Santa Ana Council Committee Says No to Minors at Yost Theater

The Santa Ana City Council Public Safety Committee voted unanimously against a proposal on behalf of the new operators of the Yost Theater to allow unattended minors inside establishments that serve alcohol, the Orange County Register reported Thursday.

Some residents and merchants — and even state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) — have expressed concern that having minors at the Yost would exacerbate a number of teen delinquency problems, including alcoholism, drugs and gang activity.

As Voice of OC recently reported, the planned reopening of the Yost this summer has become another flashpoint in the city’s battle between those who want to see Fourth Street appeal to a younger crowd and longtime merchants and residents who want to keep the street a family-oriented, Latino shopping corridor.

The public safety committee includes council members David Benavides, Claudia Alvarez, and Sal Tinajero. Alvarez led the attack against the proposal and criticized the theater’s new operator, Dennis Lluly, for his past operation of a teen space called Koo’s Cafe, according to the Register.

“I’ve heard horror stories” about Koo’s, Alvarez told the Register. “It was a nightmare.”

Benavides previously indicated support for the dance ordinance amendment, saying he wanted to see the downtown become a popular destination for Orange County and beyond. Ultimately, however, he voted against it.

The proposal will go next before the full City Council.