Monday, July 30, 2007

Like Lipstick on a Pig: How Santa Ana Is (NOT) Governed

(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC)

OK, I just can't help it! Since I do live in Santa Ana, I just had to check out Thomas Gordon's latest story on Orange Juice, which follows up on Matt Cunningham's latest story on OC Blog. Now usually, I disagree with these conservative bloggers and their complaints against any and all "big government". However, today I must agree with them on something. The state of our "government" in Santa Ana has devolved into little more than a laughingstock.

Right now, our city suffers from a lack of attention paid to our real crises. In many parts of town, the children must play on the streets because there are no parks nearby. Our neighborhoods continue to reel from the gang violence that's returning to town after a few years' hiatus. Yet unfortunately, our kids don't have many constructive alternatives to gang violence, as the libraries have closed and the after school programs are so few and far between.

Our city is in crisis, but what does the city do about it? Why, they are cracking down on those dangerous, over sized hand-held signs! OK, do you see what I see? Our community is reeling from a lack of opportunity, and Santa Ana wants to go after hand-held signs?! What the hell is wrong with these people?!

Now I know that not everyone in our local government is ignoring our major problems. Fortunately, we do have a few folks like Council Member Michele Martinez who understand where our priorities should be. We should be focusing on reopening our libraries and starting after school programs to give our kids constructive, nonviolent activities to do. We should be focusing on improving the parks that we have, and opening new parks in areas of the city where there are none. And if the city really doesn't have enough money to do all of this, the city should be lobbying our state and federal elected officials to bring our tax dollars home to be out to work in our community.

But wait, I wonder if that's really the case. As Thomas Gordon says today at Orange Juice:

Rather than paving the streets, arresting the graffiti vandals or prostitutes and reducing the huge budget deficit, Santa Ana has chosen to paint a new slogan on its water tower, implemented a ban on massage parlors, cracked down on barking dogs and gone after the signs.

After telling us all for years that there is no money in the budget for fixing the blown out streets, we find out that the Bowers and Chamber get Millions of our tax dollars.

We find out that city executive staff gets huge raises while the worker bees struggle to remove graffiti or patch pot holes.

And you know what? All of that is like putting lipstick on a pig. Sure, barking dogs may be annoying and over sized hand-held signs may not be the prettiest things to see on a sidewalk corner and "massage parlors" may be providing more than a back rub. But then again, we have far more pressing concerns than those. We have a city in shambles that needs to be fixed.

When will more people in charge of these things realize that?

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