Thieves run off with as many as 12 historical plaques in Santa Ana’s Civic Center

I came across a small news item in the O.C. Register that almost escaped my attention. Apparently “Police are investigating the theft of as many as a dozen metal landmark plaques pried from buildings around the Civic Center, including the Old Orange County Courthouse.”

“Investigators later determined that similar plaques had been taken from at least six, and possibly as many as 12, historic and landmark buildings. Those include the Old Orange County Courthouse and the Dr. Howe-Waffle House.”

Imagine that? Thieves have strolled up to these buildings in the Civic Center area no less, and pried off these plaques…and not a one of them has been seen, much less caught. Isn’t the Santa Ana Police Department located right there in the Civic Center? How is it even possible that they would miss this activity? How embarrassing!

Isn’t this the are where the Mayor and the City Council want to set up streetcars, at a cost of $15 million per mile? And the SAPD can’t even keep the historical plaques from being pried off the buildings? Maybe they better give flak jackets to the eventual riders of those streetcars?

I am just not sure what to think of our local police. I know that they never fail to show up late or not at all when my co-blogger Thomas Gordon calls them. He quite often comes across taggers in them midst of defacing property, and he literally ends up waiting over an hour for anyone from SAPD to show up.

He even witnessed a fellow being beaten up by four people, and all the police asked him was “do they have any guns?” It was not a priority for them at all.

So what the heck is a priority for SAPD? Graffiti is rampant throughout Santa Ana. Historical markers are being pried off of buildings around City Hall. Gang violence has exploded this year. And what is the SAPD up to?

I wrote a few months ago about a ticket I received, while my wife and I were coming home from our anniversary dinner. It was a trap set on Santiago St., just north of 17th. A city tree completely blocks a stop sign you come to, just past Guaranty Chevrolet. On that evening, a guy was already pulled over by a squad car just ahead of the stop sign in question. As I drove, very slowly, north on Santiago, I saw the lights of the police car and wondered what was up? Because the stop sign was obscured, and because there is no public lighting, apparently I did not stop at the sign, and a motorcycle cop came up right behind me.

I was pretty angry that SAPD had nothing better to do than to set up a trap on a street utilized only, for the most part, by residents of the Park Santiago neighborhood. And I was particularly angry about the city tree blocking the stop sign. So I fought the ticket. I submitted a written report to the court, with photographs showing the city tree blocking the stop sign. And I found out last week that I won. The city failed to prosecute.

The city tree by the way is still blocking that stop sign. Who knows how many other residents will get caught in future traps? And here is a thought – why are the SAPD wasting their time in this fashion? Obviously there are higher priorities that they are completely ignoring.

I wonder what the SAPD response time to emergency calls is, compared to other cities in O.C.? I’m sure if the Mayor or one of his henchmen called them, they would be there pretty quickly. In fact I have often observed police cruisers going through the Mayor’s neighborhood, Floral Park. They appear to be his private security. And in the meantime, the bad guys are running amok in the rest of Santa Ana.

I have often suggested that we examine the idea of outsourcing our police department to the O.C. Sheriff. It has been suggested to me that we could save millions of dollars by doing this. Given the apparent inadequacy of the SAPD, we really owe it to ourselves to look at this option. Can the response time and priority setting possibly be any worse under the Sheriff’s Department? I can’t imagine that.

I wonder where those historical plaques got scrapped at? Maybe they will end up on Ebay. Or they might be turned into streetcar parts…and end up back in the Civic Center area.

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.