Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) proceeded with their DUI checkpoint tonight, at Rosita Park, over by Newhope and Hazard. I visited the checkpoint at about 9:30 pm. There were about ten cops there and a lot of vehicles and equipment.

I brought my camera and took pictures and shot some video. As I approached the mobile blood testing unit, one of the cops actually started taking pictures of me! I could not believe it. I showed my press pass to the guy in charge, who introduced himself. I told him that I am meeting with SAPD Chief Paul Walters next Tuesday, which is true, and that I had advised him that I might be visting the checkpoint tonight.

One of the cops, who sported a greasy pompadour, kept mad-dogging me the entire time. He did not even try to hide his anger that I was there. They all appeared to be white guys.

The fellow I spoke to said that they had only impounded one car, after starting the checkpoint at 7:30 pm. Santa Ana City Manager Dave Ream isn’t going to like that! Cities make a lot of money impounding cars driven by immigrants, but our efforts likely blew it for Ream tonight.

I notified State Senator Lou Correa, Assemblyman Jose Solorio and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez about the checkpoint, yesterday, and asked them to intervene. The checkpoint was funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety. I asked Solorio and Correa to look into removing this funding. Solorio spoke to Walters today.

Correa called me and said that his colleague, Gil Cedillo, is working on a billl that will prevent police departments from impounding cars driven by immigrants.

I had complained to city officials about doing this checkpoint in a residential area instead of by the bars in town. I was right. It was quite slow tonight and the cops basically blew our tax money for nothing. They had only caught one driver who they suspected was drunk.

Correa may have helped as he notified the Spanish language media about the checkpoint.

Sanchez, on the other hand, did nothing. Her representative, Paula Negrete, emailed me to say that it was not a federal matter. Well, the Census sure is. In fact I emailed several Census officials and they were not happy at all about the checkpoint. The City of Santa Ana is supposed to be a Census partner. Well, they blew that tonight.

I also spoke today with Amin David and Benny Diaz, of LULAC. Both were quite upset to hear about the checkpoint. They assured me they would tell their members about this outrage.

What is the point of having an all-Latino City Council if they aren’t going to stand up against these efforts to hurt immigrants in our midst?

If you would like to communicate your feelings about this to the SAPD, click hereClick here to contact the all-Latino Santa Ana City Council.  You can contact City Manager Dave Ream’s assistant, Mark Lawrence, at

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

10 thoughts on “SAPD DUI checkpoint at Rosita Park was a waste of taxpayer money”
  1. You’re concerned about wasting tax money? I’ll tell you what wasting tax money really is. It’s when you allow half the town to get away with paying nothing, but charge the other half double to make up for the loss. You’re compaining about peanuts here while avoiding the real issue.

  2. Are you saying you support any individual (regardless of race) driving a motor vehicle without a drivers license and/or driving while under the influence? These checkpoints are also use as an educational tool to remind drivers and passengers to buckle up, repair mechanical/exhaust/lighting problems, and to proactively let the public know that driving with a license and DUI are not acceptable behavior and will not be tolerated in Santa Ana. Doesn’t that send a positive message? That’s what the CA Office of Traffic Safety grant is all about. Regards.

  3. MADD proponent,

    I teach defensive driving, so don’t get all preachy on me. Of course drunk drivers are a problem, so why not put the checkpoints by bars instead of in sleepy neighborhoods?

    What our city has turned these checkpoints into is an opportunity to take cars away from innocent poor people and then extort them hundreds of dollars to get the cars back. That is BS!

    I will work tirelessly to make sure we take away the state funding for these immigrant dragnets!

  4. Good for you Art, what they should spend some of that money on is teaching kids about crossing the streets and giving bike rodeo’s teaching them the rules of the road. Licensing the bike riders in Santa Ana. Can you imagine paying 10 officers and only impounding 1 car? There goes some wasted money. Not for the Officers and Police Unions they still get paid (that sure was easy money).

  5. I don’t consider Newhope/Hazard/5th Street in the Rosita Park area a sleepy neighborhood. Get the accident statistics from the SAPD on Newhope from Westminster to First and you’ll see the city has a problem in that area, primarily with speed. As I stated in my first response, “DUI Checkpoint” is the name of the operation, but the law allows these operations to be used to check for driver licenses and to ensure occupants are wearing seatbelts, etc. IT’S THE LAW. There is no race involved, and it has nothing to do with social status. It’s a grant funded program. If these poor people you’re describing are unlicensed, they shouldn’t be driving, and if they crash into you, you’ll foot the bill for sure. I must agree, however, that at time-and-a half, it’s really good money.

  6. MADD proponent,

    The record shows what the SAPD has done with these checkpoints – impounded over 500 cars while arresting just over 100 drunks.

    The city makes a mint taking cars from residents and extoerting them for hundreds of dollars.

    I asked the cop that I spoke to if the Rosita location was picked because of incidents in the area. No, he said, it was not.

    They set the dragnet up there to catch immigrants.

    A court ruling in 2005 already made these impunds illegal. Yet our city keeps doing this.

    The legislature is going to end up taking away the grant money. That effort is already underway.

    How sad that our city engages in such tactics against our residents.

  7. Art your just another “Viva la Raza” “Si se puede” kind of guy. I hope that no one in your family nor anyone close to you is ever seriously hurt or killed by a drunk driver. God forbid they are you will be the first one to ask questions as to why something was not done. Don’t you read the papers and watch the news. Latino after latino is almost always involved in these tragic accidents. I am latino myself of immigrant parents and I don’t think in anyway that Santa Ana PD or any agency is extorting or targeting specifically latinos. Art your the type of person who meddles in stuff you should just leave alone.

  8. Anon @ 9:18,

    I have no problem with checkpoints located near bars, or on major roads, such as Harbor.

    When you put a DUI checkpoint in a neighborhood populated by immigrants, it is obvious that the goal is to impound their cars.

    The record shows exactly that – well over 50 cars impounded and only 119 DUI arrests. Do the math…

  9. Art,

    What the hell is your problem? Why do you find it acceptable that unlicensed/uninsured drivers be allowed to operate motor vehicles on city streets? MADD proponent is right – it is a safety issue. Stopo being such a callous racial opportunist and start demanding accountability! If you do not have a driver’s license or insurance, you SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING! Driving is a privilege, not a right, look into it.

    1. Rob,

      The reason they are uninsured and have no license is because the state won’t allow them to buy car insurance or get licenses. Believe me, they would otherwise.

      Just because this is the law does not make it right. We also used to make colored people ride in the back of the bus years ago. Times change. Get with the program!

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