Santa Ana is A Great Destination In Orange County

orange county

Santa Ana is in an interesting predicament in Orange County. If you are from Santa Ana there will be a lot of misconceptions and over exaggerated claims about the city that you’re living in. Orange County residents might think of it as a place where there is a gang problem or filled with too many people living in one house and an influx of a lot of immigrants. Usually all of these attributes contributed to the city can be constituted as negative. But if you’re lucky you’ll get a group of people in Orange County who realize the great progress that has been being made in Santa Ana in a variety of different areas.

Santa Ana to a lot of people is becoming a safer and area that is progressing positively. There are a lot of cool taverns and bars that are opening up in the area and the diversity is increasing in a lot of ways. It’s a great destination for people in the orange county area.

Quaint Charm is Santa Ana’s Main Selling Point

In a county that is mostly filled with people of higher income and less diversity, Santa Ana is a place that sticks out to a lot of people in the general area. What makes Santa Ana so appealing to investors and tourists is its charm that it has retained. There is always soccer being played out over the fields and in the front yards. There are pastel colored homes and a charming atmosphere that no other Orange County town can offer anywhere else.

This is the exact thing that needs to be protected though in order for it to continue flourishing. A lot of places are taken up and given trendy types of names and replaced with a sort of gentrified new area. This is good for certain sects of the population who could afford it, but what needs to happen is it come from a more organic place instead.

It is the uniqueness that Santa Ana has a selling point that needs to stay intact. What this means is the sort of cultural heritage there that shouldn’t be just transformed into a new place without thinking about the locals and cultures that may be displaced. What needs to then happen is a balancing act between bringing in new investments to keep the place hip and an attractive visiting spot for people who wouldn’t usually be interested in going to Santa Ana, while keeping the local business interests at heart. This can be done by simple common sense and involving the locals in the type of investments and progress that is gong to be taking place. There is one thing that is constant and that is change and progress. There is no point in trying to stop it and hold onto old ideals but instead trying to incorporate it into a new type of Santa Ana. A place that is going to continue to be a great destination.

 

Shootings on the Rise in Santa Ana: Gangs to Blame?

street gang

In many cities around the country, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of shootings that have been taking place. The city of Chicago has had a rise of gun violence in just the few short months of 2016. Now Santa Ana is reporting 55 shootings in the area in just 50 days. Obviously in doing the math we can determine that this is a shooting per day, and now police and residents alike are wondering what might be contributing to all the gun violence. One reason on almost everybody’s mind is increased gang activity.

 

Increased violence by gangs

After three more people were shot and killed and two were wounded, the Santa Ana police chief is beginning to notice a trend in gang-related crimes. Chief Carlos Rojas said that the month of January has been the busiest for his department and it doesn’t seem like they will be slowing down anytime soon, as the number of shootings continue to climb. Rojas is contributing the increase in gang activity to members being released from prison back into the community. These members have been released early due to Proposition 47, which was passed in 2014. This proposition allows those who have committed nonviolent violent felonies, such as drug or theft crimes, to be released from jail early.

 

History of gangs in the city

Gunshots used to be a common occurrence in Santa Ana, especially in the 90’s. However over the past decade the number of annual homicides has been lowered. Now that there are already 5 deaths and 55 total shootings in 2016, it has the community wondering about the impact of gangs in their city. It is hard to determine a reason for certain gangs targeting one person and even harder to come up with an easy solution to the problem. Many young adolescents think of entering a gang as a rite of passage that they have to complete by a certain age. It is also true that Santa Ana is very culturally diverse, but has a large number of low economic populations. These are the groups that are more likely to join gangs, adding to the growing problem of violence.

 

Working to solve the problem

Rojas believes that his department’s 13 member gang unit has the manpower it would take to go up against the nearly 4,500 gang members throughout the city. There are currently 305 officers working in Santa Ana, but there are currently 67 positions opened due to an understaffed crew. In hiring as many officers as possible, they can work on the issue together. FBI and local police have reported that from 2014 to 2015 violent crimes rose 29 percent. Similarly, January 2016 saw 41 overall shootings compared to the 24 in January of 2015. In order to help solve this problem the Santa Ana police department has been seizing guns and going through personal belongings of individuals on probation to look for any gang activity signs. Police Union President John Franks thinks that even a more specialized enforcement might be needed to help combat the problem.

 

Every little thing the Santa Ana Police can do now will help make the difference in the future.

 

Which Actress is Opening a Marijuana Dispensary in Santa Ana?

Many people remember Roseanne Barr from her 90’s television sitcom, Roseanne. She has been around in the media promoting her standup comedy and even participated in Comedy Central’s Roast of Roseanne. Now Roseanne Barr is making news for a new business venture. She has plans to become an investor for a marijuana dispensary that will be located in Santa Ana, California.

 

New dispensary to open up

Barr will become an investor for a dispensary that was one of twenty to win a city lottery to open a location in Santa Ana. Plans for the new dispensary include a name of “Roseanne’s Joint”, and selling a variety of marijuana products. Aaron Herzberg, who has partnered with Barr said that the dispensary will feature some amazing edible products including pot-laced, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, which are grown on her farm. In addition to being an investor, Barr also plans to make several appearances at the location. She wants to be sure that the dispensary provides customers with a high-end, premium experience with a very open environment.

 

Barr not the first celebrity involved in the marijuana business

Roseanne Barr is not the first celebrity who has looked into the marijuana dispensary business, and she certainly won’t be the last. B-Real, rapper for Cypress Hill, was one of the first celebrities to develop his dispensary in the Santa Ana area after his dispensary won the license lotto. Famous actor Woody Harrelson also applied for a marijuana dispensary license in Hawaii.

 

Reasons for this business venture

There are many reasons why Barr wanted to start a marijuana dispensary business. One of those reasons is because she revealed that medical marijuana has been helping her with a diagnosis of glaucoma and macular degeneration. These diseases are causing her to gradually lose her eyesight. Being able to use marijuana for the pain has helped a lot. In a statement, Barr claimed she was proud to be a pioneer in the progress of legalizing marijuana. She is also proud that the city of Santa Ana has recognized marijuana as a natural, therapeutic, and medicinal drug. Herzberg couldn’t agree more with Barr and is excited to work with her. He believes she will be an asset as she is very spiritual and into natural remedies. This will give customers a great laid back, and comfortable experience when visiting the dispensary.

 

When will Barr’s dispensary open?

Construction should be underway beginning in April of this year. Once they are able to receive a regulatory safety permit, the dispensary would have no problem opening their doors shortly after. Customers can expect to see completive pricing, but will gain a very spiritual experience when visiting the dispensary, which is something you don’t get everywhere. The building is 5,000 square feet, which is three times larger than the average dispensary. Chris Francey is another partner in the dispensary, and he already has a successful medical marijuana location in the city.

 

Barr hopes that she might be able to license some of her edible products to be sold at other dispensaries in California.

 

Ex Santa Ana City Councilman Sentenced to a Year In Jail

Carlos Bustamante

Justice is finally being served after an ex Santa Ana City Councilman was sentenced to a year in jail for years of inappropriate sexual behavior. Sexual harassment in the workplace is never acceptable, and it seems as though Carlos Bustamante had been engaging in inappropriate office behavior for over eight years. Bustamante created a plea deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to just one year in jail, along with five years of probation, and his name on the sex offender registry for his lifetime. Some wonder if the sentence wasn’t harsh enough because he pled guilty to multiple sex-related charges.

 

Bustamante’s case in court

Bustamante was arrested back in July of 2012 when seven of his female subordinates accused him of trying to engage in unwanted sexual activities. He would actually lure women into his office to kiss, hug, and touch them in an inappropriate manner. After his arrest, Bustamante was looking at 17 felony sex charges, which were later dismissed due to lack of evidence. He did plead guilty to three counts of attempted sexual battery, stalking and grand theft. These charges were all considered felonies, while attempted sexual battery, assault, and false imprisonment were all misdemeanor charges, to which he also pled guilty.

 

Women assaulted happy with outcome

Although only a year of imprisonment seems like a short time after all the sexual charges Bustamante faced, all of the women who were in court during the guilty plea were satisfied with the outcome. Having his name on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life will really have an effect once he gets out of prison. Victims were not quick to come forward with accusations because Bustamante held such a high position in the city of Santa Ana. Letters were read in the courtroom, which were written by two of the sexual abuse victims. One claimed that she was terrified at work when Bustamante was around. The excitement of a new job turned to horror and everyday was a struggle. All the victim could think about at home was what might happen at work the next day. Another victim claimed she always knew sexual harassment could happen in the workplace, but she never imagined it would happen to her. The worst part was in knowing that she couldn’t tell anyone. This is something that the victims will have to struggle with for the rest of their lives. It might be hard to trust other male co-workers or bosses, even if they give no reason for being untrustworthy.

 

Bustamante’s future

Bustamante will serve out his one year sentence, and follow up his jail time with a five year probationary period. If he decides to violate his probation terms, then he could face an additional four years in prison. On the other hand, if he is successful during his five year probationary period, his felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors on his public record.

 

Always remember that if you feel uncomfortable in a situation at work, make somebody else aware, such as an HR representative. Had these women not come forward, who knows how many others would have been affected because of Bustamante’s actions?

Trending Now: Santa Ana Council Opposes Cuts to Public Transportation

public transportation

Citing the dependence on public transportation for many of its working-class residents, members of the Santa Ana City Council have publicly opposed plans to reduce bus services and lines. The plans, introduced by the Orange County Transportation Authority, involved the elimination of two bus routes in the city.

 

While City Council members and citizens battles to keep the lines active, the Transportation Authority cites a major decline in Orange County riders, starting as far back as 2008. According to the figures presented, the public transportation system has seen a 30% decline in riders – roughly 20 million people in that seven year span.

 

However, many of these declines may be traced back to questionable decisions made in years past. After the Great Recession, the Transportation Authority decided to cut services equally across several geographical regions. The decision to make these cuts were not based on ridership or the population depending on bus services, and have affected countless riders.

 

Recently, The Transportation Authority had proposed a major reallocation of resources, eliminating or reducing buses on poorly-performing routes and increasing frequency in more popular lines. These changes were introduced as part of an effort to undo some of the damages from 2008, when the major declines started.

 

One Transportation Authority official claimed that the improvements would increase ridership by 1.6 million over three years, and were only introduced after riders demanded such changes. While some say that the plan itself will help bring back riders, many are worried that it will simply introduce even more barriers to a system that has been plagued for years by inconsistencies and failures.

 

Among the routes scheduled to be eliminated are 51, running along Flower Street through Santa Ana-Costa Mesa, and 145, which runs from the city’s downtown to South Coast Plaza. In November of 2015, these two routes alone served 27,819 riders. Although the figures seem monumental, Transportation Authority officials claim that these riders will have more options after the changes, as they are reallocations of resources and not reductions of total service.

 

Whether the proposed plans would actually create more effective options for the riders of 51 and 145 remains to be seen. There are lines that run parallel to the routes-in-question, Transportation officials say.

 

The City’s counterargument is clear: those ‘parallel lines’ would add a half-mile walk for riders, numerous transfers and increased wait time between transfers to arrive at the same location. Even clearer was the City’s surprise at the proposed cuts – especially because of the significant percentage of the Santa Ana working population that relies on the continued service of these bus lines. They feel that, at the very least, they should have been approached sooner about the planned changes, which had been originally slated for approval in early February.

 

After citizens gathered at a board meeting open to the public on January 25th, the Transportation Authority has announced that its staff will make revisions to the plan. The revisions meeting will take place on Feb. 11th, while changes will go to a full board vote on the 22nd.

 

Any changes approved to the plan will go into effect as early as June of 2016.

 

Three Inmates Escape in Orange County

inmate escape

You have seen it in movies like the Shawshank Redemption and have heard about it happening in the news, but many wonder how prison inmates can actually find a way to escape prison. It has been several weeks since three Orange County inmates found a way to escape from a jail in Santa Ana. Three men had developed a plan over a six month period, beginning in July of 2015 on an escape plan that allowed them to break out of the facility at 5am, shortly after an inmate count took place.

 

Dangerous escapees

The men who escaped the prison were said to be dangerous, one even in jail for accusations of murder. Bac Duong, 43; Hossein Nayeri,37; and Jonathan Tieu,20 were the three men who were able to hatch out and successfully complete their plan of breaking out of jail. After their escape on January 22, awards for information leading to their arrest were offered, but no information was available. New information came to light recently as one of the escaped inmates, Duong, turned himself in. The other two inmates were captured shortly after.

 

Escaped inmates kidnap taxi driver

Following their escape, the men needed a change of clothes and place to lay low. It is believed that Loc Ba Nguyen, who was charged with smuggling weapons into a correction facility and aiding in a prisoner’s escape, was the one who picked up the three men following their escape. The escaped inmates ended up kidnapping a taxi driver, forcing him to stay with them for a week, with forceful gunpoint. What was probably their downfall came when Duong and Nayeri got into a physical fight over what they should do with the taxi driver, in regards to killing him and burying the body. The men stayed at a San Jose motel for several days, and Duong made the decision to leave with the taxi driver. This is when Duong entered an automotive business to turn himself in.

 

How the other inmates were captured

The group was staying at the Alameda Motel when Nayeri and Tieu left the facility to go get the window’s tinted of a van they had stolen. During this time, Duong and the taxi driver took the taxi back to Rosemead, and Duong turned himself in. The taxi driver was not injured and worked with investigators to get as much detail as possible regarding the whereabouts of the other two escaped inmates, including giving an accurate description of the stolen van. On Saturday morning, January 30th, Nayeri and Tieu were arrested by San Francisco police after their van was spotted and alerted to investigators. Tieu was hiding inside of the vehicle, while Nayeri tried to run away from police. Investigators worked tirelessly to find these dangerous criminals, and were successful in their efforts.

 

Whether it be good investigative work or the stupidity of the three men, they were caught, which is the most important thing. Now it is time that the Santa Ana jail take a look at how these men escaped and what they can do to prevent events like this from happening in the future.

 

Gentrification Study in Santa Ana

santa ana

Santa Ana is a changing place, and one resident who has lived here since he was a child has seen it coming. Enter, young Erualdo Gonzalez who has had this premonition since he was a child. His mother Margarita Romero Gonzalez worked two jobs to support her family and then managed a shoe store as well. After this she went on to own two different clothing stores and befriended different business owners in the small downtown of Santa Ana, with all of its rich history.

Young Erualdo Gonzalez has since aged and is now 41 years old and is a faculty member at the Cal State Fullerton school. He was born in 1974 and lived in this area his entire life.  Gonzalez has reminisced about the good old days and how he used to roam around the streets up and down Fourth Street where his mother worked.

He remembers the days of his Latino culture growing in number and having a large influence on the area. Without any sort of segregation the area grew in a positive way that made way for progress and the spreading of cultural ideals.

Looking Forward to the Present & Future

Now he is an associate professor in Chicana and Chicano studies, something that is clearly important to a lot of people in the area. He researches topics that include developing the community and urban planning methods and health around the residential area.

Something that he has taken note of lately is gentrification or what he thinks it is. During the 1950’s and 1960’s there was an influx of Caucasian people leaving the area, which was replaced with Latinos from all different regions.

Following this there was an economic downturn that left the area to others in its wake. It was the immigrants and Mexicans who began to infiltrate the area and began to change the area to a more flourishing community as the shift changed.  

Gonzalez talked about how the Chicano culture was prevalent during this time and it was a time of achievement for his culture and community. Gonzalez’s pursuit of retaining this area is completely altruistic in regards to retaining his culture. He just released a new book called “The Latino City: Urban Revitalization, Politics, and the Grassroots,” which will be coming out late this October. The book goes into details about the redevelopment of the area and what can be done to change it as he lays out his well thought out plan.

Gonzalez in his own words says, “What I wanted to get across is that this whole idea to redevelop that prioritizes a demographic other than the Mexican immigrant, other than the working class in the area, this has always been going on.” Urban planning in the area has been a point of contention.  Some do not believe that what is happening is all that bad and instead a push for change and progress. There can be some truth in the opposition as Gomez takes a nostalgic approach to the days that are now changing.

Santa Ana Ramping Up to Combat Gang Violence

gang violence

Last week after a gang related shooting, Santa Ana police were rolling out the crime tape on West 10th street late in the afternoon. Police said they took in a man in his 20s to the hospital as he got a gunshot wound. Ever since the New Year there has already been a reported 27 shootings or stabbings in the city. The majority of these crimes relate right back to gangs as usual as the main culprits.

The Police Chief of Santa Ana Carlos Rojas has been concerned about the increase in all of the gang violence. There is an increased rate of violence and it is related right to the amount of handguns that is in the possession of a lot of these cases.

Police have been countering this by leading the response with a probationary sweep in the early morning. With the combined effort of a couple different agencies including the SWAT team, US Marshals and Orange County police made checks on known gang members totaling in at 25 different members who had been taken in at one point or another for various crimes.

The police remarked that they fall under a law called AB109 as it releases low-level inmates out of prison. The idea is to get ahead of them before the increased crime wave begins sweeping over the town.

Ramifications

During one of the sweeps the police found a revolver and a rifle that was under a van on South Townsend Street. When the police would go to the men on probation they would question them and search through any of their residences for drugs and paraphernalia as well as anything like weapons or something that would be against probation code.

The goal is to protect the community. Sgt. Gil Hernandez said that they want to use everything under their command in order to protect the community from violence and the uprising of more gang crime in the city.

Back to the case on Tuesday they said that the man is expected to survive as they search for who shot him. The officers are doing everything in their power to stop the uprising of violence and protect their communities.

Hernandez said that what they did in the morning by arresting these suspects and seizing these weapons was a huge step in the right direction. In response to more crime they will be continuing these sweeps on a regular basis, as they seem to be getting the job done.

Santa Ana police are marking for the first time being proactive rather than reactive, as most police work tends to be. Hopefully this proves to be worthwhile as it catches these members and stops any fears that they may have with these gang members. The year has only begun, but the amount of shootings are outstanding and need to be dealt with and what better way to do that then through the hard working ethics and methods the Santa Ana police force is using.

 

Human Remains Discovered at Santa Ana Home

human remains

It sounds like something you would watch on a television show, but that is not the case when it comes to the human remains that were found in a Santa Ana home just weeks ago. Police received a phone call on Thursday December 17th, stating that there was a dead female body found inside of a running refrigerator.

 

Homeowners find the body

The dead body was found in a detached garage next to a house in the 1000 block of North Jackson street, located in Santa Ana, California. Homeowners were previously renting the detached garage out to two tenants. Since the old tenants moved out, the homeowners decided to clean out the garage in order to get it ready to rent again. In the process of cleaning, the homeowners noticed that the refrigerator was still running. Upon opening the door, the homeowners discovered the body of a woman, and immediately called the police. The body of the woman was fully clothed, and there was no dismemberment.

 

Police look into previous tenants

Investigators began by trying to determine the tenants who rented out the property. Anthony Bertagna, Santa Ana police Cpl., said the first step was to determine the old tenants and their current whereabouts. Obviously investigators want to know if they are accountable for the dead body. Alejandra Ramirez, who lives across the street from the garage, told police that a man and woman lived in the garage, and she just saw them a week before the body was discovered. Ramirez said she was in complete shock to hear about the body remains, found so close to her home. As police obtained a search warrant to check the garage, the one block area near the garage was roped off and considered a crime scene. The body found inside the refrigerator was transported to the Orange County coroner’s office for further investigation.

 

Cause of death

There was no indication as to how long the woman’s body was left in the refrigerator, and did slow the body’s decomposition. Homicide was there to investigate and come up with answers. Did the woman die of natural causes, was there an overdose, are there signs of trauma, why was her body stuffed in a refrigerator, was this in fact a homicide? Because of the way the body was kept for a certain amount of time, the identity of the woman was not immediately known. An autopsy was set to be completed Monday, December 21st.

 

Police in Santa Ana are asking that if anyone has any information about the former tenants, or know of a missing woman, to contact the police department. Their phone number is 714-245-8665. The Orange County Crime Stoppers are also available at 1-855-TIP-OCCS, if you prefer to remain anonymous. It is unfortunate that all of this happened before the holidays and the new year. Hopefully investigators are able to gain information about where the previous tenants are currently located to get some answers about what exactly happened to the woman, and the woman’s family can gain some kind of closure.

 

Santa Ana Fish Habitat Protection Battle

fish habitat

The past year has been a battle for habitat protection in Santa Ana for sucker fish, an endangered species. This has come to an end on Monday when the U.S Supreme Court decline to review cases by a few inland water agencies.

These water districts have been fighting against the Fish and Wildlife services against the designation of 9,331 acres alongside the Santa Ana River as a habitat for the fish.

Critical habitats are crucial to the survival of endangered species. When an area is designated a critical habitat it does not prohibit development but it allows for the federal agencies to fund activities and consult with the Fish and Wildlife department to ensure nothing is destroyed or affected.

The districts believed that the habitat protection was based off of flawed sciences and didn’t comply with obligations to local agencies to resolve water issues and protect endangered species.

Doug Headrick general manager of the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, who was involved with the lawsuit said “Of course we’re disappointed, but we weren’t waiting around for this decision. Some years ago we went down the path of developing a habitat conservation plan in cooperation with state and federal resource agencies.”

Conservation Plans

The plans for conservation is to breed 1,500 of these fish in a safe environment before putting them back into the river where they used to live and begin increasing their populations. Environmentalists were happy that the case was not forced by decision to go to court. This is a big win for the Santa Ana fish. The protections that comes with the prior plans will make sure that the fish have a future and other species part of the river who are dependent and interconnected with the fish.

The conservation groups began fighting against any encroachment on the river and decimation of the species in 1999. Over ninety five percent of the fish have disappeared from their historical range. They were listed as a fish with risk of extinction in the Endangered Species Act in 2000.

The Lawsuit

This battle started in 2011 when twelve different water districts and cities filed a lawsuit that challenged the designated land for the fish. Luckily the Supreme Court didn’t take this case and the science and public support was on the conservationist’s side.

Ileen Anderson, a biologist said that  “As part of the Santa Ana Sucker Conservation Team, I’ve watched the sucker population in the Santa Ana river decline to a point where its very existence is on the line, knowing that critical habitat for the sucker — the bare minimum the species needs to survive — remains intact allows all of us to move forward with recovering this unique fish. And it’ll ensure water quality and quantity for people too.”

She has been working for over a decade to make sure that these fish are protected and can keep flourishing in the historical area they used to live in. Another win for the environmentalists in Santa Ana.