In Praise of Two Councilmembers

Too often it seems we are going after the Santa Ana City Council, criticizing many of it’s members for their transgressions. In this post, I plan to praise two in particular for good work they did in the last two weeks. As I have said before, I am often harsh on the Council due to my time working for Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and seeing firsthand how a local elected official truly provided the basic local services for her consituents. Of course she learned it from her own father, the legendary Kenneth Hahn, who truly set the standard for all local elected officials and how one should conduct themself in the community when it comes to providing constituent services. Kenneth Hahn was known for putting his children in the car on a Saturday morning and driving around his Supervisorial District looking for infrastructure that needed fixing. One personal story in regards to Janice Hahn, there was on occasion where several people complained about graffiti in the San Pedro Library. When it was reported to Councilwoman Hahn, she stopped what she was doing, had a couple of her staff members get in the car and they all drove over to the library to see for themselves and get the problems fixed.

These last two weeks, two Councilmembers lived up to that standard and when called upon, jumped into action to fix the problem, Councilman David Benavides and Councilman Vincent Sarmiento. I will begin with David Benavides.

Roughly three weeks ago, I was driving eastbound on 17th St. after picking up my son from school. Now at close to 6PM, 17th St. is fairly busy, but this time it was horrifically jammed with traffic. I thought there might have been an accident at the intersection of Grand Ave. As we slowly got closer, I saw the case was a malfunctioning light. The east and west bound lights on 17th St. were only staying green for a few seconds, allowing only 4 to 5 cars go through at a time. The only time it stayed the normal time was if someone was crossing the street. Both directions of 17th were jammed. I quickly called Councilman Benavides and informed him of the situation. He got right on the problem and contacted the Public Works Department at City Hall. Later that evening, I went to Target and saw someone from the city at the light taking a look at the problem. There has not been a problem since and traffic has flowed as smoothly as it can at that time. But it could have been much worse of a traffic jam if Benavides had not quickly responded.

Now for the help received from Councilman Sarmiento. I occasionally ride by bike to and from work in Costa Mesa, near South Coast Plaza. Brian Bist, who I served with on ETAC, really sold me on the idea. Recently the city has been creating a bike trail along the sewage channel that runs along Flower St. from MacArthur Blvd to where it would intersect with the Pacific Electric Bike Trail. The trail had been completed for weeks, yet the gate at where the two trails intersect remained locked. I called the city, they did not fix it. At the Bill Clinton event, I ran into Councilman Sarmiento and informed him of the problem. He mentioned he would look into it next week. Of course that was the week it rained all week, so I did not ride my bike and did not notice if the gate had been unlocked. Earlier this week I noticed the gate had been opened and the bike traffic now flows freely to the Flower St. Trail. So I wanted to take this moment to publicly thank Vince Sarmiento and David Benavides for taking action when a problem came their way on the small local issues most Councilmembers are supposed to deal with.

Thank you and keep up the good work. You two have lived up to the Kenneth Hahn legacy.

  4 comments for “In Praise of Two Councilmembers

  1. cook
    October 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm


  2. Mike Tardif
    October 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I have worked with Councilman Benavides on several community issues. He is a hard working and very open elected official.

    We may not end up in agreement on an issue, but at least you get the feeling that he has really listened to the community’s concerns; and that he has given residents (or businesses) every opportunity to voice those concerns and to be part of the process of decision making.

    I have not had the opportunity to work with Councilman Sarmiento.

  3. Northcountystorm
    October 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Nice post. Local electeds at their best. My experience with these two is consistent with your post.

  4. DFCC
    October 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Don’t forget, Councilman Benavides is the ONLY Santa Ana elected official that has an open meeting on Saturdays at the SW Senior Center. He wants to hear from residents and their problems.

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