Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

“A community forum Oct. 7, from 2 to 4 pm, in Santa Ana’s eclectic Artists Village could be an important litmus test for whether the controversial booster organization Downtown Inc. can mend fences with a group of artists and nonprofit organizations that have grown increasingly bitter about the agency,” according to the Voice of OC.



Once again Downtown, Inc. has stepped in it.  They proposed a Farmer’s Market to be held at night, during the monthly Art Walk, for Chefs, and disregarded advice from Lara Montagne, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Santa Ana Certified Farmers’ Market.  Here is what she had to say about this latest DTI marketing disaster: 

The Grain Project has actually tried to share a proposal with DTI on various occasions, but have been shut out.

After learning of DTI’s history of accepting proposals from the community on various events and then taking the free detailed info to instead create their own competing events, I decided not to leave our proposal in their hands for legitimate fear of co-opting.  I was happy to discuss it with them and show them the proposal in person.  I was happy to give them the benefit of the doubt, despite the shocking and sad stories I was hearing of not only their lack of support of other community organizations putting on events in the downtown area, but direct competition with them.  I was hoping we could figure out a way to collaborate on an exciting new farmers’ market that could become what the previous one should have been had we not had to face so many unnecessary challenges and roadblocks put forth by the City at the time.   We believe that changed city leadership and an increased interest on the part of the community as a whole will help to make the future Santa Ana Certified Farmers’ Market (SACFM) what the previous one could and should have become.

I said it to Ms. Baxter years ago and I still feel that a healthy farmers’ market (and our desire for the future Santa Ana Certified Farmers’ Market) is one that would attract chefs, foodies, and affluent customers in addition to providing access to healthy, fresh produce to the low-income community and everything/everyone in between.  It would have been great to have a collaborative discussion with Ms. Baxter on ways to attract and support the spectrum of customers and vendors, except she failed to show up for our scheduled meeting.

I continue to stress (for years now) that the Market should not be a program of a sole organization or group, but instead a collaborative effort of the entire community, including our City government, and yes, even the folks who are doing their best to spread misinformation about me, the SACFM, and TGP.

Oddly, for their ‘community forum’ tomorrow, MANY community members, groups, and organizations who serve thousands in the community, including The Grain Project, have not been reached out to to be part of the conversation tomorrow.  It’s obvious DTI is not interested in what the entire community thinks, but rather are attempting to make it appear so.

Thanks for your input, Jane, but please do remember to seek and state facts rather than perpetuate rumors and inaccuracies.

Peace….and peas!

Lara Montagne Co-Founder and Executive Director Santa Ana Certified Farmers’ Market Manager Farmers’ Market, Consultant The Grain Project

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Grain-Project/114307595320193?ref=hl www.grainproject.org

By Editor

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

26 thoughts on “Downtown Inc. steps in it again with Farmer’s Market idea”
  1. Art, Is Downtown Inc the sponsor or the Day of the Dead festival in Downtown? When and where does Downtown Inc plan on putting it on this year?

  2. Thanks Art. You guys are my one stop shop for all information regarding Santa Ana. My family loves your site and we read it each day for news and information. Why did they turn down DTI’s donation? How much was it they turned down?

  3. No “Art”, I mean “Admin” it is up to you to spearhead the revolt or the “real revolution” as you call it. Do not rely on O.C.Weekly. They are compromised. It appears that Gustavo, Pulido and Benavides have far more in common than they would all have you believe. Pinche Pochos.

    1. DTI is playing with ill gotten gains. And their leaders don’t have the best intentions in mind. They appropriated the Farmer’s Market idea not with the intention of promoting healthy food or helping those who grow organic produce, but rather for their own selfish schemes. Now they’re trying to paper over their goof by holding a forum. What they ought to do is leave this matter to those who have been involved with it for years.

      The PBID can’t die soon enough. It is a travesty and a gross injustice.

      As for the Farmer’s Market idea, it is a shame that our civic leaders did so little to help foster this originally and continue to ignore it. So many other cities host successful Farmer’s Markets. It is embarrassing that our city can’t follow suit.

      1. Nothing is dying or going away. FYI-the forum WAS NOT the idea of DTI. There will be more then one farmers market in the near future. Just ask anyone that attended the forum.

    2. Hey, Matt: how funny you talk such big words on an online forum, yet always cower when you see me. Howzabout you saying that to my face next time we run into each other?

  4. The Centro turned down $10,000. It was a big sacrifice, in this economy, to take such dramatic action. El Centro conveyed that it wanted nothing to do with Downtown Inc’s unethical business practices and opposed its gentrification goals. Many others in Downtown SA feel the same.

    Hopefully this action will convey to DTI’s Board members that their thug intimidation tactics will no longer be tolerated. DTI’s Executive Director Vicky Baxter has alienated most of the artists & businesses in the Artists Village, as under her direction the SA Art Walk has degenerated greatly. All the surrounding galleries have seen their business revenues plunge.

    Pack it up DTI! No one wants you and your incompetent staff to run the show any longer. Hopefully DTI’s Board realizes that they made a huge mistake by bringing Vicky Baxter, an unknown from Northern CA with meager experience, to the richly diverse City of Santa Ana.

    Everyone is expecting DTI to try transitioning into something new in an effort to keep Baxter on through the end of her five year contract. One of their Board members has already registered the URL for “Visit Santa Ana” as “The Santa Ana Convention & Visitors Bureau” so ALL eyes are on them as they make their next move.

    Any future project involving Baxter or DTI’s intimidation tactics will be strongly opposed. The whole DTI endeavor, with its inept leadership & desperate tactics, has been an EPIC Fail.

  5. Did DTI’s attorneys ask you to take all references to “Vicky Baxter” be taken down?

    Maybe that’s why there’s so little about her online. She has a terrible track record, and anything negative is immediately pulled down.

    I hope you investigate HOW Ms Baxter came to be selected as DTI’s Exectutive Director. What was the process and who were the other candidates?

    WHO brought her in? Who’s pulling the strings? Irv Chase?? Bob Stewart?? Mike Harrah??

    It’s time to find some answers.

    1. They didn’t. All I know about her is that she has been involved with other PBIDS. So they hired her instead of a local.

      But this PBID was put in place with a crooked election and it has been an unethical program from the start. Not what she expected, I’m sure.

      Yes, her strings are being pulled by Chase and company.

  6. I really admire them for NOT taking $10,000 from Downtown INc. I hope that everyone will support this event. That took a lot of guts. In this current economy, who turns down cash? People with moral values I guess! Felicidades!

    1. The politics in the city forced the refusal of the sponsorship money. They had just asked for the money weeks before they rejected it. Not everyone involved with the festival is happy with the money rejection and have made that known. It’s all political. Don’t want any ‘dirty money’ paying for an event with the city’s logo all over it! Duh. City is already in trouble and is looking at a crap load more. Oh the tangled webs.

  7. Do you remember the infighting of the 2 Latino groups trying to take control over festival and parade?

    The last year before DTI was formed those Latino groups splintered and the festival was held on two separate week ends, with the future looking uncertain with a high possibility of the loss of the festival and parade in the future, just like the black history and toys on parade events that where lost earlier.

    Just like the 4th of July take over by the city, the city took control of the festival, parade, and created DTI, with all the current council members (except ward 1) (Jose was ward 1 at the time) over seeing the creation and election of the PBID.

      1. “forced on everyone”

        There was an election for the PBID. I did not par-take but I was there at the council meeting when the vote count was done and it passed. And it passed with the city votes, and it passed without the city votes.

        Those property owners have learned a good lesson about voting.

  8. Downtown, Inc. drags Phil Bacerra into its dungheap:

    Downtown Inc. Is Committed to Downtown Santa Ana Business Community Land Use Expert Phil Bacerra Hired to Help Advocate for New and Existing Businesses

    Published: Thursday, 18 Oct 2012 | 7:37 PM ET
    Text Size

    SANTA ANA, Calif., Oct 18, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Downtown Inc. (DTI), an organization dedicated to facilitating the enhancement of Downtown Santa Ana as a vibrant shopping, entertainment, business and cultural destination for all, continues to advocate for businesses in Downtown Santa Ana. As local small businesses began seeking assistance over the past few years in navigating the process of city ordinances and permits, DTI realized the importance of providing expert support to the business community in this realm.

    In an effort to support businesses such as Jugos Acapulco, which turned to DTI for help obtaining the proper permits during their expansion and construction process, and Las Brisas, which asked DTI for assistance in getting involved in the ‘Posse on Broadway’ event held in the Downtown, DTI contracted with consultant Phil Bacerra, of Jacaranda Enterprises, whose expertise lies in advising businesses through such matters as permits, CUPS, variances and more. Like DTI, Mr. Bacerra is committed to helping small businesses through the process of opening in Downtown Santa Ana. Additionally, he attends planning commission meetings, helps ensure that future policies and ordinances are easy to understand and navigate, and advises DTI on issues and practices that impact business in the Downtown.

    “Relying on Mr. Bacerra’s expertise, we have been able to address important issues related to zoning, ordinances, business development and more,” said Vicky Baxter, Executive Director of Downtown Inc. “He is a great support to both DTI and the community and fully advocates for all existing and new businesses in the Downtown.” Downtown Inc. recently met with representatives of the business, faith and nonprofit communities in Santa Ana to discuss an alcohol and entertainment policy that was originally adopted in 1960 and needed revision. City of Santa Ana Planning Commission and Safety Committee asked DTI for community and business input. Community members such as Sharon Barlow and Jorge Duffo of the Santa Ana Merchants Association, Reuben Franco and Eddie Marquez of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mayra Mejia and Dolores Gonzalez Hayes of Latino Health Access, David Elliot of the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, and Reverend Lee de Leon of Templo Calvario, participated in this meeting and had the opportunity to ask Phil Bacerra questions related to the ordinance. DTI also met with numerous property owners, tenants and the Restaurant Association to allow everyone to benefit from the discussion. Throughout all these meetings Mr. Bacerra was present to lend his expertise to anyone from the community, as the new alcohol ordinance will impact all businesses in Santa Ana.

    “I am thrilled to help local businesses and community organizations better understand new ordinances adopted by the City and provide insight on how they may affect all types of businesses in Downtown,” said Mr. Bacerra.

    “My goal is to provide clarity on permit processes, ordinances, and provide general support to businesses who are looking to remodel, expand or locate to Downtown.” Mr. Bacerra has over ten years of successful experience in land use planning, project management, and consulting. He previously worked as an Environmental Planner for CH2M Hill and as an Assistant Planner for both the City of Los Angeles and the City of Westminster. Mr. Bacerra graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning and Development and lives locally in Santa Ana.

    About Downtown Inc.: The mission of Downtown Incorporated is to facilitate the enhancement of Downtown Santa Ana as a vibrant shopping, entertainment, business and cultural destination for all.

    SOURCE: Downtown Inc.

    CONTACT: La Voz Marketing Stacey Kaszton 213-925-8177 (direct) stacey@lavozmarketing.com Copyright Business Wire 2012 -0- KEYWORD: United States

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