Santa Ana Council Member Sal Tinajero may put an item on an upcoming City Council meeting agenda to get rid of the Downtown Santa Ana Pbid, a property assessment that is collected and spent by a non-profit, Downtown Inc. There has been a lot of anger on the part of small businesses made to pay these fees (either directly as property owners or passed on to them in their leases by their landords), but who feel that they don’t draw benefit from Downtown Inc’s marketing, which has apparently benefited the Downtown restaurants and bars more.
Need more proof of that? Tara Jimenez, the owner of Drapes Vintage, was hired by Downtown, Inc. to run workshops to teach local Downtown businesses how they could make their stores more appealing to the downtown’s changing demographic,” according to the Voice of OC. But she is now closing her business – and she has turned on Downtown Inc. too.
The fact is that the arts movement in Downtown Santa Ana never included the overall Santa Ana community. The Artists Village succeeded in part thanks to millions of redevelopment dollars, which are now gone.
Really, when you think about it the Artists Village was a bit of a nutty experiment, at taxpayer expense. Usually when you want to open a new business you conduct marketing research and check out the area demographics to see if the enterprise is a good fit for the area. The Artists Village however was an attempt to ignore the local demographics and instead appeal to those who don’t live here. Well, as Drapes Vintage’s owner found out the hard way, folks did come here to get wasted and look at, but not generally buy, artwork, those visitors don’t spend money on other businesses. They come here, eat, get wasted and leave. Sometimes they pee on our streets before they leave, as has been the case with some of the customers at the Velvet Lounge.
Isn’t it time now to rethink our Downtown? Let’s leave the Artists Village as it is but let’s also bring in businesses and entertainment that will appeal to Santa Ana’s families.
Just look at Brea’s successful Downtown. We could have had that, but instead we ended up with a seedier version of Fullerton’s downtown, thanks to Don Cribb and his pals.
Imagine what a first-rate movie theater could do to our Downtown? What about some family restaurants? Or a comedy club? Enough with the bars and upscale restaurants already. If they want to tax folks so they can market themselves, why not tax themselves?
It is high time to end the Pbid assessment – which really is just another property tax. I hope that Tinajero can find two more votes on the Council. Council Member David Benavides ought to be one of those votes. The artists have attacked his friends from the Newsong Church, making racist and anti-Christian comments. Benavides doesn’t need these people. He ought to vote to get rid of the Pbid and show solidarity with the small businesses that are still trying to make it in Downtown Santa Ana.
And Council Member Michele Martinez, who is running for the 69th Assembly District, should vote against the Pbid too. Sure, Cribb is backing her but most of the artists are backing her opponent, leftwing union nut Julio Perez. At the end of the day her loyalty should lie with the people of our city, not the outsiders who just come here to eat and get drunk.
Council Member Vince Sarmiento and Mayor Miguel Pulido cannot vote for or against the Pbid, due to conflicts of interest. But you know that Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez will be happy to vote to end the Pbid.