Man Involved in Auto Accident With City Executive Speaks Out

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Marcel Alvarez, the 22-year-old who said Santa Ana Deputy City Manager Jill Arthur offered to get him a job through the city’s employment center after she backed her car into his, has provided Voice of OC with more details on the aftermath of the incident.

Alvarez, a Buena Park resident, confirmed that about nine months ago Arthur backed her car into his vehicle, causing cracks and dents. Rather than exchange insurance information, Arthur offered to get Alvarez a job by using her influence at the Santa Ana Work Center, a city office that assists residents in finding employment.

Arthur was placed on administrative leave in April and hasn’t returned to her job at City Hall. City officials, including City Manager Kevin O’Rourke and City Attorney Sonia Carvalho, have declined to comment on the matter.

“She seemed nervous when we got to the work center,” Alvarez said of Arthur. “Like hurry up and let’s get this over with. … It seemed … not corrupt, just a little fishy.”

The Santa Ana Work Center did help Alvarez with his resume and got him an interview for a job with the show “Deadliest Catch,” but he wasn’t hired. He said he regrets the deal he made with Arthur and should have taken her insurance information.

For several months, however, the city gave Alvarez a monthly gas allowance of $50 through a gas card, he said. The gas cards are part of a federally funded program to help unemployed residents defray the costs of looking for work.

City spokesman Jose Gonzalez said the city does not track how many people who request the cards actually get them, but said it’s possible that not everybody does.

“With limited funds there is always a chance that not everybody who requests a service will get it,” Gonzalez said.

In addition to his involvement with the Work Center, Alvarez spoke of a voicemail he received from an “Officer Gonzalez,” requesting that he come to the police station to talk about his accident with Arthur.

Alvarez never went to the station, and, he said, the officer never called back. Alvarez said he failed to heed the officer’s request because he “didn’t want to get involved.” He said he notified his uncle, a police officer at another agency, about the phone call, just in case.

There are at least two officers and two sergeants with the surname Gonazlez, according to a Santa Ana list of city staff. Jose Gonzalez, the city spokesman and a police sergeant, insisted it wasn’t he who called.

“I have had zero involvement in it, and based on everything that’s been written, I don’t want to be involved,” Gonzalez said.

Arthur’s employment status remained unclear. Councilwoman Michele Martinez said last month she was told Arthur retired. Two days later, however, Jose Gonzalez said that Arthur had neither retired nor been fired.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at aelmahrek@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/adamelmahrek

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