Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

A new website of people who are against finishing the Santiago Creek bike trail, called the “Save Santiago Creek Alliance,” is purporting to represent resident’s of Santa Ana’s Casa de Santiago, Fisher Park, Floral Park, Morrison Park, Riverview, and West Floral Park neighborhoods – but not one name appears anywhere on the website.  It is completely anonymous.

I did get an email today from a fellow named Ronald E Salem.  He claims to be the “interim director” of this mysterious anonymous organization, but his name is not to be found on their website.  I did find his Facebook page.  This guy is definitely part of the 1%.  His profile picture (see above) shows him piloting a yacht.  Nice.  He appears to be a psychologist with a family counseling practice based in Glendora.

It is terribly dishonest for these people to use the word “Alliance” in their name, given that the major proponents of finishing the Santiago Creek bike trail are the Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance.

The mess Salem and his pals have allowed to happen in the Fisher Park portion of Santiago Creek

Salem and his pals are clearly trying to confuse Santa Ana residents.  The subterfuge serves to undermine their message as we clearly cannot trust them, and they utterly lack transparency given their anonymous nature. I believe these people are elitists – they don’t want the trail to be finished because they want to keep the people of Santa Ana out of their neighborhood, but the reality is that this strategy has backfired.  Today their portion of the Santiago Creek is replete with graffiti. It is a scary place to go – but that could change if we ever finish the bike trail.

Their website claims that finishing the Santiago Creek bike trail will destroy the environment – never mind that the finished trail in Santiago Park is part of a Nature Reserve.  The claims of course are lies – the Greenway Alliance is all about nature and I have not met anyone in that organization who wants to destroy plants or trees.

Salem’s group also shows pictures of stretches of the current bike trail in Orange that don’t have much in the way of trees – but those areas never did!  Again, these people are resorting to blatant lies and are doing so behind a veil of anonymity. They are cowards.

And check out the Greenway Alliance’s Mission Statement:

Greenway (gren’ -wa) n. 1. A linear open space established along either a natural corridor, such as a riverfront, stream valley, or ridgeline, or overland along a railroad right-of-way converted to recreational use, a canal, a scenic road, or other route. 2. Any natural or landscaped course for pedestrian or bicycle passage. 3. An open-space connector linking parks, nature reserves, cultural features, or historic sites with each other and with populated areas. 4. Locally certain strip or linear parks designated as a parkway or greenbelt.

To create a greenway along the entire length of Santiago Creek and to preserve, restore, and enhance its ecological, scenic, historical and recreational resource.

You can quickly see who is involved in the Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance by visiting their Facebook page.  Again, not so with Salem’s group.

Salem says that he and his anonymous allies are going to be  turning in signed petitions and letters from their neighborhoods to since “23 politicos in Orange County” indicating that they “are ardently against the construction of a bike trail down the Santiago Creek.”

Good luck with that Salem.  I was at the Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance holiday dinner – and I saw with my own eyes the depth of political support they have.  Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was their speaker.  O.C. Supervisor Bill Campbell was there as was Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche and her fellow Council Members Fred Whitaker and Denis Bilodeau, who is also the Chief of Staff to O.C. Supervisor Shawn Nelson.  There were a lot of other current and retired elected officials there too, as well as City Commissioners.

Santiago Creek Greeway Alliance board member Shirley Grindle, a very well known Orange County political activist,  is also a friend of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido.  I cannot imagine that the Santa Ana City Council majority will allow Salem and his fellow elitists to prevail.  Wake up Salem – the days of the Usual Suspects controlling this city are long gone!



By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

31 thoughts on “Anonymous “Save Santiago Creek Alliance” opposes finishing bike trail”
  1. The byline says “The 1% source for news…” and you rail against the 1% in this editorial! That is rich! (no pun intended).

  2. I understand that opponents to completing the Santiago Creek bike trail to the Santa Ana River trail are implying that the trail between Flower St and the Santa Ana River would be along the creek. That is not the planned route due to the constraints of the creek just west of Flower and the existence of the golf course. Instead, the Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance is supporting the trail on Flower to Memory Lane and thence to the river, a portion of this trail has already been striped on Memory Lane (by the city of Santa Ana; striping is soon to follow on Flower St).
    To see the official Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance map showing the planned bicycle route, go to http://www.santiagogreenway.org. To reiterate: THERE IS NO TRAIL PLANNED IN THE CREEK OR ON ITS BANKS FROM FLOWER STREET TO THE SANTA ANA RIVER.

  3. I understand that the part that needs to be completed is from essentially Main Place to Jack Fisher park. Perhaps someone can explain to me :

    1. Is the area that needs to be completed on private property?
    2. Will trees need to be cut down in order to accomplish the proposal?
    3. Since a greenway does not necessarily mean a paved path, is the goal a bike path or just a greenway?
    4. Why not go along the creek all the way to the SA River instead of the bike paths along Flower and Memory?

  4. The “inclusive needs of the many” to be connected as communities outweighs the “exclusive desires of a priviged few” to create a wedge/divide between the communities and keep this section of the creek private to themselves.

    The City owns a 15 ft wide section of the creek between the 5 and Flower. The rest of the creek in this section is owned by the homeowners who were able to get the city to sell them parcels years ago. We do not need to go any further as their is an awesome Class 2 Bikepath on Memory to Bristol. Plus, the section in West Floral Park is very narrow which is not the case in Floral Park and Jack Fisher Park.

    Orange just opened up their new section in December which creates a 8+ mile trail which everyone is enjoying. Lets finish this last 0.25 mile section and connect our neighboorhoods together for now and future generations to enjoy.

  5. “Save Santiago Creek Alliance,” People were at the council meeting tonight and had some words to say.

    The only thing of importance was that they would come up with a alternative to having the trail go from the 5 freeway to Fisher park along the creek.

  6. Alternatives proposed in the past was for Bicyclists and Hikers to travel around Main Place Mall over LaVeta/Bristol which is 2 miles instead of 0.25 miles with Fwy On Ramps and Off Ramps and lots of traffic.

    The other alternative was to travel over Broadway over the 5 Fwy which has Fwy Off Ramps (high speed exiting) and travel against traffic on Santa Clara which is narrow.

    Neither alternative is safe,courtesous, or efficent.

    According to the OCTA, Santa Ana reported 600 Bicyclist accidents in the last reporting period. There has also been Pedestrian accidents. Lets have families be safe and healthy. Is 0.25 miles too much to ask for the greater good?

  7. I love biking and hiking…although, I also love private property rights more.

    Mark, thanks for the info. Perhaps you can provide info on whether any trees would need to be cut down for the bike path (sounds like it must be paved??). I also love trees, so that seems important to me also.

    I am struggling what the ultimate goal of the path is. If it is for nature, seems like paving and cutting trees is opposite that. If it is to make it easier to travel, from Bristol to Main Place area…well, again I don’t know that it is worth the trees and private property. Maybe it is to connect to the SA River trail, but that really does not seem like much of a “greenway” more of a concrete way from what I have seen (granted…I have not riden the entire path). Additionally, the memory bike lane puts us right in the area of dealing with the Bristol traffic which is pretty dangerous in of itself.

    I guess for me, a local SA resident in that area, I love seeing the trees in the creek area. I can walk up and down it like I was truly in nature…some grafiti and trash everyone once in a while of which a trashbag helps.

    I am torn, but I think that individual property rights have to come into play at some point.

  8. Hi TJlocalSA,
    There are portions that are overgrown with fallen limbs and trunks lying across the unofficial path and some rocky section. If the homeowners allowed the current path which does run on portions of their undeveloped/unmaintained creek bed/bank parcels to be improved there would be minimal removal of plants. If not, then the City Owned 15 ft wide portion is where a new safe official trail would be created which would require the removal of some trees. Plus, some homeowners have extended their backyard fences over/beyond the city owned portion so they would need to move their fences back.

    Either option is better than requring downstream and upstream neighboors to travel via the busy surface streets on bicyle or foot. I think the life of a child or parent outwieghs the life of a few trees. The majority of the greenway would still remain.

  9. Admin- I am sure that you can agree that there is a pretty large difference between trimming of trees and removing them altogether. However, a purist would say that no tree is “overgrown” because it will just grow according to its environment. Overgrown is in the eye of the beholder…

    1. Until a poor pedestrian or a bike rider breaks his head open on a limb. Since some of the home owners claim their property extends to the dirt path, they own the liability…

  10. Private property rights come with the rights and burdens of ownership…take care of your stuff or bear the consequences. Since you indicate that they “claim” that their property extends to a certain point, is there actually a question of the property line? Is it defined somewhere?

    Mark- Thank you for the info. I will have to go walk it again this weekend as it has been a while. I am having a hard time imagining how a 15 foot wide path would come into play. If it is the 15 foot in the middle, is it destroying the stream bed? Where will the water go when it comes? I am confused, but it is late, so maybe that is to be expected. Home owners should not be building on property that is not there own obviously so they should move their improvements back.

  11. TJlocalSA,
    As I understand it, the city’s 15 ft strip has some relation to the telephone/electrical poles, which if true would mean that ALMOST ALL THE TREES WOULD NEED TO BE REMOVED, don’t let anyone fool you about that fact.

    The “path” would also require a lot of grading or build up as you exit JFP the “path” as it is now is at a very steep angle,in fact, the whole stretch would need to be flattened out. They also FAIL TO MENTION that this bike “path” would cut right through the VERY NARROW park itself, sending speeding bikers right through the areas heavily used by picnickers and children playing.

    Art needs to use a lot of incendiary language and name calling to win his points, he likes to call the property owners “NIMBY’s”, but he’s a DAMBY (doesn’t affect my backyard) sure take OTHER people’s land, cut down OTHER people’s trees, put hundreds of more people right behind OTHER people’s houses, he doesn’t care because it DOESN’T AFFECT HIM.
    But take note, look how fast he jumps to the homeowners to take responsibility for any injuries and lawsuits, funny, maybe that’s why those homeowners don’t want hundreds of more people in the creekbed. Art wants them to take ALL THE LOSSES and get NONE OF THE GAINS, easy for him to say, it DOESN’T AFFECT HIS BACK YARD.

    1. As usual you’re wrong. This trail affects all of us. Ten NIMBY home owners aren’t going to derail the trail. We can get four votes on the Council. Can you?

  12. Hi TJlocalSA,
    The City owned 15 ft wide section is on the top of the north creek bank along the homes of Jack Fisher Park.

    On the other side of the creek, many of the homeowners in Floral Park purchased parcels that includes their side of the south creek bank, the creek bed and part of the north creek bank. There is one homeowner in Jack Fisher who also owns a portion of the creek.

    The homeowners have not done any development or maintanance on these parcels in the creek so it is hard to visually discern their property lines but you can view the city records. What is easy to discern is where some of the Homeowners have extended their fences over the city owned portion. Thus, the existing unofficial dirt path travels across both private and city owned property.

    Paul Walters who is the Santa Ana Chief of Police and Acting City Manager has ordered the City to perform a feasability study to permanently fence off both ends of this portion of the creek to basically keep all of the public out except for the homeowners along the creek. Thus, the public will not have access to any portion of the creek including what the city (the public) owns. This will probably increase the problems in this area instead of improving it for all of us.

    Sherrif Hutchens stated at the Santiago Creek Greenway Alliance that the best alternative is “Environmental Design” which is a trail that everyone has access to including Park staff, Fire, Police, and the entire public as most citizens are law abiding.

    This is what has been done on rest of the creek for 8 miles and most of the river/creek trails in OC with great results. Why make a exception for a 0.25 mile section for exclusive use of a few homeowners? We do not do this for people who own beach front homes.

  13. Admin- I am not asking about who has more power with the Council…I am just trying to get the facts straight and become educated on the project. Maybe someone (Admin?) can point to the actual plan that would show very few, if any trees would need to be taken out. If it is true that no (or just a few) trees would be removed, maybe Admin with his political clout can get that put into the plan in black and white so we can see it.

    We are all NIMBY’s to a certain extent…even Admin I am sure. There are certain projects that no one would want to be in their back yard. I know that I would and there are many. I know pretty surely that if when I bought my house and there was a natural streambed behind it and then someone wanted to change it to a paved path, that would certainly get my attention.

    My backyard is not the creek, but I would just like to know the straight facts…perhaps even without opinion or puffing of one’s chest to show political power. What are the facts? Is there a proposal that I can read that shows exactly what is proposed? How much it is going to cost? What the projections show the use will be and how many people will use it? How much it will be to maintain? Maybe it is too early in the process to know these details, but I certainly don’t think that these are questions that can’t be answered accurately by someone without opinion thrown in.

    NIMBY, DAMBY, bambi, whatever…I just want to know the facts.

  14. As usual, you could give a damn about Santa Ana and it’s residents, this is all about YOU and giving YOU an opportunity to grandstand and call people names.
    You could care less about how this affects anyone, all you care about is venting your spleen on people who don’t (and NEVER will) take you seriously. If you you really cared about this or any other project in SA you would work for compromise and solutions, but for YOU it’s all about spewing venom and hatred. You have a HUGE chip on your shoulder and YOU have destroyed your own credibility and just want to take down everyone else with you. Pathetic.

    1. As usual my dear anonster, you are the ONLY one on this thread who is spewing anger. I am not mad at the NIMBY’s. They are what they are. But the greater good must prevail. And it will.

  15. A lot of misinformation is being bantered about.

    Maybe this new group will analyze the facts about this short piece between the 5 freeway and flower st. and come up with the best placement of the trail in the flood control easement.

  16. Mark, thank you for the info (I missed your 7am post prior to me posting my 8:15 post). If ppty owners are developing on top of city property, those improvements should be taken down and I am surprised that the City does not require that to happen…I assume that they know it has happened.

    I have no problem with the City doing what they will with their own property as long as the environmental impact is minimized (i.e. trees replaced with pavement does not seem to work, where as dirt replaced with pavement does). If it has to be done by taking someone’s property, then the City should make a deal with the homeowner.

    I am not sure that I understand your beach front analogy. If go to the beach, I am not allowed (or maybe I am and just don’t do it) to walk through someone’s property to get there or set up my chair on their patio on the board walk. There are public access points..some of which were negotiated with home owners. I am able to walk on the beach in front of their homes, but not on their actual property. It feels to me like the proper analogy would be that the City can put the path on their own property or negotiate access points, but not invade the property of the owners.

  17. Allow me to introduce myself. I am a former two term councilmember for the City of Santa Ana from 1992 – 2000. I feel confidant that I have a quite a bit of knowledge of how the Santa Ana government functions and its history. By the why, just in case you or your organization feels that I am an elitist too, you are far from the truth. I was blessed three years ago to buy a home on River Lane for me and my family of six. My address is 943 W. River Lane, just in case you feel that I am not providing full transparency of who I am and were I live.

    Six months ago is when I became aware of an out town group wanting to turn the Santiago Creek, which is about 150 feet from my property, into a bike trail. My first thought was, “Not a smart idea”. Most of my first gut reactions tend to be correct decisions. The City of Santa Ana does not have the necessary funds or manpower to patrol or beautify the current Santiago Creek bed, which explains all of the over grown plants, graffiti, coyotes and homeless.

    While City of Santa Ana staff has become experts in exploding the city’s population demographic needs, when it comes to securing millions in Federal, State, and County funds in order to set into motion gigantic pet projects like the Santiago Creek Bike Trail. It still does not address the issue, that the city still does not have the resources to maintain a safe and clean bike trail. One just has to go along the current Santa Ana River bike trail, in those areas which are located within the city’s bounders, as proof that the city does not have the resources to provide safe and clean bike trail. While it is might be true that a lot of the responsibility of maintaining the Santa Ana River Bed bike trail, might be the County of Orange. The City of Santa Ana can not ignore that they are equally responsible for the safety of the average person who uses Santa Ana River Bed bike trail, within its city boundaries.

    I just know for a fact that the affliction that effect the current Santa Ana River Bed bike trail, the homeless and graffiti from both gangs and tagging groups, will flourish beyond control along the Santiago Creek, if the proposed bike trail is completed. Please do not tell me that the homeless are not a concern. While it is true most of the homeless along the Santa Ana River Bed are harmless individuals, some of them are not. I know this for a fact, because before we bought our on River Lane, my family and I rented a home for 33 months on Alona St, which backed up into the 16th tee of the Riverview Golf Course. We could hear physical fights between the homeless at night, yelling at the top of their lung as if they were demon possessed, and three times the fire department responded to out of control fire in the river bed, which were started by the homeless.

    I last last issue, please do be a big favor, do not call my neighbors like Ronald Salem an elitist, just because they might have a photo on their Facebook page have a great time with his family on a boat. The bottom line is that many of us in the neighborhood are concerned about our families and properties if this bike trail is constructed. This explains why Fisher Park Neighborhood Association, which had been inactive for about seven years, had standing room only at the Fisher Park Cabin about three months ago. There were over fifty residences from our association that were only concerned about this issue and none of them where in favor of the bike trail. Thank you for waking a sleeping giant.

    Sincerely,

    Ted Moreno

    1. I am a big fan of yours Ted and I am thrilled to see you commenting here. Welcome aboard! I have to get back to work and so I will comment on your comment later but suffice to say that Salem is lucky to have you on his side. He would be wise to let you take the reins of his organization.

  18. “I just know for a fact that the affliction that effect the current Santa Ana River Bed bike trail, the homeless and graffiti from both gangs and tagging groups, will flourish beyond control along the Santiago Creek, if the proposed bike trail is completed.”….. Hmmmmm

    The affliction described above may be only applicable to the Santa Ana Section of the Santa Ana River Bed bike trail which would be much worse if the bike trail wouldn’t exist.

    It is totally nonsensical to allege that a crime would increases with a commingling of the existing Santiago Creek criminal element with new law abiding bikers.

    Where would you expect more crime on empty street or street filled with walking public?

    You are taking a typical antagonistic stand which only two term X-Santa Ana Council member will take having nothing to show for his two terms in public service.

    It is this Latino anti-progress and antagonism which keeps Santa Ana the worse city in the Orange County.

    If you know of any other O.C. city which is worse than Santa Ana, please name it.

  19. The bike trail that would run by the 900 block of River Ln has been built already, it is running down Memory Ln from Flower to Bristol.

    I would think that T. M. would know more considering his experience in the city.

  20. Hi Ted and any other concerned neighboors in Floral Park, Jack Fisher Park, or West Floral Park.

    It took the Santiago Park Association approx 10 years to get their creek trail done which greatly improved their neighborhood though there were a few very opposed to it.

    It took the Morrison Park Association approx 3 years to get the city to place a Class 2 Bike Path on Memory Lane to reduce traffic speed and provide for safe biking and running (thus no need for a trail down the creek in West Floral Park to SART – good).

    The City of Orange is completing their last segment of the 8 mile creek trail which is beautiful (come enjoy it). The County helped to do this.

    I encourage you all to explore this great trail starting at Santiago Park by the Main Place Mall / Discovery Science Center and travel by the 9 parks along this creek up to Santiago Oaks Regional Park. You will encounter many friendly, law abiding individuals and families taking walks, pushing strollers, riding bikes, and even in electric wheelchairs.

    This trail system has evolved because of the sustained efforts of good people over a span of 40 years. Those of us in your surronding neighborhoods and many within your neighborhood want the same.

    The County has been able to do this for over 60 miles of various creek trails. This 0.25 mile segment creates a big divide as none of you can travel up the creek to Main Place Mall and rest of the creek. Nor can can those of us upstream from you safely travel down to visit our friends from Church, School, Youth Organizations, etc in your neighborhood.

    I was saddened when at your recent Jack Fisher Park Neighboorhood Association Meeting that some of you publicly and emphatically stated to a Reporter that “if a trail was constructed it would spread crime and disease in your neighborhood” and this was published as a quote in the newsletter. Many of us who live along this creek and adjoining blocks are good people with no intentions to commit crime or infect you. If you actually get out and travel/enjoy the creek you will realize it and it will serve as a deterrent to those who may not act properly. Some fear that you are surronded by darkness. You need to get out and be the light instead of creating barriers.

    I have lived along this creek for 20 years and I volunteered as a Reserve Park Ranger of the County of Orange for 10 years and have been in Scouts for 9 years and active in my Church and community like many others. Thus, I enjoy being part of the Light. Lets do what is right for the greater good.

    Merry Christmas to you all. Love, Joy, & Peace.

  21. Please look at the tagging in the area of where the trail is proposed. It is out of control!
    Look at the tagging on any other part of the existing Santiago Creek trail or Santa Ana River Trail. There is some, but not much, and very efficiently removed.
    It will obviously reduce tagging/crime.

    We need more bike paths. As many as possible. People who like to exercise(whether it be bike, running etc) need more options. We don’t like following the law and riding in the unsafe streets with cars whizzing by inches away.

  22. Hey Ted, you talk about your first gut reaction…now would that be the reaction that got you thrown in jail.
    But you must be an honest an upstanding individual, I mean you only stole from EVERY citizen of Santa Ana.

  23. Hi Commuter and Cook and et all who wants to have a connected community along the creek. Feel free to contact me so we can help perform a stakeholders analysis and develop a communictation plan to promote this vision. There is too much fear about fear out there and we want to resolve their concerns.

    This will be for the greater good. We have over 227 petition signatures by good citizens (those that live along the creek and in the neighboorhood and outlying areas).

    Merry Christmas to all in OC. Love, Joy, and Peace.

    Mark

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