After OC Weekly’s Matt Coker posted this story based on a blog post in NewSantaAna about OC Supervisor Janet Nguyen placing her toddler son at risk in last Sunday’s Fiestas Patrias Parade in downtown Santa Ana, we immediately thought “slow news day.” Coker, channeling blogger and Nguyen-critic Art Pedroza, writes:
The supervisor, who is a candidate for the state Senate in 2014, is seen riding not in a seat but atop the folded-down canvas car roof between the top of the backseats and the trunk (or engine compartment if new VW’s are like the old Bugs).
In Nguyen’s lap: her child, who does not appear to be belted into anything and is most certainly not in a law-required car seat.
Coker should know better to use Pedroza as a resource; research isn’t Pedroza’s strong suit.
So we contacted the Santa Ana Police Department to ask if Nguyen did in fact break the law or in their opinion, placed her kid at risk. The Santa Ana PD’s response, after they finished laughing about it, was no and no.
According to SAPD sources, “The street was closed by the City for the parade pursuant to the authority found in Vehicle Code section 21101(e). As a result, the street was not open to the public and the portions of the vehicle code which regulate conduct on a street open to the public did not apply. The event was planned with the safety of the public and all of the participants in mind. Precautions were taken to make sure that all of the people participating in the parade were as safe as possible such as limiting the vehicles allowed to participate, driving at very slow speeds and keeping distance between the vehicles.”
The SAPD provided additional information that states: “Vehicle Code section 21101(e) allows for local regulation of highways to close a portion of a highway (which includes a street) for special events such as parades. SAMC section 36-77 gives you and your authorized officers the authority to erect and maintain temporary signs or signals regulating traffic and movement of vehicles upon the streets in the City so as to prohibit travel and turning, of vehicles upon said streets as your opinion the occasion may require. The SAMC parade permit section does not apply since this was a City event. Vehicle Code section 27315(d)(1) mandates that a person shall not operate a motor vehicle on a highway (includes streets) unless that person and all passengers are wearing seat belts. Vehicle Code section 27360 requires that a child under the age of 8 must be secured in a rear seat child restraint system. A highway is defined under Vehicle Code section 360 as a way or place of whatever nature publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel and it includes a street. During a parade, under section 21101(e) the street is not open for use of the public because the City has closed the street.”
I spoke with an officer who watched the entire parade and saw Supervisor Nguyen with her son. He said the car was moving at perhaps 2 MPH and she had a very tight grip on her son. At no time did we believe her son was at risk nor do we believe she endangered her son in any way.” SAPD maintains watchful eyes during the parade for the safety of the crowd and those in the actual parade.
Pedroza’s has had a heavy grudge against Nguyen ever since she endorsed Republican Carlos Bustamante in the 2008 City Council race that saw Pedroza lose badly to the former councilman. For Coker to pick up the story on Navel Gazing, well, it must have been a slow news day.
We even asked SAPD about the legality of riding horses or a riding in a horse drawn wagon on city streets, as horses are not allowed on freeways, during the parade and the SAPD said because they were in a parade it was OK. Horses have the same right of ways on city streets in Santa Ana as bicycles. If the horse makes a mess on the street, the city’s rules for “curbing pets” would require the horse’s owner to clean up the mess. But because the horses were in a parade, those rules wouldn’t have applied either.
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido rode on a horse drawn stagecoach. According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, horses in parades pose a significant safety risk to the rider or the passengers on a carriage and to the public than a car traveling at the speed of 2MPH. In fact, a horse was injured in Washington DC parade during the historic first inaugural of President Barack Obama. The horse, named Mouse, backed into a truck and got his legs tangled in the truck’s grill. It took hours to untangle the injured animal. PETA said this: It’s a shame that on a day when our nation is full of hope, Mouse was severely injured in a preventable accident. Horses are easily frightened and have no place amidst traffic and throngs of people. Subjecting these sensitive animals to the chaos of the inauguration is highly stressful, and as witnessed today, dangerous for them and for onlookers. We wish Mouse a speedy recovery and hope the Inaugural Committee will leave all animals out of future ceremonies. Pulido’s family rode inside the stagecoach; had the horses become spooked and bolted, Pulido’s kids would have been at a greater risk of injury than Nguyen’s toddler.
So if the horse pulling the stagecoach Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido was riding in pooped during the parade, the owner wouldn’t have had to clean it up. And since Pulido was a guest on the coach, he wouldn’t have had to clean it up. But there’s a certain horse’s ass we know in Santa Ana well equipped for the job.