The City of Santa Ana spent hundreds of thousands starting up the Artists Village. Then they made tattoo shops, hookah bars and massage parlors illegal in the Downtown area. Now they have forced a gay bar that is opening up soon, called the Velvet Lounge, to go without male go-go dancers, according to the O.C. Register.
I don’t get it. If you are going to have an Artists Village shouldn’t you leave the prudishness at the door?
The argument I get from City Council loyalists is that Santa Ana is a family city, which is true to a certain extent but most families don’t venture into the Downtown area after dark. So why not let our hair down?
We have an all-Democratic City Council, with the exception of one Republican, Carlos Bustamante. So you would think this would be a more open-minded Council, but they are inconsistent. They supported a resolution honoring Harvey Milk Day but had a cow over male go-go dancers in a gay bar. That makes no sense!
The most reactive Council Member tends to be Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez, who works in the O.C. District Attorney’s office. She often talks about being part of law enforcement. But she is not married and has no kids, although she does bring her nieces to the annual Santa Ana Fiestas Patrias parade, and they ride in the parade with her.
For our Artists Village to thrive it needs to be more like Melrose and Westwood – and our City Council needs to loosen up.
There are also some concerns floating around about so-called “gaytrification,” which I guess refers to gentrification involving gay residents moving into the Downtown area and pushing out Latinos. I think that local gay leaders are trying to reach out and I think they mean well. It would be great to see them joining the battle to support the Dream Act and immigration reform in general. Gays, like Latinos, are minorities. They too have struggled with civil rights for years. And we share the same enemy in the form of the GOP.
I urge our City Council to stop emulating the Republicans and get over their misgivings about our Downtown area. Let the Artists Village be liberal. That is how it ought to be! If people want a conservative Downtown they ought to go somewhere else.
If you want to find out more about the Velvet Lounge, check out these links: