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

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

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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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

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

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

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

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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Welcome to Santa Ana, the Animal Hoarder Capital of Orange County

Photo by flickr user hehaden
It's like they're coming out of the walls.
With nearly two dozen cats--many infested with fleas and all living in deplorable conditions--being seized at a Santa Ana home Tuesday, the question must be asked: How did the city that is the county seat also become Orange County's capitol of animal hoarding?

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Long Beach and Santa Ana Among Worst-Run Cities in Bang-for-Your-Buck Rankings

Photo by Riley Kern/OC Weekly
A weekend stroll through ol' No. 57.
Rankings of America's 65 most-populated cities by how well they are run show Long Beach and Santa Ana near the bottom, at 64th and 57th respectively.

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Santa Ana Police Arrest Longtime Checkpoint Activists...at Checkpoint

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Santa Ana police arrested two activists late Friday night near a DUI/license checkpoint on West First Street for reasons that were spurious at best, illegal at worst. Theresa Dang and Maria Zacarias, both members of the OC May Day Coalition that helped changed Santa Ana police checkpoint policy in 2011, spent the night in jail--Zacarias for obstructing traffic, Dang for supposedly arriving to the checkpoint borracha herself.

The two were present during last night's Santa Ana Public Safety and Neighborhood Improvement meeting. Neither spoke out as they are lawyering up and have been advised to keep quiet (No fun!), but supporters demanded no charges be filed against them.

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