What would Jim Walker do for the people of Santa Ana?

By: Jim Walker, Candidate for Santa Ana City Council, Ward 1

Thank you Art for your invitation to speak up and for this wonderful forum within which to be heard.  One of the many reasons why I decided to run for Santa Ana City Council is the lack of meaningful leadership in our city that is in such a desperate condition.

Like so many other citizens, I have seen election seasons come and go – “full of sound and fury” but all too often “signifying nothing” (or all too little).  For 20 years I have been, what I like to think of myself as, “a community organizer”.  The genesis of “Santa Ana Neighborhood Communication Linkages” started in my living room when many of us felt that the neighborhoods needed to be more independent of city control.

Over two decades many good things have come out of our neighborhoods that have made Santa Ana a better place to live.  No small thanks to people like Tom Lutz, who along with Don Cribb, championed the Artist Village that turned around a crime ridden vacant downtown district into the heart of Santa Ana that celebrates the best of our diverse population.  Specifically, that is – the creativity and culture of its citizens.

 

But like the Artist Village, I have always felt that the promise and potential of our neighborhoods still has yet to be fully realized.   Tom Lutz came out of the neighborhood movement and provided real leadership that has left us with a downtown we can be proud of.  Today only one person on our City Council had proved themselves in our neighborhoods before taking office.  And what do we have today as far as leadership that does much more than show up for meetings and parades?

My platform is all about realizing what I and many other community organizers have been working on for years.  That is nothing less than what I am calling Community Oriented Government or “COG”.  This image and metaphor is most appropriate, as many of us have been called “squeaky wheels”.  The most successful squeaky wheels have been those with teeth that engage the system and become an active driving force in making “the machine” move in the direction we all want to go.

Squeaky wheels have produced not only over 5 million dollars of infrastructure improvement in my own neighborhood of Sandpointe, but have cleaned up undesirable impacts like swap meets next to Washington Square or even managed to create a neighborhood culture that has been recognized nationally with the “Neighborhood of the Year Award”, as was Floral Park.

20 years ago we had about 5 neighborhoods and today we have at least 62 here in Santa Ana.  Many of these neighborhood associations are in varying degrees of being “organized”.  However, now unlike any time in the past, we have technologies and tactics that could not only make safe and healthy neighborhoods throughout Santa Ana, but also would allow our city to transform its image into “The Most Beautiful Place On Earth”.

As a candidate for City Council, I would like people to know my highest priority will be to make the citizens of Santa Ana a vital part (in deed, the heart) of the machine we call the City of Santa Ana.  I strongly believe that if we are to ever get true “oversight” and real government “accountability”, then it will only come when citizens are engaged in the politics of our city – at all times.   Fully active neighborhood associations can help make this happen with “new” vital programs: like “Preferred Vendors”, where information on outstanding vendors are shared that can save every homeowner thousand of dollars each year and no doubt a lot of grief.

As stakeholders in our homes and neighborhoods, we need to start managing them seriously as if they were businesses; businesses that often have an aggregate neighborhood property value of close to a billion dollars.  People need to start appreciating that the return on the investment of a few hours every year in their neighborhood association and protecting the value of their property can realize more value (monetary and otherwise) than most any other investment.

In the past, we had a slogan for the downtown Artist Village, and that was “Santa Ana Is A Place For Art”.  I would encourage the visitors to this forum to support the people who have actually walked the talk, proving their commitment to community over the years and vote them into office.  Such people have stepped forward and at this time I would encourage your vote for a particular candidate – so that the Santa Ana City Council will be “A Place For Art” – Pedroza!

Jim Walker
http://walkerforcitycouncil.com/issues.html


About Jim Walker

Really nice guy.