Running for office in local government can be difficult, but it’s nothing compared to what happens after being elected. The complexities of local government are difficult to digest.

Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michele Martinez has lived the life of a political newbie, and now she wants to help others who are starting down her path. On Saturday, she will host the first of a series of workshops for those contemplating a run for a city council or school board seat or seeking appointment to a city commission.

The workshops are essentially crash courses in city government and political campaigning. She’s titled the workshops “Building the Leadership Pipeline to Public Office for Santa Ana Breakfast Series 2011.”

“They [future public officeholders] need the tools,” Martinez said. “A campaign is not an easy task, and being in public office is certainly not an easy task.”

Martinez knows from personal experience how steep the learning curve can be. When first elected to the City Council in 2006, she dived into redevelopment issues, the city budget, public works, fire and police services, and many other government labyrinths. The experience, she said, was overwhelming.

“I went in there and hit my head on the wall,” Martinez said.

Workshop attendees will also receive guidance on running a campaign, including primers on fundraising and campaign planning, according to a Facebook page on the workshop series.

The workshops will be held monthly through March. Saturday’s workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the City Place Corner Bakery, 2789 N. Main St., Santa Ana, across from Main Place Mall.


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