The OTHER Anaheim…


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Although I got involved in the recent city council election process, I still feel like a newcomer to the city affairs. My previous participation was as a volunteer in a sanctuary for Central American refugees, at the Unitarian church, more than 20 years ago.  The UU was located at Manchester Avenue, next to the freeway. Being a newcomer one runs the risk of being naïve, of reinventing the wheels or just spinning them. But hopefully, one may add a productive perspective to the debate.

Significant discussions are going on in the non-corporate, less affluent Anaheim.  One is between middle class residents and working class Latinos, expressed in the regulation of garage sales, and probably on the operation of ice cream trucks.  This reflects demographic changes, integration, diversity.   In predominantly middle class neighborhoods, the garage sales regulation is a welcome one.  Eventually acceptable preservation and integration of ways of life will occur. The important debate is how to address the marginalization of the poor and working class, which has a much more negative impact. An exchange of ideas through one of the Blogs, and maybe meetings between these two camps, about the different concerns and mutual goals could be a positive manner to address them(1).

The other debate is within the leadership of the Latino community.  The lawsuit against the city’s current electoral system by Los Amigos has been accepted by people who were previously reluctant.  For 35 years this group, Los Amigos, has navigated the political waters as well as it could, and it has been overall a positive influence. However, they continue to be negatively characterized by the talented editor of the OCWeekly, who was born and raised in Anaheim. Differences can be productive, but the existing one is discouraging and counterproductive (2). Historical references and description of current events are not enough to change the problems afflicting our community.  An agenda and a movement are needed to change them.  There are a couple of fine community organizing groups, but they are limited in their scope and immediate impact.  The progressive movement, started with Duane Roberts‘ campaign, and supported by many Latinos, has the potential of becoming a viable political project.

(1)    See Gabriel San Roman http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2012/11/anaheim_yard_sales.php

Cynthia Ward  http://thinkforyourselfoc.com/2012/11/who-is-anaheim-leadership-really-serving/

(2)    Search Los Amigos in the OCW.

The voice of the most vulnerable sections of our community is often presented by Gabriel San Roman, occasional contributor to this blog, and currently reporting for the OC Weekly.  A sample of his and others’ comments, in this blog,  gives us a flavor of the other Anaheim:

Comments on “OCCCO’s Candidates Forum” thread

gabriel….. 1% idea ( allocation from the TOT to neighborhood improvement) …does not represent shifting away from the perverted priorities that prevail. It strikes me as a slim ‘say to play’ bone thrown out to the working class residents. The statistical choice of 1% in the era of Occupy’s binary rhetoric is rather telling! Let them eat tresleches cake! …

The tone of questions regarding policing was actually quite striking (not in a good way) and underscored a deep disconnect between most of the candidates and the working class residents of Anaheim. You are wise to invoke Luis Rodriguez (Vice Presidential candidate of the Justice Party) A Mayor or council members in the know would have phoned folks like Rodriguez and Father Gregory Boyle *before* unrest ever broke out. Instead, the first effort after was to corral the Ducks, Angels and Disney as corporate “philanthropists” of a ‘Heal Anaheim’ farce.

We have real social ills and need a new brand of politics that truly understands their roots. This election is interesting in the dynamics and issues that are playing out. The odds are stacked against anything positive occurring, but hey, perhaps something along those lines will happen. If it doesn’t, the ballot box is only one avenue of political participation, anyway.

Joe

Great points! … will the challenging viable Candidates take genuine action? For the record, publicize with Media and highlight the infrastructures in need such as you cite the “alleys” which do become a haven for illicit gang activity. Motion sensor lights and even cameras are a start and deterrant ..

Dora:

Hey vato, what’s wrong with our alleys, eh? We do our businnes there, taking care of our carcachas, and sometimes having secret rendezvous. Your lights and sensor cameras will be taking down the same day they are installed. What the heck is “illicit gang activity”? Are you talking about the whitiest man alive and his puppets, making sweet heart deals with the city subsidies to the “resort” area. After the desmadre that took place when the KKK reps gunned down one of our homeboys, they now want to appease us by trowing us the 1% bone from the “resort” allocation. What about taking a bunch of our vatos locos and their families from the “hot zones” and let them live in the Hills? Living in a manicured neighborhood will not change a thing ese. Profound changes are needed! Pay attention to Duane, el guero, at least he is making us feel like we are not second class citizens. I have to go now to clean some houses in the Hills.

Comments on:  “Disney wants even More Anaheim Taxpayer Money” thread

gabriel

…I’ve been to all of the debates and too many ice cream trucks never came up as an issue!

… “Curbing the swap meets that take place on my neighbors lawns on a weekly basis. Garage sales are for getting rid of unwanted junk once a year not to supplement ones income.”

In Anaheim’s ‘sacrifice zones’ of neglect gente bust out the swap meet sidewalk/lawn sales and I have ZERO problems with that. It’s a privilege to be able to sell shit without it being a side hustle to make ends meet. Having no rent control ordinances make people vulnerable to slumlords. Connect the dots. Corporatists and sacrifice zones are interconnected.

… I hope the trajectory of its arc(Save Anaheim blog) bends towards engaging issues affecting poor and working people in Anaheim instead of calling for ‘curbing’ the shit they feel they gotta do out of necessity.

.Dora:

…I had the same reaction as Gabriel did …What’s wrong with my beloved trokaspaleteras (ice cream trucks) meandering through the historical downtown area?. Except for Rudy, the bro with the solar panels in top of his garage, all the other folks living there must be whites. Signs of pretty boy JB are all over their lawns. Common guys loosen up! Enjoy the paletas made of frutasnaturales, no preservatives; appreciate the entrepreneurship of my gente in this free market. One thing I agree is about the Xmas melody, it should be changed…

In this website (Save Anaheim blog), Pringle and all the people posing with him are like el demonio. Now I know why we are messed up! Where were my rucos (Los Amigos) when this guy was setting us up?

The more I read in the blogs, the more confused I get… Why is the Artic project bad? It is a cool name, but don’t everybody agree that the Disney hood is the main source of revenues and jales? The “gravy train” from the feds, state and city funds (un poquito no mas from the city, not too much from the city) would not benefit all of us? Don’t you brag about the London tube and Paris speedy trains when you come back from your trips to Europe? Don’t you like progress?

Wait a minute! my produce marketa was torn down in the name of progress, here in State College and Lincoln. It was replaced by a drive-in Starbucks! They’d better stock up on plywood panels, and keep them handy when the outcome of the investigation on the police shootings is released. Don’t we love Anaheim?!

 


About Ricardo Toro

Chilean native and Anaheim resident for several decades.