Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

UPDATE: The Santa Ana Planning Commision voted 4-2 to approve the ordinance discussed below.  Eric Alderete and Patrick Yrarrazaval were opposed.  Sean Mill and Frank Acosta made and seconded the successful motion.

Santa Ana’s Planning Commission will be considering a proposed ordinance tonight, No. 2012-03, which will establish an Entertainment Permit that will be issued by the Santa Ana Police Department to local businesses that provide entertainment while also serving alcohol.

The main concern, as I understand it, is ensuring that nightclubs and restaurants in town are not allowing minors, 18 and under, in their establishments when alcohol is being served.  Some of these venues, such as the Velvet Lounge, aggressively advertise the presense of 18 year old youngsters, ostensibly as a way to market to older clients who are trolling for youthful partners.  The Yost Theater does this as well. 

“More than a half dozen residents, business owners and community groups recommended that the issue be postponed until January to give them time to review the proposal,” according to the O.C. Register.  But the newspaper forgot to mention that these folks have been at the table with the Planning Commission and have been actively engaged in crafting this ordinance for over a year.

The truth is that this handful of opponents wants to wait for the new Santa Ana City Council Members to be sworn in.  Apparently they feel that new Council Members Roman Reyna and Angelica Amezcua will vote to allow young people 18 and under to hang out in venues that serve alcohol, as late as two in the morning.  I cannot imagine that voting that way would be a good idea for Reyna and Amezcua.  Reyna should know better, as a former Santa Ana Parks and Rec employee who has also worked for the Santa Ana YMCA and the Santa Ana Boys and Girls Club.  And Amezcua is an elementary school teacher and a mother of two youngsters.  She too ought to know better.

The Planning Commission apparently is willing to work with these folks to the extent that they will allow a business to admit 18 and under clientele if they seat them in an area separated from the area where alcoholic beverages are being served.

We simply cannot afford to let these youngsters have access to alcoholic beverages.  There is a real risk that older patrons will slip roofies (date rape pills) into their drinks – which is common in such venues.  In fact I spoke a few years ago to a young man at the Memphis at the Santora who told me that happened to him twice in San Francisco and he ended up waking up each time at a hotel, by himself.  He ended up contracting HIV after the second such incident.

One of the advocates for delaying a vote on this proposed ordinance is Joey Mendes, the owner of the Proof Bar, where a young man from Irvine got drunk before venturing to his car, at a nearby parking garage, where he was shot to death while being robbed, after one a.m.

Other advocates for delaying the vote include Phil Bacerra, a planning consultant who is on a paid retainer by Downtown, Inc., the non-profit association that administers the PBID funds – money they take from local downtown businesses and spend as they please.  Bacerra grew up in Garden Grove and is unmarried, with no children.  He was removed from an OCTA Commission by Mayor Miguel Pulido a few years ago.  Bacerra was once employed by Gavin Newsom, when Newsom was the Mayor of San Francisco.  That would have been right around the time that Newsom got caught sleeping with the drug-addled wife of his campaign manager.

It is obvious from reading the minutes of the previous Planning Commission meeting that the ordinance has the support of a majority of the Planning Commissioners.  Any Planning Commissioner who votes to dealy this ordinance will do so at the risk of his political career.  One of these commissioners, Eric Alderete, just spent a fortune on a campaign for Ward 3 on the Santa Ana City Council.  He lost badly to Amezcua, who did not spend a dime.  That alone should send him a strong message that Santa Ana’s voters won’t tolerate liberals who encourage drinking among our underaged youth.  Alderete indicated at the last Planning Commission meeting, that he was inclined to support a delay.

Click here to read the Agenda for tonight’s Planning Commission meeting.

By Editor

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

29 thoughts on “Planning Commission approves ordinance to keep alcohol away from youth”
  1. O.K. there Spin Master Supreme.
    Are you supplying info on the majority of the ordinance or just a part that you cherry picked?
    Why would groups such as SACRED be concerned?
    It is rare that bar owners such as those from Proof
    and community activists both express doubts and concerns at the same time.
    What else is loaded in the ordinance?
    Faster access to alcohol licenses?
    People are concerned about hidden changes, rules and regulations.
    Black is White and White is Black in Santa Ana.

  2. What happened to the City Councils new open run everything by the people impacted SACRED vote? Where is America Bracho and Latino Health Access when we need them?

    1. Anyone can come to the meeting tonight. And if this is approved by the Planning Commission then it will go to the City Council for a final vote. The public can speak up then too. Let’s see who shows up to advocate for exposing our youth to alcohol and other shenanigans.

  3. “Bacerra grew up in Garden Grove and is unmarried, with no children.”

    Is he one of the two individuals shown “dancing” in the photo above?

  4. Admin is pining away again over his lost youth.
    Life was different before he became
    “Spin Master Beef Supreme”.

    1. I’ve been married since I was 19. Still married 25 years later.

      I also opposed Prop. 8. I fully support gay rights but I don’t support restaurants and bars that expose our young people to alcohol. Or to the aging perverts who prey on them at these establishments.

  5. I believe that in the photo above, the dark haired fellow represents the “new council majority” and the blond gent behind him is the Police Union POA and the Police Management Union negociating their new contract.

    The two men standing a few feet away represent the lawyers recently paid $80,000 to represent the city during the negotiations.

  6. The attorneys can submit their consulting fee payments to:
    Mateo’s Municipal Consultation and Dirty Laundry @

  7. Phil Bacerra. The half Filipino, half Caucasion loser better known around town as LOSER. I wonder if he’s still mooching alcoholic drinks and food from people. Is Count Chocula still riding his bike?

  8. Your observations are interesting, but off the mark. Mr. Mill apparently relayed information about the meeting to you. I was at the meeting. And, the issue for some of the commissioners wasn’t the age restriction, it was the fact that some members of the community (particularly the Latino community) weren’t aware of the total of 4 meeting held over the last 12 months. 4 meeting for a major change in policy. Mr. Mill and some of the other commissioners apparently don’t care about the Latino community’s input on this matter. It’s typical business as usual perpetrated by folks of Mill’s ilk and it’s a sad day for Santa Ana when racist get to make policy decisions and disrespect the Latino community.

  9. “I wonder if he’s still mooching alcoholic drinks and food from people.”

    Are you sure you are not confusing him with Don Cribb?

  10. If you want to have a reputable website, you should get your facts straight. What they are doing has to do with a lot more than just age restrictions. I was at the meeting, and saw for myself BOTH business owners, residents, SACRED, Latino Health Access and more ask for more time to understand and consider all the details and consequences. The city most definitely did not reach out to the community as much as it has for other things in the past.

    Read the ordinance… it removes transparency from a process that the community SHOULD have say in. It places full power in the hands of the Chief of Police. That is a dangerous road to take. It also creates privacy issues by requiring photos be taken and stored of patrons with an ID that can’t be scanned (including passports, worn out mag strips etc). It requires expensive camera systems that must be IP accessible… no doubt for Police to able to access remotely. Yet, on a side-note, the city STILL will not get cameras in any of its parking structures amidst an abundance of robberies, vandalism and even assaults (even during the day and unrelated to alcohol).

    I also would like to correct you on the age restriction (Just ONE of several concerning items in this proposal). If Chapter One or Bistro 400 has a live jazz trio, do you think they are “allowing youngsters access to alcohol” when a family goes out to dinner? These places are not run that way. Does El Torito allow youths access to alcohol just because they have a bar and entertainment? No way. There are laws and restrictions already in place preventing this.

    I frequent many downtown restaurants and bars, including Velvet, whom you seem to be really throwing under the bus here… probably because of their alternative clientele. I’ve been there for dinner with friends a couple times, as well as a concert (Tiffany), a standup comedy show, and a few dj/dance nights; so I can speak from first-hand experience. Although Velvet is very family friendly for brunch and dinner, they do not allow ANYONE under 18 in after 10pm. Their security has always been very polite, yet very strict. And they offer a nice array of entertainment that one would hope to find in a city of this size. I have always felt very safe and comfortable there. The funny thing is that the photo you are using is actually somebody I know. His looks may be deceiving, but he is 22. And I’ve been there on a Friday night (pictured), and the actually restrict it to 21 and over for that event.

    So maybe you need some fact checkers, because you got yours wrong.

    The sad part of all this is that, while there are probably many very good intentions in this ordinance change, there are a lot of unintended consequences that really need serious consideration… and FAIR DISCUSSION.

    The city needs to work with businesses and help them succeed and flourish, rather than suffocate them with fees, restrictions, and an uncertain future. The Yost, The Observatory, Velvet, Chapter One and plenty of other places offer a variety of entertainment, for a variety of ages. Let’s help them succeed and keep the money, desperately needed jobs, and those great amenities right here in Santa Ana.

    1. The Velvet Lounge owners got their CUP by alleging that they were just going to be a restaurant. But that turned out to be a lie. In fact we busted them with their own pictures! They clearly veered into the realm of adult entertainment. And I get their emails where they still advertise an 18 and under night.

      This ordinance was a year in the making. The public was welcome at all of those Planning Commission meetings. This attempt to stall the vote was nothing more than an attempt to wait for the new Council members to appoint new commissioners.

      Now the Council can approve this Ordinance and you guys can complain some more.

    1. You poor thing. Sounds like an ex boyfriend left you high and dry. The Velvet Lounge brings back good memories of you and him dancing the nights away. Things will change for you, chin up.

      1. Guys who are over 40 shouldn’t be picking up boys or girls who are 18 and under. I find that offensive and I don’t think that the people in my city want to see more if that.

  11. This ordinance approved was the right thing to do.

    Do Chapter One, Bistro 400 or El Torito have half naked people dancing and simulating fornication on the dance floor? Hell, even Original Mike’s dancing customers are fully clothed.

    Someone has to protect our youth and I’m glad the City Council is making sure our youth are safe.

    Maybe Velvet One needs a new marketing director.

  12. Jasonin Oc” brings some excellent points.
    Admin i started blogging here 3 years ago. why?
    Because the city and police dept. said they were going to put in security cameras in the parking garage, after somebody was murdered and…
    So here we are again with more police state games and price gauging and Orwellian interior spying and over-site instead of basic security precautions.
    People of Santa Ana and the World Unite!

    1. Simple solution. Install electronic parking meters on surface streets and charge for parking all day and night. Use that money to buy the cameras. Done.

  13. The city and police will take that money and we will still not have crime preventative security cameras in the parking garages.

    1. Oh we have had our moments. Like when I convinced Chief Paul Walters to conduct a sweep of Santiago Park and they arrested 12 guys who were hooking up there after dusk. I was very proud of that and to this day the park rangers continue to sweep the park every night and drive the perverts out. Thank you SAPD!

      And we also turned the SAPD on to the Velvet Lounge when they posted pictures of apparent adult entertainment going on, which is not allowed per their CUP. They got busted too.

      And while it is not crime per se our groundbreaking article revealing the health violations that are rampant among many downtown Santa Ana restaurants surely must have saved a few folks from vomitous endings…

  14. Most of the crimes in the parking structures are not caused from people drinking at permitted businesses. Although cameras would not stop them all, they WOULD deter the regular car break-ins, robberies etc… which is a big problem. It would also give the victims a tool to fight back.

    If cameras are so useless and necessary, why require them in the ordinance?

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