What are Bacerra and Cavazos secretly meeting about? and more...

What are Bacerra and Cavazos secretly meeting about?

David Benavides, Phil Bacerra and David Cavazos

A pajarito on the 8th Floor of Santa Ana’s City Hall tell us that City Manager David Cavazos had a dinner meeting with controversial Planning Commissioner Phil Bacerra during the week of November 17th.  This begs the question, why is Cavazos meeting with Bacerra, the self described “dynamic problem solver,” who dug in his heels as a Planning Commissioner to fight the “open government and transparency” that Cavazos claimed he would bring to Santa Ana?  Surely they weren’t discussing the roasted monkfish at the Little Sparrow…

Bacerra, who is a Project Manager for Warmington Residential in Costa Mesa, was once employed as the lobbyist for Downtown Inc. and many of the restaurants in the downtown area.  The timing of his meeting with Cavazos is quite interesting in that it coincided with the County of Orange’s decision to reconsider the abandoned OCTA bus depot in downtown as a potential site for a proposed homeless shelter.  Many in the gentrifier community in Downtown Santa Ana are up in arms at the thought of the shelter being placed in their area.  They and their supporters, including Councilman David Benavides, were in favor of the shelter being placed in east Santa Ana – in the middle of a low income Latino neighborhood.

Was Bacerra meeting with Cavazos on behalf of Downtown Inc. and the gentrifiers to garner the City Manager’s support to oppose building a homeless shelter at the DTSA bus depot?  Is Bacerra back on Downtown Inc’s payroll?  Did he ever stop working for Downtown Inc?  Will he disclose his lobbying efforts on their behalf?  Will he report any of this on his Form 700?

Another theory is that Bacerra was meeting with Cavazos on behalf of his employer Warmington Residential.  Sources inside the Planning Department tell us that Bacerra recently brought a group of Warmington executives to City Hall and paraded them around the office to show them what a “powerful insider” he is.  It is believed that Warmington is eyeing Santa Ana for future development.  Is Phil using his position as a Planning Commissioner, or his close relationships with Benavides and Councilman/failed Mayoal candidate Roman Reyna to curry favor for Warmington and smooth the pathway for his employer?  Talk about a potential conflict of interest!

One last theory is that Bacerra was there to carry water for Councilman Benavides favorite sugar daddy Ryan Ogulnick and Vineyards Development.  Ogulnick wants to develop 1400 apartment units on an 18 acre site located at 2001 E. Dyer Road.  The only problem for Ogulnick is that the site is currently zoned industrial and he needs the Planning Commission and City Council to okay a zone change to residential in order to move forward with the project.  It has long been rumored that Cavazos opposes the zone change, so perhaps Bacerra was buttering him up to help Ogulnick.  If this is true, will Bacerra disclose his efforts on behalf of Ogulnick?  Will he disclose his phone conversations and meetings with Ogulnick?  Will he recuse himself from the vote given his cozy relationship with Ogulnick?

In the end perhaps it was just an innocent dinner involving two outsiders with Mexican-sounding surnames, Cavazos – a Puerto Rican from Chicago, and Bacerra – a Half-Filipino from Garden Grove, discussing how they can fool the overwhelming Mexican population of Santa Ana into believing that they are one of us and they have us best interests at heart.  Whatever the meeting was about we look forward to seeing the disclosure forms from both of them.



Benavides has received more gifts than the entire City Council


Black Friday is just around the corner and I’m sure Councilman David Benavides is eagerly awaiting to see what gifts will be coming his way this year.  According to Benavides’ Form 700 filed with the FPPC, he raked in close to $900 in gifts in 2013.  Benavides haul was $545 greater than the next Councilmember on the list, Vince Sarmiento, who received $340 in gifts.

Here is a breakdown of the dollar amount of the gifts reported on the Form 700’s of all Santa Ana elected officials:

  • David Benavides  $885
  • Vince Sarmiento  $340
  • Miguel Pulido  $0
  • Angie Amezcua  $0
  • Roman Reyna  $0
  • Sal Tinajero  $0
  • Michele Martinez  $0

Benavides on a horse

One of the gifts Benavides received was tickets to Cirque Du Soleil at the Great Park valued at $200.  Hopefully he took his children and not one of his young conquests from the bars in Downtown Santa Ana (see picture above).

You can hardly blame Benavides for using his office to survive.  He shows his primary employment to be that of a real estate agent for Seven Gables Real Estate, however records indicate that he has only been involved in four low level transactions in the last year.  The average price of the sales were $241,250.  Clearly his real estate career is not bringing in enough money to sustain his mid-life crisis hipster lifestyle.

Councilman David Benavides

Being a part time City Councilmember must pay pretty well, especially if you know how to work it.  Riding Harleys on the streets of Santa Ana or horses on the beach in Mexico doesn’t come cheap.  Obviously Benavides knows how to work it, because he has the time and money to do both, even if his income does not appear to explain how he can afford his lifestyle.



OCDA seeks additional victims of former teacher’s aide who had sex with a teen

Richard Nolan Green


Case # 14NF4345


FULLERTON – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) are seeking the public’s help identifying potential additional victims of a former teacher’s aide charged with engaging in an unlawful sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. Richard Nolan Green, 28, Yorba Linda, is charged with one felony count each of unlawful sexual intercourse, lewd act upon a child, and oral copulation of a minor under 16 years old. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration. He is out of custody on $100,000 bail and is scheduled for continued arraignment on Jan. 6, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

At the time of the crime, Green was a teacher’s aide for troubled youth in the Orange Unified School District. The victim in this case was not a student in the class where Green was teaching.

In June 2014, the defendant is accused of beginning an unlawful sexual relationship with 15-year-old Jane Doe. Green is accused of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse and orally copulating the victim at his home. Jane Doe’s parents learned about the relationship and reported it to OCSD, who investigated this case.

The investigation in this case is ongoing. Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Kelly Core at (714) 347-8794 or OCSD Investigator Ed Arredondo at (714) 647-7452.

Deputy District Attorney Kristin Bracic of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.


TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney

Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718



Liquor store clerk arrested for selling losing lottery scratchers and cashing in the winners



Case # 14CF3866

Date: November 25, 2014


SANTA ANA – A liquor store clerk was arrested today and will be arraigned for illegally redeeming winning scratcher lottery tickets and knowingly reselling losing tickets to unsuspecting customers. Francis Bou Karam, 34, Newport Beach, is charged with one felony count of grand theft, one felony count of computer access fraud, and 23 felony counts of forgery with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and loss over $65,000. If convicted, Karam faces a maximum sentence of 18 years and four months in state prison. Karam is being held on $150,000 bail and must prove that the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. The arraignment date and time is to be determined.

Between Jan. 1, 2013, and Nov. 13, 2014, Karam worked as a clerk at Craig Liquor in Santa Ana. At the time of the crimes, Karam is accused of scratching off a small portion of lottery ticket scratchers, without purchasing them, to determine if they were winning tickets. This type of fraud is known as “pinning.” He is accused of redeeming the winning tickets for cash from California State Lottery (CSL) and reselling the losing tickets back to customers. Karam is accused of redeeming $50,000 in cash from winning lottery tickets and defrauding the CSL and unsuspecting customers of $100,000, which represents the combined retail value of the winning and losing lottery ticket scratchers.

CSL investigated this case after monitoring suspicious redemption activity from the liquor store and arrested the defendant today, Nov. 25, 2014.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.


TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney

Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718


Man convicted of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death in a Santa Ana alley

Luis Antonio Garcia Morales


Case # 12CF3351

Date: November 24, 2014


SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of stabbing and murdering his former girlfriend in a Santa Ana alleyway. Luis Antonio Garcia Morales, 26, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of special circumstance murder by lying in wait. The sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon was found true. Morales faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing Jan. 23, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On the evening of Nov. 13, 2012, Morales arranged to meet with 21-year-old Maria Isabel Cerrillo, with whom he had a previous romantic relationship, by pretending to be someone else. The defendant met his ex-girlfriend in an alleyway in Santa Ana, murdered her by stabbing her repeatedly, and then fled the scene. The victim died from multiple stab wounds.

Morales was arrested on the morning of Nov. 15, 2012, by the Santa Ana Police Department, who investigated this case.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.


TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney

Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718


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