2010 – 2011 Comlink Board
Unless you’ve been in a coma or under a rock somewhere you are well aware of the fiscal crisis facing our community. Municipalities are being asked to do more with less and tough decisions need to be made as to where budget cuts should take place. According to our acting City Manager, Paul Walters, the City of Santa Ana is even considering outsourcing a number of services, including fire dispatch, the public library and even the Santa Ana Zoo.
Of course the last area we should cut is public safety (even though we do need to make sure our cops and firemen aren’t getting sweetheart deals), but there are areas of the budget that should be cut in order to save during this fiscal crisis. One of those area’s city officials should cut immediately is the funding for neighborhood associations and Comlink.
In the city of Los Angeles where they are facing monumental budget shortfalls, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the city council made huge cuts to the funding of the city’s 89 “neighborhood councils”. In February of 2009, Villaraigosa merged that city’s version of Santa Ana’s Community Development Agency Housing and Neighborhood Development Division, entitled the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, into another city agency. The merger saved an estimated $2 million for Los Angeles.
In Santa Ana, according to figures provided to me by the City Manager’s office, we could save over $716,000 by eliminating the public funding of neighborhood associations. Taxpayers are spending almost $90,ooo alone on postage and printing to promote the neighborhood associations and their umbrella group Comlink. I don’t see how we can justify such expenditures for organizations that represent such a small percentage of our residents.
To make matters worse, Com Link and the Neighborhood Associations don’t even represent the people of Santa Ana. They pretend to but at most they represent less than 1% of our city’s residents.
Check out the partisan registration of the current Com Link Board Members:
- Carl Benninger – Decline to State
- Rene D. Guzman – Unknown
- Evangeline Gawronski – Republican
- David Brandt – Republican
- Jean Poppa – American Independent ( a party that is MORE socially conservative than the GOP)
- Irma Macias – Unknown
- Connie Hamilton – Republican
The 69th Assembly district includes most of Santa Ana and parts of Anaheim, Garden Grove and Orange. It traditionally has been a Democratic seat, but that hasn’t discouraged Republican candidate Robert Hammond from taking another shot at it. Hammond lost in the 2010 general election to the incumbent Solorio, who took 65 percent of the vote.
Robert Hammond, a Santa Ana resident, was at the Yost Theater on Thursday evening, attending a meeting of the city’s Communication Linkage Forum, an umbrella group for neighborhood associations.
That’s right. Republican Assembly candidate Bob Hammond knew where to go to find other Republicans…
I thought Republicans were supposed to be all about privatizing and outsourcing – so why are THESE Republicans continuing to exploit the people of the City of Santa Ana – robbing us to pay for their meetings? And that is not all – the Neighborhood Associations don’t pay for their permits – when they have Wine Walks and Concerts they get their permits for free. Do you think that families who hold events like quinceañeras get such favors? And the Neighborhood Associations also get to use the City’s bandstand for free too.
I am all for outsourcing too – and it is time to outsource and privatize Com Link and the Santa Ana Neighborhood Associations. No other city in Orange County subsidizes their Neighborhood Associations – we are $30 million dollars in debt and yet for some damn reason we are spending almost a million dollars a year on these Republican yahoos – in a city dominated by Democrats and Decline to State voters. That needs to stop now!