The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) proceeded with their DUI checkpoint tonight, at Rosita Park, over by Newhope and Hazard. I visited the checkpoint at about 9:30 pm. There were about ten cops there and a lot of vehicles and equipment.
I brought my camera and took pictures and shot some video. As I approached the mobile blood testing unit, one of the cops actually started taking pictures of me! I could not believe it. I showed my press pass to the guy in charge, who introduced himself. I told him that I am meeting with SAPD Chief Paul Walters next Tuesday, which is true, and that I had advised him that I might be visting the checkpoint tonight.
One of the cops, who sported a greasy pompadour, kept mad-dogging me the entire time. He did not even try to hide his anger that I was there. They all appeared to be white guys.
The fellow I spoke to said that they had only impounded one car, after starting the checkpoint at 7:30 pm. Santa Ana City Manager Dave Ream isn’t going to like that! Cities make a lot of money impounding cars driven by immigrants, but our efforts likely blew it for Ream tonight.
I notified State Senator Lou Correa, Assemblyman Jose Solorio and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez about the checkpoint, yesterday, and asked them to intervene. The checkpoint was funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety. I asked Solorio and Correa to look into removing this funding. Solorio spoke to Walters today.
Correa called me and said that his colleague, Gil Cedillo, is working on a billl that will prevent police departments from impounding cars driven by immigrants.
I had complained to city officials about doing this checkpoint in a residential area instead of by the bars in town. I was right. It was quite slow tonight and the cops basically blew our tax money for nothing. They had only caught one driver who they suspected was drunk.
Correa may have helped as he notified the Spanish language media about the checkpoint.
Sanchez, on the other hand, did nothing. Her representative, Paula Negrete, emailed me to say that it was not a federal matter. Well, the Census sure is. In fact I emailed several Census officials and they were not happy at all about the checkpoint. The City of Santa Ana is supposed to be a Census partner. Well, they blew that tonight.
I also spoke today with Amin David and Benny Diaz, of LULAC. Both were quite upset to hear about the checkpoint. They assured me they would tell their members about this outrage.
What is the point of having an all-Latino City Council if they aren’t going to stand up against these efforts to hurt immigrants in our midst?
If you would like to communicate your feelings about this to the SAPD, click here. Click here to contact the all-Latino Santa Ana City Council. You can contact City Manager Dave Ream’s assistant, Mark Lawrence, at MLawrence@santa-ana.org.