More on the Esteban Nuñez case — Great piece in LA Weekly worth reading

May 29th, 2009 · 24 Comments

The New Times Media regularly visits this blog, and worth noting is a piece that their LA Weekly paper published this week on the Esteban Nuñez case. The picture painted makes the California political power structure (including key Latino players) look most out of touch in having any sympathy for the slain victim, Luis Santos.

We have already documented how some Latino political figures such as Mayor Villaraigosa, Assemblyman Kevin De Leon, State Senator Gloria Romero, and LA County Federation of Labor Head Maria Elena Durazo have publicly expressed support for Esteban Nuñez, the son of the former Assembly Speaker, who is facing trial for murder and his family. Even Villaraigosa’s ex-wife, Corina chimed in expressing, “I know that Esteban is in school and working toward a bachelor’s degree” according to the LA Weekly piece.

I encourage you to read this well researched and thoughtful piece. Writer Christine Pelisek details the players in this case in a way that I would have liked to do if I had more time and resources to devote to this. One interesting glimpse into the Nuñez family is how Pelisek notes, Esteban’s mother, Maria Robles, a nurse and non-profit executive, smoking outside of the courtroom with her grown children. I was under the impression that she and Fabian had three children (pictured here), Esteban, a teen girl, and the younger boy, but regardless, smoking is a dirty habit for someone in a profession dedicated to health and wellness.

Tags: Antonio Villaraigosa · CA State Senator Gloria Romero · Corina Villaraigosa · Crime · Fabian Núñez · Maria Robles

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mexitli // May 29, 2009 at 9:23 am

    So this is about the victim?

  • 2 theKaiser // May 29, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Mexitli…ah forget it, it’s not worth addressing.

    If anything, this Esteban Nunez scenario actively displays how politically ignorant the vast majority of California voters are. To repeatedly elect public officials of such extremely low character, (Antonio Villaraigosa, Kevin de Leon, Gil Cedillo, Jose Huizar, the Sanchez sisters, Joe Baca, Maria Elena Durazo, and I hate to include Gloria Romero in this list because I have engaged with her numerous times and she is so much more intelligent than Villaraigosa, Cedillo, Baca, and Huizar combined, and doesn’t emit the used car salesman airs that Kevin de Leon does, but boy she really coughed up a brain fart on this particular issue with Esteban Nunez’s character letters) over and over again, and not publicly pursue them to keep their promises, or produce any meaningful legislation. Voting for a politician based exclusively on their last name is not only very ignorant, but it has opened the door for Third World political mentalities to occupy various positions of power for the sole purpose of enriching themselves. And you wonder why the California State Assembly has grown so vastly inept, and is constantly aligned with corrupt individuals and organizations? There’s your answer.

  • 3 El Cholo // May 29, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Hey theKaiser; remember that opinion piece Michaelr wrote for that thinktank about California moving away from a Bicameral Legislature? The one where he wrote that the California Senate just replicates whatever the Assembly does and just wastes taxpayer monies to do the same thing and generates no progressive opposition to any legislature. Where was that published? This whole Fabian Nunez soap opera brings all that to light.

  • 4 DoctorH // May 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    He wrote that in early 2003 as an alternative to the GOP Recall that removed Governor Gray Davis out of office. Although Darrell Issa-49th District-R bankrolled the GOP Recall, Jim Brulte former GOP California State Senator from the 31st State district (1996-2004) was able to use smoking mirrors to shift the blame of the electrical crisis and the California’s deficit problems to the Governor Gray Davis’ office. I remember Michaelr went into great detail about the whole Enron/California GOP relationship, however the whole AM talk radio crowd, mostly the John and Ken Show jumped on the Recall bandwagon and really distorted who, what, and where. Schwarzeneggar has really exposed how corrupt, self-serving and ineffective the California legislature really is. From Fabian Nunez living large on the California taxpayer’s dime, to Karen Bass’ attempt to reward bonuses to key 53 staffers during the budget crisis, to Gil Cedillo’s per diem compensation. It’s too bad the California voter forgets about all these things whenever they go to the polls.

  • 5 Bearguez // May 29, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Removing the Senate from the California State government would require a revolution…an armed and very violent revolution. Of course this is not unusual. This is what happens all over the world, especially in Third World countries not exclusively managed and controlled by American corporations. It may be more feasible to generate a voter initiative to lower their salaries and limit their perks. California sets the tone for the progressive world, and if we’re going to force accountability from politicians it has to happen here first. These people in Sacramento make way too much money, and they haven’t been accountable to the voters in their districts since Reagan was Governor. And in reality, they have probably never been accountable. So maybe we should start a new trend.

  • 6 theKaiser // May 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I don’t think that particular Think Tank makes public its database of studies. DoctorH described the gist of the study in his commentary pretty much. Michaelr will eventually log on and write something. I like what Bearguez is suggesting. This whole bicameral government experience in Sacramento has run its course. I liked the Assembly’s reaction when Arnold told them they should work for free until they solve this budget crisis. I don’t think Gray Davis would’ve done that. And he should have, numerous times.

  • 7 jammer // May 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    California government is broken at every level. Latino politicians are just as broken

  • 8 Anna // May 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Re: ” Schwarzeneggar has really exposed how corrupt, self-serving and ineffective the California legislature really is.”

    Are you kidding me? False consciousness at work. Arnold is employing The Shock Doctrine on California, which was the plan from day one. Cut taxes for corporations and them borrow money so that our tax dollars go toward interest payments on the debt instead of on education, etc

    Then when it’s impossible to borrow anymore, they make the deep cuts in education, healthcare, etc that they wanted to make all along. They will also try to sell off state assets to their rich friends for a bargain. Even the roads. They want us to pay to drive to work, while some rich campaign contributor owns the roads and gets rich.

    The Republicans are racist. Get it through your heads. They envision a CA with small pockets of rich people are many underpaid brown wage slaves and inmates.

    Arnold is a scam artist. He cares nothing for the people of this state.

    I think only native born Americans should be allowed to hold public office. Some people are too close to the old country.

  • 9 Anna // May 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    As for the subject of this topic, why is this low class, trashy story always the headline, as if it’s some breaking news?

    Chicanos are the only people who always air their own dirty laundry. Other groups try to improve, and show themselves in a good light. Sigh…

  • 10 webmaster // May 31, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    “As for the subject of this topic, why is this low class, trashy story always the headline, as if it’s some breaking news?”

    Anna, what do you want us to do? Say, “Oh thank you Villar, De Leon, & Durazo for writing letters for Esteban Nuñez. It really shows your commitment to the common Latino in California scraping to get by.”

    Please… we should be outraged that these people take the time to advocate for an accused murderer, while the state’s economy continues to crumble.

    As for Chicanos being the only ones airing dirty laundry… I don’t think you are correct there. If you can, read some of the black blogs, they are equally critical of their leadership, and I think that it has served them well trying to hold their leaders to a higher standard.

  • 11 El Cholo // Jun 1, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    The only thing low class and trashy is Anna’s commentary. And her premise that every politician with a Spanish surname should have the Latino community’s lips pasted on their asses.

  • 12 Anna // Jun 1, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I don’t have any problems with criticism of policies, but personality attacks don’t qualify as criticism. I have never seen more baseless negative attacks against Latinos as a group as I have seen here.

    Every single elected official is trashed, even if they haven’t done anything wrong. The Sanchez sisters are attacked all the time and called sexist names. Let’s see, who else, civil rights lawyer Tom Saenz, a Yale Law grad who could make much more money in the private sector–trashed. Villaraigosa–trashed. He was one of the few mayors invited to Obama’s economic summit and people here had a fit. (As did the racist LA Weekly.) Most people would be happy that their mayor has access to the president and federal officials. But people here? Nope. Crabs in the bucket screaming that he wasn’t good enough to be there. That mentality is sad.

    Let’s see, Becerra–trashed. Not sure what he did. Henry Cisneros–trashed. Doesn’t even hold office and hasn’t since the 1990s. Some people here think he is single handedly responsible for the housing crisis.

    Nunez–trashed. And you guys did this before his son got in trouble, so don’t use that as an excuse. He is generally considered to have been a successful Speaker of the House, but not here. In fact, after Nunez left, Arnold got worse. The new Speaker can’t handle him.

    Let’s see, Joe Baca–I think he did warrant criticism for something related to the housing crisis. He also called a female colleague a vile, sexist name, but nobody seems to have a problem with that.

    If Obama had nominated a Mexican-American to the Supreme Court, I think you guys would be leading the charge against him/her.

    Obviously it’s necessary to hold politicians accountable, but what is the point of making baseless attacks and generalizing about Latinos in a negative way?

    The Nunez case has nothing to do with Latino politics, and his case has nothing to do with our lives. His father isn’t even in office anymore.

  • 13 Disgusted In Signal Hill // Jun 1, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    While you’re at it, I hope you do another report about what this slime ball is up to lately:,0,312871.story

    A Los Angeles television reporter is dating Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, about two years after his extramarital affair with another local newscaster led to the breakup of his 20-year marriage.

    KTLA-TV Channel 5 reporter Lu Parker, a former Miss U.S.A., has been dating Villaraigosa since March, station officials confirmed Monday. On Sunday, while working as a weekend anchor, Parker announced a story about the likelihood of Villaraigosa running for governor in 2010.

    “Now that we’re aware of the relationship, she will no longer be covering local politics,” said KTLA-TV news director Jason Ball, who defended the journalist’s ethics but declined to elaborate. “I have the utmost faith in Lu Parker’s abilities.”

    The mayor’s spokesman, Matt Szabo, said he would not comment on Villaraigosa’s personal life.

    Villaraigosa is separated from his wife, Corina. Their divorce is not yet final.

    Indications of the relationship were made public early Monday on the NBC Channel 4 L.A. news website, which posted a story about Villaraigosa and Parker browsing in a Larchmont bookstore over the weekend.

    The report included a snapshot of the two inside Chevalier’s bookstore with the mayor casually dressed, wearing shades and having a laugh.

    “Witnesses say they did not hold hands or kiss, but appeared very chummy,” the NBC Channel 4 story said. “Parker was seen touching the mayor’s chest and stomach while they spoke. She was also seen looking at a book about Kenya and overheard saying to Villaraigosa, ‘We should buy it for our trip.’ ”

    Villaraigosa’s spokesman said the mayor has no official overseas trip planned.

    Parker did not respond to requests for comment.

    Station officials said she had a limited number of interviews with Villaraigosa while working as a reporter in October and November.

    “There is no concern as to the ethics whatsoever,” said Don Corsini, general manager of KTLA-TV, which like The Times is owned by Tribune Co. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a personal matter.”

    Parker’s own website contains a video clip of her interviewing Villaraigosa on election night in November about President Obama’s election. Her site also includes a photograph of her interviewing Villaraigosa for another story.

    During KTLA-TV’s 6:30 p.m. newscast Sunday, Parker read a story about doubts raised about Villaraigosa’s potential bid for governor.

    Villaraigosa’s affair with Telemundo KVEA-TV Channel 52 reporter and anchor Mirthala Salinas in 2007 also raised a conflict-of-interest question and created a firestorm of publicity that tainted his first term in office.

    During his successful campaign for reelection this year, Villaraigosa continually apologized for the affair.

    Salinas, who as a political reporter had covered such mayoral initiatives as his effort to gain control of the Los Angeles Unified School District, later quit after she was suspended for two months and reassigned by Telemundo to the station’s Riverside bureau.

    Sue Otto, who owns Chevalier’s Books, told The Times that Villaraigosa and Parker were looking over books displayed outside the store before walking in together Sunday.

    “He’s been in before, but I didn’t recognize her,” Otto said.

    When the pair walked in, authors Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake were signing copies of their new book, “Smart Girls Marry Money: How Women Have Been Duped Into the Romantic Dream — and How They’re Paying For It.” The two authors invited the mayor and Parker over, Otto said.

    “They gave her a copy,” Otto said.

  • 14 webmaster // Jun 2, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Disgusted in Signal Hill,

    I already addressed this in the latest blog post.

    The ink isn’t even dry on Villar’s divorce decree, and he has managed to find a second news reporter girlfriend. He must have a lot of time on his hands.

  • 15 Missing Luis // Jun 2, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Oh boy do I have something to say to this one.

    Anna says…”The Nunez case has nothing to do with Latino politics, and his case has nothing to do with our lives. His father isn’t even in office anymore.”

    Anna – You are one crazy piece of work.

    This has EVERYTHING to do with Latino politics, you don’t think there aren’t strings trying to be pulled behind the scenes? You don’t think Nunez won’t be calling on friends in high places? If this has nothing to do with Latin politics then WHY did all of those Latin Politicos send letters in on behalf of Nunez’s son? Some even admittedly stating that they have NEVER met his son, but yet are attesting to the so-called character of this boy. They did it for the father – their political bedfellow.

    And you are so WRONG that this has nothing to do with our lives. This case has everything to do with my life. My son was one of the victims and I am Mexican-American. This is my life right now. Those scumbags took my son’s friend from all of our lives and we are left to try to pick up the pieces.

    Engage your brain before you speak next time.

  • 16 Michaelr // Jun 2, 2009 at 11:15 am

    You’re right El Cholo…right now is a perfect time to re-exam the whole California bicameral legislature. The California Senate has been very ineffective in producing legislation, or even protecting the interests of the California voter at large since Reagan. Eliminating that branch of the California legislature would not only save the California taxpayer money, but it would also streamline legislature and identify accountability more accurately amongst state politicians.

  • 17 El Cholo // Jun 2, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Missing Luis…we’d like to apologize for Anna, but some people without brains can do an awful amount of talking, or writing in her case. So apologizing for her is kinda useless. However, on a positive note we don’t have to look at her. Can you imagine what a person who thinks like this looks like?

  • 18 Anna // Jun 2, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Re: “right now is a perfect time to re-exam the whole California bicameral legislature.”

    That’s ridiculous. Eliminate the 2/3 rule and stop voting for Republican action heroes. In fact, stop voting for all Republicans because all they ever do is wreck the economy.

  • 19 Anna // Jun 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Re: “Can you imagine what a person who thinks like this looks like?”

    Stop fantasizing about me. lol

  • 20 WhatThe.. // Jun 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    If California had a majority rule tax system, the bottom 50% of earners, who pay no income taxes, would have the collective authority to impose tax increases upon the top 50% of earners. That is why a 2/3 rule is necessary, to prevent those who don’t pay taxes from unreasonably taking income from the top earners. It creates a system of checks and balances that protects taxpayers. It also prevent one party to basically hijack decision making further mitigating our democracy.

  • 21 Pol Sci 101 // Jun 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    If I may offer some suggestions:

    1. Do an Audit of state govt. for the last 10yrs.
    We will find all the waste and graft. Use
    those funds for necessary services.
    Education, health, transportation …

    2. Make the state legislature part time with part
    time salaries. In Sacra. only 90 days out the
    year. The majority of states are part time
    and some do a GREAT job. Do a public job
    performance evaluation. This will stop them
    from wasting time on a bunch of meetings,
    passing a bunch of bills and instead spent
    time making existing laws work.

    3. Get rid of all the “consultant” crowd. Don’t
    need them. Have all the public employees
    take a class on how to learn from the people
    and how to respect them.

    4. Have the state hire ONLY people that believe
    in public service and are not going to view the
    the State govt. , funded by our taxes, as a
    RACKET .

    I am sure there are a few other ideas. Now let’s just keep it simple.

    Next will be county govt. There we will start with the rudeless bus drivers that don’t stop and wait for viejitas and handicap to catch up to the bus. Then move on the County Un-Healthy System.

  • 22 DoctorH // Jun 4, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    These are great ideas. However, you’re not going to get Sacramento to do this voluntarily. Accountability and transparency doesn’t appeal to people who have profited tremendously from their ability bleed the California taxpayer at will. We have to use more extreme measures.

  • 23 LATINACPAMBA // Oct 13, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Anna sounds bitter.

    First point – I find it appaling when grown adults resort to name-calling and finger pointing. The Democrats and the Republicans have both made mistakes. Both sides have lied, misled, cheated and stolen from the people they were elected to represent.

    Second point – Just because a Latino is voted in to office, it does not mean they are the best person for the job nor does it mean they can actually do the job. I am Latina and I never think to myself, I am owed this job because I’m an educated Latina. I work hard and I have earned everything I have because of my hard work. I think we should strive to encourage each other by holding each other up to a higher esteem. Crooked people are crooked regardless of race or ethnicity. No one in this blog is tearing anyone down. We are free to express our thoughts and beliefs in a mature discussion. No two people will ever agree with each other 100% of the time.

    Third point – People should spend less time blaming others. If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem. When we cast blame on others we are giving them control over our lives as if to say, I can’t get things done because I have no power. If that’s the game the politicians want to play, then I fear for my future and the future of every citizen of this state.

    “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. ”
    John F. Kennedy

  • 24 Update on Esteban Nuñez Case — Jury Selection Begins Tomorrow // May 3, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    […] Bushes, or Udalls. But there are rebels or troublemakers in every family, and unfortunately, Esteban was accused in the murder of Lu Santos. And now he’s getting ready to go through the court […]

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