City of Santa Ana turns to T.V.s – in the Age of the Internet

Leave it to the geniuses on the Santa Ana City Council to install televisions “in order to keep the public informed,” in the age of the Internet. What a bunch of ding dongs!

“Flat-screen television monitors will be appearing at 10 locations around town in the next few weeks, all courtesy of the city. The monitors will scroll through city news and promotions most of the time; but in an emergency, they could switch to as-it-happens information from police or firefighters,” according to the O.C. Register.

I opposed this dumb idea months ago – please don’t forget it was Councilman Carlos Bustamante’s dumb idea – and now it appears to have arrived. And the idea is STILL idiotic.

Let’s break down how inane this concept is.

Santa Ana has close to half a million residents. This system entails ten televisions. You do the math. Even if there is an emergency, this system will barely matter. Did the victims of 9/11 run to find a city T.V. to tell them what to do? I truly doubt it.

According to the Register, “They can also dispense weather updates or traffic alerts.” Sure. So can most of our cell phones.

Are these people serious? The City of Santa Ana is “spending more than $240,000” on this boondoggle. That’s a quarter million they COULD HAVE spent on the many needs facing this city. I understand that there were strings attached to the money, which came from a cable T.V. settlement. How about spending it on a public information officer? Our city doesn’t have one, which is pathetic.

My favorite quote comes from the vendor who is selling this waste of money to the City of Santa Ana, “Government has a responsibility to communicate with its citizens. It’s something they must do.” Really? Then why does city do such a poor job of communicating with residents?

Recently the city mailed 90,000 notices to residents regarding a significant water rate increase. There is evidence that many of the mailers were empty – people even wrote in to ask what was supposed to be in the envelope they received. The notices did not get sent out in Spanish to residents who cannot read English – at least not consistently. And they did not include the protest form that the City Clerk made available ONLY at the City Council meeting.

Even worse, when various city commissions make important documents available to the public, they advertise them ONLY in the legal notice sections of three local newspapers. But who the heck reads those? They don’t issue formal press releases informing the public that the documents in question are available for review.

And they do a HORRIBLE job when it comes to communicating with Latino residents who do not speak English. They do not make documents available in Spanish. They don’t distribute information to the many local newspapers that cater to Latinos. It is a complete joke.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to how much of the programming on these ridiculous T.V.’s will be in Spanish? That’s what I thought…

By the way, the T.V. vendor also said that the T.V. locations “will include such high-traffic locations as the train station, Western Medical Center and the Discovery Science Center. Also on the list: a coffee bar at Crevier BMW, a senior center, Knowlwood restaurant and a McDonald’s on Bristol Street.” Is it just me or are they trying to put these T.V.’s in places that, for the most part, don’t cater to Latinos? What a joke.

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"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.