOT MEASURE REGARDING MAYORAL AND COUNCIL TERM LIMITS.”

Information is limited at this time as to specifically what the Santa Ana City Council will be discussing with regards to term limits, but this should make for an interesting topic of conversation with all of the recent buzz.

In a recent article that I posted here on our blog, I discussed a lawsuit that was filed by Parks & Recreation Commissioner Max Madrid. The lawsuit is looking to allow Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez run for a 4th consecutive term. Chris Nguyen has speculated that the lawsuit may get thrown out due to Madrid does not have sufficient standing to bring the suit forward.

Tensions will be high at this meeting with the recent arrest of Councilman Carlos Bustamante, what looks to be a very long agenda, and Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez looking to be out of office in the very near future. My though is that discussing term limits will likely not be the most friendly part of this meeting.

We will have more information on this item as soon as it becomes available.

Posted in Santa Ana | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Lawsuit In Santa Ana Over Term Limits

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on July 10, 2012

According to the Orange County Register it appears that the City of Santa Ana is going to have a Judge determine whether or not Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez run for a 4th term. She is currently finishing up her 3rd term and needs a ruling quickly on this with filing opening up on Monday for this seat.

This lawsuit comes as a result of the passing of Measure D in Santa Ana back in 2008 which extended it from 2 consecutive terms to 3 consecutive terms a Councilmember can serve. Apparently Santa Ana has a rule that you must sit out 8 consecutive years after you finish your 3rd term (This seems extremely draconian compared to other cities).

It is important to note that the lawsuit has not been filed by Alvarez herself, but instead by Max Madrid a Parks & Recreation Commissioner appointed by Alvarez. Rancho Santa Margarita City Councilman Steve Baric (Vice-Chairman of the California Republican Party) is the attorney on behalf of Madrid on this case.

Based on the way Measure D is written the only change made to Section 401 of the Municipal Code was a simple change to simply the number of consecutive terms a Councilmember can serve. With no other changes being made by the measure it will make it tougher to argue a loophole.

The argument being made by the proponents of the lawsuit appears to be that with the passage of Measure D the term limit count on each Councilmember was reset. I will let you make your own judgement on the interpretation of section 401:

Sec. 401. – Qualifications of members.

To be eligible to be elected to the office of councilmember, a person must be a qualified voter and a thirty (30) day resident of the ward from which the candidate is nominated at the time nomination papers are issued as provided for in the Elections Code of the State of California, except that the mayor need only be a registered voter and thirty (30) day resident of the city at such time. In the event any councilmember other than the mayor shall cease to be a resident of the ward from which the councilmember (or, in the case of an appointee, the councilmember’s predecessor) was elected, or in the event the mayor shall cease to be a resident of the city, the office shall immediately become vacant and shall be filled in the same manner as herein provided for other vacancies; provided, that where a councilmember ceases to be a resident of the ward from which the councilmember (or, in case of an appointee, the councilmember’s predecessor) was elected solely because of a change in boundaries of any ward as in this charter provided, the councilmember shall not lose the office by reason of such change. If a member of the city council shall be convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, the office shall immediately become vacant and be so declared by the city council.

A person who has served three (3) consecutive terms of four (4) years each shall be eligible for appointment, nomination for or election to the office of councilmember (regardless of wards represented by that person during such period) no sooner than for a term beginning eight (8) years after completion of that councilmember’s third consecutive full term.

Short or partial terms shall not be considered in determining eligibility for appointment, nomination or election. For purposes of this Charter, short or partial terms shall only be those where the councilmember was elected or appointed to replace another councilmember who left office before the latter official’s term expired. Any councilmember who assumed office at the beginning of a term and left office early for any reason whatsoever shall be deemed to have served a full term.

Interestingly this section also points out what will happen to Councilmember Bustamante should he be convicted of the crimes he has been accused of. My interpretation of the section is clear that once you have served three consecutive terms you are termed out. It is not up to me though, as we will have to see what the court says.

Posted in Santa Ana | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

What’s Next for Bustamante and What Happens to His Council Seat

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 3, 2012

Carlos Bustamante’s Mugshot

Clearly, the biggest news in OC politics this week is the arrest of Councilman Carlos Bustamante (R-Santa Ana) on twelve felony counts, including six counts of false imprisonment, three counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense, one count of stalking, one count of attempted sexual battery by restraint, and one count of grand theft by false pretense.  Additionally, there were four misdemeanor counts and a sentencing enhancement added.

These charges are in connection with his time as Director of Administrative Services for OC Public Works.

Listed with the occupation of consultant on his booking record, Bustamante was released on $100,000 bail last night at 11:25 PM.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will be holding a press conference at 9:30 AM this morning to discuss the Bustamante case in greater detail.

Gustavo Arrellano at OC Weekly reports that Bustamante has a court appearance on Thursday.

Whatever is the end result of his felony prosecution will be between him, his lawyers, and the DA’s office, and possibly, a jury.

However, as Bustamante is a councilman, we will now take a look at the political implications of his arrest.  He is almost assuredly not going to run for a third term in November.  Even if he does run, he will lose, unless he gets a very extreme split of the anti-incumbent vote (remember, Judge Ronald Kline still received 35% of the vote after being publicly accused of child molestation and being indicted for possessing over 100 images of child pornography).

Assuming Bustamante does the rational thing and does not seek re-election, what happens to Bustamante’s seat in the meantime?  Will it go vacant?  According to Government Code Section 1770, there are 12 ways in which a city councilmember’s seat can become vacant:

An office becomes vacant on the happening of any of the following events before the expiration of the term:

(a) The death of the incumbent.

(b) An adjudication pursuant to a quo warranto proceeding declaring that the incumbent is physically or mentally incapacitated due to disease, illness, or accident and that there is reasonable cause to believe that the incumbent will not be able to perform the duties of his or her office for the remainder of his or her term. This subdivision shall not apply to offices created by the California Constitution nor to federal or state legislators.

(c) His or her resignation.

(d) His or her removal from office.

(e) His or her ceasing to be an inhabitant of the state, or if the office be local and one for which local residence is required by law, of the district, county, or city for which the officer was chosen or appointed, or within which the duties of his or her office are required to be discharged.

(f) His or her absence from the state without the permission required by law beyond the period allowed by law.

(g) His or her ceasing to discharge the duties of his or her office for the period of three consecutive months, except when prevented by sickness, or when absent from the state with the permission required by law.

(h) His or her conviction of a felony or of any offense involving a violation of his or her official duties. An officer shall be deemed to have been convicted under this subdivision when trial court judgment is entered. For purposes of this subdivision, “trial court judgment” means a judgment by the trial court either sentencing the officer or otherwise upholding and implementing the plea, verdict, or finding.

(i) His or her refusal or neglect to file his or her required oath or bond within the time prescribed.

(j) The decision of a competent tribunal declaring void his or her election or appointment.

(k) The making of an order vacating his or her office or declaring the office vacant when the officer fails to furnish an additional or supplemental bond.

(l) His or her commitment to a hospital or sanitarium by a court of competent jurisdiction as a drug addict, dipsomaniac, inebriate, or stimulant addict; but in that event the office shall not be deemed vacant until the order of commitment has become final.

He’s alive (a), he’s not incapacitated (b), he filed his oath years ago (i), his election was valid (j), his office does not require an additional bond (k), and he has not been committed to a hospital or sanitarium (l).

If (e) or (f) apply, then he will be a fugitive from the law, as I’m pretty sure he’s not allowed to leave the jurisdiction.

He cannot be recalled (d), as Elections Code Section 11007(c) prohibits recalls when there’s less than six months left in an elected official’s term.

That leaves us with (c), (g), and (h).  However, (g) is overridden by the stricter Santa Ana City Charter Section 403:

If a member of the City Council absents himself from all regular meetings of the City Council for a period of sixty (60) days consecutively from and after the last regular City Council meeting attended by such member, unless by permission of the City Council expressed in its official minutes, his office shall become vacant and shall be so declared by the City Council.

So that leaves us with California Government Code Section 1770(c) and Section 1770(h), along with Santa Ana City Charter Section 403:

  • Now, (c) is the most straightforward: Bustamante can resign, or he can hang on to office as the legal proceedings on his charges move forward.
  • Subdivision (h) depends on the outcome of his criminal proceedings: if he pleads guilty to at least one of the felonies or if he’s convicted, then (h) will occur.
  • With City Section 403, he’s already missed the July 2 Council meeting because he was arrested on his way to that meeting.  If he misses the July 16, August 6, and August 20 meetings, then he will have absented himself from council meetings for sixty days.  The council could then declare his seat vacant at the September 3 meeting, though there’d only be two months until the election to fill his seat for the normal four-year term.  If he shows up to just one of those three meetings, then Section 403 will be rendered inoperative.

The other part of Section 403 of the Santa Ana City Charter reads:

In the event of a vacancy in the City Council, for whatever cause, the City Council shall declare the office vacant and fill the same by appointment. In each case the person so appointed shall hold office until the next general municipal election and until his successor is elected and qualified for the remainder of an unexpired term. Such appointee must, at the time of his appointment and continuously for one (1) year prior thereto, have been and be a resident of the ward from which his predecessor was elected. If the City Council shall fail to fill a vacancy by appointment within thirty (30) days after such an office shall have become vacant, it shall forthwith cause an election to be held to fill such vacancy.

In essence, if the Council fails to make an appointment within 30 days of the vacancy, then they will trigger an election.  I would note Bustamante’s term expires five months from today.  Filing for most offices closes on August 10, but for races where an eligible incumbent chooses not to file (e.g. Bustamante), the deadline is extended to August 15.

If Bustamante resigns before August 15, it’s still possible for the Santa Ana City Council to appoint someone to Bustamante’s seat in time for candidate filing.  If he resigns after that, they could appoint a caretaker or one of the candidates but that person would not have the incumbent designation on the ballot.

Posted in Orange County, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Santa Ana | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Santa Ana Councilman Bustamante Arrested for 12 Felonies, Including Assault, Attempted Sexual Battery, False Imprisonment

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 2, 2012

Carlos Bustamante

The Office of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has issued a media advisory indicating that Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante (the former Director of Administrative Services for OC Public Works) has been arrested for twelve felonies: grand theft by false pretense, stalking, attempted sexual battery by restraint, three counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense, and six counts of false imprisonment.  The arrest also included four misdemeanors and a sentencing enhancement, according to the media advisory:

Orange County District Attorney
Media Advisory

WHO: Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas

WHAT: Will hold a press conference to discuss the criminal charges against Santa Ana City Councilman and former administration manager for Orange County Public Works Carlos Bustamante.

Bustamante was arrested today, Monday, July 2, 2012, at 4:30 p.m. by OCDA Investigators on six felony counts of false imprisonment, three felony counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense, one felony count each of stalking, attempted sexual battery by restraint, and grand theft by false pretense, and one misdemeanor count each of battery, assault, sexual battery, and attempted sexual battery with a sentencing enhancement allegation for committing the offenses as a result of sexual compulsion and for the purpose of sexual gratification.

WHEN: Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 3, 2012, at 9:30 a.m.

            Media will be permitted to set up beginning at 8:00 a.m.

WHERE: Law Library of the OCDA’s Office, 401 Civic Center Drive W., Santa Ana

Here’s the coverage from the local news media:

Here’s The Liberal OC‘s post on the Bustamante arrest.

The Associated Press has the story too, as shown here in the San Jose Mercury-News.

Elected in 2004, Bustamante is the Santa Ana Council’s sole Republican.  He is eligible to run for a third term, but this arrest makes that  campaign extremely unlikely.

Posted in Orange County, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Santa Ana | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

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