The Mexican Consulate in Santa Ana has for the longest time needed more space. They finally moved their headquarters to a larger, two-story space at 2100 E. 4th Street, where they reopened on November 4th. The new consulate office is near the corner of 4th and Golden Circle Drive on the south side and before Tustin avenue, heading east.
There’s speculation that this move may be to prepare for an expected immigration reform, where people could arrive in greater numbers. The Consulate, in its old location near Broadway and Civic Center, saw lines stretch outside. Whether or not a reform occurs, a move into a larger space was long overdue.
This information comes from the Mexican Embassy’s new smartphone app, called MiConsulMex, which is avaialbe on iPhones and Androids, and provides information on the Embassy’s consulates.
Click on the link for more information on the Mexican Consulate in Santa Ana.
Art is tied to politics. Some of the greatest works of art have messages tied to all kinds of political topics including social justice, economic disparity, economic policies and history, just to name very few topics.
Politics are not only present in visual art, where they perhaps are most evident, but also in musical art. Politics occur when an orchestra conductor or a philharmonic society that he or she serves decides what music gets programmed.
Politics occur at music venues that deny a type of genre to be performed, or at movie houses that won’t show certain film genres, or at museums that won’t display visual art forms that they don’t see fit.
These two things, art and politics, are inseparable. That’s the way it works and always will.
With regards to the controversy over a proposed Santa Ana mural
A grand-scale project, like painting a mural, obviously has to go through a public approval and process of some sort. This wouldn’t be just any mural, it would be the largest publicly visible one ever painted in Santa Ana. Do you know that the City of Los Angeles even has a Mural Ordinance? In fact, Los Angeles even has a Department of Cultural Affairs and literature concerning mural processes including issues, rights & responsibilities.
It turns out that Santa Ana’s Planning and Building Agency has guidelines for Public Art processes. These sections in Chapter 15 are crucial to the development of a public artwork, like a mural.
15.3 PUBLIC ART GUIDELINES
a. Public art associated with
commercial development is
encouraged. It is strongly
encouraged that art should invite
participation and interaction,
add local meaning, interpret the
community by revealing its culture
or history, and/or capture or
reinforce the unique character of
Already, a problem is presented with the recent painting of a mural at Plaza Santa Ana. Based on PBA Chapter 15.1, said mural does not “add local meaning, interpret the community by revealing its culture or history, and/or capture or reinforce the unique character of a place.”
Fairness dictates that the following question be asked of the desingers / owners: How does that design add local meaning, interpret the community by revealing its culture or history, and/or capture or reinforce the unique character of a place?
Also, regard section 15.3.d:
d. Art should be sited to complement
other features, such as a plaza or
architectural components that
acknowledge and respond to the
presence of the art and make the
art an integral part of site
So, again, in fairness, how does that piece complement the plaza? I’ve seen the Workshop for Community Art’s propsed mural sketch and it would not complement the one above the plaza. They don’t complement each other because the one proposed one tells a story and the other one just…?
And this gets me to another mural, one in an alley on the side of the Yost. That mural raises a very valid and serious question that no one has bothered to ask publicly. Again, how does that mural add local meaning, interpret the community by revealing its culture or history, and/or capture or reinforce the unique character of a place?
What is in place is a giant graffiti mural or “bomb” (what the one at Plaza Santa Ana is, in reality) with a giant dragon, which is a symbol of Asian culture. Is it because when people think Santa Ana, they think Asian dragons? Or is that what developers want people to think?
The “re-envisioning” and re-characterization of downtown Santa Ana has been studied and proposed before. Refer to this person’s master’s thesis on ripping out Mexican symbols in downtown Santa Ana called “Identity Design for Downtown Santa Ana.”
So now you see the politics behind this newfound “mural movement” in the downtown.
15.4 CITY REVIEW PROCESS
Developers should contact the City as
early as possible during the design
process to obtain information
regarding inclusion of artwork within a
development proposal and guidelines
for developing a project art plan,
selecting and working with artists and
15.5 WORKING WITH CONSULTANTS
Project developers are strongly
encouraged to work with an art
consultant in the selection of artists
and artwork. An art consultant can
provide expert assistance about artists
who work on public projects.
Budgets, site selection and contract
knowledge will assist the developer in
developing the Public Art Plan.
15.6 SELECTING ARTISTS
Artists selected should be generally
recognized as a professional of serious
intent. Their work should show strong
artistic excellence, the ability to
produce works appropriate to the site,
integration of artworks into the design
of the building or landscape. The
artwork should show recognition of
accessibility, durability, and an
awareness of the issues of security,
maintenance, and safety.
Based on these guidelines, and based on the fact that such a thing as a mural ordinance does exist in other places, I recommend that the City of Santa Ana enact a specific mural ordinance, with a body to oversee projects, and make recommendations.
The process should be opened to interested groups to bid on mural projects (what’s fair) to find the best-qualified muralists with a proven record as accomplished muralists and for them to provide that expertise expected in the Chapter 15 Public Art Guidelines.
Said ordinance would complement and strengthen existing guidelines.
Take for example that in Los Angeles, there’s even curriculum being developed for Judy Baca’s mural La gente del maíz (The People of the Corn). Including curriculum could be part of a new ordinance.
It just seems obvious that prior to painting such an important mural, that it has to be done right, with as much information synthesized from what can be learned from other mural movements. We don’t have to look that far, LA is a perfect model. In LA there’s the Social and Public Art Resource Center – SPARC. How do they work with public entities and with the LA mural ordinance? What can be learned from a community that has more of a history with public art in the form of murals? There is much to be learned from an organization involved with the production of 105 murals since 1988. Again, their work directly engages and involves the City of LA’s Department of Cultural Affairs.
Going forward it makes all the sense in the world to adopt and enact a process, one even guaranteeing conservancy.
What we have now is a rush job and a horse race, all the while disregarding processes and more careful studies of other mural projects. There’s an overwhelming amount of information about each mural out there, complete with the histories they contain and the processes involved in getting them done. They too synthesize public input.
Fairness dictates that neither group competing for a public wall, not WCA or UASA, should be awarded anything until there are mechanisms and systems in place in the form of a mural ordinance and an arts commission.
A project like this can only benefit from more thought put into it.
By Hao-Nien Q. Vu
For the original article, and for more on the author, click here. Used by permission.
What happens when a private party wants to hold an event and the city says, if you want to do it, you have to pay $75,000 a year, for 5 years, to this other private entity, because two City Council members are on the board of that other private entity?
You want to play, you got to pay Broadwater and Nguyen’s organization, city says.
That should make anyone’s blood boil, especially if one believes in plain old capitalism and the free market — and even more so in this post-Bell and anti-Kelo era.
Yet that’s exactly what happened in the city of Garden Grove, where after several years of trying, City Council members Bruce Broadwater (now mayor) and Dina Nguyen were still incapable of raising funds for their pet project, the Vietnam War Museum of America Foundation, so they — or at least Broadwater did — tried to make the Tet Festival‘s organizers fork more than a third-a-million over to their non-profit corporation.
Yeah. We don’t know how to fund-raise, so we’ll make someone else pay for our toy.
The 2014 Tet Festival would be the 11th year the Union of Vietnamese Students Association (UVSA) organize at Garden Grove Park under a lease with the city. The second five-year contract expired this year, and the two sides were negotiating for another five-year lease, when, at a meeting attended by Broadwater and city staff, Garden Grove dropped a bombshell: They wanted UVSA to “donate” at least $75,000 to the Vietnam War Museum. This ignominious and communistic proposal was memorialized in a letter from the city to UVSA, (see original article).
The total demanded by the city on behalf of this private entity amounts to a minimum of $375,000 over the time covered by the proposed contract.
The Council members’ pet project
The Vietnam War Museum is, so far, an entity existing solely on paper. The City of Garden Grove voted in 2010 to spend $25,000 on a feasibility study, and put Broadwater and Nguyen on its Board. The study’s results came back seven months later, with a price tag at a whopping $50 million.
At this rate of net proceeds of $3962 a year, it will take 12,600 years for the Vietnam War Museum to get the $50 million it needs.
Usually, that means the Board of Directors should get going on fund-raising. But the organization’s filings with the IRS for the year 2012 show a paltry $29,597 in assets and $31,110 in gross revenue.
The filings also disclose a convenient $999 expense for “Board retreat and meetings.” Broadwater and Nguyen are two out of six members on the Museum’s Board, and Nguyen its only Vietnamese member.
And the Museum managed to spend $5,389 on “Occupancy, rent, utilities, and maintenance,” despite having no location — the Museum’s web site does not show a street address, its IRS filings use the City Hall’s address, and the only physical indication of its existence is a “Future Site of the Vietnam War Museum” sign on an abandoned office building on Harbor Boulevard.
The most over-charged festival in Garden Grove
So naturally the UVSA says no. No way they were going to send money to another entity just because the Council members are on the Board. And they told the City that there may be a conflict of interest issue for these politicians.
In the latest counter offer from the city, they dropped mention of the War Museum’s name, but still wanted $75,000 a year paid to the city. They probably think don’t want to go to jail on corruption charges. And with two votes already in the pocket, they only need just one more vote and get a majority of the City Council to give the $75,000 to the War Museum.
That would make the Vietnamese Tet Festival pay the highest, by far, costs to the City of Garden Grove.
A chart distributed to the media by the UVSA compares the fees paid by the four annual festivals taking place in the city.
Part of UVSA’s fairness argument are the data here.
In contrast with the 3-day Tet Festival, the Strawberry Festival takes place over 4 days, plus a parade, and only has to pay fees capped at a maximum of $30,000 to the city.
The Tet Festival, on the other hand, has been paying anywhere between $40,000 to $63,000 each year from 2009 to 2013, according to the UVSA’s Phu Nguyen, and with the latest demand, these fees would explode to a whopping $150,000.
While the negotiations were going on, out of nowhere popped another applicant to the City to organize the Tet Festival in place of UVSA.
The application by the Trung-Tam Van-Hoa Hong-Bang (TTVHHB) was placed on the agenda for the City Council’s meeting on 8/28. The proposal by TTVHHB lays out all the conditions that Garden Grove has demanded of UVSA and accepts them all.
Unlike the Vietnam War Museum, TTVHHB is a long-time nonprofit with an actual legitimate presence and a history of doing work, the most prominent of which is a Vietnamese-language school for kids. They have also been part of a group of organizers of a Tet festival in Rosemead, traditionally taking place one week after the one in Garden Grove.
When someone with net income of $362 makes a bid to pay $150,000 a year, the most natural question is whether it’s a real bid.
While perfectly legitimate in terms of activities, however, it is unclear whether TTVHHB truly has the financial wherewithal to actually carry out what it proposed.
TTVHHB’s filings with the IRS for 2011 – the latest year available – show revenue of $139,803 and expenses of $139,441, for a total income of merely $362 (yes, three hundred bucks), far far short of the $150,000 it offered the city. The organization’s net assets amount to only $19,453.
In addition, as TheLiberalOC discovered, the organization is in trouble with the state over its annual filings.
“An August 19, 2013 letter from Attorney General Kamala Harris indicates that TTVHHB has failed to file its tax returns and pay registration renewal fees to the state from 2007 to 2011. Until those records, and delinquent fees, are filed with the state, the state will not accept payment for the 2012 fees.”
Since the UVSA’s finances are audited by a CPA designated by the City (and paid for by UVSA), this factoid about TTVHHB shows it may not meet the transparency needed to produce the Tet Festival.
Ever since this proposal came to light, all major Vietnamese-language media outlets have been trying to get hold of the organization, but so far only Vien Dong Daily News has gotten hold of Cang Nguyen, the group’s president.
He told the paper, “We put our application in just in case UVSA doesn’t meet the City’s demands, to prevent communists from taking over the festival” — thus insinuating that Garden Grove is perfectly willing to vote for a communist festival.
The TTVHHB proposal was pulled from the agenda in the last minute and postponed for later. A TV host from a major Vietnamese-American station noted to the Bolsavik that Dina Nguyen was not going to make the 8/27 meeting, and that was why the proposal was pulled.
Maybe. Anyway, it’s still pretty obvious that the TTVHHB proposal has no meat and was probably only used as a ploy to strong-arm UVSA.
That didn’t really work. On 9/4, a week after the canceled agenda item, the UVSA sent a new counter to the city, and, like the Strawberry Festival, they wanted a cap on fees. Their proposal is for a deposit of $50,000 and a maximum of $75,000.
Supported by several community groups, including the very activist Coalition of The Republic of Vietnam Veteran Associations (Vietnamese name: Liên hội Cựu Chiến sĩ VNCH), the UVSA also plans on being at Tuesday’s City Council meeting to decry what they consider an unreasonable and unfair demand.
The UVSA particularly emphasized the fact that over the past 11 years, it has donated half of festival net proceeds to local nonprofits, for a total of over $1,000,000.
A demand of more than $375,000, just for the War Museum, would break the back of this donation tradition, and would force charities ranging from help to at-risk children in Orange County to disabled veterans of the former ROVN still in Vietnam, to compensate for Broadwater and Nguyen’s incompetent fundraising and subsidize their pet project.
Oliver Zavala and yours truly present the Arte Santa Ana podcast. In it we go over Latino arts in Santa Ana and beyond, with related issues.
In episode 1 we talk arts in the downtown, business, demographics, folk, pop and high culture, and more.
For more visit www.arte-santa-ana.org
Coming soon to iTunes.
Available through RSS here.
Also available on Google Feedburner.
For a preview of an article that I contributed to the Santa Ana Register that debuts tomorrow, click here.
The Register informs:
The Santa Ana Register is a new weekly newspaper covering the city of Santa Ana. It will be delivered Thursdays to Orange County Register subscribers. To subscribe, call customer service at 1-877-627-7009.
In addition, a limited number of free copies will be placed in racks Thursdays at the following locations:
Senior Center, 424 W. 3rd St., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Carl’s Jr, 3325 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, CA 92704
Dino’s Burger, 2217 W. Edinger St. Santa Ana, CA 92704
Rite Aid Pharmacy, 1406 W. Edinger St., Santa Ana, CA 92704
Stater Bros, 2630 W. Edinger St., Santa Ana, CA 92704
IHOP Restaurant, 3001 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, CA 92704
CVS Pharmacy, 3907 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, CA 92704
Carrows Restaurant, 3355 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, CA 92704
Chase, 1300 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Dantes Café, 600 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana, CA 92701
La Chiquita Mexican Food, 906 E. Washington Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Northgate Market, 750 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, CA 92704
Martinez Book Store, 216 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Santa Ana Unified School District Headquarters, 1601 E. Chestnut Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Santa Ana Public Library, 20 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Santa Ana City Hall, 20 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Community Court, 909 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Denny’s, 1258 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, CA 92701
OCR Building, 625 N. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Amtrak Station, 1000 E. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Santa Ana Towers, 401 W. 1st St., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Rancho De Mendoza, 100 E. 4th St., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Taco Pronto, 1714 E. McFadden Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705Norris Food Market, 601 E. Andrew Place, Santa Ana, CA 92707
Superior Warehouse, 1710 S. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92707
Delhi Center, 505 E. Central Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92707
Stater Bros., 1230 S. Standard Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92707
KD Donuts, 2102 S. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92707
Yellow Basket restaurant, 1430 E. Edinger Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705
Superior Market, 1730 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Yellow Basket restaurant, 2860 S. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92707
Santa Ana College, 1631 N. Bristol St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Stater Bros., 2603 Westminster, Santa Ana, CA 92706
Super Antojitos, 1702 N. Bristol St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Southwest Senior Center, 2201 W. McFadden Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92704
Polly’s Pies, 2660 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92705
Duke’s restaurant, 2900 W. Warner Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92704
Donut Star, 1430 E. McFadden Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705
Cowgirls Café, 1720 S. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705
Carl’s Jr., 1809 E. Edinger Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705
CVS Pharmacy, 1750 N. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705
Medical Center, 1001 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705
Denny’s Restaurant, 2314 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, CA 92705
Knowlwood Restaurant, 2107 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, CA 92705
IHOP Restaurant, 945 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, CA 92705
Norm’s Restaurant, 121 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, CA 92705
T-2 Market, 2002 S. Flower St., Santa Ana, CA 92707
Bank of America, 2214 S. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92705
The Los Angeles Times drops the term “illegal immigrant” from its writing in a sign of true progressive thought. L.A. is not first in doing so, they’re following the New York Times’ and the Associated Press’ lead.
The Times’ Deirdre Edgar says,
The Los Angeles Times has announced new guidelines for covering immigration.
The goal is to “provide relevance and context and to avoid labels.”
That means stories will no longer refer to individuals as “illegal immigrants” or “undocumented immigrants,” but instead will describe a person’s circumstances.
A memo from The Times’ Standards and Practices Committee announcing the change explains the move away from labels:
” ‘Illegal immigrants’ is overly broad and does not accurately apply in every situation. The alternative suggested by the 1995 guidelines, ‘undocumented immigrants,’ similarly falls short of our goal of precision. It is also untrue in many cases, as with immigrants who possess passports or other documentation but lack valid visas.”
In a city that is overwhelmingly Latino (upwards of over 80 percent) it becomes necessary for the majority to be reflected in the city’s decision making. Santa Ana is in need of a true organic growth from within, and not from unmeasured transplantation from without.
One area where Latinos are grossly under-represented is in business. We Latinos in Santa Ana have the numbers. We are a numeric and political majority, but we are not an economic majority.
Let me rephrase that. We are not the economic engine. We provide dollars and consumers, but we generally don’t generate the jobs, much less own commercial real estate.
In a city where we’ve faced controversy and battles over gentrification, it is up to those of us that care for this city, and who want to see our majority reflected in all aspects of city life, to become the business class.
We’ve faced problems with what some of us interpret as a transgressive landlord in the downtown at the newly christened “East End.” Well the way to counteract landlords like that is to become one yourself. We need more Latino commercial landlords for every type like the “East Enders.”
Why? Why is it important for us to have our majority reflected in commercial real estate? Because then we decide what gets programmed and housed. We decide what cultural activities and events are appropriate. We decide what businesses get leases.
The way things are setup now, The Yost Theater is not a space reflective of the Santa Ana community, and it is a shame. A former city council facilitated privatizing this historic theater and in doing so took what should have been a historic resource and cultural outlet away from the community.
Arts & Letters
Santa Ana is in need of a real rebirth and it must show in the Arts & Letters. Who is our Langston Hughes? Where is our real literary movement? What can we learn from the Harlem Renaissance?
Why is there talk of building a modern museum of Asian art on Harbor Blvd when it is more than obvious that a Latino-specific museum is in order here?
We need to raise the bar of what is expected of ourselves. A publication like Santanero or the sensationalism of Gustavo Arellano is only a start. We can do better.
It is heartening to learn that Latino high school graduation rates are on the rise, as the Department of Education reports. This should translate in the future to more Latino business and commercial real estate owners.
Sandra Wood, Professor of Sociology at Santa Ana College taught that Latinos would become a numeric and political majority first, prior to becoming an economic majority. We’re 2/3rds of the way there.
That day when we’re an economic majority cannot come fast enough.
Miguel Pulido wins a four-year term after the passing of Measure GG, which sets mayoral term limits to two four-year terms.
Two new council members, Angélica Amezcua in Ward 3 and Román Reyna in Ward 5, are elected.
Vincent Sarmiento is re-elected to Ward 1.
At 11:15 pm, with over 85 of 108 precincts reporting, Pulido had 48 percent of the vote, Sarmiento had 55, Amezcua had 30, and Reyna had 60.
A political action committee with close ties to the controversial downtown community management district entity “Downtown Inc” was recently discovered as being behind a defamation campaign aimed at Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido. The group is called the “Stand up for Santa Ana Coalition.”
The names of those involved with Downtown Inc and the PAC are available here.
The question of who is behind Benavides’s campaign was answered piece by piece this week.
There is at least one downtown restaurant owner who is backing him. On Monday night Benavides campaign signs were added to the inside of an empty storefront at the Empire Building on 2nd & Broadway courtesy of a Chapter One business owner. Access to the building was made possible by the building owner, Bob Stewart, who is a former director of Downtown Inc.
Another piece of the puzzle comes in the form of the current Downtown Inc director, Vicky Baxter. She distanced herself and the entity from the mayor over the controversy around the possibility of moving pro soccer club Chivas USA to Eddie West Field, and later, Willowick Golf Course. Downtown Inc was supportive of the move until they were intimidated by a vocal minority in town. She stated in that email, in which she distanced the entity from the mayor, that Downtown Inc does not politic.
Instead, at least two members inside of Downtown Inc are listed as members of this PAC, acting with a name separate of Downtown Inc, but the members are one in the same.
The pattern that has emerged is one of the Downtown Inc network being behind the attempt to oust Pulido.
Downtown Inc has been largely criticized for being out of touch with the longtime local population of Santa Ana and for co-opting ideas based on the OC Film Fiesta and the Grain Project’s Farmer’s Market. The Farmer’s Market ran for years prior to the existence of a Downtown Inc. The entity has also been criticized for showing an unwillingness to work with those that have experience in the downtown, like the directors of the Film Fiesta and the Grain Project.
Another criticism of the entity, that lends to the idea of them being out of touch with Santa Ana, is that they are made up largely of non Santa Ana residents or newcomers.
The entity was formed out of a controversial and unpopular property based tax known as the PBID (Property Based Improvement District). Benavides defended the PBID in the past by taking a dismissive tone of an Orange County Grand Jury Report that was critical of the PBID. He too is a newcomer to Santa Ana in comparison to many others.
The downtown entity is looking for ways to remain solvent, or for a political structure in their favor, perhaps one that will continue to execute a PBID or something similar.
They’re betting on Benavides to be their guy in City Hall.