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  • Saturday, September 09, 2006


    Metro VIEWS

    Democracy Lives-on in Orange on September 11th
    A community editorial
    from the Greater Orange Community Organization

    Five years since the horror of September 11th, 2001 our democracy is strong, if not stronger than ever. On this anniversary, peaceful democratic debate rages across our nation over the nation’s response to 9/11 and the lessons learned. Peaceful debate also rages over America’s involvement in Iraq. No bombings, assassinations, or political death squads, just peaceful (although passionate) debate.

    With 2006 being a political year American debates take on even more political rhetoric. This is not something new to our national dialogue. In fact this biannual political crescendo has always been in the rhythm of our national discourse since our nation thankfully adopted the U.S. Constitution. It should be no other way in histories greatest democracy. It should also follow that this biannual political phenomenon should also include local politics, and so in Orange it does.

    Former Orange Councilman Mike Alvarez, now a candidate for Orange City Mayor has stirred up a little controversy for connecting his current campaign to his yearly sponsorship of the candlelight memorial held in honor of September 11th at the Orange Circle Plaza Park. Local blog Orange Politicos on Friday September 8th posted How Low will Mike Alvarez Go to Raise Money taking aim at Alvarez for hosting a campaign event at the Citrus City Grill before the candlelight ceremony at the Plaza.

    In a press release from the Alvarez campaign to the media, the campaign event is not mentioned and the only reference to the Alvarez campaign is the campaign web address for “more information” (Orange Politicos has posted the official campaign announcement to supporters about the campaign event prior to the vigil). The Alvarez press release in part states:

    “Former Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Alvarez is sponsoring the evening.
    “This is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Orange and the surrounding communities to join together to celebrate the lives of those lost in the tragic events of September 11, 2001, says Alvarez, who has sponsored the event for the last four years, “This year we want to remember the men and women in the Military who are risking their lives to defend our freedoms.”

    Anyone who knows Mike Alvarez, regardless of who you support in the local campaign, knows that the Mike Alvarez who sponsored the first vigil (and every September 11th vigil at the Circle since) is the same person running for mayor, a patriot who loves his country and community. While we acknowledge some may not recognize the democratic process in the hosting of a campaign function just before the memorial, others will see it as proof of that democratic process and the strength of our democracy.
    We see it as the later.

    We hope all local candidates and local leaders join Alvarez and his supporters on Monday at the September 11 Memorial to show that in the Greater Orange Communities, we remember and we morn that tragic day five years ago, but we also rejoice, and we celebrate the gift of democracy that has survived the September 11th attacks; the Okalahoma City bombings; the Pearl Harbor sneak attack; the Civil War; the burning of Washington D.C. in the War of 1812; and the countless other times our nation was at risk. In the end our strength has been our democracy. On September 11, as national leaders jet across the country in carefully crafted photo-ops, and a local candidate holds a campaign event before the long running memorial service he started, take a moment to realize that this happens only in our American democracy because it can.

    To View the Orange Politicos post CLICK ON:

    I posted this on the Orange Politicos blog, but wanted to post it here, as you seem to not be as angry as "frank" is....your article about this years 9/11 remembrance at the Plaza in Orange was accurate, in good taste and beautifully written. This was my response to OP's continued jabs at one of Orange's most distinguished elected officials.

    "I was a close acquaintance of Steve Ambriz, and got to know and respect Mike Alvarez through that relationship. You need to know that the comments you are making on your blog about Mike disgracing the memory of Steve could not be further from the truth. Mike and Steve worked together on all previous 9/11 events, and now that Steve is not here to do this years event with Mike, Bridget Ambriz has wholeheartedly supported Mike in keeping the memory of her husband alive through this contribution. Anyone who knows the strong bond that these two men shared would certainly not see this generous act as the anything other than what it is. As for the gentleman, Derek, who you mentioned not being paid for his work at the 9/11 event held at city hall? I was with Steve when he met with the city of Orange staff, where he made it clear that all staff who wished to work this event would not be paid for their service; it was not a political event, and both Mike and Steve wanted to prove that such an event could be held using no public funds.

    The 9/11 events are about encouraging a sense of community, which is the foundation of Mike Alvarez' dedication to public service as a third generation Orange resident. His opponent is a Orange "transplant" from Irvine, who was the only city council member who didn't support the original 9/11 event....maybe because it wasn't "all about her?" The fact that you looked at her website and saw no mention of 9/11 is a disgrace, and calls into question her patriotism, in my opinion. What you did see, however, is her host of "supporters" , both on paper and financially, from outside of the city of Orange. The tragedy of September 11 impacted all of us as citizens of this country, and to ignore the day does not change the fact that it happened, and that those who suffered as a result do not deserve to be forgotten. As so eloquently written on Greater Orange News eBlog: Metro VIEWS, many citizens choose to remember such events, and find it comforting to do so with their community family.

    Mike Alvarez is funding the event at the plaza as a public citizen, held in a public park. There is no charge to attend, no hat will be passed, and no donations taken. All costs associated with the event are being covered by him personally; I know that because I asked him. I also know that he has donated money to the American Red Cross, despite the supposed phone calls you have made, and that Citrus City Grill also donated money to the Red Cross after hosting Mikes event. The fact that I know this to be true, although you report it differently is there reason why I am writing. Obviously, you do not know either the history of Steve Ambriz and Mike Alvarez, their strong ties to the community, their history of service or their decency as public officials.

    As blogger Andrea mentioned, all citizens of the great city of Orange are invited to attend the plaza event Monday night at 7:30. The fundraiser held earlier in the evening is a totally separate event, and the press release in the newspaper made that very clear. If you do attend, why not take a minute to meet Mike and ask him personally about any issues you are concerned about? I find him to be a very open, honest and approachable person. I can guarantee that he will graciously oblige you. Why not go talk to him and find out who he really is rather than speculating? Ask him for his background, his position, his plans for the future of Orange, so you can be a responsible member of this community, rather than further disgracing your blog with such ugly allegations that serve only to destroy the democratic process as people like Mike Alvarez envision it to be."

    Thank you for your time.
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