Notes, Quotes, and Observations from Last Night's AirTalk with Larry Mantle Town Hall on Santa Ana Gentrification

libreriamartinezcrowd.JPG
More than 100 people in attendance last night...
With apologies to Orange County Register sports genius Randy Youngman, notes, quotes and observations from last night's epic town hall on SanTana gentrification wars held by KPCC-FM 89.3's AirTalk with Larry Mantle.

*More than 100 people attended last night at Librería Martinez--and those were just the people sitting down. The aisles also had listeners, and others were still filing in long after the conversation started.

*This was the first time AirTalk had done a live recording in SanTana in about six years--they had previously done one in Librería Martínez (at their old shop on Main Street), and the topic then was immigration.
pulidoelephants.JPG

*Weirdest moment of the evening: the PETA protesters above. Ladies: SanTana Mayor Don Papi Pulido NEVER attends public events unless he's guaranteed a sycophantic audience--and the one last night definitely wasn't.

*Larry Mantle was at his devil's-advocate best, grilling all the guests--SanTana councilmembers Busty Bustamante and Michelle Martinez, dentist Arturo Lomeli, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) head Eric Altman, and longtime Centro Cultural de México volunteer Carolina Sarmiento--on their stated positions, then flipping the questions to put them on the defensive about the opposite side. At one point, a crowd member whispered in my ear, "Does that güey have a bias?" when Larry seemed to be endorsing wiping out Mexican neighborhoods. Wonder how that person felt when Larry advocated the other side.

*Bustamante claimed that Fourth Street was in need of revitalizing because Mexicans were "assimilating more into the Wal-Marts and Targets." HAHAHAHAHA. That's a line the Brave New Urbanists are starting to repeat as a mantra, one repeated by the Orange County Register: Fourth Street is empty because wabs now have more shopping choices. By that logic, Fourth Street should've suffered dearly when Orange County had many more swap meets that catered to Mexis, back in the days when the Lemon and Orange Drive-Ins were still around. Also? Wabs have shopped at Target since they've been around--as one who grew up running in the grease-smeared aisles of the old Target location on Lincoln in Anacrime, TRUST ME...

Busty also came out as a full-fledged Aztlanista, but of the pocho variety. He insisted SanTana's gentrification schemes aren't designed to drive out Mexicans from the city, whether poor or rich. "We're not going anywhere," Busty said at one point--and isn't that what Mechistas say all along? Of course, Busty made it into an issue of where successful Mexis like him could shop in the city--he wants a place where he can "buy a suit," which shows how clueless he is about Fourth Street because YOU ALREADY CAN.


*Altman was good, if a bit too earnest, using progressive terms like "dialogue" and "consensus" a bit too much. When Larry asked how is it that SanTana's council keeps getting elected despite Altman's assertion that community members didn't have a voice, Altman couldn't really respond. But when Altman brought up the subject of developers, Larry ignored that topic.

*Lomeli was not ready for radio, stuttering and stammering a bit much. He did make the salient point that, for all the talk of the Mexis in downtown SanTana not contributing much to the city, it still remained SanTana's second-highest tax revenue base and felt that could only improve if the Don Papi put in more infrastructure improvements and eliminated paid parking. But when Larry pointed out that downtown Santa Monica and Pasadena--previous examples of redevelopment cited as triumphs by Brave New Urbanists--charges for parking and makes mucho profits, Lomeli didn't have a response.

*Funniest line of the night:
"When has Carlos had a taco in Santa Ana?"--uttered by an audience member when Busty claimed he eats tacos in the city. During the course of the interview, he was seen dining beforehand at Chapter One: The Modern Local with his entourage.

*
The biggest disaster of the night by far was Martinez, who is proving to be the new Claudia Alvarez--vindictive, prone to histrionics, and just plain dumb. She claimed that before OCCORD and others got together to unsuccessfully try and get the SanTana City Council to sign off on a community benefits agreement in return for the mega-development that's coming, there had never been "engagement from communities" in SanTana, conveniently forgetting how her puppet master got into power and Chepa Andrade. She also repeated the Don Papi-approved mantra that there was no need for a CBA because the council would deliver on all the points in it. When Larry pressed her on why not just pass it then, Martinez said, "If you don't have the vote," it's not going to pass, and that "we didn't have the vote." Doesn't sound like a progressive council to me! Yet when Michelle insisted the city ran an "open council," everyone laughed--a moment of levity that started Martinez on her path to getting unhinged.

At one point, Martinez began railing about a lawsuit that activists have filed against the City Council over the Station District concept. She claimed that those activists were holding the city down, and if that didn't go through, that there would be no other developers who wanted to come into the city. She actually lost her temper! The audience laughed anew, and nearly hooted when Martinez said that her parents wouldn't allow her and her friends to visit the downtown area as teens (which would've been the mid-1990s) because the were either "get killed or raped."
Funny!

And funniest part of all? Martinez kept pronouncing SanTana as "Santa Ana"--again and again. She over-enunciated it, again and again. Don't worry, Michelle: we all know you're Flora Park-worthy!

*Sarmiento only appeared at the end of the broadcast, yet proved the feistiest and most well-spoken. She challenged Larry on his questions, pronounced the city as SanTana, and brought up previous examples of successful CBAs. When Larry pointed out that the city and current developer didn't want to enter into a CBA, Sarmiento shot back "Find another developer." She also pointed out that the city's continued focus on just one part of SanTana to make it a regional draw only leads to divestment in the rest of the city.
"Are we building a Santa Ana for people outside Santa Ana?" she openly wondered toward the end, to which Martinez and Bustamante had no answer.

*Martinez finally broke down and pronounced Santa Ana as SanTana toward the end. HILARIOUS...



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21 comments
SA Native
SA Native

I listened to the broadcast and my favorite part was when council member Carlos Bustamante stated the city council does not represent the residents, they represent the city. Hopefully no one will vote for this Bozo ever again.The council also members seemed befuddled as to what leverage the city would have to encourage compliance with a CBA, or what they could do to get more developers to invest in Santa Ana.It seems like getting $40 million in real estate to develop for pennies on the dollar (some parcels may even be given to the developer) is a HUGE incentive. That's what the Station District properties amount to.When the city gives away property to a for-profit developer, and then helps get them tax credits and housing incentives on top of that, they do a huge disservice to the residents. It's Santa Ana businesses and property owners that end up contributing to redevelopment funds, and then the existing businesses have a harder time accessing those funds.The council members then hit up those same developers for campaign contributions.The system is completely broken in Santa Ana, and favors outside interests over the needs and concerns of the existing city residents and business stakeholders.

cook
cook

I was hoping for more audience participation.

They spent to much time on the panel, to show was increased from 1 hour to 2 hours so questions from the audience could be included, and only 4 or 5 were allowed, because there wasn’t a hard time limit on panel responses. Maybe the city could loan them their 3 minute clock on the next one.

I did learn something, the 40 million dollars real estate give away has been held up by a law suit, now that was worth the price of admission.

almagkelly
almagkelly

Interesting! I just now printed Coupons of my Favorite Brands for free, search for "Printapons" I highly recommend them

booper
booper

You seem to be more intent on ridiculing the speakers than really listening to what they were saying. I missed the broadcast. Did anyone shoot a video? I'd like to see for myself how this really played out.

Buscando lo autentico
Buscando lo autentico

Gustavo,

I generally appreciate your thoughtful commentaries on Santa Ana. I was bummed that the event yesterday filled up and I couldn't attend. Sounds like it would have at least been entertaining...albeit of no significance to the future of our fine city...mostly just a collection of blowhards. I think Carolina Sarmiento was probably the only authentic one of the whole lot.

Anyway, why make such an issue of how to pronouce Santa Ana. It seems so ridiculous to me. Do you pronounce Los Angeles as you would in Spanish when casually talking about LA? Or Cerritos? Palos Verdes? Santa Barbara? Ventura? Etc? I'm fully bilingual but find this obsession on pronunciation of Santa Ana ridiculous at best, and petty and divisive at it's worst. There's room in Santa Ana for for all different races and people groups! Not only those that are ever so careful to say SanTana for fear of being called out by The Mexican. Lame.

Stephanie
Stephanie

Michelle Martinez is "Floral Park-worthy?!" Please, oh please, Gustavo, get her to come and buy my house! I might even make her a good price, and most of the kids in the neighborhood will correct her pronunciation of SanTana since their parents all sent them to El Sol to learn how to speak to the help . . . oh crap, she has to live in her ward, doesn't she? Damn, thought I had a potential buyer there.

(Still want you and Delilah to buy it so she can have that big backyard and barn-of-a-garage to hold her canning classes out of it. If I wind up leasing it, anyone interested?)

ñoño
ñoño

Rape? I don’t know about Rape… Minnie Street Lopers couldn’t go into downtown Santa Ana in the 90’s not for fear of Rape, Murder yes, but not rape!

junior
junior

I was in attendance at this event. Having been involved in this issue for several years, I can tell you that nothing, absolutely nothing new came out of this event. Everyone involved just regurgitated their previously established positions. There was no meeting of the minds – zero, zip and nada.

It was a pleasant enough experience, but largely a ginormous waste of time.

Ihateusc
Ihateusc

lol.. you have a fight between poor uneducated mexicans and slightly more poor uneducated mexicans... looks like sanTana is doom... i really dont care bc i wont set foot in that town but can y'all just keep yourselves in sanTana and stop polluting the surrounding communities... we tax-paying citizens thank you

Damon
Damon

I'll repeat what I said under the previous post. Seems to me like having only the council members represent the pro- side of development was a mistake since the vast majority of community activists seem to already hate them for a multitude of reasons.

And Gustavo, you gotta admit that you chuckled when Ms. Sarmiento accidentally said "Santa Ana" when responding to Larry's question at the end before pausing to correct herself, and saying "SanTana." I honestly don't see why it matters whether you pronounce it one way or the other.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Now, now: No name calling here. His name is Busty, not Bozo. Carry on...

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Again: tell that to Michelle, not me. You don't see me ragging on Bustyfor not pronouncing SanTana, and Busty is far more corrupt...

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Can we pay it off over the course of 100 years? If so, count me in!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Damon: I agree with you on the council bit. As for your point on pronouncing, please pass it along to Michelle!

Perla
Perla

Junior-Here is the correct link to the audio download, extra content, and commentary.Please use this link and give credit to KPCC, the PBS radio station who put on this event instead of pointing people to a garbage blog.Thank you.

http://www.scpr.org/programs/a...

Stephanie
Stephanie

C'mon, sell a few more books - it's a steal at $599k. Besides, how friggin' cool would it be for Papi to come riding by with his kids, as he is wont to do, and see you waving from the front lawn? Or heading over to Ranchito Pulido to borrow that cup of sugar?

BTW, if we lease it . . . dogs allowed!

junior
junior

Thank you for the direct link Perla.

BTW- The OJ Blog is greatly improved since the bomb throwers who were associated with that blog have departed the scene. Vern Nelson and crew are doing a great job!

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