Google+
Facebook Twitter Gplus E-mail RSS
Home Arts and Culture Councilman Benavides should not be honored by Santa Ana’s artists
Rigo Rodriguez for the SAUSD School BoardMirna Velasquez banner

Thomas the Tank Engine at the Discovery Cube


formats

Councilman Benavides should not be honored by Santa Ana’s artists

Aguinaga bannerMike Dalati AdYes on CC Banner ad

Mike Gonzalez Banner


Roman Reyna and David Benavides

Santa Ana Councilman David Benavides (seen above getting a piggyback ride from Councilman Roman Reyna) is going to be honored by the United Artists of Santa Ana this Saturday, July 6, 2013.  It is hard to believe given that just a year ago Benavides was involved in trying to sell the historic Santora Arts building to his church, Newsong, which is based in Irvine.

Just how involved was Benavides in what turned out to be a complete fiasco?  Here are a few excerpts from local media – note the negative comments from the artists themselves:

  • Santa Ana Councilman David Benavides said he first joined Newsong about 10 years ago and recently reconnected with it as it became more engaged in Santa Ana.  “They’ve been looking to potentially acquire a property in Santa Ana for a while,” he said. For a vote April 8 by the congregation on the purchase, Benavides appeared in a video for the congregation in which he discussed the role of the Santora and the Artists Village in the city. He wasn’t present for the vote. (O.C. Register).
  • A group of artists concerned about the sale of downtown Santa Ana’s Santora building to Newsong Church say City Councilman David Benavides’ attendance at the church’s services should preclude him from serving on an ad hoc committee examining the sale. (Voice of OC)

  • Some artists suspect that Benavides, who is a real estate agent, has a financial interest in the sale. They question whether Benavides is representing the artists’, the city’s or the church’s interests on the committee. He appeared in a video about the building and the city made for the Newsong congregation. (Voice of OC)
  • “Just as Councilman [Vincent] Sarmiento and the mayor have recused themselves on the PBID [Property Business Improvement District], we were asking that maybe David could recuse himself,” said artist Alicia Rojas, a founder of United Artists of Santa Ana, whose concern lately has been the Santora sale. (Voice of OC)

Since the Santora sale to Newsong was called off, I have introduced Newsong’s minister, Dave Gibbons, to my pastor at Santa Ana’s historic First Baptist Church and our congregation will be voting on a merger this month.  Now that is a solution we can all get behind!  But what Benavides tried to do was a bit of a stretch, to say the least.  To honor him now is just ridiculous.  Consider that Benavides ran for Mayor last year against Mayor Miguel Pulido – the one Council Member who actually has worked hard to support the arts in Santa Ana.  Thankfully Benavides lost and lost badly.

I asked the United Artists of Santa Ana about this award, on Facebook.  Here is their reply:

Yup. But every year we want to encourage folks to do the right thing. D’s been working hard to make up for last year & we see that. Next year we hope our City leaders really stand behind the Arts so we have mas choices. Our Mayor has certainly set a great example to follow!#Our1stYearHonoree #ElectricalBoxPaintings #ProArte.

So what has Benavides been doing to make up for last year?  Our sources tell us that he spends a lot of time in Downtown Santa Ana’s bars and he appears to be working out with Marc Payan in the mornings.  What the heck does any of that have to do with the arts?

Omar Ávalos Gallegos, over at the Santa Ana Sentinel, summed up the Santora mess with an op-ed that really nailed the issues.  Here are a few excerpts:

The Santora issue has everything to do with whatever artists are left trying to protect their interests and prolong their stay in there. A wise move, in my opinion, is for Santora artists to start looking at other areas of the downtown to do art. Frankly, other areas of the downtown need art. Look at other artists that have moved out of the Santora and have regrouped and re-sprouted in other parts of the downtown.

Again, where are the voices of the other more-professionalized and better-organized arts entities on this matter? Would they agree that the Gypsy Den is going to take a financial hit because some artists are no longer in the Santora? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Don’t flatter yourselves. Someone has to break it to you but some of you artists ARE NOT the reason people come to Santa Ana. People overshoot the Santora galleries to go to the Gypsy Den or Lola’s all the time.

I suggested that the United Artists of Santa Ana consider widening their award to include all elected and appointed officials in Santa Ana.  Here is their response:

Spot on! We want to expand the award in years to come to include more peeps, City staff, school board & even posthumous honorees. 

Santa Ana could really blossom economically if it just got its Art Biz right: establishing a community-based Arts & Creative Development dept to restore our famous murals, program ArtWalk, develop Tourism strategies, mas live/work housing, mas public Art, etc & a Film Commission that can funnel filmming permit fees ($400-$600 per prod plus street closures & police security costs) into SA’s parks, cultural tourism & arts education. 

Our future as a City would b muy bright if we meaningfully & strategically embrace the Arts!

Benavides doesn’t deserve any awards and giving him one on behalf of the arts is misguided and ridiculous.  What has he done this year?  He joined the Council Majority in firing a great City Manager, Paul Walters, and replacing him with a temp City Manager who has cost us $22K a month.  What else has Benavides accomplished this year?  How is he even making a living?  I am told he has no real estate listings but he is supposed to be a realtor.  According to his published City Calendar he shows up at a few arts events.  Yawn.  That alone doesn’t merit an award.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
12 Comments  comments 

12 Responses

  1. Where's Dad?

    You know he wasn’t going to get Husband/Father of the year!

  2. Guadalupe

    Yep, he is a creepy dude……He loiters around the downtown area on weekends nights alone…..Very suspicious guy.

  3. Mateo

    There goes Omar creating false Arguments again. Suggesting that people judge Santora galleries by Gypsy Den attendance and Gypsy Den by Santora Arts Organization competence. What?
    It is a Village Omar. An “Artist Village!” People go to the village and enjoy the atmosphere there whether or not they even know what the Santora building is or whether or not they like or do not like the Gypsy Den food anymore.
    Creative Options for the Village!
    Not fabricated competition and exploitation of the political dissonance.
    But then again The Dissonance creates a nice backdrop for more aesthetic creative order. HA!

    • Way to equivocate, or maybe you just plain misinterpreted.

      “People go to the village and enjoy the atmosphere there whether or not they even know what the Santora building is or whether or not they like or do not like the Gypsy Den food anymore.” Exactly. You just made my point. Read it back aloud a few times and let it sink in…

      And what of the Santora artists? What? There’s less and less of them now? For every former painter there’s a law office or other type of business?

      You mean, independent artists aren’t immune to gentrification?

      What? Artists were used to “beautify” and “improve” the area, and push real estate rates up??

      And you’re one of the longest lasting, unknowingly or willfully contributing to the continued “improvement” of the Santora until your lease is pulled along with the rug from under you.

      What’s that? You won’t have that problem because you come from money? Speaking of false arguments, we have one who poses as some type of struggler when he is closer to the 1% than most other real Santa Ana artists.

  4. Mateo

    Maybe he hangs Solo because the Chicas take up too much space and eat holes in the wallet. Kick em too the curb David.

  5. The Santora issue has everything to do with whatever artists are left trying to protect their interests and prolong their stay in there. A wise move, in my opinion, is for Santora artists to start looking at other areas of the downtown to do art. Frankly, other areas of the downtown need art. Look at other artists that have moved out of the Santora and have regrouped and re-sprouted in other parts of the downtown.

  6. carpetbagger

    It’s not like the United Artists Of Santa Ana is the League Of Women Voters. I don’t think this amounts to much other than a weak political candidate trying to list accomplishments.

    There are many questions surrounding his Kidsworks accomplishments, and the tight knit relationship between that organization and Michele’s “OC Healthcare Alliance” and one has to wonder are all these “commissions and boards and awards just away for them to avoid admitting they have done little to move the city forward.

    One funny note, if you look at the Newsong, news releases, predating PDB’s failed mayoral run, you’ll see it littered with BUZZ WORDS like “Vibrant”, A term repeatedly used by Benavides. It’s like they are one trick ponies.

    And what’s up with the whole Jack LaLanne thing or PayanX ? another reformed wh0re from Irvine, posting about Santa Ana’s “Vibrance”.

  7. Mateo

    Omar, If you speculate about other people’s finances, that does not mean that you are going to come any closer to a truth.
    And suggesting that I would be responsible for Artists loosing their acceptance and favor with the landlord makes about as much sense as me holding you responsible for killing all the California Dolphins because you made the choice to publicize the plight of the Dolphins and protect the Dolphins and threaten the Dolphin killing industry in the process. Christ.

  8. Arty Arterson

    The Artists ARE looking in other parts of downtown and are fully aware that ALL Santa Ana needs Creative opportunities. That doesn’t alter the fact that the Santora Arts Building has been a cultural hub for our region for 85 years and should be celebrated.

    Many local Artists (most don’t reside at the Santora) are committed to Preserving the Arts in our City’s historic core and are working to build a viable Arts Infrastructure so that all SA residents can reap the benefits of successful Tourism, Filmmaking & Creative Industry revenues.

    Santa Ana is a Pauper sitting on a throne of GOLD.

    If we tapped into our region’s Creative Economy, our City government would receive hundreds of thousands of dollars (via Film Permit fees, higher Retail Tax Revenues, more Hotel Taxes, attracting Cultural Investors) that could be channeled to enhancing our Parks & Bike Paths, building more Live/Work studios, Civic Design Projects, Public Art & supporting Arts Education for our Youth & Elders.

    The Arts mean Business!

    For more information on the economic impact of the Arts, visit:

    http://www.artsusa.org/information_services/research/services/economic_impact/default.asp

    http://www.cac.ca.gov/artsinfo/economicimpact.php

    • So far the main use of the arts has been to sell liquor and overpriced food.

      • Arty Arterson

        Dearest Editor, That’s precisely what Santa Ana’s Professional Artists want to counter-balance. We are all tired of non-arts businesses reaping ALL the rewards of our labor. The Artists need some love & support if we are to keep laying those golden eggs. ;)

        It’s time for Arts Equity (a non-exploitative relationship with Artists) in Santa Ana and real leadership in managing our City’s Art Assets.

        Our entire community would benefit greatly from cultivating our Creative Economy! #SupportTheArts #TheArtsAreABusiness #CulturalTourism #WhenBusinessesFlourishCommunitiesThrive

cropped-screen-shot-2014-08-14-at-3-19-20-pmVote No on Measure E Banner
%d bloggers like this: