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Time For Santa Ana To Grow Up

Santa Ana Water TowerThe city of Santa Ana is one of the largest cities in California and its leaders fancy it as a “big boy” city.  Well if that is ever really going to happen Santa Ana needs to grow up and act like one of the big boys.  Reverting back to televising only one of the city council meetings each month is not a sign that Santa Ana is maturing in the proper manner.  If Santa Ana is going to be a major player in the game, our elected officials need to open up our city government and do the “peoples” business in public.

Much has been made about Councilmember Michele Martinez’s efforts to get both city council meetings back on television each month.  While Martinez should be commended for wanting this, her efforts are flawed because they do not go far enough.  Not only should both council meetings be televised, so should both Planning Commission meetings and both should be streamed on the city’s website.  The public should be able to go back and view any of the meetings at the leisure via the web.

The openess of our city governement should not be limited to the televising of meetings as many of Martinez’s supporters seem to want.  We need to go further in opening our government for all to see.  Again I find myself turning to the city of San Francisco for inspiration.  Just as I think Santa Ana should follow San Francisco’s lead regarding immigration policies and streetcars, we should follow their lead on open government as well.

The Santa Ana city council needs to take a good strong look at San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance for some inspiration.  The first section of the ordinance says it all, “Government”s duty is to serve the public, reaching its decisions in full view of the public”.  The city of Santa Ana must take heed to this principle and move forward with a more open form of government.

In the coming weeks I plan to meet with Santa Ana officials, including Councilmember Sal Tinajero, and lobby for Santa Ana to implement a similar ordinance in our city.  An open government is good government and this is the message I plan to convey to Sal and others.  I urge you all to take a look at San Francisco’s ordinance and familiarize yourself with it.  I think you will like what you see.

Open government is more than just televising council meetings.  We need to insure that the public has access to all the information that our elected officials have.  We may not always agree with their decisions but we must always be able to see how they came to the decisions they make.  The Santa Ana Sunshine ordinance is what we need to insure our city grows up.


  1. Art Pedroza Art Pedroza December 30, 2007

    Bravo Sean! I hope Sal and the rest of them take note. I assure you the media won’t be letting up. The Times will be putting out another piece about the closed government in Santa Ana, in January.

  2. Anonymous Anonymous December 30, 2007

    Michelle Martinez’s motion to televise City Council meetings and stream them on the City’s website was not even seconded by any of her colleagues. What makes you think that Sal, or any of the other Councilmembers will support open and transparent government in Santa Ana now?

  3. jose s. jose s. December 30, 2007

    anonymous 1:07 good point, sal has become pulidos new “boy” and by some of his recent actions i seriously regret helping him get into office with my vote. one thing is for sure, he’s never getting my vote again. i was really happy when he was elected now he’s just a big dissapointment.

  4. Sean H. Mill Sean H. Mill Post author | December 30, 2007

    Anon 1:07,

    I don’t know for sure how any of them will respond. I do know that Sal will be open to hearing what I have to say on the matter. I know he believes in transparency in our government and that entails more than just pushing for televised meetings. I have not discussed this issue with him as of yet so I cannot and will not speak for him on this.

    But Sal is his own man just as I am my own man. I want to see our government act in a much more open and transparent manner. I have been pushing for this for years. I am glad to see that johnny-come-latelys like the Times and Register have joined me.

    Perhaps if the local newspapers had put more pressure on Santa Ana officials years ago we would not find ourselves in the situation we are in now. It took blogs and bloggers to put the pressure on before the Times or the Register even took notice of what is going on.

    Where were all of you when Pulido and company stopped televising both meetings in an effort to shut Ted Moreno up? You were on his side cheering him on that’s where. You need to accept some of the blame as well.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous December 30, 2007

    Sal had a chance to vote on open government when Michelle Martinez made a motion before the City Council to televise both City Council meetings and put them on the City’s website. Sal, or any one of the other councilmembers, chose to not even second the motion. Pathetic!

    Please do not try to change the subject to where this outrage has been and why nobody cared to help a felon like Ted Moreno.

    There is nothing stopping Sal, or any of the other councilmembers, from putting forward a measure to make Santa Ana city government more open. I just doubt that Mayor Pulido will allow them to.

  6. Sean H. Mill Sean H. Mill Post author | December 30, 2007

    Anon 8:19,

    I am not trying to change the subject at all. What I would like to do is welcome you all to the party. The reason Santa Ana is governed the way it is, is because so many sat on the sidelines or cheered on the machine that has its grip on power. It took you people long enough to wake up to what I have been saying for years.

    I am going to urge Sal to consider putting forth a measure similar to the SF Sunshine Ordinance. Such a measure would go much further than anything Ms. Martinez or any other of the self-annointed revolutionaries have suggested we go.

  7. Art Pedroza Art Pedroza December 30, 2007


    “Self-anointed revolutionaries?” You were in that number once Sean. What happened? Did a mere commission appointment placate you?

    Commission appointments mean nothing. We won’t realize true change in Santa Ana until we toss Pulido and his crooked cabal…including your boy Sal.

  8. Bladerunner Bladerunner December 30, 2007

    Sean: Local sunshine ordinances are nice and fine but we already have a sunshine law that applies to the City of Santa Ana; it’s called the Brown Act. In fact the Sups in San Francisco have borrowed both the spirit and for the most part the letter of the Brown Act with their ordinance.

    But they did give the issue a goofy San Francisco flavor—the part that “only a strong open government and sunshine ordinance and a strong sunshine ordinance task force can protect the public’s interest in open government.” Of course that’s nonsense. The legal tool exists to protect the public’s interest in open government–it’s called the Brown Act. And the D.A.(see City of Garden Grove or Capo Valley Unified)or private litigants(Orange Unified)will crash attempts at secret parties by councils or boards. What’s really required are council and board members who will comply with the law and tell the staff(some of whom would love to do their business in private) “Not on my watch.” And then look for ways to open up government more then the law requires. The latter is what Michelle Martinez did in Santa Ana and her colleagues did not. I didn’t see any of the other council members say ” Gee Michelle, we think your idea for televising all council meetings is great but we’re not going to even second your motion for discussion because it does not go far enough.”

    A few other notes:

    1) Creating a local Santa Ana ordinance with the Frisco model by itself won’t require the City to televise all the council meetings. It won’t require the City to provide streaming video of their council meetings .

    2) It will provide cover for city council members who refuse to televise all their meetings or provide streaming video to say they are for open government.

    3) You suggested covering Planning Commission meetings as well as council meetings. That makes sense. And providing 24-7 access to people on their computers is also a good suggestion of yours. Why not make that part of the Santa Ana ordinance you are recommending to Sal?

    4) Why not ask Michelle for her support? She’s shown more of an interest in open government then Sal or anyone else on the council. And while you’re at it,
    it’s bad form to commend someone for something, then say their idea is flawed and refer to them as a self-anointed revolutionary. Maybe you can get Sal and Michelle on the same page on this issue.

    5) You’ve been a long time supporter of open government. Just don’t put your faith in an ordinance by itself. The council simply needs to stand up, except perhaps those who are too shy.

  9. someone someone December 31, 2007

    You people are ignoring the huge problem. Santa Ana is full of illegal immigrants who are gangsters and criminals. Most of them are dangerous hispanics who carry diseases, literal and figurative, and more children than the santa ana schools and the government programs can or should handle. There are some asians but they are marginalized. There are even fewer blacks and whites to balance out this mess that is Santa Ana.

    Calling Santa Ana a big city should be like calling Bakersfield Chicago, or Sacramento Washington DC. it’s a horrible joke.

    The only real solution is for city officials to say they won’t take it anymore and declare that they will obey federal law even if it results in rioting and disorder; i mean lifting the wrong and foolish policy of being a “sanctuary city”. Kick the Mexicans and the MS13 OUT of santa ana forever.

    Or else Santa Ana will, in a decade or more, become OC’s “Los Angeles 18th Street Long Beach South Central”. SA will take the whole county down with it, with Northwest County backing them up all the way. Not even Irvine and the Southern Cities can stem the tide, they will eventually fall as well.

  10. Anonymous Anonymous December 31, 2007

    someone/jackass, Santa Ana is not officially a Sanctuary City.

  11. someone someone December 31, 2007

    hey anonymous maybe its not “official” but everyone knows about santa ana’s sins. just like everyone knows that up in LA their mayor is a butt-kisser of the illegal immigrant crowd and was possibly part of the problem himself before being elected and doing their bidding. Santa Ana’s congresswoman is no friend of a good border or a safe city, no less a safe county seat. Sanchez should never have been elected but shes done well on a pro-illegal platform.

    Gust. Why would I be anyone else but myself? Heck no I am not anyone named Lupe. I’m not hispanic at all that is for sure. I lurked on this website and others and I haven’t really made comments until today.

    I am a Liberal, however that word doesn’t have much meaning anymore. On Santa Ana I only have my position, and its the best position to have. Conservatives and those who care about the fate of this country also agree with me. Eventually something will be done like it or not!

    P.S. move the county seat from Santa Ana to Irvine. When the rest of the county thinks of Orange County, CA they want to think about any town other than Santa Ana. Irvine is going to take the lead in turning that old base into the Great Park; that would be a good spot to put it.

  12. Gustavo Arellano Gustavo Arellano January 1, 2008

    “Myself” of course being some anonymous coward who can spout all the positions and jeremiads s/he wants but doesn’t have the decency to identify themselves. See you on Free Republic “someone”!

  13. someone someone January 1, 2008

    Why should I identify myself? so that OC Weekly can write about me, with my name? You can use the name “someone” and write about me, and say that I refer to myself as “Myself.” go ahead i don’t really give a rat. It’s a free press you can write whatever you want just as I can. You can slander and libel me even since I never bothered to put out my name or ID! I followed the link on your name so it appears that you write “Ask a Mexican” OH WOW apparently you know something that I do not! You only have three, no four, real topics. Mexican Food, Border Hopping, Gangsters, and Drug Use! I assume you choose to omit the blight that is most of Santa Ana. However Architecture magazines have your number on that one and you think why embarrass yourself further?

    Is the word Jeremiad supposed to be an insult to my positions, that somehow after using that word, none of it is true, or that I am some kind of bigot?

    I challenge you to prove me wrong! Am I wrong about SA’s demographics? Am I wrong about SA’s gang problem? Am I wrong about the trend that the future brings because of the half-hearted tip-toeing approach by those with power?

    OC weekly is a dirty rag, and it has more ads for prostitutes than articles.

  14. someone is somewhat stupid someone is somewhat stupid January 1, 2008


  15. jose s. jose s. January 1, 2008

    i think someone is tan nguyen. silly tan man.

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