Carlos Bustamante and Dave Ream make an appearance

Tonight Santa Ana Councilman Carlos Bustamante FINALLY showed up to a meeting of the Park Santiago Neighborhood Association.  I have never seen him show up at any of our meetings.  But this year he is running for reelection.

Bustamante brought with him Jim Ross, who is the head of the Santa Ana Public Works department, and Dave Ream, who is our City Manager.  There was some other fellow there from Public Works as well, but I did not get his name.  And we had three police detectives there too.

I am not sure why exactly Bustamante was there – except of course that he is running for reelection.  He did not have an agenda as to what he wanted to talk about.  When it became clear that he had nothing to say the association president decided to let the attendees ask questions.  And we did.

The issue of crime came up.  Bustamante said that crime has dropped by over 30%.  But he did admit that violent crime has ticked up a bit.  He had no ideas whatsoever about how to reduce crime.

Someone asked him if he still supports the Bisno luxury condo tower.  He hemmed and hawed and said the project was still going forward.  But he did not affirm if he is supporting it.  Of course he is!  The developer, Robert Bisno, is one of his contributors.

Bustamante was also asked why the city delayed the installation of Quiet Zone train crossings in our neighborhood.  He did not say – but he did say that the project is finally proceeding.

Then, just like that, he was off and out of there, but he did stop to smooch with Ream.

The police officers said that we have had 9 burglaries in our neighborhood in the past six months.  They said that was a 15% increase from last year.  They said that was not a big increase.  I think the people who were robbed would beg to differ.

Someone asked about the theft of catalytic converters.  Apparently that is a big problem in Santa Ana.  Guess what?  The cops don’t count these thefts.  They have no idea how many converters have been stolen.  So much for that drop in crime.  Almost everyone at the meeting knew someone who has had their converter stolen.  Why doesn’t the city make it illegal for junk and part yards to buy parts without proof of ownership?

The last big point of contention tonight was a proposed traffic light to be installed at Fairhaven and Lincoln.  The residents don’t want this light.  Ross said it was being installed for safety reasons.  The other public works guy said that the city did not have time to poll the residents about it.  Really?  A poll could be conducted using robo-calls in two days.  But of course the city managers really have no interest in finding what we want, do they?

I also met a young man tonight who wondered why in the world the city does not have any BMX parks.  Good question.  Apparently the police harass kids who try to do BMX riding over at Park Santiago, where there are a bunch of dirt mounds, nearby the new nature center.  Why doesn’t the city build a BMX track there?  These kids have nowhere else to go – they are not allowed to do BMX tricks in the city’s skateboard parks.

Our meeting was also attended by Gregory Barraza, who is running for the Santa Ana Unified School District’s Board of Education.  He said he is the only qualified candidate, as he is a teacher and has been an administrator.  But when someone asked him if he supports school vouchers he tripped over his tongue.  I asked him to send me an article about his campaign and we will post it here when I get it.

It was a good meeting tonight.  Our neighbors had a chance to see why I am running for the City Council.  Our city administrators and Council Members lie and obfuscate at every opportunity.  Our ward needs a Councilman who will stand for us – not for the developers and the City managers.

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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.