The families of two Santa Ana Council candidates were included in the SAPD gang sweep

It turns out that the families of not one but TWO Santa Ana Council Members were targeted during the recent gang sweep in Santa Ana.

We all know by now that Councilwoman Michele Martinez’ brother, Pedro Franco, was one of those arrested during the sweep, for parole violations.  But it turns out that the SAPD also targeted the family of Lisann Martinez, who is running against Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez.

What are the odds of the families of two City Council candidates’ being raided?

Here is what Lisann had to say about the raid on her mom’s house:

Michele’s brother is not the only one. They picked up one of my brothers in the morning at my mom’s house, and the SAPD went in a second time in the evening and ransacked her house a second time in one day and took my other brother.  Him I can understand because his parole terms state that he is not to be at my mom’s house.

My mom mentioned to me that a police officer took money out of his wallet sneakily and put it in his pocket and he did not leave any type of receipts for what they took. His parole agent was not with them, I believe they have to be with the police in order to serve the warrant.  Also there was no warrant shown to my brother when he opened the door. They had him, but they still ransacked the house.  They should have just cuffed him and taken him away and only searched his room. I have not been able to contact a meta (parole agent) and I asked her to call me back as my mom is worried about him.

Lisann also spoke up at a recent City of Santa Ana EPIC/Gang Commission meeting, where many residents got up and talked about how their family members were treated and in many cases arrested for such minor violations as parking incorrectly.

I think we all want to clean up crime in our city.  But do we want to violate civil rights in the process?  The fact is, many decent people in our city have troubled relatives.  Lisann and Michele are not alone in that regard.  And while the bad guys deserve to be arrested, the good guys shouldn’t be abused in the process.

And you just have to wonder about the serendipity involved in targeting the families of two ladies who are opposing Council incumbents.  It is just plain eerie.

We definitely need to take our city back from the criminals, but if we don’t do something to engage the people of our city, particularly the young people, we are going to have to keep on conducting these sweeps ad infinitum, and violating civil rights in the process.  Is that really what we want for the City of Santa Ana?

Isn’t it about time for proactive leadership in our city?  Haven’t we realized by now that reactive policing will never have more than a limited, short-term effect?  Isn’t it interesting timing that the sweep would take place as election season starts – after years of ignoring the problem?  And shouldn’t it bother us to see the families of those who are bravely taking on the Council candidates targeted by these sweeps?

Incidentally, when I paid for my campaign signs yesterday the printer sheepishly explained that he had to paint the front of his building white, obscuring the name of the business and its address, because his business had been completely tagged by graffiti.  And he is located on Main, just north of MacArthur, mere blocks from a very nice business district.  Crime has a vast effect on the Santa Ana business community too…

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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.