Cavazos: “It’s a new Santa Ana!”

David Cavazos

David Cavazos, Santa Ana City Manager

TheLiberalOC sat down with new Santa Ana City Manager David Cavazos this week.  We’re pleased to report the city has found the right man for the job.

Cavazos has been in OC roughly 100 days and already, he has become Santa Ana’s biggest cheerleader.  He spends considerable time in all of the city’s neighborhoods, exploring (for him) new cafes, new shops, new parks and Santa Ana’s many art galleries.

“It’s a young and vibrant city with so much potential,” Cavazos said.  “We are in the middle of a transportation hub with easy access to four freeways, a train depot, and an airport.  We have lots of diverse companies from financial services to technology to manufacturing.  We have a historic downtown and its very much a walking city where residents can easily get to jobs here.  Santa Ana has much to offer.”

Cavazos is a man with a plan.  The plan that will be easier to execute because the city’s tax revenues have increased year-over-year, unemployment is down a full two percent from 11.4% to 9.3%, and the budget is in good shape — without gimmicks. Now unemployment is still too high and revenues, while up, have room for improvement but Cavazos says the city has built up a healthy reserve that was lacking over the past couple of years.

Cavazos’ goals first focus on the city’s finances and economic development.  In the next 30 to 60 days, he plans to hire a new deputy city manager with a significant background in economic development.  That candidate will be responsible for managing relationships with the city’s business community with a focus on job creation and retention.  The candidate will directly interact with all segments of the business community to make Santa Ana an easy place to do business, create a business and grow a business.

Cavazos will also focus on improving efficiencies and investment in new technology.  Santa Ana is going to change the way street lights are changed, parking meters are managed, and parking garages will be equipped with new technology to eliminate waste.  This investment in new technology and training will be extended to city staff to help make them more efficient.  Cavazos says it’s his management style to spend as much time on the other seven floors at city hall as well as the top one.  He wants staff to meet him and to know him.  The technique is known as “management by walking around” and it does work.

One immediate change Cavazos is making is moving all operations where the public interacts with city hall to the first floor.  It’ll be easier for the citizens to get the services they need without having to figure out what elevator button to push.

Since I live in Irvine, I’m spoiled by the city’s master plan and assumed every city had a master plan.  Santa Ana’s general plan is decades out of date and revising a new general plan is on Cavazos’ front burner.

“It’s cliché’, but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” he said.  “We’re looking at ways to add more park space through joint use agreements, efforts with developers who construct new housing, and transforming vacant lots into park space.  Additionally, we’re going to a new practice for street maintenance where streets are repaved on a schedule regardless of the neighborhoods they are in.  Planning and input from city stakeholders is absolutely crucial.”

We mentioned the broken promises of park space for the Station District project and Cavazos was quick to respond.

“When this city makes a promise, it’s going to keep its promise,” he said.  “It’s a new Santa Ana.”



  12 comments for “Cavazos: “It’s a new Santa Ana!”

  1. Welcome to a slum
    January 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    In the words of Councilwoman Michele Martinez: “Welcome to Santa Ana. Welcome to a slum.”

  2. Bondurant
    January 17, 2014 at 11:14 am

    What do you think about his cost to tax payers in Phoenix. He’ll do the same to Santa Ana and then you will no longer sing his praises.

  3. January 17, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Considering how much Santa Ana taxpayers compensated Paul Walters and David Ream for not having an updated master plan decades out of date, you might direct your anger at the pensions those two are getting. Cavazos is very impressive

  4. SA Girl
    January 18, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I thought he lived in So Coast Metro?
    When did he move to Irvine?

  5. Dan Chmielewski
    January 20, 2014 at 8:56 am

    He lives in Santa Ana; he doesn’t live in Irvine. I am surprised that Santa Ana’s general plan was so out of date, since *I* live in Irvine which has a master plan. Sorry if that was confusing.

  6. Consuelo Garza
    January 28, 2014 at 1:08 am

    You are getting $800,000 just to manage the parking meters and put in “new technology” in parking garages??? are you serious? How about putting more cameras in Downtown Santa Ana, how about making sure the streets are safer.

  7. January 28, 2014 at 10:11 am

    He said the city will be making investments in technology; the parking meters was an easy example.

  8. Consuela garza
    January 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Are defending his 800,000$ year salary. Mr Cavazos, is that you?

  9. Consuelo Garza
    January 28, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    So you are saying Santa Ana has a problem with paying their politicians waaaay to much. How do i get a job in politics?

  10. Consuelo Garza
    January 28, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    To the person defending him and calling him impressive- he has not done anything in Phoenix that warrants him such a compliment. Dan you mentioned 2 other names in your last post and said those 2 politicians in Santa Ana got paid too much for what they do. Looks like Santa Ana is corrupt – they have a track record of overpaying their politicians. Very very disturbing.

  11. Dan Chmielewski
    January 29, 2014 at 8:15 am

    And what two other names were that? Let’s draw a distinction between a politician and a city manager. Cavazos is not up for election; he serves at the pleasure of the city council. He’s been in Santa Ana for about 120 days. Perhaps you ought to wait until next fall to see if his performance matches up. There were many detractors of him before he even started his job. I’ll point out under Paul Walters , the city was still working under a decades old outdated plan. If you were happy with the direction of the city under Walters, it was about maintaining the status quo. Santa Ana has a lot of potential and Cavazos sees that.

    I disagree with your assessment of Mr. Cavazos record in Phoenix for which he deserves much but not all credit.

    I also think there are times you get what you pay for and Santa Ana needs an infusion of new ideas and new ways to do things. I believe he is the right person for the job.

  12. The Leatherman
    January 29, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    I agree. Everyone should give this guy a chance. He certainly can’t do worse that the Ream & Walters team. He looks fit and up for the job. I like his last name, too. 🙂

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