Two items in particular have caught my eye on the council agenda. First is the rescission and re-vote on the reduction and suspension of fees charged to for-profit adult soccer leagues by the city. Back in September the council reduced then suspended these fees, costing the city $127,488 in fees, targeted for use in developing additional artificial turf fields,Â overÂ the next couple years. They are having to conduct this do-over because both Councilman Tinajero and Councilwoman Martinez discovered that the money they had accepted from one of the 6 adult leagues operating in the city prevented them from voting. According to Tinajero and Martinez, they didn’t know that they had received $500 each in May and did not remember reading that information on their campaign finance reports, when they signed them,Â slightly more than a month before their vote.
Even though the $500 contributions helped Tinajero and Martinez assist in guiding the reduction and suspension of fees through a subcommittee process and completely around their Parks and Rec Commission, their two votes were not needed anyway to give away funds meant to develop additional artificial turf soccer fields. there are still enough votes on the council to give for profit leagues more profit and Santa Ana’s youth less soccer fields.
So if people have a concern about the need for more soccer fields in Santa Ana, it would be a good idea to show up at tonight’s council meeting and give the council an ear full.
We also have the matter of setting back the clock on the agreement for some of the Station District Development project. The Community Redevelopment Agency as a proposal on its agenda to:Â
3. POTENTIAL RESCISSION AND RE-APPROVAL OF SANTA ANA STATION DISTRICT AFFORDABLE HOUSING DISPOSITION AND DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Consider rescission of the Disposition and Development Agreement with Santa Ana Station District LLC (Developer), subject to Developer’s consent, and resubmittal of the Disposition and Development Agreement for Agency Board approval at a future date.
I can only imagine what this is going to cost the Community Redevelopment Agency. I find it difficult to believe that the developers will just walk away from this without some compensation. Unfortunately, what little te public knows is concealed by last week’s closed session meeting on the project and the limited description above.
The matter of the Stations District Project is of particular concernt given this tidbit of information from a recentÂ LATimes story.
A Times investigation by reporters Jessica Garrison, Kim Christensen and Doug Smith found that cities across California have skirted or ignored laws requiring them to build affordable homes and in the process mismanaged hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.
— In Santa Ana and Avalon, officials spent millions on projects that knocked down homes, displaced low-income people and worsened blight without producing anything in its place. Block after block in a 94-acre area east of Santa Ana’s civic center is lined with boarded-up buildings and vacant lots. In the Santa Catalina Island city, where housing is so scarce that workers sometimes sleep in the bushes, a half-block of property where cottages were razed to make way for more homes has sat, sun-baked and undeveloped, for 15 years.
Moving them out
Santa Ana officials spent the last decade buying and bulldozing single-family homes and apartments east of downtown, uprooting homeowners and low-income renters.
“A lot of people got moved out and were told a story that something good was going to be done,” said Fred Reyes, whose family had owned a 1901 Victorian for nearly 40 years when the city acquired it from his mother and knocked it down.
“You drive through there and you go, wow,” said Reyes, 41. “You’d think by now something would have been done.”
Sandi Gottlieb, a project manager with Santa Ana’s Community Development Agency, said it took a decade “to get a good cohesive development site” because the agency bought properties as they became available rather than acquiring them through eminent domain. She said the city now has a viable plan with a “quality developer” and could begin construction next year on a housing project near vibrant new shops.
“Obviously, we would like to have gotten going sooner than now,” she said. Although redevelopment agencies are generally required to develop land for housing within five years of acquiring it, state records show that as of 2008, the agencies had been holding more than a quarter of their undeveloped land for periods longer than that. Nearly 15% had been held for more than a decade.
NOTE TO POTENTIAL PUBLIC SPEAKERS: You want to be sure to address your questions through the Chair/Mayor when you make comment and stick to the issues the council deals with. We wouldn’t want Mayor Pro Tem Alvarez getting all agitated and cutting of your microphone or anything like that.
The meeting is scheduled to be held starting at 5:00 pm in theÂ City Hall, 8th Floor, Room 831, 20 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana, California 92702.
Show up a little before 5pm and demand to be allowed entry into the conference room while the council members arrive. You wouldn’t want to miss any part of the meeting and Public Comment is supposed to be taken first.