Over 100 Walk for Peace in Santa Ana!

Yesterday, over 100 concerned citizens and activists walked for peace, in an effort to curb the increasing gang violence in the city.

Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez and OC Supervisor Janet Nguyen both appeared and gave passionate speeches. The phrase “A new day in Santa Ana” was echoed in both speeches.

America Bracho, of Latino Health Access, also gave a fantastic speech in both English and Spanish. Bracho’s organization lent a lot of support to the event.

There was no sign of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, or any of the other City Council members. There were however many City Commissioners on hand.

Several notable residents showed up, including those who helped to organize the event, amongst them: Tish Leon, Nelida and Joe Yanez, Thomas Gordon, Laura Morfin, LynetteVerino, Ryan Trabuco and others. I brought two of my kids along and there were in fact many children involved in the event, which was nice to see.

Gordon and several others did a great job of helping with security during the event. They stood out in their red shirts!

Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez deserves a heap of accolades for being the force behind this event. The idea came from one of her resident committees. Her detractors have attacked her for coming up with the EPIC Commission, which works to prevent gang problems, and for her participation in this event. But she is showing considerable leadership by acting while others remain on the sidelines.

Several speakers unveiled images of loved ones who have fallen in our city streets, due to gang violence. It was quite moving to hear their testimony about those who died in apparently random violence.

The walk started at Madison Park, at the corner of Edinger and Standard, continued west down Edinger towards Main, and ended at Saint Anne’s Catholic Church where a brief prayer service was held in memory of those who have died. After the service, the walkers headed back to Madison Park.

Peace Walk organizer Tish Leon later sent an email to those who were involved in the event thanking them for their help. She also thanked the Santa Ana police officers who provided security, writing that, “were great with the crowd and many people said “they were really nice guys.”

I looked for media coverage of the event in both the Register and the Times. The Register did publish a very small article, available at this link. I found this quote in the Register’s article, “These kids shouldn’t be in cemeteries. They should be playing baseball


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.

34 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Other than help give publicity and photo opportunitys to Ms. Martinez and to Latino Health Access and America (I say I’m a “Doctor” but don’t ask me to prove it) Bracho, can someone explain what this walk-a-thon will do to reduce crime or help the image of Santa Ana? You don’t think any of those politicians would use photos from this event on future political brochures do you?

  2. Tom Umberg

    Where was Claudia last night?

  3. Whitacrebot

    “their perception of this City”

    Are you daft?

    People back East know Santa Ana as the run down,gang infested hell hole it is and they all blame the Mayor.Kids getting killed on run down streets and overpayed employees who do nothing but cry for more.

  4. Anonymous

    #1

    I’ll give it a stab. Santa Ana has the reputation of being like an abandoned orphan. It has no sense of cohesive family in the community and it is vulnerable to all sorts of shady dealings and opportunistic “leaders” who discovered it many years ago and found that they could raid the coffers and mismanage all they want while bringing home huge salaries. Santa Ana was not just neglected, but deliberately neglected by carpet baggers who saw SA as unrestricted fresh meat to consume.

    Now you have some youthful politicians and committed community members who actually dwell in the city of Santa Ana and who have stepped up to be actual leaders by showing the community that they care and want something better for their loved city. Its new and the change in tone can be unsettling to those who liked the old business-as-usual model.

    People meeting and congregating often in a city is a very healthy sign of change. When people get together they talk and share common dreams and desires. It gives them a chance to brainstorm over important issues. It gives a sense of community and an opportunity of true enrollment for citizens to take steps to shape their city into one that is operated with pride and integrity.

    Many people are rooting for Santa Ana residents to get their $$#! together. Who wants to live in a neighboring city with an overflow of poverty and crime from Santa Ana? Who wants to venture into a rich cultural district regularly to shop and eat, when the roads leading into it are no better than last-rate, neglected city models of many decades ago?

    Making the city safe and accessible will bring in revenue and an improved reputation. Really, don’t you get sick of hearing how a big city like Santa Ana is last in all the good features, and first in all the bad features of comparable cities?

    Not that the community-loving leaders would be discouraged, but it is really in no one’s best interest to TRY and discourage them. Changes are so important for a better city of caring and informed residents.

  5. Anonymous

    #3 Only an ostrich would not realize that everyone who can read a newspaper knows what an ugly, deserved reputation Santa Ana has.

    The fact that residents are taking to the streets to get the word out is an excellent sign of change. Trying to hide problems has not worked well. When people find out the real truth about SA (Say they move from somewhere like Georgia) they are going to be just as angry and disappointed as all the residents who have had to put up with neglectful leaders for years.

    You must not live in Santa Ana. Everyone knows well what its problems are.

    Hopefully the school district will get cleaned out of aging carpet baggers and flunkys, too. The community deserves so much better.

  6. Ryan Trabuco

    “By the time Michele is through airing Santa Ana’s dirty laundry with these feel good,look at me, publicity stunts, this City may never be able to recover.”

    Well, if the city wouldn’t have so much dirty laundry in the first place, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. :-p

  7. Sean H Mill

    #3,

    I see you believe that we should simply ignore the problems and just pretend that they don’t exist. Would you suggest we sweep our problems under the rug?

    Thanks to Michele for putting the issues front and center. They have been ignored by our so-called city leaders for too long and need to be addressed.

    I am sick and tired of folks that are more worried about the perception of Santa Ana to outsiders than they are about the conditions that many residents in our city live in.

  8. Anonymous

    Olvara street used to be a tiny band of shops and food stands 30 years ago, but there was a determination and pride to make the area attractive, safe and accessible to visitors. The hispanic culture is seen as warm and vibrant in the state of California and Santa Ana has a lot to offer if the corrupt and the inept would finally realize that their free lunch is coming to an end and they need to get out of the way.

    The most powerful and committed city leaders need to take a stand and help show lousy representatives the door and say “no thanks!” to lazy people who have been parasites on the city for so long. Cleaning up the city, its roadways and schools is vital. There are large donations coming from other cities in Orange County. Everyone is pulling for Santa Ana to get the garbage out.

  9. just.asking

    Congratulations to all who put on this event.

    The challenge is to keep it up. Keep shining the light on the problems that plauge Santa Ana. Ignoring the problems that affect the residents and businesses are what put Santa Ana in this situation.

    The City needs to put its resources to work “fixing” the infrastructure so residents can be proud to walk the sidewalks safely.

    Taxpayer money is better spent in the community and on public safety than in the wasteful 8th floor.

    The other councilmembers should take cue from Michelle, make a difference. Do something! Don’t just take a stipend and let the fat cats continue to ruin your city.

  10. Anonymous

    Many of the residents have been waiting for years for Santa Ana to be cleaned up.
    Under the previous administrations they have seen gang roundups that have made a difference in neighborhood safety. They have seen Weed and Seed programs that make changes and clean up the worst of Santa Ana neighborhoods. There have been several neighborhood organizations started to shed light on, and find ways to address neighborhood problems. There have been millions of dollars in the parks and recreation budgets going towards afterschool programs and youth outreach. Programs like the largely disregarded Community Oriented Policing have helped certain neighborhoods take back their streets. Some of the worst areas in the city, Minnie Street for example, have undergone total reorganization and do programs from within the community to make them liveable once again. There are many other examples of what the previous councils have done to actually make Santa Ana better, and they have made sustainable changes in the commmunity. In order for the city to continue to get better, these efforts must be ongoing and supported by the new council.

    A walk, however, does not create sustainable change. It’s a great press and posturing opportunity, but the next day, is there a real difference?

    The councilmembers should be encouraged to expand police programs that work like the gang roundups and Community Oriented Policing. They should be meeting with the established neighborhood organizations to address issues instead of forming their own little groups. They should be making decisions to make for a better quality of life for the existing residents.
    Instead, they do events like this that tap off staff time funds from parks and recreation and police budgets. They approve projects that will stuff thousands more people into Santa Ana without providing new amenities like parks and public safety resources.

    Cleaning up Santa Ana’s reputation will require decisive action by the council, not feel good marches and political posturing.

  11. Anonymous

    #3

    Your comments are reminiscent of Pres. Bush’s position on his efforts to censor the media when our dead returned home for Iraq.

    You keep pushing your *feel good*
    antidote, however we know our youth are being murdered in the streets of Santa Ana.

    Council member Martinez has been on the council a mere six months and Mayor Pulido has been at the helm well over a decade. Save your dribbling diatrabe for Miguel.

    Pulido has done more harm regarding the perception of the city.

  12. Anonymous

    #11

    I don’t see the conflict. Michele was the only council member present at the walk. If the other council members have complementary solutions like police presence, additional community diversion activities etc… then that makes the multi-pronged approach to Santa Ana’s issues all the more viable.

    I don’t see how visibility in making positive change is somehow a mistake.

  13. Anonymous

    I remember when this blog was called a distraction and some people got so upset they wanted to somehow sue to oppress freedom of speech.

    But with time, we see that this blog does do a community service in elevating the awareness and discussions of things begging for change.

    The fact that it is currently rated number 6 in California is a testament to how much it is really appreciated. Perhaps not appreciated by everyone, but certainly by those who have a passion to see improvements in Santa Ana as long over due.

  14. Anonymous

    If we are really looking to solve the problem, it cant be done just by Santa Ana. Many of us know that the prisoners at the jails are let out at midnight in Santa Ana. What does that do for crime? Without the religious folks outside to help these parolees, there is no one to guide them on their way once let go.

    Also, if we are looking to eliminate gangs, we cannot allow these gang members to move back into the same environment which created the problem in the first place. They need to be relocated out of Santa Ana and given a chance to make it.

  15. Anonymous

    #11,

    The city poured millions of dollars into Minnie Street, and it’s still a toilet bowl. The residents there don’t appreciate a thing the city did for them because if they did, they would take better care of their neighborhood. Instead, they continue to spray graffiti everywhere, destroy the landscaping and leave garbage everywhere. SanTana will never achieve its maximum potential as long as it is considered a safe haven for illegals and poor, uneducated masses. SanTana will always be a hotbed of crime and misery. SanTana will always be a violent, dangerous place to live. So why even bother trying? Why live in such a cesspool? The residents don’t even care about their own neighborhoods even though they are marignally better than where they came from in Mexico. If the residents don’t care, why should anyone else? If they truly cared about their neighborhoods, they would do a much better job of keeping them clean and safe. Instead, they unleash their savage children to run amok in the streets spraying graffiti and shooting each other. Mayor Pulido understands this and this is why he has pursued a policy of gentrification and pandering to corporate interests. It’s the only way to save the city.

  16. Anonymous

    #15

    Have there been any solutions offered? The jail is run by the county, right? It would be interesting to see how Irvine handles their jail releasees. It scored top as the safest city, so something has to happen to the inmates released from the prison there that doesnt impact the city negatively as it might be doing with SA.

    #16
    Do you actually live in SA? Because if you do you wouldn’t be saying things like: “Why bother?” with addressing the problems.
    I can’t believe you are a resident of Santa Ana and would have given up like that.

  17. ThomasGordon

    “Mayor Pulido understands this and this is why he has pursued a policy of gentrification and pandering to corporate interests”

    Pathetic but true
    Dave Ream and Jim Ross should be fired for allowing this city to decay the way it has.

  18. art lomeli

    #16 , Thank you for stating the perception some have of this majority population.This contempt is the reason of the neglect.Up to this point the criticism and blame has been on the residents.You mention nothing about the management , which should include the economic and educational development of this community that you wish to eliminate from the city.Fortunately some civic leaders(Michele is front and center) have woken up and have started to take action in the development of this community.The neglect has been a strategy so the gentrification and pandering to corporate interests can be the answer, some have to, as you put it “save the city”. #16’s mind set is to a large part what is responsible for perpetuating these social problems.

  19. Anonymous

    Poster #9 is right! Let’s accept that all of Santa Ana could be a giant Oliveras Street with Calle 4 as its anchor. Sean is also right. Let

  20. Anonymous

    #16

    The city did spend millions of dollars to clean up Minnie Street and Miguel Pulido and Kris Kakkar made a boat load of profit off that endeavor.

    You need to readjust your thinking; the mayor and his developer pals make lotsa money off the blight they foster in this city. Miguel plays both sides of 17th St. very well.

  21. Anonymous
  22. Anonymous

    Art, the problems in SanTana are self-perpetuating. Poor people having children they can’t afford to care for. A piss-poor value system perpetuated by the kids in this community also perpetuates the stereotypes that so commonly describe SanTana.

    SanTana is a lost cause, my friend. The only card the residents have to play is the victim card. Only that gets really quick. SanTana has been abandoned, looted for all its worth. Downtown is looking better since they were able to move in some decent restaurants and businesses. You can put a dress on a pig, but its still a pig!

  23. art lomeli

    #22.
    The City’s wealthy staff and supporters that run the city and have controlled the decision making live outside of Santa Ana. Do you have a proiblem with that? I didn’t think so.

    There are many Hispanics where I live.Not all or the majority of Hispanics are impoverished.Your perception shows your ignorance.

    This community has choices . That is why many seek the services of businesses like mine that service them with the quality and attention they deserve.

  24. Anonymous

    #20

    There seem to be several posters who don’t care for Santa Ana at all and seem to possibly be living in other cities where the problems that SA has don’t actually affect them and possibly you.

    That is one of the issues. SA finally has enough homeownership and roots in a community that positive change might occur if leadership ideas and actions are embraced.

    Why be upset with things that happen on the weekend, while giving a complete pass to city employees who are supposed to be solving city problems all week long?

  25. Anonymous

    Many positive movements have been started as community awareness gatherings.

    The Great Park was one such project. Lots of money opposed it. Yet determination and vision by ordinary citizens and then the snowballing effect of larger organizations pushed the Park through. It took years and years, but it is happening. That is what happens when leaders think differently and stick with their vision.

  26. Anonymous

    Marches alone may not be the answer but at least this new, younger city council is thinking outside the caja! Let’s build each other up, not tear our leaders down. You go girl!!

  27. Anonymous

    Adam Gonzalez was NOT a gangmember or an associate. These boys did not die in vain…we, as a community will work torwards leading our youngsters away from the gang, criminal lifestyle.

  28. Dale Ward

    It’s about time someone wasn’t afraid of the 800 pound gorilla in the City of Santa Ana. Since the Mayor Chilango’s twig has no berries, I’m glad to see MICHELE step up to the plate and get the community involved. We all know Mayor Chilango has ignored the citizens of Santa Ana for too long but with the help of Michele the citizens can take their City back and get things done. Mayor Chilango has been riding his horse for too long and it’s about to drop. MICHELE FOR MAYOR! You go Girl! I got your back!

  29. Sean H Mill

    #22,

    Dr. Lomeli doesn’t need to do the things that he does and the fact that he lives outside the city and still does them is a testament to his caring and compassion. Your attack on him is pathetic and unwarranted.

    What about all the “rich gabachos” that live in Santa Ana and do nothing for the community? Are they somehow exempt from your attacks? Or do you just attack Dr. Lomeli because he is a financially stable and successful Latino?

    Sounds like you are envious of Dr. Lomeli.

  30. Anonymous

    Dear #29,

    I don’t know if what you say is true or not. If so, he’s one of the very few and I feel sorry for him and his family. What I DO know is that whenever you turn on the six o’clock news they are showing the crying mother of a gang banger telling the reporter that her boy was not in to gangs and was just about to turn his life around! Then the cops and D.A. read off a rap sheet a mile long! 99% of all shooting victims are themselves gangmembers or they are gang associates. The rest are almost mostly victims of domestic violence and the Machismo Mexican/Chicano culture that treats women poorly. How about a march for the Latina suffering in silence. Fortunately there are very few truly innocent shooting victims. How about a march for the good kids who don’t get into gangs in the first place or the residents who are locked up in their homes out of fear of these urban terrorists? Stop glorifying the gangmembers! Here

  31. Dale Ward

    #32. How about you making your own sign that says, “I support my Santa Ana Community”, and join the march against violence.

    Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

    See you at the next march.

  32. Sean H Mill

    “Stop glorifying the gangmembers!”

    Who are you insinuating is “glorifying” anyone? Michele Martinez certainly isn’t glorifying them by calling attention to the gang violence in our community.

    The tone of your post gives me the impression that you are happy that our young people are killing each other. Just because someone is a gang member does not make it okay for them to be murdered.

    To imply otherwise is despicable and shameful. You obviously have no children. No decent parent, in fact no decent human being, would think such a thing.

  33. I Don't Live in SanTana

    #3. When I graduated from high school in the 80″s I was embarrassed to say I lived in Santa Ana. Now after 20 years of Miguel “Mayor Chilango” Pulido and Dave “Pelon” Ream, I can say with a smile, I don’t live in Santa Ana. What exactly is it that the City will never recover from? Certainly not it’s reputation. Miguel has turned the City into a sewer.

  34. Luis

    Dale Ward,
    Your name sounds familiar…do I know you???

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