Why did Santa Ana spend most of their CDBG money on an SAPD helicopter?


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Every year the City of Santa Ana goes through a lengthy process to determine how to allocate federal “Community Development Block Grant,” or “CDBG” money.  This year was no different.  But check out where this money went, according to the City of Santa Ana:

  • Santa Ana Library tutoring program – $200,000
  • SAPD Helicopter – $600,000
  • SAPD Project Pride – $152,000
  • Community Seniors home meals – $30K
  • Community Senior Service, Congregate – $30K

Santa Ana is the youngest city in Orange County, per capita.  But most of the CDBG money went to the police department and to seniors.  Do you think seniors vote in Santa Ana?  Hmmm….

To be fair, the money for the Library and for Project Pride does target our youth. However, ultimately, almost 60% of the CDBG money was used to buy an SAPD helicopter.

Here is what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has to say about their CDBG grants:

The CDBG program works to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses. CDBG is an important tool for helping local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities. The CDBG program has made a difference in the lives of millions of people and their communities across the Nation.

Considering this statement, am I the only one who is wondering why so much of Santa Ana’s CDBG money was spent on a helicopter?  Shouldn’t that be paid for out of the SAPD budget?  Or did they waste too much money on overtime and lawsuits this year?

So how do other area cities spend their CDBG money? Anaheim has not yet announced their grants, but they have this to say about how they distribute CDBG funds, “Funds local community development activities such as affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, infrastructure development, and jobs for low- and moderate-income persons. ”

How about Westminster?  Click here to read their 2009 CDBG report.  Or take a look at the graphic above.  Interesting how they found so many good ways to spend THEIR CDBG money.

How about Long Beach?  Here is how they spend their CDBG money:

  • Acquisition of real property
  • Relocation and demolition
  • Rehabilitation of residential and non-residential structures
  • Construction of public facilities and improvements, such as water and sewer facilities, streets, neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings for eligible purposes
  • Public services, within certain limits
  • Activities relating to energy conservation and renewable energy resources
  • Provision of assistance to profit-motivated businesses to carry out economic development and job creation/retention activities

Is it just me or does something stink in Santa Ana – again?


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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.