Santa Ana Roundup: Hot Air, Air Talk, Checkpoints, and Bullet Points!


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Good Water or Hot Air? Did you know that Santa Ana has the third-best tasting tap water in the whole wide world? Well, as the OC Weekly called it, that’s only according to a contest with 35 participants; one of which outside the United States. That silly little fact didn’t stop Council Members from trumpeting the claim. Claudia Alvarez was quoted in the Reggie saying, “Regardless of what people think of Orange County and Santa Ana, we have the best water out there – internationally.” It’s also the subject of the top post on Michele Martinez’s blog! Now everyone let’s have a moment to shake our collective heads! It all reminds me about the beginning of this old George Carlin routine!

Real Talk on Gentrification: On Monday Larry Mantle of KPCC will be bringing his “Air Talk” program to Santa Ana for a special taping. The subject of the show will be gentrification (or as its defenders proclaim…the natural machinations of capitalism!) Subsidies aside, the first half hour hosted at Libreria Martinez will feature the back and forth between a shuffled round table of guests. At first Carolina Sarmiento of El Centro Cultural de Mexico was to appear along side Eric Altman of OCCORD. Sarmiento has since dropped out due to scheduling conflicts and has been replaced by Art Lomeli of the Santa Ana Coalition for Better Government. The President of Downtown Inc. was also slated to participate, but now Council Members Michele Martinez and Carlos Bustamante will be on the other side. It’s a shame the Inc’ers aren’t in on this. The last half hour of the program will be audience Q&A.  This event takes place from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. on the 28th but has been at capacity for awhile. Guess the rest of us will have to tune in when the show airs.

Check Yourself, Before You Wreck Yourself: DUI checkpoints have been in the news recently as the LAPD has made a change to its policy to lessen the burden on unlicensed and undocumented drivers who have been unfairly targeted by the practice only to have their vehicles impounded while not even having a trace of alcohol on their breath. The initiative was an activist one despite the suit and tie Latino community leaders that posed with the Mayor of LA and Chief Charlie Beck. The impetus for reform began with the South Central Neighborhood Council and the Southern Coalition for Immigration Reform.

As the LA Times has it, “Police will be required to make an attempt to contact the registered owner of the stopped vehicle. If the owner is a licensed driver and can respond to the checkpoint in “a reasonable period of time,” the officers will release the car to him or her. If the owner is unlicensed, officers will permit another person who is a licensed driver to take the car.” Activists want more, but it’s a start, which is more than what can be said of Santa Ana. The same criticism being levied in LA applies to this city as well as checkpoints are conducted in a manner that target undocumented individuals. There is a way to fight back, as Angeleno brothers and sisters have shown.

Renovating History: Lastly, like the best-tasting water claim, the 10 interesting facts about the Yost Theater on it’s new website was subjected to proper contextualization by the OC Weekly. As the venue readies for its opening, it proclaims on fun fact #8 that “On April 12, 2008, El Centro Cultural and Calacas, with the generous help of the Chase Family, hosted the first cultural event at The Yost after the theater had remained dormant for year.” Only, as anyone who has bothered to read Jennifer Delson’s LA Times article, the first cultural event was actually a Son Jarocho concert that packed the seats in 2007 and peaked the interest of the “City Fathers.” Maybe the webmaster was too concerned with buttering up the Chase family and its “generosity” that the facts got flubbed in the process! Read the whole deconstruction here!


About Gabriel San Roman