Distracted?! Claudia Alvarez Does Some Contrition Cleansing

I finally got the chance to review the video of last Monday’s Santa Ana City Council meeting. Unsurprisingly Claudia Alvarez was already back to her usual form; rewriting history and putting her foot in her mouth.

When the Council got around to hearing her 85A agenda item, the repeal of the PBID that funds Downtown Inc., she ranted on for more than fifteen minutes about how bad the downtown property tax assessment is for the downtown businesses. She sang the sorrowed song of the businesses who she voted to tax and whose cause she now champions. She railed against the injustice of the Board of Directors of Downtown Inc. which she called a “private club funded by public money.” The same club whose contract she has supported time and time again, most recently in May 0f 2009 without even a second thought.

Alvarez chastised her colleague Councilwoman Michele Martinez, for failing to fight for the needs of these businesses in her Ward. She lamented the loss of time to address this important issue because of the “distraction” regarding her censure for hate filled and anti-Semitic remarks she had made comparing a Jewish business owner’s actions ethnic cleansing and stating that Downtown Inc.’s renting office space from him was like renting from Hitler.

Claudia Alvarez

Santa Ana Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

Her comments on the distraction of two weeks ago come at about the 2:43:50 time mark on the video of the 9/19/11 Council Meeting here. Alvarez says:

“Now a lot of issues have come down pertaining to Downtown Inc.—And no I’m not going to be intimidated into stopping the conversation. I know there’s been a distraction out there—We’re back.”

Doesn’t really seem that the Mayor Pro Tem saw the impact of her anti-Semitism and the resulting community discussion as anything more than a distraction for her, an annoyance if you will. Something that can simply be cleansed away. I think it’s called Contrition Cleansing.

Yeah Councilman Sarmiento, looks like Claudia Alvarez has learned a lot from the rebuke you found to be proportional to her actions. Lucky for Vince he had to miss this display as well, he had to recuse himself from the discussion due to a conflict of interest. I’m guessing Sarmiento will see her comments as proportional to her rebuke.

You can see how contrite she is when she lashes out at Councilwoman Michele Martinez at the end of her tirade, falsely accusing her of not taking any action to meet with, or support, the businesses in her Ward. Martinez voted against Councilman Sarmiento’s motion to just rebuke Alvarez for her anti-Semitic remarks. Hell hath no fury as Claudia scorned.

Sal Tinajero

Santa Ana City Councilman Sal Tinajero (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

At the end of the discussion, seeing that her request for Public Hearing to disband the PBID would not pass, she continued the matter to the next meeting promising to bring it back again until she does. So while the rest of her colleagues want to discuss the pressing issue of a city on the verge of financial collapse, she wants to be allowed to torture us with more 15 minute or longer rants. And since she will always be chairing those discussions as Mayor Pro Tem, no one will be able to shut her up after the three minutes members are supposed to be allowed to talk on an issue. I’ll bet Councilman Tinajero now wishes he could go back to his happy place and recast his vote to only rebuke her.

  22 comments for “Distracted?! Claudia Alvarez Does Some Contrition Cleansing

  1. Get a clue
    September 26, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Chris
    Thank you for your continued involvement with this council.
    It defies logic and common sense that Pulido, Alvarez, Tinajero, and Martinez would EVER be relected. Sarmiento is a better wordsmith, Benevides is a nice guy, and Bustamante is…….oh well. One only has to listen to them speak once to realize this is all about ethnicity. Such a shame, this once great City, reduced to a roiling ghetto, surrounded by a respectable bandaid of “normal” businesses and a few neighborhoods still fighting the good fight.

    Pulido has treated this City as his personal erector set too long. He doesn’t even care anymore what is destroyed or built as long as it suits his specific needs. I guess the good news is that with some of the recent missteps by council, there is a good chance they will start to unwind and we can pick up the pieces and start again.

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    September 26, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Well, she wasn’t really punished for her anti-semitic comments so this an example that her description of what happened “as a a discration” shows her apology was insincere.

  3. September 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Her whole attitude while “apologizing” and, indeed, during this entire episode shows how insincere she really is about the whole issue. Looking back on the whole issue, I don’t know that she should have resigned like some demanded, but she should at least sit down and shut up for awhile. Where’s that happy place when you need it?

  4. art lomeli
    September 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Antisemitism
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Antisemitism
    Part of Jewish history

    Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S. governmental report, antisemitism is “hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity.”[1]

    In its extreme form, it “attributes to the Jews an exceptional position among all other civilizations, defames them as an inferior group and denies their being part of the nation[s]” in which they reside.[2]

    A person who holds such views is called an “antisemite”. Antisemitism may be manifested in many ways, ranging from expressions of hatred of or discrimination against individual Jews to organized violent attacks by mobs, or even state police, or military attacks on entire Jewish communities.

    Extreme instances of persecution include the pogroms which preceded the First Crusade in 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the massacres of Spanish Jews in 1391, the persecutions of the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the expulsion from Portugal in 1497, various Russian pogroms, the Dreyfus Affair, and the Final Solution by Hitler’s Germany and official Soviet anti-Jewish policies.

    While the term’s etymology might suggest that antisemitism is directed against all Semitic peoples, the term was coined in the late 19th century in Germany as a more scientific-sounding term for Judenhass (“Jew-hatred”),[3] and that has been its normal use since then.[4]

    From the blog piece:

    “hate filled and anti-Semitic remarks she had made comparing a Jewish business owner’s actions ethnic cleansing and stating that Downtown Inc.’s renting office space from him was like renting from Hitler”

    The comment was directed towards a downtown business owner not a Jewish business owners. She never mentioned him as a Jewish anything…….never mentioned Jewish and made no degrading comments associated with his Jewish background.

    Mr. Chase is on record having taken his long term leases to month to month leases and telling the renters that if they do not change their products marketed to Immigrant Hispanics he would evict them.

    The dictionary definition of “Ethnic Cleansing” that Alvarez used is correct.

    Her accusations of this behavior by Mr. Chase she likened to a tyrant. She made the mistake of using “Hitler”. If the tyrant example would of been Atila the Hahn or any other historical tyrant this is a no story.

    • Get a clue
      September 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      The issue that you are conviently sidestepping is critical for understanding Chase’s motivation. The customer base has evolved and shopping habits have changed to the point that many of Chase’s renters were not making enough money to pay the rent. Chase had to subsidize and reduce rent for many of them. How long was he supposed to do that?
      If this was happening anywhere but downtown Santa Ana, the shopkeepers would likely have paid attention to a sucessful businessman like Chase and made an effort to revise their business model.
      It is obvious to anyone with one eye open, that this whole PBID drill is a ploy keep 4th street and the people who shopped there trapped in a cycle of poor, segregated, Hispanic only, all others stay away! Sorry, you had a good run at it, but it’s over now. Now we are moving back to an all inclusive atmosphere. Try it you’ll like it!

  5. September 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Dr. Lomeli if we are going to play Wikipedia roulette, let’s play:

    Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.[1]

    An earlier draft by the Commission of Experts described ethnic cleansing as “the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory, persons of a particular ethnic group, by force or intimidation, in order to render that area ethnically homogenous.” which it based on “the many reports describing the policy and practices conducted in the former Yugoslavia, ‘ethnic cleansing’ has been carried out by means of murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, extra-judicial executions, rape and sexual assaults, confinement of civilian population in ghetto areas, forcible removal, displacement and deportation of civilian population, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, and wanton destruction of property. Those practices constitute crimes against humanity and can be assimilated to specific war crimes.

    Mr Chase is a property owner; when tennants lease from him, they sign a contract agreeing to certain terms and if they don’t or can’t comply, Mr. Chase can evict these tennants for other businesses. There is a lot of empty storefronts and office spacde downtown; there are also a lot of empty storefronts in other parts of the city. But to suggest that Mr. Chase has engaged in ethnic cleansing is absurd. It’s not a secret that the Chases (Irv and Ryan) are Jewish, so the Hitler reference IS in fact, anti-Semitic.

    I lived in Boston for nine years; it has a sizeable Jewish population. My son actually attended a Jewish preschool and learned the Shabbat prayer before he knew the “Hail Mary.” My friends in Boston who are Jewish tell me they don’t think Ms. Alavrez is anti-Semitic; they know she is.

    Are we really going to dismiss these words as a distraction after such a public show of remorse? So reform PBID so only those businesses who benefit are paying.

  6. art lomeli
    September 26, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Dan,

    Thank you for the definition.Intimidating tenants to not market to a ethnic group, in this case, has the objective to remove this market from the shopping district. Consistant with the definition you provided.

    Mr Chase has the right to do so. It still is “Ethnic Cleansing irrelevent of the legality to do business and the presence of empty store fronts.

    Eliminating this historically major tax base for the city will only produce more empty store fronts.

    Historically the Downtown Hispanic shopping district has been a close second tax base from to the Main Place Mall.

    “It’s not a secret that the Chases (Irv and Ryan) are Jewish, so the Hitler reference IS in fact, anti-Semitic.”

    Interpretation is subjective in his case. And not so according to the definition above.

    The AJD league has dropped the issue as I understand.

    “Are we really going to dismiss these words as a distraction after such a public show of remorse?”

    Most of this and probably all of it as you know is POLITICS.

    • Dan Chmielewski
      September 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      Dr. Lomeli, ethnic cleansing is not the appropriate term to use; it’s inflammatory and inaccurate. Santa Ana is a big city with a number of neighborhood shopping centers and strip malls that cater to a Latino customer. If you want more people to come downtown to spend money, you need to broaden the product line. Perhaps you need to adjust the hours of operation to serve customers who can’t make it downtown during the day. There is an absence of businesses downtown that cater to Santa Ana’s growing Vietnamese population. Money is green whether it comes from a Latino customer, a white customers, someone who’s black, Asian, or gay. Excluding every other type of customer from downtown except for Latinos is wrong. I don’t see opening the Dwontown area to a more diverse market as weakening the tax base but adding to it.

      The ADL actually called for her to resign before backing off upon interventions from Loretta Sanchez’s office and others in City Hall.

  7. Santa Ana Resident
    September 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    The only ones still talking about this are you here on this blog and neither one of you live in Santa Ana.

    None of my neighbors are concerned about this and most never were. This is a non-issue for 99% of the city.

    We are more concerned about the budget and the day to day issues facing Santa Ana. Your continued obsession about it is just idiocy.

    • Get a clue
      September 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm

      SA Res,
      Nice dodge……NOT

      Claudia’s use of the name Hitler is only the tip of the iceburg. You know and we know it, so stop pretending it is meaningless.

    • Dan Chmielewski
      September 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      The current council has been intact since 2007; the city manager and city staff put forth budgets and the council votes on it. Passing the buck on the problem to those no longer in the city manager’s office is avoiding responsibility.

      And who’s obsessing? It’s a “distraction” remember? To me, it seems like the message being sent is its ok to use hate speech against against who isn’t Latino in Santa Ana. Hate speech should be condemned regardless of who utters it.

      • Repulsed
        September 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm

        Art said
        Historically the Downtown Hispanic shopping district has been a close second tax base from to the Main Place Mall
        We have heard this ridiculous statement countless times……
        It is the ONLY other clusterd, named, retail shopping district other than the auto mall in santa Ana. So being second of two is not all that special DUH!

  8. art lomeli
    September 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    You avoid the real economic picture of Downtown. Again…….The Downtown Hispanic Shopping District has been a close second to the Main Place Mall in Tax revenues.

    Tom follow your logic, lets diversify the Main Place to cater to Immigrant Hispanics, Vietnamese, Blacks etc. even though the market is not there but hope this diversification increases sales. Do you want to fight for this.

    THE DRIVING FORCE IN RETAIL IS THE MARKET. CAN NOT BE ARTIFICIAL.

    The economic argument you have picked up is simply wrong. Recent issues with a decrease in revenues have been, the economy, lack of downtown infrastructure to compete with large dept. stores and enclosed malls and the recent Downtown Inc. direction to market principally to the Artists Village restaurants, bars and concert venues ……away from the traditional successful Hispanic market that produces a close second tax base to the Main Place Mall.

    If the issue is not a economic restructure then what is it? “ethnic cleansing ” maybe?

    “Mr. Chase is on record having taken his long term leases to month to month leases and telling the renters that if they do not change their products marketed to Immigrant Hispanics he would evict them.”

    “The ADL actually called for her to resign before backing off upon interventions from Loretta Sanchez’s office and others in City Hall.”

    Exactly….for good reasons.

  9. September 26, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Dr. Lomeli, with respect, if you want to get revenues like Main Place Mall, perhaps the mix of retail and services outght to be more in line with Main Place Mall; the charm of Downtown can be found with the Artists Village, the great restaurants, and Latino themed shops. But to make the area exclusively Latino removes the incentive for anyone but Latino customers.

  10. art lomeli
    September 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Dan,

    Come on. when has the argument been exclussively anything. You and those that want to change the Downtown use the economic argument.

    I am presenting that your argument to diversify based on economics is wrong.

    We do not want be The Main Place. We say live and let live. The Main Place has it’s market, the Artist Village restaurants, bars, and concert venues have their market.

    Let the Hispanic shopping district have theirs. One does not have to be at the expense of the other.

    Do you want to diversify Irvine , where you live, with presenting Hispanic products like in downtown at the District in order to increase it’s charm with nice restaurants and Latino themed shops?

    Please petition and argue to your council for this.

    • September 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm

      Dr. Lomeli — Irvine is already one of the most diverse cities in OC and its local economy thrives because of it. We have whites, Chinese, Korean, Persian and yes, Latinos too. The vacancy rates in our neighborhood shopping centers is small. If a business leaves, another springs up quickly. You are arguing for an exclusive Hispanic shopping district. Perhaps what you need to do to realize this is organize and buy out Irv Chase’s buildings. If you own, you have property rights. If you rent or lease, you have to agree with what the landlord tells you. If you don’t, he can evict you

  11. cook
    September 27, 2011 at 1:24 am

    What I see is an area trying to survive in a collapsed economy.

    That is what has brought the empty store fronts and empty offices in the downtown building.

    Also not to be dismiss is the fact that Santa Ana lost upwards of 50,000 migrant workers, mostly from that area surrounding the old downtown. (No jobs, No money, Why stay?)

    The Mayor Pro Tem has carved out a notch for her self as the champion of a Mexican cause. It has worked for her as she got over 40,000 votes in her last election. But that notch also has pigeon-toed her, and it appears she will not make a leap to other elected offices or be appointed as a judge.

    How has a anti-tax group who does not want to pay a PBID for the upkeep and security of their shopping district relate to one of the property owners trying to keep his area from total collapse?

    • September 27, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Good point Cook. There is really no connection other than trying to find someone to blame. Irv an Ryan Chase have invested in the downtown area of Santa Ana. They are not to blame for PBID. It is easier to rally the masses to oppose a contrived injustice committed by an individual boogie man.

      The PBID tax assessment was clearly manipulated into existence, with the help of City Hall votes. The structural problems need to be addressed, and the services provided by Downtown Inc. need to be tailored to promote all busineses in the district, not just the night life.

      Demonizing Irv and Ryan Chase may help rally people, but his business practices are not germaine to the discussion of PBID.

  12. art lomeli
    September 27, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Enough said. Your blog is on an agenda to destroy Claudia Alvarez and everything she touches. Understood.

    For the record. Chris, you know very well Irv received all the funding for his downtown development through grants and bonds for the exclusive objective to service the Surrounding Immigrant Hispanic community. He has failed to develop it to it’s potential.

    He acquired through this deal 2 blocks of Rea Estate and became a wealthy land owner on the backs of the community he now wants to replace.

    Cook,

    Santa Ana Ha s Hispanic population of close to 400,000. The market is here.
    Corporate America is tripping over themselves in order to harness the Hispanic economic power and here we are trying to justify it’s elimination.

    Understanding this economic power and the arguments against a Hispanic Downtown shopping district one can only conclude that the objective is to attempt a de- Hispanization of Santa Ana ……..a silly and fruitless endeavor.

    “”Mr. Chase is on record having taken his long term leases to month to month leases and telling the renters that if they do not change their products marketed to Immigrant Hispanics he would evict them.”

    THE OC LIBERAL DEFENDS THIS?????????

    • Dan Chmielewski
      September 27, 2011 at 11:50 am

      “Your blog is on an agenda to destroy Claudia Alvarez and everything she touches. Understood”

      This is completely not true; but holding her accountable for her actions and interactions with the public is what we’re doing. Until recently, Claudia was all for PBID and as mayor pro tem, she helped usher it in.

      If Mr. Chase used grants and government funds to acquire and develop property but failed to live up to his end of the bargain, report him to those who he got funds from and he should have to pay it back.

      “”Mr. Chase is on record having taken his long term leases to month to month leases and telling the renters that if they do not change their products marketed to Immigrant Hispanics he would evict them.”

      THE OC LIBERAL DEFENDS THIS?????????”

      Mr. Chase is a property owner who is free to rent or lease his property to anyone he wishes. He doesn’t own every building downtown and if a busienss leasing property from Mr. Chase doesn’t like the terms, they are free to relocate.

      The market will determine what businesses are successful.

  13. cook
    September 27, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Doc Art,

    The US Census 2010 pegged Santa Ana with a population of 324,528 on 04-01-2010.

    This December 2011 the President will get the follow up report, and from what I could tell from the reports I read and filed during the 2 years I worked on the special projects, Santa Ana has lost even more residents.

    And when the economy recovers in 4 to 10 years, those mover-outs may return again.

  14. junior
    September 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Dr. Art said
    “Historically the Downtown Hispanic shopping district has been a close second tax base from to the Main Place Mall.”

    That is ancient history doc – not even close for the past three years. Why? Because many hispanic shoppers have shifted to ….. The Main Place Mall.

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