Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Mike Harrah’s victory was a victory for Santa Ana’s working families

Mike Harrah sat quietly with his friend Gil Marrero as the Santa Ana City Council began their One Broadway Plaza Public Hearing tonight.  His fate was entirely in the hands of the City Council.  Around him sat dozens of union members – most of them residents of the City of Santa Ana.

In all, 35 people turned in speaker request cards.  One by one, Mayor Miguel Pulido began to call their names.

The opponents to the amendments that Harrah was seeking with regard to his One Broadway Plaza development were all white, with one exception.  They included a plethora of Usual Suspects.  One by one they crept to the microphone and lied.  One after the other they piled on the misinformation.

They lied about the developer agreement having to be put in front of the voters.  The City Attorney quickly debunked that fraudulent claim.

The No Coalition said Harrah wasn’t going to hire union members to build the OBP tower.  Lie.  He agreed to a union-only project labor agreement way back in 2005.

Debbie McEwen, who led the charge to install illegal traffic barriers in the French Park neighborhood – to keep the Mexicans out – actually brought that episode up during her comments.  However she didn’t talk about how the ACLU sued her and forced the City to remove the barriers.

They lied about the city doing nothing to help the surrounding neighborhoods.  Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez later corrected that by reminding folks that the development agreement does include a lot of upgrades to surrounding streets.

They screamed about Harrah wanting to use City Redevelopment money – but the Alvarez said she was striking that amendment from her motion.  And her colleagues all agreed.

One of them went ballistic over the supposed danger to students at the Orange County High School of the Arts.  Pulido made sure to note in his comments that OCHSA is in Santa Ana because Harrah helped bring them to town.  And Pulido’s own son goes to OCHSA.  Pulido said he is quite safe.

Alvarez also moved to ensure that Harrah would hire local workers, adding that language to her motion, and any business that opens up in the OBP tower will have to post job listings in the Santa Ana Work Center.

Mayor Miguel Pulido and Mayor Pro Tem Alvarez, as well as Council Members Sal Tinajero and Vince Sarmiento made great closing comments.  Then they voted – unanimously, to approve Alvarez’ motion accepting the revised amendments.  Council Member David Benavides was not there.  He walked out due to a fishy conflict of interest.  Council Members Michele Martinez and Carlos Bustamante were each out of town.

The Usual Suspects and their allies were utterly defeated.  It was an epic fail.

I don’t know if Harrah will be able to build OBP, but I wouldn’t bet against him…



By Editor

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

7 thoughts on “Santa Ana City Council approves most of the amendments to the OBP developer agreement”
  1. I’m more worried about the already congested parking for drop off and pick up at El Sol. I can’t even begin to imagine the nightmare this will become for the El Sol families as construction begins. I’m still wondering who is going to give him financing in this area that has so many vacant commercial spots. I believe this is going to add even more vacancies if current businesses decide to relocate to this location.

  2. I’m still against this project, against anything Harrah does ’cause he’s one corrupt big boy, am sick that the council went against their own previous agreement—but I’m glad he won’t get any redevelopment money. Kudos to an otherwise-pathetic clowncil for that!

    1. Gustavo,

      I understand how you feel. The trade workers in that room last night were so relieved. I wish you had been there to hear their stories. Many have been out of work for over a year.

      Will OBP solve anything? I don’t know. But if it does start up at least it will put a lot of our residents to work.

  3. In general, don’t most financial entities require significant pre-lease requirements before they will provide financing? This action implies that Mr. Harrah will have to look to his own balance sheet to undertake the “lion share” of financing for this project. It also further validates that this location is an unproven market for this type of development. What happens if he does not have the financial wherewithal to complete or he needs to “cut corners” to complete the buildings construction. Does come back to the city for additional funding? Does ask for some other concessions? Is the city stuck with some “white elephant”, the further hinders it’s reputation? It seems the risk far outweigh the benefits.

  4. Harrah has a long and tried history of not employing union laborers. This cat will not change his stripes. The mayor’s getsure of notating the bisecting of a high school campus and a 37-officer tower is endearing. Should there be an unfortunate accident, I’m confident the mayor’s overture will provide solace for the injured parties.

    BTW…Harrah may have helped bring OCHSA to Santa Ana, however the reisidents forked over a bundle of money to make it happen. Despite the agreement stipulating OCHSA admit a certain number of SA students, well, that has never happened.

    1. Ambrosia Gal,

      Yes, OCHSA rejected my daughter. But she went on to complete her High School degree at Santa Ana High and then earned a fashion design degree at FIDM. She starts working on a movie set next week, which is exciting.

      As for the labor issue, that is true but this time Harrah agreed to a PLA and the City Council put additional clamps on him in the revised developer agreement. This time he is going to have to use union labor. This will mean close to three thousand union jobs right here in town!

      Our city economy needs this tower.

  5. “Despite the agreement stipulating OCHSA admit a certain number of SA students, well, that has never happened.”

    hasn’t happened my ass. at least 20% of the kids there were accepted because of that quota needing to be filled. since when should admissions to art schools be based on geographic location rather than talent?

    do you hear yourself?

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