Santa Ana City Council goes after Hookahs

I am cracking up watching the Santa Ana City Council meeting online. The Council Members are all pontificating about the dangers of Hookah bars.

Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez started off with a diatribe against Hookah bars. Then Councilman Carlos “Space Commander” Bustamante said he was worried about his kids being exposed – only to admit that they are too young to be affected.

Councilman Sal Tinajero admitted to being torn because he wants tax revenue. But then he got on his soapbox just like everyone else.

Then it was Councilman David Benavides’ turn. But he said the City Council has to decide what sort of night life they want to bring in to the “downtown of Orange County.” Really? Since when is the City Council in charge of deciding what businesses should come to Santa Ana? What do these folks know about business?

Tinajero is a teacher. Alvarez and Sarmiento are lawyers. Bustamante is a former Space Commander who can’t keep a job for more than two years. Benavides is a mortgage agent. Councilwoman Michele Martinez has more business experience than the lot of them, due to her work in human resources at a couple of fairly large businesses. And Pulido certainly has some experience from owning a muffler shop.

But overall, these folks know very little about business. And apparently they don’t know much about hookah bars. Hookah comes from the Arab world. It is popular in many countries in the Middle East, including U.S. allies Turkey and Israel. It is also popular in Europe and even in South Africa. According to Wikipedia, Hookah bars are even popular in England and in Mexico. But now you won’t be able to partake of them in Santa Ana.

Alvarez and Tinajero also picked on the use of Hookah for health reasons. But experts are mixed on this. And there are non-tobacco alternatives that can be smoked in a Hookah.

What the Council did tonight was turn their backs on Middle Eastern culture. The very same City that pays for an annual Black History parade decided that they want nothing to do with Middle Eastern culture. That is very close-minded, to say the least. And quite frankly this entire deal was a waste of time. Hookah is no threat to Santa Ana. Gang violence and graffiti are – but the Council continues to go after businesses that are hardly a threat.

So far in the past year the Council has outlawed massage parlors, medicinal marijuana, and now Hookah bars. And so far this year we have four gang killings, on the way to a new annual record of 48 killings. Good job Pulido and company! Not.

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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.