Former OC Democratic Party Chair Accused Of Peddling Influence in Santa Ana Pot Lottery For Mayor Miguel Pulido

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Luke McGarry
An Incident on Shakedown Street?
Two employees of a Santa Ana medical marijuana collective tell the Weekly that Frank Barbaro, the former chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County and longtime lawyer for Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, offered to help the dispensary secure a winning slot in the city's Feb. 5 2015 lottery--if they "worked" through him.

The employees, both a manager and a budtender for the Aloha Community Collective Association, claim that Barbaro became a member of the collective sometime last year and frequently visited the dispensary to purchase marijuana and edibles. Furthermore, they claim that on repeated occasions, Barbaro, who identified himself as Mayor Pulido's personal attorney, told them that he was the "person we needed to work with" if they wanted to "secure a spot" in the city's upcoming lottery.


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Federal Lawsuit: Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido Aided Pot Clubs In Return For Cash

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Chris Victorio
Mayor Pulido (on right) and SanTana City Council friends

According to a federal lawsuit filed today, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido conspired to derail a grassroots marijuana initiative in the city while soliciting cash from existing pot clubs who the Mayor allegedly promised winning slots in a Feb. 5 city-sponsored marijuana dispensary lottery. The lawsuit claims the payments were used to pay for gathering public support for the city's favored pot initiative.


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Santa Ana Police Horses Keep Pooping in Downtown--And Police Don't Clean Up

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Photo by The Mexican
#DTSA

Ever since the tragic death of Kim Pham last year, police on horseback have been a common site nearly every weekend in downtown SanTana. And ever since SanTana PD have mounted horses to patrol all the drunk hipsters stumbling around, another police presence has left its mark on the ever-gentrifying downtown: horse shit. Pies of it. Plops. Streaks. Watery.

And most of it, more often than not, left on the ground, to be cleaned up by anyone other than SanTana police.


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Hey, Santa Ana, Ready for a Needle Exchange Spot in the French Court Neighborhood?

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Will Santa Ana soon get a needle exchange location? No, silly, an official needle exchange location, which is right now proposed for the French Court Neighborhood.

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Gustavo's Latest KCRW "OC Line": On the Proposed Santa Ana Wellness Corridor

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OC Weekly archives
Conceptual gentrification from back in 2009, I believe...WHICH CAME TRUE

A decade ago, I wrote an article called "Embrace the Mexican," in which I argued that SanTana, instead of running scared from its Latino super-reality, should double down and make it a wab destination. No one listens to me, though, so the City Council and activists ignored my proposal as the downtown became gentrified as fuck.

Flash forward to this year and last, and a coalition of groups has figured out that the silver bullet for gentrificiation is...making downtown SanTana more Mexican under the guise of a Wellness District. I swear, cabrones, you can't make this stuff up! Anyhoo, the proposed Wellness District is what I talked about this past Monday on my weekly KCRW "Orange County Line" commentary.


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Why Are Santa Ana's Gentrifiers So Afraid of 4th Street's Quinceañera Shops? UPDATE

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Wikimedia Commons
Not as scary for gentrifiers because the dress doesn't have that many ruffles...

UPDATE, 3:11 P.M.: Talked to Quinn, and he said he "respects" all the businesses in downtown SanTana, old-school and New Wave and quinceañera shops included. Regarding his quote, Quinn said he was talking theoretically about why some businesses might thrive in the area while others close, and used quinceañera shops as a general example; he never meant to single them out. Good conversation between us, and we're going to meet in-person next week so I can interview him about his feelings on what's happening downtown because that's what journalism and being a good neighbor is about, right? Stay tuned...


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Logan Crow Is the Frida Cinema's Screener

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Photo by John Gilhooley
Roll it!

Logan Crow's world revolves around cinema. "Film and music were my first sexuality," the Frida Cinema director says. "I noticed those things way before I noticed my first boy or girl."

Crow wears many hats to run the daily operations of his beloved Santa Ana indie theater: programmer, projectionist, custodian, box-office clerk, promoter, poster designer, social-media correspondent, among others. You could say he'd do anything to provide like-minded movie aficionados a communal screening space. "I love the idea of inviting people over and showing them a film," he says. "I've been doing it all my life at home."


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The Incredible Story of Suavecito Pomade's Señores J-Bird and Pete and Tony Adame

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Photos by John Gilhooley
Get it, hombres!

"No, no, no, no, man!" yells Tony Adame of Suavecito Pomade, barely containing his laughter. "Don't use that shot--ha, ha!"

Adame, his brother Pete, and their business partner J-Bird stand along with about six of their friends in an abandoned parking lot near the 5 freeway in Santa Ana, the city's iconic water tower looming in the distance. Everyone is howling as the photo shoot dissolves into camp. Not that the three are ever fancy paisas: For the past three hours, the Adame brothers and J-Bird have faithfully re-created the infamous Tijuana tourist trap you see above, complete with sombreros, ponchos, a custom-built stand they slapped together in minutes, and a pair of miniature donkeys named Jorge and Angelina Jolie they rented from a ranch in Malibu just for the shoot.


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Santa Ana's Checkpoint Chingonas: Theresa Dang and Maria Zacarias

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Photo by John Gilhooley
Dang (left) and Zacarias: Their food is BOMB...

As good friends, Theresa Dang and Maria Zacarias share many things: biking, cooking, a love of activism, loud laughs, and a night in jail that just might get them a chance to battle the Santa Ana Police Department's controversial checkpoint program in court.

On Dec. 5, 2014, the pair helped CopWatch Santa Ana monitor a DUI checkpoint and offered rides to unlicensed immigrants to avoid car impoundment. Santa Ana's finest paid the two in kind with cuffs, hauling off Zacarias for obstruction and Dang for public drunkenness--never mind that Dang wasn't given a sobriety test in the field nor in jail, or that the mild-mannered Zacarias did nothing to provoke the blue.


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Carolyn Torres is Helping Chicanos Unidos Fight Gang Injunctions in Santa Ana

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Photo by John Gilhooley
Torres: Back where she belongs

Whether in the classroom or the courtroom, Carolyn Torres sees her younger self in the causes she fights for. She teaches 10th and 11th graders in Watts during the day, but OC knows her best as an activist with Chicanos Unidos, a grassroots group waging a prominent battle against the Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) over the Townsend Street gang injunction in Santa Ana.

The city has a special place in her heart. Poverty forced Torres to constantly move around OC and the Inland Empire, but Santa Ana is the only place that feels like home. "My deepest roots are here," she says. "My grandmother came to Santa Ana in the late 1920s from San Juan Capistrano when she was 4."


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