There are big changes planned for the City of Santa Ana. City officials recently debuted their plans for the “Transit Zone” which was formerly called the Renaissance Plan area.
“The new development rules at the heart of the city’s proposal would clear the way for more than 4,000 new homes and some 387,000 new square feet of shops and eateries. It would create a new high-rise district near the train station, with towers as tall as 25 stories,” according to the O.C. Register.
Guy Ball, a Santa Ana historian, commented about this plan thusly, on the Register’s website:
“This is the same sort of development plan that pummeled Santa Ana in the 1970s to 1990s. For those who forgot – the City encouraged high density housing, no parks or green space (other than the “balconies” which were counted as “open space”), big complexes built right next to single-story housing which destroyed neighborhoods, not enough parking for the extra people who moved into the one and two bedroom apts, and years and years of spending additional millions of tax-payer dollars to try to repair what the city destroyed. Not to mention the slums, the added crime, and the downward spiral as middle class families moved anywhere BUT Santa Ana.
Just because the Mayor, some council members, and their developer buddies wants Santa Ana to look like Los Angeles, doesn’t mean it’s right.”
The OC Weekly recently revealed that Pulido and his father had an interest in a food truck business that went sideways. What came out of that story was that a businessman claimed to have paid Pulido for helping with that project as a consultant.
One has to wonder if Pulido plans to be a consultant on the Transit Zone development.
In fact, look no further than the City of Santa Ana’s website. There, on the right sidebar, you will find this plug, “Businesses Going Green. Do you own a green business? Mayor Miguel Pulido wants to hear about your environmentally friendly business practices. Email the Mayor at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The only problem with this is that Pulido is known to do consulting with green businesses. So is he now using the City’s website to get more business?
Pulido’s father actually had an ownership interest in the ill-fated food truck business – and according to court testimony he used to pick up money from the business and deposit it in the bank.
Will Pulido Sr. be the bag man again in the Transit Zone?
I discussed this further with Ball and he had this to say, via email:
The city’s grand miscalculation in the 1970s and 1980s was to build the new high-density housing in the city to encourage young professionals to stay in the city as the townsites of Irvine and south county were growing. The problem was that this group of home buyers and renters liked the suburbia of the south. The people who moved in were the immigrants and lower-income families who saw this as an opportunity for a clean home and a better life.
Unfortunately that often meant over-crowding conditions, lack of sufficient parking, not enough schools, and virtually no open space for the families. (The city never planned on families moving into these high-density locations.)
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, individuals and neighborhoods had had enough. We organized and fought back to change the city’s destructive path and won some partial victories – though most of us now say it was too late.
Our neighborhoods were pummeled and many were never able to recover properly. Many of the middle class had moved out – leaving only the diehards to keep their fingers in the dike like the boy in Holland fighting against the flood. And the city was forced to spend millions of tax dollars on special programs to undo what they did – money that could have been used to improve the city and not just band-aid problems.
And today, since the Mayor, council, and developers have gotten so strong that there is little opposition of strength, they will again push their agendas until Santa Ana is another overcrowded urban area with no soul. And those who still remain will wonder why they did.
This could be the last opportunity for any sort of dissent – if the City will even listen. People need to write or call and let the city know that they don’t want a repeat of the past. If this juggernaut can’t be stopped, then they need to include proper city planning that means including parks, schools, and enough parking to accommodate the new residents – not just sweetheart deals for preferred developers that maximize profits at the expense of the living conditions for those who live there.
And that is not the only problem. Santa Ana already has the highest water rates in Orange County. This development plan won’t help. Click here to see what the City planners had to say about the City’s water supply. People in Irvine pay less for their water than we do! How much worse can this get?