Yes I support development and the arts in Santa Ana!

I have been fielding a lot of questions lately about the Santa Ana Renaissance Plan.  I support positive change for our city – but make no mistake about it, the Renaissance Plan had several major flaws.

For one, it did NOT include properties owned by Miguel Pulido, Vince Sarmiento and Michele Martinez. If you go to Pulido’s muffler shop on First St., you will see that it is poorly maintained and the entire shopping center it is located in is decrepit. The manager of that property told a friend of mine that the neighborhood is a “tacos and beans” area and as such she does not need to give her center a facelift. You can see more pictures of Pulido’s pathetic muffler shop at this link.

Welcome to Pulidos muffler shop!

Welcome to Pulido's muffler shop!

Sarmiento’s family allegedly owns many questionable businesses in town. I have heard that some of these venues have had major problems with crime in the past.

Do you think that the Renaissance Plan should have excused these politicians? I don’t.

Moreover, the Renaissance Plan did NOT exclude or prohibit the use of eminent domain. I have a real problem with that. Eminent domain should NOT be used to take property in order to redevelop it. Eminent domain should only be used when the land is going to be used by a public agency, for reasons such as building a school or a police station. And even then its use should be rare and it should be utilized with great care.

And the Renaissance Plan was not friendly to businesses in general. It included a number of anti-business elements. For example, businesses would not be able to sell to new buyers. And if damaged they could not be fully restored. That is not fair to the business people who have invested in their businesses and run them legally for so many years, employing locals in the process and contributing to our tax base.

So am I against development? No. But I think the Renaissance Plan is deeply flawed. It should not proceed as it is currently written. Secondly, I believe that development should be driven by the private, not the public, sector. The City of Santa Ana is terribly difficult to do business in. The folks at City Hall have even chased several big businesses away in recent months, including, supposedly, a new Best Buy that was slated to open near the Mainplace Mall. This city would have a lot more new businesses in it if not for the folks at City Hall.

Some folks have also questioned whether or not I support the arts.  I am a former graphic designer. I worked in advertising for years before I got into industrial work. I needed to make more money in order to raise my family so I left marketing and advertising and went to work at the refineries in Wilmington. I also finished two degrees as an adult and crafted a career in safety.

I am now a safety director for an $85 million contractor based in Orange, and I teach safety for several companies and associations, including Cerritos College. However, I am still a creative type and I am a big fan of the arts. My daughter inherited that bent as she is now a student at the Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Irvine.

I also played three musical instruments when I was growing up – a tradition my 15 year old son is continuing as a guitar player.

So yes I do appreciate the arts.  In fact I believe that the City of Santa Ana dropped the ball with regard to the Artists’ Village.  They announced it to great celebration but have done little since to bolster it.  In fact our city leaders banned Houkah bars, tattoo parlors and massage parlors in recent years.  All of those businesses thrive in other art districts, such as Melrose, in Los Angeles.

Finally, I would like to address housing and development.  I believe that there has been too much emphasis on building luxury housing in Santa Ana.  It is nice to have such options in town, but we also need a decent mix of housing, including moderately priced condos and homes.   Currently too many smart, young people finish school and have to walk away from our city for lack of local housing opportunities.  It is an unending brain drain we can ill afford.

We CAN build a better Santa Ana – but City Hall has been an impediment to this process.  And Pulido’s racial politics have rent this city asunder.  We need to bring folks together with the understanding that we all want the same thing – a nice roof to put over our heads; safe streets; more parks and libraries; local work opportunities; and local entertainment.  What does it say about our city that we don’t have decent movie theaters, bowling alleys, or even a Chuck E. Cheese in our city limits?  It is simply intolerable.

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.