The Santa Ana Sentinel

Community Message: Santa Ana Officials Look to Propel Local Street Car Project

Posted in Progress Report by Omar Ian Ávalos on August 29, 2013
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Thursday August 29, 2013, 4:20 PM

City of Santa Ana

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Community: Santa Ana Officials Look to Propel Local Street Car Project

Transit system in Portland, Oregon provides insight into the benefits of a local streetcar project

SANTA ANA, CA (August 29, 2013) – On August 28, 2013, officials from Santa Ana conducted a one-day site visit to learn more about the highly successful transit and streetcar system in Portland, Oregon. Out of the 15 systems currently operating and the 40 under design or construction throughout the country, Portland’s has been seen as a model that reflects the Transit Vision for Santa Ana’s proposed streetcar system.

As part of that Vision, it makes perfect sense that the 6th most populous region in the U.S., would consider a sophisticated transit system that rivals those in other major metropolitan areas, complete with commuter rail, modern streetcar, and bus systems.

That vision is at the heart of Santa Ana’s plans for an economically strong and environmentally friendly city. At a recent Santa Ana City Council study session, City Council members confirmed their support and endorsement for moving the Streetcar Project forward.

To understand and examine the benefits of such a project firsthand, the delegates from Santa Ana toured the Portland transit network, including the streetcar. The delegates met with representatives from Portland Streetcar, Inc. a non-profit corporation that has been contracted by the City of Portland to construct and operate the streetcar system, as well as Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon’s Third District and representatives from the City. The delegates included Santa Ana City Council Members David Benavides, Vince Sarmiento, and Roman Reyna who were accompanied by Interim Santa Ana City Manager Kevin O’Rourke, and staff.

Councilman Vince Sarmiento added, “Visiting Portland’s Streetcar project provided a valuable glimpse into the potential benefits a project such as this would bring to the Santa Ana and Orange County communities.”

“The insight that was gained from the site visit further solidifies my decision to promote our own local Streetcar project,” stated Councilman David Benavides. “After personally experiencing Portland’s Streetcar and seeing its regional mobility and economic development benefits, I can say with conviction that I completely stand by my support to move the project forward.”

“This project would be a great investment into the continued revitalization of our downtown. It not only helps our residents commute easier, it also places Santa Ana on the map as a great place to work and shop,” stated Councilman Roman Reyna.

The Santa Ana City Council has taken many positive steps to complete this project and there are plenty of opportunities for community members to provide input. For complete details on Santa Ana’s Streetcar project and to keep abreast of the upcoming phases, please visit:

http://santaanatransitvision.com/fixed_guideway_project.html

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20 Civic Center Plaza, 8th Floor/ P.O. Box 1988, Santa Ana, CA 92702

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Community Message: Santa Ana Public Library now offers downloadable e-books and audiobooks

Posted in Progress Report by Omar Ian Ávalos on August 1, 2013

From: City of Santa Ana <city-of-santa-ana>
Date: August 1, 2013, 11:37:41 AM PDT
To: santa.ana.sentinel@att.net
Subject: Community Message: Santa Ana Public Library now offers downloadable e-books and audiobooks
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Thursday August 1, 2013, 11:34 AM

City of Santa Ana

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Community: Santa Ana Public Library now offers downloadable e-books and audiobooks

Hi Omar Ian Ávalos Gallegos,

On-the-go, 24/7, access to digital library materials!

SANTA ANA, CA (August 1, 2013) – The Santa Ana Public Library is welcoming Santa Ana residents to the digital age with greater access to library materials than ever before. The Santa Ana Public Library is now lending e-books and e-audiobooks, available for download from the library’s website through OverDrive®. Library card holders can now check out and download digital media anytime and anywhere, by visiting http://www.santa-ana.org/library

Users may browse the library’s digital collection and check out materials with a valid Santa Ana library card and pin number. From there, users can download their books and audiobooks to their PC, Mac®, or mobile devices. Titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, so borrowers can avoid overdue fees for digital titles.

In recent years, electronic and digital resources have become really popular. Downloadable titles give library card holders a new way to access information. Remote access databases allowed library card holders to perform research from home; now, they can download books and audiobooks from home. With the availability of online lending, the Santa Ana Public Library expands library services for on-the-go access, available beyond traditional business hours.

To keep up with the latest news, events, and programs at the Santa Ana Public Library, “like” the library’s official Facebook profile at: www.facebook.com/SantaAnaPRCSA. Show your support, stay informed, and be part of the discussion.

Library Locations:

Main Library – 26 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 647-5250

Newhope Library – 122 N. Newhope Street, Santa Ana, CA 92703
(714) 647-6992

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Sent by City of Santa Ana
20 Civic Center Plaza, 8th Floor/ P.O. Box 1988, Santa Ana, CA 92702

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The Santa Ana Register Returns as a Weekly, Starting Tomorrow

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

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Community Message: City of Santa Ana Installs Payment Kiosk to facilitate 24/7 Bill Payment Access

Posted in Progress Report by Omar Ian Ávalos on June 3, 2013

Community: City of Santa Ana Installs Payment Kiosk to facilitate 24/7 Bill Payment Access

SANTA ANA, CA (June 3, 2013) – The City of Santa Ana is pleased to announce that it has installed its first bill payment kiosk at City Hall. The kiosk will make it easier for residents to submit payments for utility bills, parking citations, dog licenses, paramedic subscriptions and business licenses. This state of the art kiosk accepts checks, credit cards and cash, and also dispenses change in currency and coins for cash transactions. The City has a large number of customers who come to City Hall to make their municipal payments; therefore, an alternative payment method became necessary to accommodate recent city hall closures and to alleviate the need to wait in line.

The kiosk is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week and is monitored via surveillance cameras. Payments made by 6:00 pm will be credited to customers’ accounts that day, with next day credit if payment is made after 6:00 p.m. Transactions can be performed in either English or Spanish. City staff is always looking for innovative ways to process payments and we look forward to bringing new technology to our community to make doing business a new and efficient experience for all.

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L.A. Times Drops “Illegal Immigrant”

Posted in Civics, Progress Report by Omar Ian Ávalos on May 1, 2013

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.”

Click here to read more

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Santiago Creek Bike Trail to be Completed

Posted in Progress Report by Omar Ian Ávalos on April 25, 2013

Bruce Bauer, a Santa Ana resident informs:

“Your support for the trail “missing link” of the Santiago Creek Bike trail is much appreciated. Consultants have come in and made proposals on the bike trail plan and your review and recommendations are needed.

The City of Santa Ana will host two open houses for residents to review and comment on concepts and recommendations contained in the city’s draft update of the General Plan Circulation Element and ways to improve neighborhoods, housing affordability, and mobility as part of the General Plan Housing Element.” 

The open houses will be held on: 

• Saturday, April 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Southwest Senior Center, 2201 W. McFadden Avenue, and 

• Thursday, May 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Santa Ana Senior Center, 424 West Third Street.

The Circulation Element contains new and exciting proposals for the city’s streets, bike routes and sidewalks.

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STEAM Program Comes to Century H.S.

Posted in Arts & Culture, Business, Education, Progress Report, Santa Ana College, SAUSD by Omar Ian Ávalos on February 20, 2013

Century High School aims to improve its academic performance through a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) program initiative.

“After being recognized as a persistently low achieving school by the state of CA in 2007 (the API scores in the last 5 years haven’t exceeded 600), Century H.S. has taken many steps to improve the curriculum and clean up the campus in the hopes of attracting higher achieving students. They then applied for a Federal grant for a STEM program, added an arts component, and created 4 academies devoted to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math starting with the 2011-2012 school year. There are currently 80 students in this program.

The problem is that Century is facing is that they have this great program and a lack of awareness. This is where I intend to help. On March 16th, from 9 am to 12 pm Century H.S. is holding an orientation for new parents to show off the various programs that they offer, including STEAM, and this is a great opportunity for them to recruit high potential 8th graders to enroll in Century HS this fall. They have so much to offer, for example they have a 3D printer on campus for the use of their engineering classes, which is incredibly progressive for a high school. I am working on a strategy to help promote this event so that there will be a good turnout and hopefully increased enrollment in the STEAM program,” according to Santa Ana resident Kiko Secor of Ingram Micro, who is a Master’s candidate in the College of Communications at Cal State Fullerton. Ms. Secor is promoting awareness for Century’s STEAM program as part of her thesis project.

For more about STEAM click here.

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UCI Vice Chancellor to Speak in Santa Ana

Posted in Education, Progress Report, SAUSD by Omar Ian Ávalos on October 15, 2012

— Irvine, Calif., October 15, 2012 —

Thomas Parham, UC Irvine’s vice chancellor for student affairs, will visit Santa Ana Valley High School at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, as part of Achieve UC, a program designed to deliver a simple message to California students: You are college material.

The goal of the effort, which targets schools in historically under-resourced communities, is to inspire youths to aim for college and arm them with the information they need to get there.

“Our task is to inspire the next generation to actualize their talents and potential in pursuing higher education,” Parham said. “Indeed, access to higher education is the civic rights issue of our time, and we need students to know that the University of California is the path that can take them from where they are now to where they dream about being.”

Under the program, UC President Mark G. Yudof and chancellors and senior leaders from various UC campuses will speak the same day at high schools across California.

“I’ve visited high schools up and down the state, and it’s always exciting to see students learn about the financial support that exists and discover that a University of California education is attainable,” Yudof said. “If they push themselves, work hard and dream big, we’ll make sure the doors of opportunity are open to them. We want their talents, their passion and their perspectives.”

Achieve UC is expected to reach about 10,000 high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors over a two-week period. Beyond hearing from UC leadership, they’ll learn about scholarships and programs intended to make college affordable for all Californians – such as UC’s Blue & Gold Opportunity Plan, which covers the full cost of tuition for students whose families earn $80,000 a year or less.

They’ll also meet with UC advisers and receive customized assessments of college readiness that highlight specific courses they need to complete to be eligible for admission to California’s public four-year universities or, alternately, transfer into these schools from a community college.

These personalized “road maps” are designed to reach students at a critical juncture in their high school career, giving them time to take the courses necessary to prepare for postsecondary education. Achieve UC builds on programs the University of California already has in high schools across the state to help put students on a path to college.

“One or two courses at this stage can make a huge difference in a student’s future,” said Yvette Gullatt, UC executive director of education partnerships. “Once students realize that they’re on track – or close to on track – with their coursework, they’ll often apply themselves to their studies, sign up to take the SAT and be inspired to see college as a part of their future.”

About the University of California, Irvine:

Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit http://www.today.uci.edu.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

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Prelude to a New Song?

Posted in Downtown, Opinion, Progress Report, Ward 2 by Omar Ian Ávalos on June 2, 2012

The Church of Scientology held a grand opening for its new Orange County church at the site of the old Masonic Temple at 5th & Sycamore streets in Downtown Santa Ana on Saturday, June 2, 2012.

A number of guest speakers lined up to sing the new location’s praises. The president of the Orange County branch of Scientology explained the building’s history, and said that the center would be open to the community. What their definition of community is remains to be seen.

They could be talking about the larger county or they could be more specifically talking about Santa Ana.

No matter if one agrees or disagrees with their views, they must be commended for the improvements done to the building, even though it looks like something out of BioShock. It’s been restored to its past Art déco glory.

It also brings that corner of the downtown back to life, and this could tie into the monthly art walks.

I find myself now thinking about the Yost’s reopening and how they said they’d be open to community. They have yet to satisfy me.

Will the Scientologists be open to the community? Surely they’d be open to recruiting so in that sense yes. But can a Santa Ana community organization hold an event there? Time will tell.

This is a common theme. One incoming group says, “We’ll be open to the community,” like the Yost, the Scientologists, and Newsong church is saying about the Santora.

Following the Yost’s example, these other two centers could be more for busing in visitors to this city. The least they could do is open up to hold events that the Santa Ana community would want to see.

If they do allow the Santa Ana community to use that historic space, I’m okay with them being here, and the same goes for Newsong.

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PE ROW: Latest Study Disallows LA Metro Light Rail Along Santa Ana Blvd

Posted in Progress Report, Transit by Omar Ian Ávalos on May 16, 2012

The idea of taking a one-seat ride from downtown Santa Ana to downtown Los Angeles and back, along Santa Ana Blvd, is meeting resistance from Santa Ana staff, those involved with Santa Ana Transit Vision.

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) sent representatives to the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center (SARTC) on Tuesday, May 15 to present the latest developments in their study of reusing the Pacific Electric Right of Way (PE ROW) for mass transit, and to gather feedback from residents.

The City of Santa Ana, in conjunction with the City of Garden Grove, remains set on the idea of installing a slower-running street car with a limited route ranging from the SARTC, along Santa Ana Blvd, to Harbor Blvd. If a streetcar is approved, and LA Metro is not allowed to run light rail into the city, Santa Ana riders traveling to LA will be forced to transfer to a potential LA Metro line at Harbor Blvd at the PE ROW in Garden Grove.

LA riders traveling into Santa Ana will have to transfer to the local streetcar system at Harbor Blvd. A SCAG spokesperson said that Orange County will experience job growth in the future, whereas LA will lose jobs. This is one main reason why LA Metro is pressing for use of the PE ROW for mass transit all the way into Orange County. One of the highest concentrations of job centers in the county, with the highest amount of external commuters, is Santa Ana because of the many County of Orange jobs found here.

Santa Ana staff asked LA Metro to study other alternatives besides Santa Ana Blvd and two solutions were proposed. One was a rail line running east on 17th street at Harbor Blvd, turning right on Main street to the SATRC, and the other was a line running south on Harbor Blvd, then east on 1st street to the SARTC terminus.

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The 17th street option would serve Santa Ana College and the 1st street option would serve points along First street like the downtown at either Broadway or Main street.

SCAG is concluding its final round of community meetings this week and will then report its findings and recommendations to the LA and OC transit authorities.

Fore more visit the Pacific Electric Corridor page and Santa Ana Transit Vision.