Santa Ana's Gentrification Wars Get Solid Write-Up in the New York Times

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We have trashed the New York Times' coverage of Orange County so many times that I can't even remember them--hell, you can start with this piece about OC's food scene, written by Southern California correspondent Jennifer Medina. But Medina is a dogged reporter, and in today's Times pens a solid piece about SanTana's gentrification wars.

Medina interviewed many, many people for the piece, but the people who got the most time were longtime anti-gentrification warriors Sam Romero and Carolina Sarmiento. And the opener, of course, was a quinceañera shop.

The only real criticisms I have of the piece are two. Medina didn't set SanTana in its proper place in the Orange County galaxy, which is to say code word for everything evil (i.e., Mexican) on Earth, and how that affects the grand delusions of the Brave New Urbanists in the area (check out the quote of SanTana councilmember Busty Bustamante, whining yet again that he can't buy a suit on Fourth Street. Oye, vendido: there are more than a few places, if only you'd get out of your brother's Bentley from time to time and actually walk around). She also didn't note how property owner Irv Chase tolerated lowered rents and wabs for decades, and how the only reason he's now found Brave New Urbanist religion is because of people whispering in the ears of him and his son.

And just a stylistic note: the recent rant of a restaurant owner against quinceañera shops should've been included, if only to show how clueless some of the Brave New Urbanists are. Regardless, it's a solid read that'll only bring more attention to everyone involved--win-win! Read it again here.


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