Downtown Santa Ana, Hipster and Paisa Alike, in Uproar Over New, Crappier Parking Policies

Still from Payan video--FTP (Fuck the Parking!)

Finally, something that can bring gentrifiers and Mexicans together in downtown SanTana: the area's jacked-up parking situation.

This year, the SanTana City Council put in those newfangled parking meters that have sensors monitoring when cars come and go, the better to reset lest a car gets a free 15 minutes or so; this fall, those meters saw parking increase from 75 cents an hour to $1.50, plus a maximum of two hours for cars to stay in one parking space from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., then a max of three hours from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.--as opposed to the previous rules of unlimited stays, and free parking after 8 p.m.

The move--which essentially makes the daytime crowd hurry up their lunch or shopping, and generally forces folks to pay in the downtown's parking structure--is enraging restaurant and business owners, which have been meeting with city officials trying to convince them to change the rules. But far more infuriated is the camera-wielding public.

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OC Register's Mexican Mural on Grand Avenue Gets Whitewashed, No One Cares

Gracias, source!
Exelcsior mural: Now just a memory

Orange County has a long, nasty history of whitewashing or destroying Mexican-themed murals, from a 600-foot-long wall that once stood in Fountain Valley to one inside the Plummer Auditorium at Fullerton High School to a wall in Old Town Placentia that was barely in the planning stages by Cal State Fullerton's MEChA chapter before some pendejo called it racist.

Now add to that ignominious list a large piece that graced the wall of the former SanTana offices of the Orange County Register's Spanish-language weekly, Excélsior. That's the mural above; below is the newly gentrified wall.

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Why Mike Harrah is the WORST Owner the OC Register Can Possibly Have

From the gentrification-glorifying Santa Ana: The Heart of Orange County
Harrah: Now, with more forehead sore!

Dear National Media: So most of you are going to be parachuting into Orange County in the next couple of weeks to report on the fiasco that is the Orange County Register's bankruptcy--their second in six years. You will no doubt encounter current Register publisher Rich Mirman, a nice-enough guy who's now apparently gone native and wants to be a newspaper man instead of just someone looking to get their investment back. But another guy you're going to meet is Mirman's takeover partner: Mike Harrah.

Already, you're just referring to him as a "developer" who happened to buy the Register's SanTana offices and land last year--and that's it. Eventually, ustedes will latch on to the man's size, his big beard, and that he likes Harleys, helicopters, and the city of Santa Ana (which everyone who counts calls SanTana). What you probably don't know is what we at the Weekly have covered for almost 20 years: that Harrah is an aggrandizing, thin-skinned multimillionaire far too obsessed with erecting a monument to himself to be trusted with ANYTHING.

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Latest Lame Pro-Gentrification Downtown Santa Ana Video is Lamest One Yet

Photo by The Mexican
Alebrije's: The best thing in SanTana after the Centro Cultural de México...and not in the video #santaanalookslikethis

Every couple of years, a downtown SanTana booster with a very specific vision of what the area should be--by and for hipsters, with all working-class Mexican immigrants and quinceañera shops neatly scrubbed away through the magical process of gentrification--makes a promo video trying to convince the rest of the world that this DTSA is AWESOME. And every couple of years, the end results keeps getting more and more hilarious. Back in 2008, it was a short film about some of the characters in downtown; after I criticized the filmmaker's lack of raza, they promised to rectify the oversight...and nothing. (Oh, and one of the hipsters said disparaging things about my wife--classy!). A couple of years later, there was another video that started with ex-councilmember Carlos Bustamante and went downhill from there. And anyone remember the propaganda for a light-rail system that ruined U2's "Beautiful Day" forever?

Now the latest entry in this curious genre has emerged: Santa Ana: The Heart of Orange County, and you already know where this is headed when they're not only claiming the famously center-less, soulless OC has a heart, but spell it "Santa Ana" instead of SanTana.

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Lawsuit: Santa Ana Policeman's Rough Arrest Breaks Man's Elbow

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Photo by Gabriel San Roman

A federal lawsuit filed against the Santa Ana Police Department alleges an officer used excessive force and injured a man during an arrest earlier this year. Filed by attorney Andrew Weitz, Alex Anguiano's case is the latest charge of police brutality in SanTana to surface.

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Robert Flores, Author of #F*ckCancer, to Sign His Cancer Memoir TOMORROW in Santa Ana

Photo by Art Meza
Flores: Cancer is a CHAVALA

Last month, I wrote about the extraordinary cancer memoir written by a SanTana butcher named Robert Flores, who not only survived fourth-stage cancer but also kicked its ass. Now, Flores is going to give his first reading TOMORROW in downtown SanTana.

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Santa Ana Residents Allege Police Brutality in Neighborhood Under Gang Injunction

Cerda with light brigade anti-gang injunction protest signs in the backdrop
As if the summer sun isn't blazing enough, tensions between residents of SanTana's Townsend Street barrio and police are heating up. New allegations of brutality emerged after the gang unit made an arrest in the neighborhood Tuesday night. Onlookers say cops roughed up Armando Verdin, the man taken into custody, and later, a 17-year-old who got briefly detained before being released. Police deny force was used in either incident. A picture of a cop identified as Tyler Salo went viral after being posted on the 'No to Santa Ana Gang Injunction' Facebook page that fingered him as the main brute.

The conflicting versions come a month after police shot and wounded 24-year-old Armando Antunez in Townsend, a neighborhood that got slapped with a gang injunction last year straining community-police relations.

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Santa Ana's Homeless Say Police Increasing Confiscation of Belongings

Josue Rivas/OC Weekly

Members of the Civic Center Roundtable, a self-organized group of homeless people living in Santa Ana, say police have increased confiscation of the homeless' belongings. They claim that, before, the police used to check their belongings a couple times a week. Now, they are now checking every day. According to Roundtable member Lorenzo Benitez, the police received complaints from county employees about the homeless' belongings and are confiscating those they consider "hazardous materials."

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Notes, Quotes and Observations from KPCC's Town Hall on Gentrification in Santa Ana

Photo by Don Benjamín

I knew that last night's KPCC-FM 89.3's town hall forum on gentrification in SanTana was the ticket in OC when a South County source of mine asked me for tickets. Two weeks ago. Damn, son: weren't you mocking SanTana just a couple of years ago?

How sought-after was a seat for the forum, held at the Discovery Cube as part of AirTalk's 30th anniversary? Host Larry Mantle announced just before the live-on-tape recording that over 400 requests were made for the 150 slots available, which shows how much the issue continues to roil the city. Maybe it should've been held at Eddie West Field?

Anyhoo, the forum was a smash, with six panelists (myself include) talking about a changing SanTana, what's good and bad about the changes, and so much more. Listen to the discussion today on the air at 11 a.m., or find it online (we'll include the link...somewhere here, because we want you to read the rest of the post, you know?). Following--with apologies to the former Orange County Register columnist Randy Youngman--are my notes, quotes, and observations from the event.

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Authorities I.D. Armando Antunez as Man Shot by Police in Townsend Neighborhood

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CopWatch Santa Ana
Santa Ana police in Townsend last year
Update, Aug. 3, 4:00 P.M.: Santa Ana police released new details into an officer-involved shooting that occurred on Townsend street yesterday. "Officers saw several gang members loitering in the alley and attempted to contact them," the advisory update reads. "One of the suspects was armed with a handgun and a short foot pursuit ensued resulting in an officer involved shooting."

The man shot is identified as 24-year-old Armando Antunez, but Weekly readers already knew that. Police say the weapon they found on the scene was a loaded semi-automatic. Antunez was arrested for numerous weapons violations, gang enhancements and violating probation.

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