Sanctuary Santa Ana!


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Pic by Nick, Voice of OC

The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc… when I’m talking about immigration…I’m talking about that and more in the form of immigration, the wall, undocumented immigrants being — having to be brought out of the country. And we will do that. It has never been a worse situation than we have right now.”

– President-elect Donald Trump

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”

– Newton’s Third Law of Thermodynamics

I hadn’t been to a Santa Ana City Council meeting in quite some time, but last night the wife said “We have to go to this one.”  And boy, am I glad I didn’t miss it!  As it turned out, it was the last meeting of the 2015-16 Council, before Roman Reyna and Angelia Amezcua are replaced by Police Association stooges José Solorio and Juan Villegas, and perhaps by no coincidence several hot-button issues were up for a vote.

Michele Martinez and Mayor Pulido were both absent, Pulido with no excuse. A lot of shit was talked on the dais about Pulido, and how he always avoids meetings with controversial topics, and how he breaks laws with no regrets or compunctions, pays the fines, and gloats “I still got what I wanted.” Pulido’s absence was unanimously voted “UNEXCUSED” LOL!

Also a lot of shit was talked about the Police Association’s nearly successful coup of the Council – they now claim the allegiance of crooked Pulido, carpetbagging Solorio, and newcomer Villegas.  So last night Sarmiento presided, over a pretty unified contingent of Reyna, Amezcua, Benavides and Tinajero. I still think Tinajero is the best.

Not having been down to Santa Ana in a minute, I was amazed and delighted to see dozens and dozens of young, articulate, Latino (and some non-Latino) activists, 90% of whom I’d never seen before, unanimously speaking out for both Sanctuary City status and terminating the city’s contract with ICE. The Council was unanimously on the same page, but constrained to move a little slower than the people would have liked.

A resolution naming Santa Ana a Sanctuary City was passed; the crowd wanted something stronger, an ORDINANCE, and they want it completed BEFORE Trump takes the Presidency Jan 20. An ordinance may not be legally possible by then, but this Council majority is hellbent on making it happen.

Add a red pin in the lower left

On ICE, a halfway measure was passed – the Santa Ana jail is going to reduce its capacity of ICE detainees from 200 to 128, in the process costing the city $663, 743 in federal funds annually. Speaker after speaker pointed out the absurd contradiction of a “Sanctuary City” continuing to have a contract with ICE at all. The goal of this majority is to eventually terminate the contract altogether (and Sal says ICE might do it themselves once they see it being cut down) – that is going to cost the city $2 million a year though, and where will it come from?

I stayed around to hear who Santa Ana’s next OC Water District rep would be, hoping it would be someone who would stand against Poseidon, or someone I could talk into standing against Poseidon. I hoped it would be Tinajero, and worst-case scenario would have been Solorio, except I quickly saw that this majority has nothing but contempt for Solorio. Disappointingly they picked Sarmiento, who was on OCWD a couple years ago and always voted in FAVOR of Poseidon. Well, we’ll have to get on his case about that.

I did NOT stay to hear them talk about moving to real district elections. District elections has turned out to be great in Anaheim for getting folks onto Council who could have never won at large. In Anaheim the lawsuit forcing district elections had to be framed in racial terms – for Latinos to get more representation. I was glad to see Santa Ana not having to go through that nonsense, but embracing district elections for the REAL reasons – making councilmembers more representative of their communities, making it six times less expensive to run, and making it so a candidate could actually knock on every door in their district.

I’m liking where Santa Ana is going lately … but will Michele Martinez side with the populist three (Tinajero, Sarmiento, Benavides) or with the Police Association three (Pulido, Solorio, Villegas) when it comes to matters like the Sanctuary City Ordinance, terminating the ICE contract, and moving to district elections?  I had her number somewhere, damn it…


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.