Downtown Property Owners Speak Out at Santa Ana City Council

Santa Ana property owners on both sides of a battle over the downtown assessment district spoke out at the Santa Ana City Council meeting Tuesday.

Those against the district complained once again that they pay a tax that funds services which benefits the trendy restaurants and bars of the downtown Artists Village, but does little for their shops, many located on the mostly Latino Fourth Street.

Bob Stewart, president of Downtown Inc., the organization that is funded by the tax and responsible for sprucing up and promoting the 66-block management district, spoke on behalf of property owners who want the organization to remain.

Stewart focused on the benefits of the organization, including the security services and business workshops. “Downtown is a footprint of Santa Ana and Downtown Inc. is making a difference to retain and attract businesses,” Stewart said.

Nina Jun, owner of a coin laundry in the downtown and spokesperson for the group, said that those who pay the tax are paying for the benefit of the other group of property owners.

“The recipients of the benefits and the parties that pay for them are different,” Jun said.

Jun and other property owners against the tax have complained bitterly that the assessment district was formed in a way that was undemocratic.

They are also possibly gearing up for a lawsuit against the city, and Jun said they have an attorney willing to work pro bono.