Tag Archives: Santa Ana

The End of Suburbia – As We Know It

Center-right urban theorist Joel Kotkin has an op-ed in today’s LA Times arguing that “Suburbia’s not dead yet.” Of course it’s not, and nobody has said it is. But suburbia as we know it – characterized by car-dependent urban sprawl – surely is vanishing. Kotkin argues that our future isn’t going to involve everyone living in high-rise condos and though I would agree there, his notion that SoCal suburbia as it currently exists is not going to undergo significant change is a deep misreading of reality. Suburbs will continue to exist, but the line between urb and suburb, between dense city and low-density periphery, will be obliterated.

Kotkin’s article starts off trying to claim that the suburban status quo is just fine:

Yes, high gas prices and rising sub-prime mortgage defaults are hurting some suburban communities, particularly newly built ones on the periphery. But the suburbs remain home to a majority of Americans and a larger proportion of U.S. families — and people aren’t leaving those communities in droves to live in cities. Even with economic growth slowing, many suburbs, exurbs and smaller towns, especially those whose economies are tied to energy, are continuing to do better than most cities in terms of job creation and population growth.

Of course, with politicians like Zev Yaroslavsky blocking urban density in LA it’s not exactly easy to find affordable places to live in the city centers. Most Southern Californians still live in suburbs because they can’t afford anything else. Kotkin takes a market failure, a class stratification, and reads it as some kind of free choice.

And the notion that the suburbs are doing better than the cities is simply wrong. Last month the New York Times demonstrated that home values are falling faster in the suburbs than in the city centers. Office parks are experiencing high vacancy rates, especially in ’00s suburbs like Elk Grove.

But being wrong doesn’t stop Kotkin. More below…

Contrary to pundits’ forecasts, during this decade of high energy prices, the country’s urban populations, for only the first time in recent history, actually fell, according to a census analysis by economist Jordan Rappaport at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

This stat has several flaws. First, from 2000 to 2006 the suburban model still seemed viable in many metro areas. $3 gas was the tipping point – when gas prices hit that mark for a sustained period in 2006, the housing bubble burst. When this decade is finished in December 2009, the stats from the last half will look rather different from the first half.

Kotkin’s entire argument rests on numbers like these, and he digs his hole deeper:

Nevertheless, since 2003, when gas prices began their climb, suburban population growth has continued to outstrip that of the central cities, with about 90% of all metropolitan growth occurring in suburban communities, according to the 2000 to 2006 census. And the most recent statistics from the annual American Community Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, show no sign of a significant shift of the population to urban counties, at least through 2007.

Again, this periodization almost totally misses the rapid collapse of the newest suburbs. Yes, a lot of growth occurred there from 2000 to 2006 – and by mid-2008 much of it has been given back. Here again his argument is shot down by recent events.

The flat condominium markets in most large urban markets are another sign that people are not streaming into cities from the suburbs and buying. Many condo projects in such cities as Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and San Diego have either been canceled or converted into rentals, with many units remaining vacant. As a Southern California condo developer told me recently, lower house prices are not going to make people more disposed to buying apartments.

The flat condo markets are a direct casualty of the housing bubble bursting and particularly of the credit crunch. Condos saw spectacular price appreciation in those cities, overshooting what was normal and reasonable. Of course, people shouldn’t have to buy apartments – in a post-peak credit era, long-term rents or other arrangements can substitute for the high costs of ownership. In any case, the market for urban density is there and will continue to exist as long as prices are affordable and wage levels are supported.

But the biggest reason the suburb-to-city narrative is not following the script of the urban boosters and theorists has to do with employment. Living close to your workplace makes sense, not only because it cuts commuting costs and reduces greenhouse-gas emissions — by saving time, it also gives people more time for family and leisure activities.

The problem for many cities is that they lack the jobs for people to move close to. Since the 1970s, the suburbs have been the home for most high-tech jobs and now the majority of office space. By 2000, only 22% of people worked within three miles of a city center in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.And from 2001 to 2006, job growth in suburbia expanded at six times the rate of that in urban cores, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics by the Praxis Strategy Group, a consulting firm with which I work.

This is a real issue. Living in Monterey, where most of the jobs I want are in the Bay Area, a 1-2 hour commute each way, it bites especially hard. It is true in Southern California as well.

But Kotkin assumes that this pattern will continue to exist. It won’t, because the cheap oil that enabled it is gone. Again he relies on 2000-06 as the era that supposedly proves his point, despite the unraveling of that era.

Suburban office parks are a classic example of massive waste. As long as oil was cheap that waste was hidden or not relevant. But expensive oil means the waste of sprawling office parks with too many parking spaces far from nodes of housing, shopping and transit now presents immediate and unavoidable costs. Urban office vacancy rates are rising, but not nearly as fast as suburban vacancy rates. Jobs will start relocating to more dense areas even of the SoCal megalopolis. Kotkin is nuts to assume that the pre-2007 patterns will continue for much longer.

A desire to live closer to their jobs doesn’t mean that people have to move to the inner core, particularly if that’s not where the jobs are. Of the 20 leading job centers in Southern California by ZIP Code, none are downtown. The central core does remain an important job center, but it accounts for barely 3% of regional employment. Among those who work downtown, some may shift from cars to public transit, although many will simply buy a more fuel-efficient car and stay put in the suburbs.

For residents who live in suburban areas with large concentrations of employment — Burbank, Ontario and West L.A. — commutes to work can be shorter than those experienced by their inner-city counterparts, according to Ali Modarres, a professor of geography at Cal State Los Angeles. Commutes in these communities, on average, are less than 25 minutes, while in high-density areas, such as Pico-Union, they average 35 minutes.

Kotkin initially argues that SoCal urban density is to judged solely by downtown LA, a model that doesn’t fit SoCal realities – as he then acknowledges in his next paragraph. Forgive my skepticism.

Burbank and West LA are not suburban in the way Ontario is – and as the Ontario tent city demonstrated, Ontario isn’t exactly a great example to use to prove suburban robustness. Burbank, West LA, Pico-Union, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Long Beach, and Santa Ana are perfect examples of how dense nodes are the key to SoCal’s future.

The suburb-to-the-city narrative faces other obstacles. By the early part of the next decade, the large millennial generation born since the early 1980s will begin to form families, and they will, as have previous generations, probably seek open space and good schools for their children — and that means they will settle in the suburbs. And there is no census evidence suggesting that immigrants have reversed their decade-old pattern of moving to the suburbs.

This is perhaps the most ridiculous and unsupported part of Kotkin’s op-ed. He’s basically arguing that Californians like the suburban lifestyle and that we Millennials are going to choose it, as if only the suburbs will provide open space and good schools. Most Millennials in California aren’t able to afford to buy a home at all, and likely never will at current rates. Those who have started families have begun gravitating toward city centers or dense nodes, where housing can be found that is near transportation and that doesn’t require a lot of driving.

Kotkin assumes that we can still afford sprawl, when it is clear we cannot. Millennials have experienced a generation of inequality so it’s not clear how exactly they’re going to afford to live in sprawling suburbs, if any continue to exist. The millennial future is a dense future.

Continuing high energy prices will likely change the nation’s geography, but not in ways some urban theorists are predicting. Rather than cramming more people and families into cities, they may instead foster a more dispersed, diverse archipelago of self-sufficient communities. From here, that looks like a far more pleasant scenario not only for suburban and exurbanites but for urban dwellers who don’t want to live under dense conditions reminiscent of 19th century industrial cities or the teeming metropolises of the contemporary Third World.

This is pretty much a fantasy unmoored from reality. California suburbs are difficult to make self-sufficient, as SoCal long ago paved over its highly productive farmland and overshot its water capacity decades back.

However, the basic concept that suburbs won’t vanish is correct. What will happen is that they will grow less dense as they are adapted for the 21st century. Rather than trying in vain to defend the 20th century, as Kotkin attempts, the answer instead is to retrofit suburbia. Encourage the construction of light rail, solar and wind power, bicycle facilities, and urban gardening. In some of the pre-1980 suburbs this is not going to be as difficult as it might initially seem.

The classic city centers of SF, Oakland, and LA have a vibrant future. But so do “suburbs” like Santa Ana. In fact, it’s my belief that Santa Ana has one of the brightest futures of any city in SoCal. It sits at the center of Orange County, close to job centers and at the node of the transit network that does exist in the county. An Orange County mass transit system would use Santa Ana as its centerpiece, and the existing concentration of government and financial buildings can be a magnet bringing more jobs to the area.

But all of that requires significant public investment and government action – which Kotkin opposes. He instead things suburbs will somehow naturally evolve into a happy land of sustainable societies. Without government action, the more likely outcome really is the kind of class stratification we see in a place like Brazil – and are already beginning to see here in California.

What’s the Real Purpose of This Tax Hike in Santa Ana?

It’s very rare when I actually agree with The OC Register’s editorial page, but today happens to be one of those rare occasions. Read this and weep:

As the Register reported, the city [of Santa Ana] hired a Sacramento-based polling firm in March in the hopes that residents would tell pollsters that they want higher taxes to pay to fix Santa Ana’s poorly maintained, pothole-filled roads. To the officials’ dismay, residents overwhelmingly opposed the idea of paying higher taxes for roadwork. But officials saw an opportunity in another question, in which residents said they would give “high priority” to higher taxes to deal with gang prevention.

So they commissioned another poll. And lo and behold, they got what they wanted! People were willing to pay more taxes to “pay for more police officers to fight crime”. So now, we’re getting the “gang-fighting tax” in Santa Ana. But is this really what city officials are telling us that it is?

Follow me after the flip for more…

Here’s some more of today’s Register editorial:

Had the city really believed that there is a desperate need for more police, then it would have commissioned a poll that focused on police needs. Instead, it commissioned the poll based on its presumption that roadwork was the prime need. Apparently, city officials will raise taxes for any and all purposes, which is easier than doing what 84 percent of respondents told the city-hired pollsters: that “spending tax money efficiently” is a high priority.

Now to be honest, I disagree with what The Register says later on about taxes being evil, blah, blah, blah. I just don’t buy Howard Jarvis talking points. That’s not the issue for me.

What concerns me here is that the city would mislead residents about the “need” for this tax. First, they said that it’s about fixing our streets. And now, they’re telling us that it’s really to fight gang violence. So which one is it? Or is it really neither?

Is it really meant to pay for subsidies that we can’t afford and that don’t work for us? Is it really to pay for these bloated salaries for these ineffective city administrators? How are we supposed to accept paying more taxes to the city if we can’t even trust the city to be honest with us?

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to see any more gang violence. I don’t want to see any more decrepit streets. I don’t want to see any more dearth of open space in this town. I don’t want to see any more libraries closed.

But if this tax were really about these things, then why can’t the city just tell us that? And if this really weren’t just a reward to a bunch of incompetent jerks who have failed us on all these issues, then why can’t the city just tell us that? How are we supposed to entrust these people with more of our tax money when they can’t even be honest about why they want more of it?

Irvine’s Crime Prevention Programs and the Crime Rate

(OK, fixed! : ) – promoted by atdleft)

Today, the FBI confirmed what CA AG Jerry Brown said in May, Irvine is one safe city. In fact, it’s the safest in the nation:

For the third year running, Irvine tops all large cities in the nation with the lowest incidence of violent crime after posting a nearly 17 percent drop in 2006, according to a report by the FBI. Reported violent crimes for the city – which include homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault – fell from a total of 151 in 2005 to 126 in 2006, for a rate of 67 per 100,000 in the preliminary posting of the 2006 FBI Annual Uniform Crime Report. (OC Reg 6/5/07)

Last time, I talked about the importance of parks and recreation.  And of course, economic factors surely weigh into the amount of crime. Given that Irvine has a pretty high per capita income, it’s not surprising to see a low rate of crime. But Irvine actually does better than similarly sized cities with higher per capita income. Take that Sunnyvale! (Ok…Sunnyvale is #2 on the AG safe city list, but that’s one slot below #1).

But something else is also at play here, that is the role of the city’s various crime prevention programs. Irvine has implemented geographic policing, neighborhood watch programs, and Internet reporting.  Follow me over the flip for more..

So for a city of about 200,000 people, how the heck does Irvine stay so safe? Well, how about the Police Department’s various programs. One such program is geographic policing.  This program gets beat officers out from behind desks and in the community, where they are visible. Irvine’s neighborhood alert has also been effective. Knowing your neighbors helps reduce crime and creates a more livable city. Or is it the WatchMail program? Can the internet actually be used as a tool to reduce crime in the community? Whatever they are doing, the Crime Prevention Unit of the Irvine Police Department is proving to be quite effective.

And clearly, it seems like Irvine has enough patrol officers to cover the entire community. And perhaps now that the Irvine Police Department now does “geographic policing”, officers really are connecting more with the community. And maybe, their Crime Analysis Unit is having some effect. Perhaps by finding out what had gone wrong, they can then work with the community to make things right. Whatever is happening, the Irvine Police Department must be doing something right.

And clearly Irvine’s Progressive Mayor and Police Chief know how tough it can be to keep such a big city so safe. Yet for the last three years, they have been remarkably successful in leading the way not just for Orange County, and not just California, but for the entire nation. From The OC Register:

“When you are the safest city in America, you have to work especially hard to maintain that position,” Irvine Mayor Beth Krom said. “This is a source of pride for the entire community.” […]

“Getting to know the people who live and work in these areas helps them to be able to identify the problems in these areas and any impacts on the quality of life,” said Irvine Police Chief David L. Maggard.

And how has Irvine been able to avoid what the other major cities in Orange County are suffering from?

The national crime trends were largely echoed in Orange County, with all eight cities with populations of 100,000 or above recording increases in robberies, and a sharp decline in property crime.

There were 19 more murders in Orange County’s biggest cities in 2006 than the previous year – a jump that can be largely result of a spike in gang violence in Santa Ana, which recorded nine more murders in 2006.

However, car thefts, arsons and other property crimes dipped across the nation for the second straight year, the data show. Huntington Beach – which saw a 12.6 percent drop in violent crime – was the only large Orange County city to see a rise in property crime, recording 365 more property crimes last year compared to 2005.

Huntington Beach must now worry about property crime becoming more prevalent throughout town. Santa Ana is now facing a crisis of escalating gang violence. Up in North Orange County, the cities of Orange and Fullerton are grappling with dramatic increases in violent crisis. Take a look at the major California cities on the FBI’s list, and things aren’t looking very good not just in OC, but throughout the state.

So what is Irvine doing right that other cities in California aren’t? Are Irvine’s police services that much better? Are they doing a better job of preventing crime? Are the parks and community services really making that much of a difference? There’s a secret to Irvine’s success, and more communities should try to learn this secret to figure out how to take a real bite out of crime.

It’s Not About “How Latino” Santa Ana Mayor Pulido Is

Dana, what irks us with Mayor Pulido is his lack of accessibility and what seems to be a lack of willingness to lead. The LA Times did an article about three years ago which discussed his nickname “The Invisible Mayor.” Gustavo “The Mexican” Arellano has nicknamed him the “Howard Hughes of Orange County.” All this goes back to his lack of accessibility. Until this last election cycle, virtually the only times we ever saw Mayor Pulido was every first and third Monday of the month. He was often a no show at dozens of community events, it is almost like he is bored of his duties as Mayor. When Santa Ana was being taken over by unruly protests in March of 2006, he was nowhere to be found. His job that day was to be a leader and once again he was MIA. None of it involved marching or protesting. The topic of the protests was immigration, but when the city is on the verge of a riot, it is not a federal issue, it is a local one. Exactly how is that “behind the the scenes” leadership?

That’s Claudio Gallegos in today’s Orange Juice, responding to Dana Parson’s recent profile of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido in The LA Times. I guess he’s taking issue with Dana Parsons’ assertion that those of us who decry Pulido’s lack of leadership are doing so just because Pulido isn’t “Latino enough”. No, it’s much more than that. It’s the crappy state of our roads, closing libraries, lack of parks, and much, much more.

Follow me after the flip as we examine why people in Santa Ana really are irritated with the Mayor

So why are we angry with Miguel Pulido? It isn’t because he doesn’t give awesome speeches at immigrants’ rights rallies. It isn’t because he doesn’t declare allegiance to Aztlan. Basically, it isn’t because he isn’t some firebrand for radical causes. It’s because he just doesn’t seem to care about the people in the City of Santa Ana.

I like how Claudio says it

During his “invisible years”, our streets began to crumble, many playgrounds and park equipment fell into disrepair, after years of a lowered crime rate, crime and grafitti have returned with a vengeance, and a nationally recognized organization labeled Santa Ana one of the hardest places to raise a family financially. Fixing these problems did not require marching or carrying signs. People want leadership.

Or as I said it earlier this week…

Here are some more reasons why Pulido is so controversial here. He hasn’t done anything about the recent spat of gang violence in Santa Ana. He hasn’t done anything about opening more parks in a city that’s in such dire need of open space. He hasn’t done a good job of keeping our roads in good working condition, as some parts of town look like third-world countries due to the crappy state of their streets. He hasn’t improved our libraries… Oh wait, that’s right, HE’S CLOSED THEM! In his twenty years on the City Council and twelve years as Mayor, I’m struggling just to find good things that Pulido has done in this city.

So have we made that clear now? It’s not about “how Latino” Miguel Pulido is. It’s not about how much “Chicano Pride” he displays. It’s not about the color of Miguel Pulido’s skin.

It’s about how the Mayor is doing his job. It’s about our decrepit roads. It’s about the dearth of green in this town. It’s about the gangs that roam the decrepit roads at night. It’s about where the kids have to go when there’s such a dearth of nice, green open spaces. It’s about the dire state of the lives of way too many working people in this city.

And does this Mayor care? Does he care about the people in this city? I think Dana Parsons missed that point when he spoke with Miguel Pulido. Pulido’s not controversial here because he’s not “Latino enough”. He’s controversial because he doesn’t care enough about this city.

Pulido No Es Un Villaraigosa

In case you missed it, The LA Times still has one reporter/columnist/commentator left in Orange County. His name is Dana Parsons. And on Friday, he talked about his recent interview with controversial Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido.

Now Miguel Pulido may be controversial, but not in ways that we’d think a Latino mayor of a heavily Latino city would be controversial. He doesn’t lead immigrants’ rights marches. He doesn’t declare Santa Ana as a “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants. Actually, Pulido doesn’t really care about immigration.

So how is Miguel Pulido controversial? Follow me after the flip to find out…

“If I were a Curt Pringle [the white mayor of Anaheim], would anybody be saying how come he’s not out there marching?” Pulido says. “And in a way, they’re discriminating – inverse discrimination, so to speak – against me, by making the assertion that because I’m Hispanic, I’m at fault for not participating.”

He notes that his critics on the issue generally are other Latinos. “If I had a different heritage, they’d have a different conclusion,” he says. “That goes against all that I stand for, because I want to treat everybody the same and I want to be treated the same way.”

When I then begin to ask how he wants to be judged on the issue, he says firmly, “As a mayor. Not as an Anglo mayor. Not a Hispanic mayor. As a mayor.”

Another mayor in a heavily Latino city might play it differently, I suggest. “Correct,” he says.

“But don’t say that because this mayor is Hispanic he’s got to behave this way. That really gets to me, because then the implication is that you are different and should behave differently because of that. And to me, I am an American first.”

Wow. That’s deep. Well, I guess people here do wonder why a guy who immigrated here from Mexico City as a little boy wouldn’t stand up for his fellow immigrants, but that’s beside the point. That’s not the only controversial thing about Pulido.

Here are some more reasons why Pulido is so controversial here. He hasn’t done anything about the recent spat of gang violence in Santa Ana. He hasn’t done anything about opening more parks in a city that’s in such dire need of open space. He hasn’t done a good job of keeping our roads in good working condition, as some parts of town look like third-world countries due to the crappy state of their streets. He hasn’t improved our libraries… Oh wait, that’s right, HE’S CLOSED THEM! In his twenty years on the City Council and twelve years as Mayor, I’m struggling just to find good things that Pulido has done in this city.

I guess that’s the real controversy here. It’s not that Miguel Pulido has ever done anything controversial. No, it’s just that HE HASN’T DONE ANYTHING, PERIOD! That’s the difference here.

Say what you will about Antonio Villaraigosa, but a least he’s doing something. At least he cares about Los Angeles. At least he cares about what happens to the people who live in LA. We can’t even get our mayor in Santa Ana to care. He’s too busy comparing himself to Curt Pringle.

AD 69: Solorio Stands Up for OC’s Streets

OK, maybe my Assembly Member is just preparing himself for a possible primary challenge. Or perhaps, he’s preparing for higher office. Or maybe, he’s just doing this because he really does care about Orange County, and about the quality of our life here. But whatever the motivation (personally, I’m just thinking he cares about us in OC), Jose Solorio is doing a good thing.

Check out what I saw from Solorio’s office on Orange Juice this morning:

At the May 1st meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim) requested that Orange County begin sharing Proposition 42 state transportation dollars with cities to help them rehabilitate local streets. The Board unanimously agreed and directed staff to come back within three months with recommendations on how the money would be allocated.

“This is an effort that I began while I was a Santa Ana City Councilmember. My goal has been to encourage county government to share some of its Prop. 42 transportation dollars with individual Orange County cities to improve the condition of their local streets. I estimate that cities, in total, would receive approximately $10 to $14 million per year. I am grateful the Board of Supervisors took leadership on this important issue,” said Assemblyman Solorio.The Board also voted to share $62 million state transportation bond funding (Proposition 1B) with Orange County Board of Supervisor districts.

But wait, it gets better! Follow me after the flip for more…

Here’s the rest of that press release from Solorio, courtesy of Orange Juice:

Assemblyman Solorio is also carrying a piece of state legislation, AB 823, which encourages revenue sharing by the County of Orange, but is putting this measure on hold since the County is now developing a revenue sharing plan. For example, the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove and Santa Ana are experiencing a backlog of arterial and residential street projects that is estimated to cost more than $500 million. Proposition 42 dollars are required to be used for state and local transportation purposes.

Since the County is now only responsible for maintaining 358 unincorporated area street miles, given the various annexations over the past few decades, revenues will be available in 2008 that could be shared with cities within the County. If Orange County’s Proposition 42 dollars are not used for specified purposes within certain time periods, they would be given back to the state and be used in other counties. “The condition of streets in many Orange County communities is deplorable. I want to do everything I can to provide more money to all Orange County cities rather than give money back to other counties,” Solorio said.

Thank you, Assembly Member Solorio! It’s about time that someone actually does something about the deplorable state of our streets in Orange County, and especially communities in Central Orange County. Just looking outside my window, the street that I live on looks like a mess with all those cracks and potholes. However, I feel lucky when I compare the streets in my neighborhood to the streets farther north in Santa Ana. Some of those streets are so bad that it’s nearly impossible to drive them. My dad once got a flat tire just driving on Standard Street, just north of Edinger in Santa Ana.

Between this and the successful “citizen workshops” and sponsoring legislation to stop voter intimidation, Solorio really is making his mark on this community. And whether or not the primary rumors are true, Solorio probably won’t have to worry about it so long as he continues his excellent community service. I’m just glad to see that we have representatives in Sacramento who actually care about doing what’s best for Orange County. : )

AD 69: Will Solorio Be Primaried?

(Oops! : ) – promoted by atdleft)

Check out this latest
chisme from Orange Juice. Santa Ana City Council Member Sal Tinajero is considering a primary challenge to newly elected Assembly Member Jose Solorio in the Democratic-leaning 69th Assembly District in Central Orange County next year.

Here’s what Art Pedroza has to say about this juicy rumor:

Solorio has, according to another source, always had his eye on the State Assembly. He once tried to win an open seat on the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Board of Trustees. He was rebuffed by the other board members because they figured he only wanted the appointment in order to run for the State Assembly. They were right. They ended up picking John Hanna for the seat and he has been a loyal, and exemplary, board member ever since.

So, as it turns out, Tinajero and Solorio have the same type of animosity for each other that Lou Correa and Joe Dunn have. (Don’t forget that Dunn attended a fundraiser for Reep Lynn Daucher when she was running against Correa, who went on to become our State Senator in the 34th District)

Will Assembly Member Jose Solorio really be in for a primary challenge next year? And will Sal Tinajero really run for Assembly, so soon after being elected to Santa Ana City Council JUST LAST NOVEMBER? Follow me after the flip for more on this wild rumor…

So what exactly does this all mean? Well, let’s take a deep breath and look at the facts here. Sal Tinajero pulled his endorsement of Solorio just before last June’s primary as he changed his mind to support Claudia Alvarez. Solorio didn’t retract the endorsement from his campaign publications, and Tinajero has been angry ever since.

Also, let’s remember the role that Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido plays into this little political game. While Solorio himself was on the Santa Ana Council (from 2000 until last year), he was allied with Pulido and local business interests. And with Tinajero now on the council, the new council majority is much more hesitant to support Pulido and the interests of downtown developers. And though both candidates can call themselves “progressive”, both have interesting not-so-progressive supporters. Pro-business Pulido will probably support Solorio, while the once-conservative (turned progressive?) council member Claudia Alvarez will probably support Tinajero.

And Tinajero might have a tough time keeping up with Solorio’s community support. He’s built up a strong list of endorsers, and a rather strong list of financial donors. Perhaps this will scare away Tinajero in the end…

Or perhaps not. We’ll see.

Profiles in Orange: Hanging With OC’s Movers and Shakers (Part 1)

Here’s Part 1 of what happened during the Democratic Convention this past weekend, as I kept bumping into all my Orange County friends. I want to give you a sense of what it’s like for all of us progressives in OC, and I want to tell you about what we did in San Diego over the weekend. Though there were a few disappointing moments, overall we had a great time doing some great work.

Follow me after the flip for more on what happened on that magical first day of the convention…

We started off at the new delegates’ orientation meeting, and I bumped into a few familiar faces. Benny Diaz, AD 68 Delegate and Orange County LULAC leader, was there. Cecilia Aguinaga, Santa Ana School Board Candidate and AD 69 Delegate, was also there. Ray Roberts, who ran for Assembly in AD 67 last year, was there. In fact, I just kept bumping into more and more familiar faces from OC. All are committed activists, and all were in San Diego over the weekend to speak up for Orange County Democrats and our progressive values.

And oh yes, Cecilia and I bumped into some guy named Art Torres. ; )

After the meeting, I bumped into Chris Prevatt, my very wise friend who blogs at The Liberal OC. We chatted while I was waiting in line for my delegate credentials… And lo and behold, Hekebolos shows up! We all then got into it as we chatted about what we hoped to see happen at the convention (and Chris starts telling us naughty jokes). ; )

Later on in the evening, I had a chance to speak with Santa Ana City Council Member Michele Martinez. (Full interview coming soon!) Now while other local politicians here continue to make us promises that they always end up breaking, Michele truly is keeping it real. She has done more to get local folks involved in what happens in our city than anyone else here, and she is already is doing so much for the city in giving our youth alternatives to gang violence and in making our city a cleaner and healthier one.

Actually not too long after meeting Michele inside the convention center, I got to see her again. Actually, I got to see ALL my fellow AD 69 delegates (including the great Orange Juice blogger, Claudio Gallegos) at Nicky Rotten’s bar in the Gaslamp District for a little Central OC get-together. We laughed, we chatted, we gossipped… Basically, we had a great time!

And then, just when I thought that I couldn’t have any more fun, I arrived at the “Blue House at the Brew House” event! I bumped into near and dear friends, such as Susan Kopicki, Carl Weibel, and Roz Freeman, of DFA Orange County. I bumped into online friends that I hardly ever see offline, such as Dday, Brian, and the entire Calitics crew. I bumped into people that I’ve only heard of online, but never had a chance to meet before, such as Congressional Candidate Charlie Brown.

Basically, it was just terrific to see all these fantastic Democratic activists all in one place, and all for one cause. We all care about our core progressive values. We all want to end the war. We all want to prevent the coming climate catastrophe. We all want health care for all. And we all want to restore honor and integrity to the White House by electing a Democratic President in November of next year as we continue to see progress on Capitol Hill with a strengthened Democratic majority.

And yes, it was terrific for me to see all my good Orange County friends there on that first day at the convention. I didn’t feel so alone, afraid, and totally lost when I had my friends there, walking with me. I didn’t feel so alone when I got to sit next to my friends at these meetings. Oh yes, and I DID feel so privileged and proud to introduce my awesome Orange County friends to all the rest of you who never thought before that there were so many terrific Democrats “behind the Orange Curtain”.

Coming soon… What happened during those next two days. : )

Santa Ana School Fraud Scandal Hits Local TV

OK, so this isn’t the national evening news. It’s our local public affairs program, “Real Orange“, on our local PBS station, KOCE. But still, how amazing is it to see how one blog’s focus on the many problems with the Santa Ana Unified School District finally caught the attention of the mainstream media?

H/T to Orange Juice for all their great coverage of Santa Ana issues. We probably wouldn’t even know about how these administrators are hurting our kids and their educational opportunities if it weren’t for Thomas Gordon, Art Pedroza, Claudio Gallegos, and the entire O-J Team. Thanks to all of you for getting the MSM’s attention.