Eye on Santa Ana: City managers want more money

You knew it was coming sooner or later. Santa Ana City Manager Dave Ream has been angling for a raise for himself and his fellow city administrators for some time. Now it is on the agenda for Monday night’s Santa Ana City Council meeting.

How much moolah are these folks already hauling in?

  • The City Manager makes 20,038 per pay period (Dave Ream)
  • The Assistant City Manager makes 15,270 per pay period (Catherine Standiford)
  • The Director of Public Works make 13,833 per pay period (Jim Ross)
  • The Director of Planning and Building makes 12,533 per pay period (Jay Trevino)
  • The Executive Director-External Affairs makes 10,544 per pay period (Jill Arthur)

Plus many other highly paid Executive Management Team employees are slated to receive large raises, after failing to provide even minimal levels of basic city services.

How do you feel about that? If you would like to voice your opinion about these outrageous pending pay raises, for ineffectual overpaid city administrators, go to George Collins’ website and vote now! See the image below for a representation of his poll regarding the raises. If you click on the image you will be sent right to the poll site.

Here’s the rub – the City Council is on the verge of handing out raises as if they were snacks, while at the same time they are getting ready to raise our taxes! (More on that later in this post).

Here are a few more highlights from the agenda for Monday Night’s City Council meeting:

  • Apparently the city has a new citywide slurry project. They are looking to spend a total of $1,252,800 on this item. Their notes indicate that they intend to slurry coat 30 miles of roads to “prevent further deterioration.” Might be too late for most of our really bad streets.
  • Their notes also inform us that there are over $31 million dollars headed our way for street repairs, and yet they still want to float a $50 to $60 million bond for street repairs. How is that debt going to be repaid? Ream and his allies will be long gone and our kids will still be paying off their debts!
  • They are changing the name of Logan Park to “Chepa’s Park.” I’m sure there is a fascinating story there, waiting to be told.
  • The city is also going to be holding a public hearing on next year’s proposed city budget.
  • And the City Council will vote to establish a “City Council Finance Ad Hoc Committee” so that Council Members Vince Sarmiento and Claudia Alvarez can serve on it. Sounds like a way to get more stipends.

The City Council will also be considering a new “Anti-Gang Plan.” The City staff who prepared the report admit that gang crime in Santa Ana has increased 12% since 2006. Moreover, according to the report, the police department is asking for a new sergeant and ten new police gang detectives.

The city also reports that more than 75 % of homicides and more than 70% of the shootings are instigated by gangs.

So why has the city dropped the ball repeatedly over the years? They have closed libraries, not kept up parks, taken forever to hire more cops, and they routinely take too long to show up when you call to report graffiti taggers. They have also not done enough to keep kids busy during the summer.

You can compare what has happened in Santa Ana to the water crisis in Garden Grove, where the City Council, acting as the water agency, ignored maintenance on their pipelines until they now are looking at raising water rates to pay for the necessary repairs.

However, in Santa Ana instead of raising water rates, our city leaders want to raise our taxes. The O.C. Register reported yesterday that “the city is studying measures taken by other cities to enhance their police budgets, including a sales tax increase.”

As one would expect, Councilman David Benavides thinks that is a great idea. “In order to be able to have more public safety personnel out there, we need to be able to have the funds to get them out there,” he said.

Hey David – why don’t we stop overpaying the Reamers instead? The city rakes in plenty of tax money – the problem is wasteful spending, not insufficient tax revenue.

For once I agree with Councilman Carlos Bustamante, who said in part that, “Education fixes the problem.” Yes – that is part of the solution – but our local school district, Santa Ana Unified, is run by a corrupt administration and an inept school board – headed by Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido’s longtime allies, Rob Richardson and Rosie Avila. They both need to go if we are to improve our schools.

Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez, who serves alongside Bustamante and Benavides on the city’s Public Safety Committee, piped in with this remark,”If we were going to go out there with a tax, I’d rather go with a safety tax.” Great strategy Claudia – vote to raise our taxes then announce your campaign for the First Supervisorial District. Sounds like a train wreck in progress.

City Commission meetings are now easy to find on the City of Santa Ana’s website. A few upcoming meetings to keep an eye on:

  • The Housing & Redevelopment Commission meets on Tuesday, June 5, at Council Chambers, at 5 p.m. We normally meet at 6 p.m., but we have a few study sessions to deal with on Monday. Read the agenda at this link.
  • The next Planning Commission meeting will be on June 11, at 5 p.m., at Council Chambers. Read their latest update at this link.
  • The next meeting of the Environmental and Transportation Advisory Committee is on June 14, at 7: 30 a.m., at the City Yard, located at 220 South Daisy. Why does this committee meet at such a ridiculous time? All the city committees and commissions ought to meet in the evenings so city residents may attend and participate.

There is a new McCormick & Schmick’s Restaurant opening on June 11, at the new Santa Ana City Place development on Main St., across from the Main Place Mall, just north of the 5 Freeway. I am really looking forward to this restaurant. Their original location in Irvine is a great place to hang out at Happy Hour. You can read more about this and other businesses in the City Place center at this link.

The O.C. Register also published an article about the new City Place businesses at this link. “Mother’s Market, Geisha House, Corner Bakery and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf” are all coming to this new shopping center.

The United Mexican American Veterans Association (UMAVA) is holding its Second Annual Picnic and Social at Santiago Park on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This will be a potluck style event. To RSVP, call Fred at (714) 973-4771 or Anthony at (714) 336-2470.

On June 11 there will be a “Walk for Peace and Unity,” starting at 7 p.m. at Madison Park, which is on the corner of Edinger Ave. and Standard. The walk will end at 7:30 p.m. at St. Anne’s Catholic Church. Councilwoman Michele Martinez will speak at this event. The goal of the walk is to end neighborhood violence. There will also be a candlelight prayer for peace service at 8 p.m. inside the church. For more information contact this email.


The Santa Ana City Council blinked at tonight’s meeting. They will table the city manager raises for thirty days. That of course gives us a month to let them know what a bad idea those raises are…

About Admin

"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.