Mouet has served in multiple positions with the City of Santa Ana since 1990, serving as executive director of Parks and Recreation since 2004. In that position he oversees a number of city departments including the Santa Ana Zoo and the Santa Ana Library. Continue reading
An inside source at Santa Ana’s City Hall reported tonight that Santa Ana Chief of Police Paul Walters was selected to serve as interim Santa Ana City Manager, at a special session of the City Council. He will continue to serve as Chief of Police while the search for a new City Manager continues.
Walters was one of several candidates for interim city manager, including Parks and Recreation Director Gerardo Mouet.
Walters has done a great job over the years managing an increasingly tight police budget. Some years ago he managed the building of the Santa Ana police headquarters and jail. He has consistently kept the jail full by renting extra space out to the feds.
The City Council was initially split but they rallied at the end and got behind Walters.
There is however concern in some quarters as to whether or not Walters will be able to be objective. The SAPD uses up half of the city’s budget. Will he be able to cut the SAPD’s budget, if he has to?
And what will Walters do with regard to stopping the unjust seizure of immigrants’ cars at the SAPD’s DUI checkpoints?
Three candidates appear to be in the running at this point to become Interim Santa Ana City Manager, including SAPD Chief Paul Walters; Parks and Rec Director Gerardo Mouet; and Jan Perkins, a contractor.
It also appears that one of them will become the first Assistant Santa Ana City Manager.
All of these candidates have something to offer. Mouet has really proven himself as an administrator while slashing his agency budget and still managing to increase service to the public.
Walters did a fine job overseeing the construction of the SAPD headquarters and jail a few years ago. Like Mouet he has become an expert at making do with a smaller budget.
I don’t know Perkins, but as a contractor she can be fired at any time, which might appeal to the Santa Ana City Council.
Mouet appears to have the blessing of recently retired Santa Ana City Manager Dave Ream, who is now a consultant to the City.
If Walters is selected, it will be interesting to see who takes over as the new Chief of the SAPD. His current assistant is Carlos Rojas, who might well become the first Latino SAPD Chief.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2011
CONTACT: Gerardo Mouet, Executive Director, Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Agency, (714) 571-4204, Santa Ana Public Library
SANTA ANA SHOWCASES ICONIC MEXICAN ART
SANTA ANA, CA – On April 23rd, the City of Santa Ana will open its first annual exhibit of the arts of the Mexican states. The State of My Heart/El Estado de Mi Corazon exhibit will showcase the diversity and power of the artistic creativity of the states of Mexico. Thirty two pieces of art – one from each state and the Distrito Federal – will be displayed for the public at the Santa Ana Public Library from April 23rd through May 7th. There will be three additional art pieces to celebrate the Vietnamese, African-American and Cambodian Cultures.
The art ranges in age from pre-Columbian to contemporary, and includes such media as cave paintings, ceramics, sculpture and paintings. Some of the artists are famous, some little known, and some completely unknown, but all of the art is both arresting and representative of the spirit of the state from which it comes. Through the exhibit, visitors can explore the many and varied cultures of Mexico.
The exhibit will also feature a video production of oral history interviews with immigrants from many of the states, describing their lives in their homelands and their experiences in the United States. The run of the exhibition will conclude on May 7th with a special production of a one-act
play written and produced by local youth talent. The play lets the major players in the Mexican revolt against the French speak for themselves, describing the events of May 5th, 1862 that freed Mexico from French rule, as seen through their own eyes.
The Santa Ana Public Library is located at 26 Civic Center Plaza in Santa Ana. The exhibit may be viewed from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday, April 23rd through May 7th. Admission is free.
THE SANTA ANA PUBLIC LIBRARY IS LOCATED AT: 26 CIVIC CENTER PLAZA (corner of Civic Center and Ross)
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and Santa Ana Parks and Rec Director Gerardo Mouet
It is early yet, but I am hearing that several candidates to replace retiring Santa Ana City Manager Dave Ream are emerging from City Hall, including Public Works Director Raul Godinez II and Parks and Recreation Director Gerardo Mouet, as well as Jill Arthur, who has been an assistant to Ream.
Godinez is being pursued by several other cities with City Manager vacancies. He previously worked in Oakland, for then Mayor Jerry Brown. He has also held elective office before.
Mouet has worked hard to provide Parks and Recreation services while constantly having to cut his budget.
Raul Godinez II
Arthur is thought to be favored by Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, but it is unlikely she will garner enough support from the rest of the City Council to get the job.
There is also supposed to be a national search to replace Ream, but I have not verified that.
I am told that Mouet has the support of Ream, but he will need four votes from the City Council in order to replace Ream. I am told that most if not all of them are seeking to appoint a Latino to replace Ream.
The City Council will be served by an interim City Manager, under contract, for the time being.
I forgot to mention that SAPD Police Chief Paul Walters is also apparently in the mix to replace Ream, either on an interim basis or permanently. Walters, like Mouet and Godinez II, is a very capable administrator.
The Santa Ana Soccer and Business Association held its first board meeting on January 11, at the offices of Edgar Seb Vazquez, their President. Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and Councilman Vincent Sarmiento attended the meeting and discussed how the City of Santa Ana might be able to help this new organization. Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Agency director Gerardo Mouet also attended the meeting.
Pulido also disclosed that the City is negotiating to host a number of exhibition games by the Chivas Soccer Club, at Eddie West Field. Talks are also continuing with the Chivas regarding building a new stadium at the site of the Willowick Golf Course.
Vazquez told Pulido and Sarmiento that his organization’s goal is to unite the many soccer leagues in town and to work with local businesses to support each other.
Mauricio Cardenas, the host of a popular T.V. show about soccer, is also involved in this organization. His media savvy will be a considerable asset to the association’s members.
Alex Vega is one of the founders of this organization. He is excited about helping the members to register to vote and he believes that this association’s members could become a political force in Santa Ana. Vega is a longtime supporter of Mayor Pulido.
Vega is also a proponent of “street soccer,” which entails playing soccer in the street, or in a parking lot. The concept comes from Mexico City, where there is a lack of green space and kids have literally taken to the streets to play soccer. In this country such an event would of course include city approval and safety measures, such as closing off certain streets.
Here is the Board of Directors for the Santa Ana Soccer and Business Association:
Edgar Seb Vazquez : President
Jose Antonio Meza: Vice-President
Hector Pineda: Treasure (Financial Chairman)
Art Pedroza, Abel Torres, Mauricio Cardenas (Difusion) Media, Alex Vega
Jennifer Delson, Jesus Rodriguez: Public Relations & Secretary
Humberto Murillo: Special Events
If you would like to contact Mr. Vazquez, click here.
The City of Santa Ana sponsored a mural painting project today at Santiago Park. Over one hundred volunteers showed up – some from surrounding cities, according to Gerardo Mouet, the Director of the Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Agency.
Mouet worked hard on this project, raising money to pay for it and raising more money to feed his army of volunteers. Many of the teens who are part of the Santa Ana Library’s Teen Space were there today from as early as 6:30 a.m., to help set up.
Artist Roberto Del Hoyo was born and raised in Los Angeles. He received his bachelor degree in Studio Art with concentration in painting, from the California State University of Los Angeles. He then earned an MFA in public practice at the OTIS College of Art and Design.
Mouet asked Del Hoyo to come up with a design that reflected the natural surroundings at Santiago Park – and that linked to the theme of the Discovery Science Center, as the mural was painted in a walkway that goes under Main St., connecting the park to the Discovery Science Center.
Del Hoyo did so brilliantly. The mural features the California Wild Rose, which grows in the park. You can also make out the Santa Ana River and an abundance of river rocks – but take a close look. The rocks feature glyphs used by the native Tongva people who once lived in the region and were later dubbed the Gabrielinos, by the Spanish.
The mural also features native Eucalyptus leaves.
As you walk by the mural, from east to west, you will see it morph, just as you emerge from the walkway, to futuristic science themes, hinting at the Discovery Science Center.
Much of the mural is protected by steel bars. The entire painting will be coated with a clear coat that can be easily cleaned if it is tagged. Mouet hopes taggers will respect the mural as it was painted by local youth.
Del Hoyo has also painted a mural at Santa Ana’s El Salvador Park and he is slated to begin a mural at Memorial Park’s Bandstand, in February of this year.
I met with Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido today at noon, and we had a chance to discuss the Artists Village, amongst other topics. In the course of our conversation Mayor Pulido shared his schedule with me and gave me permission to discuss it here. Remember that Mayor Pulido is a part-time Mayor. Here is how he spent this morning:
- 8:30 am: Met with City Staff to discuss the Go Local Project
- 9 am: Met with Roy Alvarado and George Collins to discuss the Harbor Blvd. Corridor
- 9:20 am: Met with Shirley Grindle to discuss the Bike Trail near the Discovery Science Center and Santiago Park
- 10 am: Met with Dennis Lluy, David Leon, Ryan Chase, Gil Marrero, Irv Chase and Councilwoman Michele Martinez to discuss the direction of nightlife in the Downtown, and the dance ordinance
- 10:20 am: Met with Gary Kutscher, Angie Rowe, and Scott Baugh to discuss the O.C. Marathon
- 10:40 am: Met with Ray Estrella and Robert Maniaci to discuss a Veteran housing project
- 11 am: Met with Jody Johansen and Chris Roelle to meet and greet the new FBA President
- 11:20 am: Met with Armando de la Libertad to be introduced to a Santa Ana resident who is a CAD designer who designs skateboard parks
- 11:40 am: Met with Carlos Benitez to discuss projects related to the Federacion de Clubs Guerrenses
- and 12:20 pm – Spoke on the phone with Charmayne Bacon and Ken Brown re Climate Communities and USCM
Many city staffers were involved in these meetings, including Jill Arthur, SAPD Chief Paul Walters, Gerardo Mouet, Mark Lawrence, Jay Trevino and Lt. Mike McCoy.
What a day! And Pulido still has an afternoon full of additional appointments to work through.
We are fortunate to have a Mayor who can spend so much time on city business. Mayor Pulido made it clear that he is available to talk to anyone who wants to meet with him with regard to city business. If you want to meet with him contact Becky Magallon, at City Hall, at BMagallon@santa-ana.org. She is an Executive Assistant to City Manager Dave Ream.
California’s voters created a fund, in 2006, to support water-quality improvements, conservation, pollution-control efforts and parks, according to the O.C. Register.
Yesterday the first grant recipients were announced – and Santa Ana struck gold.
The city of Santa Ana won $4.4 million to replace the grass fields at Willard Intermediate School with tougher synthetic turf and a rubberized track. The project also includes a playground, outdoor exercise equipment and restrooms.
Latino Health Access received more than $3.5 million for a second park project in Santa Ana. It plans to build a community center, playground, open space and half basketball court on an empty lot near downtown, located at 602 E. 4th St.
Kudos to Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Director Gerardo Mouet and to Assemblyman Jose Solorio, State Senator Lou Correa, and Mayor Miguel Pulido and our City Council for making this happen!
The director of the Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Agency, Gerardo Mouet, wants to use half of the current Santa Ana Lawn Bowling Center to make money by renting the area for weddings and the like. His department is broke and is trying desperately to come up with ways to increase funding.
I can understand that sentiment, but I think it is an awful idea. This is a unique, large space and we really need to think long and hard about how we can use it to most benefit our residents.
Lawn bowling clearly is a terrible use for this space. I recently spoke to a former Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Commissioner who informed me that at most perhaps two out of the 17 or so lawn bowlers who use the facility actually live here in Santa Ana. Most of them live in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Tustin and Fountain Valley.
Currently, the lawn bowling fields are locked up and unused a majority of the time. I am also told that the lawn bowlers have been trying to kill all the ground squirrels in the area. Not good.
It is past time to say adios to the lawn bowlers. If we are to locate the proposed City dog park at the current SAPD police dog training facility, I think we ought to think about using the lawn bowling area for a skate park on one side and a bmx field on the other side.
Paving over the grass would save our city a lot of water, and would reduce the amount of chemicals that are currently being used in that area.
Where would the money come from? I am told that a skate park designer lives over at the City Place, and he is willing to help us with this project. I believe this would be an ideal project to submit for federal CDBG grants – and we could also partner with existing non-profits.
Santa Ana is the youngest city in Orange County. Isn’t it time to do something great for our young people?
Now I am not naive. I expect push-back. Mouet lives in the Park Santiago Neighborhood. And he has expressed in the past that nothing will happen without consulting the Park Santiago Neighborhood Association. But why is that? They are not elected at large. They represent 1% of our neighborhood and their Board is not diverse.
Santiago Park is not just a neighborhood park. It is a huge park with a lot of distinct features and its is used by residents from all over our city. Mouet should consult with more than just a few busy bodies before making decisions about how this park is used.
The City of Santa Ana has changed their Santa Ana Zoo free day, after much pleading, to the third Sunday of the month. This month they will honor the previous free day, which is coming up this Tuesday, but will also offer a free day on Sunday, July 18. These free days are for residents of Santa Ana.
This is great news for Santa Ana’s working families. I have pointed out for some time the fact that holding the free day on a Tuesday, when the Zoo closes at 5 pm, was a poor policy as it prevented many families in town from enjoying this benefit. Now they will be able to visit on a Sunday, when many residents have the day off, instead.
I would like to thank Santa Ana’s Parks and Recreation Agency Director Gerardo Mouet for making this happen. Credit should also be extend to our city administration and to our City Council. And I would be remiss if I did not mention Kent Yamaguchi, the Zoo Director, who has worked with Mouet to implement this much-needed change.
Mouet has had a heck of a time the past two years trying to slash his budget while still improving services. I think he has succeeded for the most part.
I am hearing rumors that the City of Santa Ana might move to set up the Zoo as a private enterprise, via a foundation. The Zoo is already effectively run by a non-profit, the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo. Most likely they would continue to operate the Zoo, acting as a managing foundation.
The Friends of the Zoo do a fine job. I am concerned about their lack of diversity, but they do put together a lot of programs that reach out to our diverse communities. Long term I hope that they do move to add more ethnic minorities to their board of directors. Currently they have only one Latino on their board and maybe one Asian. All of their executive officers are white males, except for woman.
The Santa Ana Zoo now features “Tierra de las Pampas”
Santa Ana residents can visit the Santa Ana Zoo free this Tuesday, July 13.
I do have good news to report. The City of Santa Ana has finally changed their free day policy at the Santa Ana Zoo! I will be reporting on that in a separate post. They will be honoring this free day, on July 13, but will also provide a separate free day on Sunday, July 18.
Please be sure to thank Gerardo Mouet, the Director of the Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Agency, for leading the charge to change the free day to a Sunday, by clicking here.
If cost is the issue, the City of Santa Ana could turn the little-used Lawn Bowling Center into a dog park for less than $10K
I was invited to attend tonight’s Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, by the Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Agency’s director, Gerardo Mouet. His staff unveiled their dog park feasibility study tonight, to the Commissioners. The results were a mixed bag.
Mind you that the proposal tonight was merely to study the idea of a dog park – not to actually commit to building one. Nevertheless, at least two of the Commissioners already had their minds made up to oppose the feasibility study.
Commissioner Julie Stroud was the first one to attack the idea. She said it was too expensive – even though my own research found that the City of Costa Mesa dog park is in the black, to the tune of $24,000, and it is run by a non-profit board. Stroud cited the $258,000 spent by the City of Mission Viejo on their dog park. That information was sent to the Commissioners by part-time Santa Ana resident and government worker Thomas Gordon, who announced this week that he is running for Ward 6 on the Santa Ana City Council. Click here to read Gordon’s email message to the Parks and Rec Agency.
Gordon and Stroud failed to note that the City of Mission Viejo is known for wasting tax money in ridiculous fashion. They also spent $300,000 on a Rose Parade float! Their last Mayor, Lance MacLean, was in fact recalled this year, in part because of his wastesful ways. Red County, the blog Gordon writes for, supported MacLean. Continue reading
My dog Sparky wants to know if we are getting a dog park in Santa Ana
The Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Agency will be presenting a proposal to conduct a dog park feasibility study at the Santa Ana Parks and Recreation Commission meeting this Wednesday, March 24, at 5:30 pm, at the Santa Ana Senior Center, located at 424 W. Third St.
Click here to read the agenda for the meeting. The dog park feasibility memo is included after the agenda.
The study will include: Potential Sites; Operation Options/Models; a Communications Plan; Potential Costs; and a Timeline.
What is attractive about the dog park concept is that it does not cost much to establish one. And other dog parks in Orange County have been able to raise all of their operating costs from local businesses and dog advocates. Dog Parks also offer folks somewhere to go with their dogs – and we have over 11,000 licensed dogs in town. And our surrounding cities all have very successful dog parks.
Some of the sites that the study is exploring include Santiago Park; Centennial Park; Thornton Park; Heritage Park and Delhi Park.
Santa Ana’s Park and Recreation Commissioners include: Continue reading
Make no mistake about it – the City of Santa Ana is flat broke. “City departments from police to parks have once again begun searching their budgets for places to cut as the city stares down a shortfall of as much as $25 million,” according to the O.C. Register.
With that in mind, I met today with Gerardo Mouet, the Director of Santa Ana’s Parks, Recreation and Community Servces Agency, which includes the Santa Ana Zoo and the Santa Ana Public Library. We met to discuss my proposal for a dog park at Santiago Park, but ended up talking about a wide range of issues.
First the good news. Mouet is a very creative administrator, with many years of experience at City Hall. He even served as a deputy to City Manager Dave Ream. So Mouet is not without resources and he has done a lot to improve service to our residents even as he as slashed his agency’s budget to the bone.
Now the bad news. Mouet’s department is down to 77 full time employees. In the year 2004, his department had 142 full time employees! What this means is that his department spends $49 per capita, while cities of comparable size, such as Oakland, spend anywhere from $68 to $102 per capita. And Oakland still employs 204 full time workers in their parks and recreation department. Continue reading