In an election marked by mud slinging, two Santa Ana councilmen--P. Lee Johnson and Robert W. Luxembourger--were turned out of office Tuesday.
The final days of the campaign prompted a flurry of mailers, including a pair that accused Johnson of beating his former wife. One came from successful candidate Miguel Pulido Jr., who also issued a mailer that described illegal aliens as "a public nuisance."
Pulido's mailer caused outrage among some Latinos. "I'm personally embarrassed about what Pulido put out because he's from that community," said Zeke Hernandez, an unsuccessful candidate.
"He (Pulido) probably got the vote (from both Latinos and Anglos), but I don't think he's going to have the support of the Hispanic community," said downtown shopowner Adolfo Lopez, adding:
"I tell you the truth, who knows whether we can ever trust him?"
Nativo Lopez, leader of the immigrants' rights group Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, which had campaigned vigorously for Pulido, declined to comment on the illegal alien mailer.
As for the wife-beating mailer, Pulido said he sent it only after Johnson sent one denying the allegations. The second mailer came from a group formed two weeks ago by former Mayor Gordon Bricken's wife, Maureen.
The election was seen by many as one of the dirtiest in memory. "It was one of the most rotten things I've ever seen," Councilman Dan Young, who easily won reelection, said of the wife-beating mailer.
Johnson blamed his defeat solely on the mail campaign. "It brings into question whether the price of public service is worth it," he added.
In a low-key campaign for the Ward 2 council seat, incumbent Luxembourger was defeated by Santa Ana High School teacher Ron May, who credited his victory in large part to an endorsement by Santa Ana police officers.