Garden Grove city officials today will decide whether one of the last remaining open green spaces in a working-class area will be handed to a for-profit developer for decades, despite an ongoing local court battle over whether city officials actually have the legal authority to do so.
Councilman Juan Villegas, who also works as a special officer at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, is publicly alleging that one the key people behind the controversial 2525 N. Main St. project admitted to him their involvement in a dark money campaign to influence the 2018 Santa Ana city council elections – which involved hiding $320,000 in campaign money through a shell company.
The Frida Cinema culminates their five-year anniversary with a New Year’s Resolution to focus on ensuring longevity and growth, while continuing to provide diverse community-based programming and avenues of engagement.
At tonight’s public hearing, downtown merchants can voice their opinion in favor or against the Downtown Santa Ana Business Improvement District (BID) renewal to councilmembers. The hearing is a part of the annual business license tax assessment of the BID.
Residents of both the Santa Anita neighborhood and Park Santiago neighborhood agree the Council has ignored their opposition to development near their homes — but residents of Santa Anita, a lower-income and predominantly Latino area, say they weren’t listened to as much as residents of Park Santiago, which has more white and higher-income residents.
A much-disputed apartment complex is moving forward in north Santa Ana, after two years of uncertainty and protests by nearby homeowners who say the project is too large for the surrounding neighborhood. The proposed apartments at 2525 N. Main St. – located in the city’s Park Santiago neighborhood – were authorized to proceed by City Council members in a 4-3 vote at their Tuesday meeting, after much downsizing by developer Ryan Ogulnick’s company Vineyards Development Corp. Council members Ceci Iglesias, David Penaloza, Jose Solorio and Vicente Sarmiento voted in support of the project. Council members Juan Villegas, newly-elected Phil Bacerra, and Mayor Miguel Pulido opposed the project.
Much of the frustration centered on plans to put the shelter in a low-income city that long has hosted more shelter beds than any other Orange County city, while wealthier south county cities have refused to open a shelter.
Today’s vote by the City Council will come after more than two years of protests and uncertainty among city officials and residents surrounding the project, which prompted numerous revisions to it by developer Ryan Ogulnick and his team at Vineyards Development Corp.
Santa Ana housing advocates say local landlords are rushing to evict tenants or raising rents to get ahead of a new California rent control law, and calling on the City Council to follow other cities across the state in enacting protections for tenants until the state law takes effect.