[UPDATE: Notes from the Protest] Anti-Gentrification Protest to Hit Downtown Santa Ana TOMORROW, During Art Walk

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Photo by Carlos Cordero
The Don Papi in his latest conquered territory...
UPDATE: For a group that's about to get booted from its space due to gentrifiers, members and friends of the Centro Cultural de México had a gay old time yesterday at their anti-gentrification protest during the SanTana Artist Village monthly First Saturday Art Walk.

About 55 people began the protest at the Centro's space around 6 p.m., rehearsing the play they would display before the public over the next two hours at key places in SanTana's gentrification wars. They snaked out of the Knights of Pythias building holding artwork, signs, strumming guitars or taking turns yelling from a makeshift bullhorn that read "Voice of the Voiceless."

The coup de grace, however, was a coffin built just for the occasion, featuring the names of victims of the city's gentrification schemes: the carousel, quinceañera shops, kiosks, and other businesses. Of course, what ensued wasn't funeral procession so much as a Second Line, and you can see proof of the matter after the jump!

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Scott Keltic Knot throwing down some spoken word!

The procession went from the Centro to the front of Fallas Paredes, a discount store on the corner of Fourth and Sycamore streets. There, performance artist Scott Keltic Knot put down some rhymes in English (and Spanish!) railing about the gentrification in the area. From there, they marched to the newly christened Plaza Santa Ana, which once held a collection of Mexican stores that the city literally bulldozed into the ground; it was one of the faithful departed the coffin commemorated.

After that, the procession went to the Yost Theater, where they proceeded to do a bit of street theater en Español. At this point, the crowd was easily 150.

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Wonder if South Coast Rep will ever stage this...


The play lasted about 15 minutes and was a dramatized rendition of what happened to the Centro. Three women representing the Centro's greatest contributions to the city--artists, son jarocho music, and the Orange County Dream Team--pretended to be seedlings that bloomed upon nurturing by culture. Brave New Urbanists and councilmembers then came in, said it was important to make money, and booted out the garden.

So A Raisin in the Sun it was not, but the play was effective and even funny. Throughout, volunteers passed out hundreds of fliers and talked to curious onlookers explaining the issues at hand. The procession then went on to the fountain at the middle of the Artists Village, where they reenacted the play in English. Your humble reporter missed this part, though, because he had to rush back to the parking meter lest SanTana's notorious traffic cops give me a ticket, but people who were there told me that the artists and onlookers in that region reacted with dismay at the Centro introducing reality in their slice of paradise.

The evening concluded at Cafe Calacas, where there was a lucha libre match going on. At this point, I joined the county's other SanTana reporters, Orange County Register veteran Andrew Galvin and Voice of OC whiz kid Adam Elmahrek (and his chica) in enjoying mulitas at Tacos y Mulitas Ruben, which neither had ever tasted, which goes to show how much either truly knows about SanTana. They made up for their oversight, however, by trading stories with me on the evil pendeja that is councilwoman Claudia Alvarez.

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SanTana's Chavez Ravine...
Updated, Sept. 2, 9:46 a.m.: Aw, fuck--here comes one of the most worthless individuals in the world, Hector Carreón of the gay-trashing, Jew-bashing La Voz de Aztlan website railing about a Jewish takeover of SanTana, a scribble that will only further confirm to gentrification foes that Mexicans really are racist and evil.

Gotta do other things, folks, and will address this more at length later today, but for right now: NO ONE pays attention to La Voz de Pendejos. DO NOT view their views as somehow representative of the views of SanTana's anti-gentrification activists. If anyone uses their website as proof of anti-Jewish sentiment among said activists, it's false, lazy logic. And, most importantly: FUCK La Voz de Aztlan and its insane one-man operation, Hector Carreón. Still going to post anonymous death threats against me, pendejo?

Original post, Sept. 2, 8:06 a.m.: This is going to be fun: tomorrow, during downtown SanTana's Art Walk, a group of activists will stage an anti-gentrification protest through "art and action" starting at 5 p.m.

"Our action is inspired by the events and the people in this city, the many communities in Orange County and the entire country as a whole," reads a press release. "The usual suspects will be present but, unlike the usual Artwalk, the uprooted community will have a voice through our culture and our art."

What exactly that's going to entail remains to be seen. Flash mobs? Instant murals? Street preaching? Roving bands of son jarocho musicians?

"Using art for community and not for profit, Santa Ana residents will transform the street into their own cultural space and present their own response to Santa Ana's current gentrification battle," continues the release. "The real loss behind gentrification, this type of economic development and modernization schemes has been lost in the political and media spectacle. What are the real losses when gentrification hits? What vision of Santa Ana and culture is being lost, and who is being uprooted? This action is meant to bring the issue back to what's really at stake."

I'm not sure who's behind this, as the usual suspects of the Centro Cultural de México and the business owners opposed to Downtown, Inc. aren't signatories to the press release, so you're just going to have to go down there and find out. Oh, will the Brave New Urbanists have a snit that their liberal play date will get besmirched by malcontent Mexis! See you there!



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76 comments
dubyadawg
dubyadawg topcommenter

What a waste of time that protest was! Haha! East End baby!

Otribj.
Otribj.

Once again, illegals trying to tell citizens what to do with their own property. Back off!!!!!!! And Ms. Alvarez, put a sock in it.

Damon
Damon

So, if you're an artist who lives in Santa Ana, but you hate gentrification, but you live in the artist's village, but you organize anti-development rallies on Broadway, but then you have everybody grab a coffee at the Gypsy Den afterward...

Well, do you just kill yourself at that point?

Punkndrublic911
Punkndrublic911

I want to protest the "slumification" of Orange.  Holy chit, I had to drive on Hewes from La Veta to Katella yesterday and it is horrible.  Viva la Raza and all that bull shit, but call a pig a pig.  When was TJ welcomed up to Orange?

Chris
Chris

So what I gather is people are upset that the local government and local shops are trying to make improvements on a rather shit hole of a city, because they want the community to look nice, attract business, and generally look much nicer.. and the opposition are citing its some sort of conspiracy to get rid of its heritage and wants to be stuck in the past?Wow. Seriously? You are protesting the wrong fight. If anything you should be protesting why the state you live in is outsourcing our jobs to other countries and business are relocating because California is the worst climate for jobs. You should be protesting the fact that your tax money is now being used to fund the education of people who are here illegally and get a free ride while people like myself who just because they make more than a meager income we get told that we dont qualify for aide. You should be protesting the fact that this state continually wastes its resources and squanders tax payers monies on bloated government projects and overpaid city employees. Lastly you should be protesting why our schools are rank so poorly in the nation and why its teachers are the highest paid in the nation while there is no accountability for their performance.If it were not for businesses like LOLA, MEMPHIS, COPPER DOOR, STEWART SOUND, and THE YOST... I would be spending my hard earned money else where on the things I enjoy. So wake up.. embrace change.. roll with the times.. adapt.. what ever cliche you wanna use, just do it and stop belly aching over such a non issue.

Memo
Memo

The Europeans thought going to Africa and "modernizing" and "civilizing" them would make the continent look better - but it came at a huge price. Gentrification is essentially colonialism with shiny buildings and people who "coincidentally" happen to be white. Yes, gentrifiers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors - but again, "coincidentally". These areas as in L.A. like Venice/Echo Park were victims of enviromental racism and political/economic neglect FROM the government/private sector. All of a sudden since people move who have $ (again "coincidentally") - all of a sudden, businesses, chamber of commerce, gov't want to "revitalize" the area. These businesses, entreprenuers, and politicos aren't dumb - just @ssholes:disqus . They know how to make their schemes very subtle and distract us with "oh look at this nice oh so cute store - doesn't it just make you feel hip and safe?".

I don't blame you for not being sympathetic to people who want to preserve what was the community/area that survived for this long. You've been brainwashed into thinking that anything isn't clean, "universal", and "normal" should be put aside. Hopefully you all see to understand the larger context when it comes to "outsiders" coming in and ruining what was once the very little that you had. I know the solution! Let's not call it "gentrification" - but rather "annexing" it. That sounds much more American history friendly, don't you think?

Ealla Guru
Ealla Guru

I was at the Arts District and I tried, I really did try to watch the performance, but the protesters were so unorganized that it was just boring.

I left having no idea what they were so upset about. I guess that makes it art.

Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse

I'm all for gentrification. It's a good thing for business, people who live here, and for the city. Of course, you'll always have ignorant people like Claudia Alvarez who like the seedy and trashy little shops that don't make any money and don't contribute. Santa Ana is trying to wake up and be a player, but there are those uneducated and short-sighted morons who don't know any better.

WmBlackstone
WmBlackstone

This is what is defined as gentrification: "Urban gentrification occasionally changes the culturally heterogeneous character of a community to a more economically homogeneous community that some describe as having a suburban character."  Yeah, it's called upscaling the neighborhood.  The main thoroughfares of downtown Santa Ana look like Mexican "upscale" slums, so, yes, gentrification is sadly needed.  Instead of meaningless "protests", the businesses and owners need to clean up their acts so it doesn't look "a hole in the wall".  Even if it stays "blue-collar" it can be made to look a lot better.  By the way, gentrification can also be aligned with "gente de razon" (the term used to define the Spanish and Mexican people of old California) - people with reason, people of the race.  Let's not preserve the slum look for the sake of dubious "cultura".

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Did this event accomplish anything?  Your cute little plays are nothing but a curiosity to the passerby.  All you did was provide free entertainment to the organization you hope to defeat.  

junior
junior

The tin roof huts (your "stores") - were there so long because they were being used for storage - they didn't sell jack for many years.

Hey - should whitey now protest the mexification of Santa Ana's Main Place Mall?

junior
junior

"Plaza Santa Ana .. once held a collection of Mexican stores that the city literally bulldozed into the ground .."

That is such a load of horse shit Gustavo.  Those were not "stores" - they were tin roofed huts and they were doing NO business.

liberals are hypocrites
liberals are hypocrites

hey, if the mexicans want to live in a shit hole, its their right... face it, they feel comfortable in their slop, it reminds them of why they are so proud of mexico..lol

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

Why don't they go back to Mexico if they don't like it here?......It makes the protesters look so unimportant!.......Only the Mexicans could think this of kind of thing up!..............

Susie Lemus
Susie Lemus

the only way these new business r going to help santa ana is to hire people from santa ana.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

"Don't make any money"? That's funny, as the businesses on Fourth Street have been SanTana's second-largest sales tax generator for over a decade. Wanna take back your moronic remark?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Where you there to be able to gauge public reaction?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

First you say they sold nothing, now you say they did? What's funny is that you're now turning against the very people you once aligned yourself with—can't wait to tell them!

Stephanie
Stephanie

I thought the store selling cholo-themed clothes in the Main Place Mall - right opposite Macys on the second floor - closed. Didn't get a chance to visit the mall during my recent visit, but I did drive down Civic Center from Fairview into downtown and saw nothing changed, still shitty as ever.

I am not against improving any area, butbin Santa Ana's case, I think it may be putting the cart before the horse. Usually, the demographics of an area change and with that, gentrification moves in to meet the demand. As an example, the need for cheaper rents drove many to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and the cafes and vintage clothes shops followed. The city government here, however, seems to be following the "build it and they will come" mentality, which won't work if people are afraid to do so.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

If they weren't doing business, homophobe, why were they there for so long?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Hey, pendejo: since I'm assuming you're a conservative, here is a classic case of government squashing the little guy--but, of course, Mexicans don't matter, right?

mitch young
mitch young

Isn't that xenophobic, or nativist, or localist, or something?

junior
junior

You and I were talking about the demolished tin roof hut "stores" - not the entire length of 4th St.  Your straw man arguments are really annoying Gustavo - and juvenile.

Stephanie
Stephanie

Gustavo, what's your source for that? Can you give a citation?

dubyadawg
dubyadawg topcommenter

Nope! They did not even know what they were protesting.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

That's a fair point as I was relying on your description of the event.  So I ask again, did they accomplish anything?

junior
junior

That is not what I said.

I like the people you are speaking of, they are wonderful people - just a little carried away in my opinion on this issue  There is room for everyone in Santa Ana.

mitch young
mitch young

In other words, Santa Ana needs more white people. Unfortunately the OC, California, and the whole USA is running out of white people.

dubyadawg
dubyadawg topcommenter

Because the CITY forced the property owners to subsidize their rents by over half. Basically the shit shop owners woke up in the morning, got to their shop, unlocked the door, turned lights on, turned on the ghetto blaster to stupid music, grabbed a stack of fliers and hung out all day doing nothing. That's all. Family would waddle over from Lacy and just talk about stupid shit and then go buy a taco. Late afternoon turn off ghetto blaster, shit off lights, lock door and go home. Sales for the day: $3.45. Duh!

Stargaze
Stargaze

might I remind you...they were EMPTY buildings because all of the young Latinos are shopping elsewhere!

junior
junior

It is a classic case of supply & demand - lack of demand leads to no need for supply.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

Sorry, should be ....TOO.....Spelling is so important.....

junior
junior

that is an arguement?  you ain't got shit ....

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

...says the "man" who calls himself Junior instead of his real name.

dubyadawg
dubyadawg topcommenter

Those shit stores are one by one disappearing! I have the sales numbers to prove that they don't make any money and that their rents were substantially subsadised by the property owners! They can't even afford their rent!

iphanboy
iphanboy

I liked this post, because here we have a 'journalist' bragging at the gratification he receives by spreading lies and disinformation in a publication.Pravda would be proud, comrade.

junior
junior

I am fine with you sharing anything that is truthful with the fine folks at SACReD - you can leave out your fabrications and biased opinions.  Those involved with SACReD did not agree on every issue - that was understood going in. 

Stephanie
Stephanie

Oh, and one other thing - I seem to recall an incident involving a pedophile in the Santora Artists Village back in April of this year, where you said you would "name names" of the perpetrator . . . and never have.  If you did, I would appreciate the link to where that happened.  If you did not, query:  did you fabricate the story or are you hiding the identity of a pedophile?

Stephanie
Stephanie

Yes, I live in Tennessee, but what has that got to do with the fact that a responsible journalist would provide the citation to the facts upon which their argument is based and you cannot?  Gustavo, it's either ad hominem attacks, non sequiturs, or - as you put it - "wild goose chases", to hide the fact that you cannot produce any evidence to back the claims you make.

So, since there is a document that contradicts your statement and none you can produce, logic holds you are wrong.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Wow, your comments keep getting dumber and dumber—shall I share them with SACRED?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Not it! But hey: always hilarious to engage you in a wild goose chase ala my mysterious syllabus! Don't you have a home in Tennessee to make purty?

Stephanie A. Richer
Stephanie A. Richer

I did. I found the City of Santa Ana's General Plan, written in 1998 and "reformatted in January 2010", whatever the hell that means. There is an economic development factor that speaks to sales tax generators but no where are the merchants of Fourth Street mentioned. In fact, they do not break it down geographically, but by industry, and include the statement, "It is interesting to note that the City's top two sales/use tax generators are not engaged in retail sales activities at all." That can be found in the Economic Development section, page 5.

So, the source that you pointed to - "the city - look it up" - contradicts your statement. If you have a different source, perhaps you can provide the citation; otherwise, your statement as to the contribution of the Fourth Street merchants towards sales tax lacks foundation and any indicia of reliability.

junior
junior

Gustavo is citing ancient history - Calle Cuatro used to produce sales tax revenue like that - no mas.

dubyadawg
dubyadawg topcommenter

Nope! They did not even know why they were protesting.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Making onlookers look in dismay and handing out fliers isn't exactly revolution.  You want to get the power brokers' attention, then hit them in the wallet with real acts of civil disobedience.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Empty buildings? Then how on Earth did the downtown contribute so much damn tax revenue to SanTana's coffers?

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