Campaign fundraiser for mayoral challenger Benjamin Vazquez set for Oct. 5 and more...


Campaign fundraiser for mayoral challenger Benjamin Vazquez set for Oct. 5

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benjamin-vazquez-fundraiser

Perhaps the biggest knock on Santa Ana Mayoral challenger Benjamin Vazquez, besides his aggressively liberal politics, is the doubt that he can raise enough money to seriously contend against longtime Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido. Vazquez is attempting to answer that doubt with a campaign fundraiser set for Oct. 5, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Robbins Nest, located at 207 W. 2nd St., in DTSA.

The Vazquez fundraiser is hosted by SAUSD Trustee Valerie Amezcua and her dad, former Mayoral candidate Alfredo Amezcua, a criminal defense attorney who regularly defends Santa Ana gangbangers in court; as well as Dr. Arturo Lomeli, a Dentist; Eddie Quillares (a local insurance agent); Luis Meir (a local bail bondsman); and Santa Ana City Councilman  Sal Tinajero.

benjamin-vazquez-website

Hilariously the Vazquez campaign event Facebook page notes a campaign URL, www.benjamin4mayor.com, that doesn’t work (see the graphic above). Apparently the Vazquez campaign can’t afford to pay someone to finish setting up their campaign website. So this fundraiser is aptly timed as the Vazquez campaign surely needs to get some cash flow going – and soon.

As for the folks who are backing Vazquez, I am sure that Amezcua (daddy not daughter) is still mad at Pulido for not backing his failed Santa Ana Bank. But the fact that it failed is proof enough that Pulido was smart not to get behind what was a bad idea in the first place. And Lomeli is a Republican dentist who lives in wealthy Orange Park Acres, although he does maintain a dental practice in DTSA. Not sure what his issue with Pulido is, but he is consistently against Pulido as he backed Michele Martinez when she too ran against Pulido.

Honestly I can’t blame Amezcua (daddy) and Meir for backing Vazquez as he is on the record as being against hiring more cops. That will be good for Amezcua’s gangbanger criminal defense practice and Meir’s bail bond business. So backing Vazquez is good for their mutual bottom lines.

I realize that some in town are tired of Pulido, who has been in office forever. But it is hard for me to get excited about Vazquez, whose ideas are mostly nutty. How, for example, does he plan to pay for all that free housing for the poor?

Vazquez does not have a functional campaign website but you can learn more about him on his Campaign Facebook page.

    
 


Construction and maintenance projects will disrupt Metrolink service in October

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City of Santa Ana

Community Alert: Metrolink – Major Construction and Maintenance Projects to Impact October Weekend Service

Orange County, Inland-Empire County and 91/Perris Valley lines to be affected

Metrolink will experience major service interruptions the second, third and fourth weekends in October due to several coordinated major construction and maintenance projects that will improve safety and reliability for Metrolink passengers.

Scheduled annual maintenance will take place the weekends of October 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23, and will substantially impact service on the Orange County, Inland Empire-Orange County and 91/Perris Valley lines.

Customers are advised there will be limited transportation alternatives which may experience delays. Metrolink is working to supplement limited train service with buses to provide transportation to passengers without other options.

Orange County Line

Two round-trip trains will operate between Norwalk and Irvine, with bus bridge service to stations between Los Angeles and Norwalk. A southbound bus bridge will serve stations between Irvine and Oceanside. A northbound bus bridge will depart Oceanside and make all stops into Los Angeles Union Station. Extensive delays with bus arrival/departure times can be expected.

Inland Empire-Orange County Line

No train service on the Inland Empire-Orange County Line. One round-trip will be offered by bus. This service will not have connecting service for passengers planning to go to Los Angeles. Riders choosing to take this service should plan for an extended trip time and severe delays.

91/Perris Valley Line

Two round-trip trains will operate between Norwalk and Riverside, with bus bridge service between Los Angeles and Norwalk. Delays can be expected. For additional details on Metrolink, please visit   www.metrolinktrains.com.

CONTACT: Carey Fosse fossec@scrra.net (213) 452-0307

ABOUT METROLINK (www.metrolinktrains.com)

Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 23rd year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 536 route-mile network, which includes a portion of northern San Diego County. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.

    
 


Body cameras and police hiring to be discussed at the Santa Ana Public Safety meeting on 9/27

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PUBLIC SAFETY AND NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT SPECIAL MEETING

September 27, 2016, 4:30 P.M.

City Hall Ross Annex, Conference Room 1600, 20 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana, California

AGENDA ITEMS

1. Approval of Minutes of the 2-22-16 Meeting

2. City Surplus Budget Review (Surplus Budget Presentation) – Francisco Gutierrez, Exec. Director, Finance and Management Services Agency {Strategic Plan Goal No. 4, 3b and 3c}

body cameras on policemen

3. Police Officer Body Cameras ( Project Update) – Commander Jason Viramontes {Strategic Plan Goal No.1, 1f and 3b}

4. Customer Service Improvements Related to Police Operations (Innovation and efficiency to improve customer service throughout the Police Department.) – Commander Jose Gonzalez {Strategic Plan Goal No.1, 1 and Goal 7, 1}

5. Community Oriented Policing (Update on Community Survey) – Commander Ken Gominsky {Strategic Plan Goal No. 1,1a}

6. Police Officer Hiring (Update on Recruitment and Hiring of Police Officers) – Police Admin. Manager Robert Carroll {Strategic Plan Goal No. 1, 1i}

    
 


Supervisor Do wants to add 300 beds for overnight stays at the new Civic Center homeless shelter

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Homelessness: Supervisor Andrew Do asks for public’s support for 300-bed homeless shelter

At Tuesday’s meeting, OC to consider $1.4 million contract with Midnight Mission to run 300-bed shelter with 24-7 security 

(Santa Ana, California)— Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do is presenting for public input his ambitious plan to turn an abandoned bus terminal into a homeless shelter — within 30 days.

On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will vote on a $1.4 million contract with Midnight Mission to run a 300-bed homeless shelter with round-the-clock security as well as job training services, permanent housing options, health care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and veteran assistance services.

Supervisor Andrew Do, who first proposed the plan last month, is now asking for the public’s support for the Midnight Mission proposal at this Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Andrew Do

Andrew Do

“We set an ambitious goal to have this shelter up-and-running within 30 days,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, whose First District includes Santa Ana. “Midnight Mission is the right operator to run this shelter that will get people off the streets and onto a productive path to self-sufficiency.”

He added, “Our homeless population, many of whom are veterans that honorably served our country, deserve our attention and a helping hand up.”

Midnight Mission Plan: Daytime drop-in center, 300-bed overnight shelter
In its proposal, Midnight Mission outlined a plan that includes a daytime drop-in center and overnight shelter for homeless men, women and their pets.

“The goal is to provide safety net services, including shelter and connections to service providers, and to be low-barrier and engagement rich to provide people experiencing homelessness a pathway to service connections, healthcare, housing and stability,”  the oldest continuously operating human service organization in the Los Angeles region wrote in its proposal.

In addition to the contract with Midnight Mission, county supervisors will consider a proposal from City Net to manage non-profit organizations that provide assistance at the Civic Center.

Supervisor Andrew Do said that will end duplicate programs, maximize non-profit assistance and help regain control of the Santa Ana Civic Center.

“Right now, there’s a lack of coordination between well-meaning volunteer groups and generous non-profit organizations,” he said. “Every organization needs to be working together towards our shared goal of cleaning up the Civic Center.”

Goal: Up and Running by October 6

On August 31, during an interview with KFI AM 640’s “The John And Ken Show,” Supervisor Do first announced his plan to transform the Santa Ana Transit Terminal into a new homeless shelter.

On September 6, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Do’s plan and directed staff to get the shelter open within 30 days. The following week, the Board approved $8 million to provide housing for people who currently are living on the streets or are at risk of becoming homeless.

Since taking office in 2015, Supervisor Andrew Do has made it his top priority to tackle homelessness in Orange County.

Supervisor Andrew Do fast-tracked El Nino Emergency Shelter

In advance of the El Nino storms, Supervisor Do succeeded in fast-tracking the transformation of the same facility into an emergency El Nino storm center, which provided food and shelter over more than 4,000 visits during the winter.

Over the past two years, the county has taken steps to improve the conditions. As recently as three weeks ago, the county installed new bathrooms, providing 24-7 access for homeless individuals.

Supervisor Andrew Do proposed homeless czar

Last fall, Supervisor Do first proposed a social care coordinator, or homeless czar to cut through bureaucratic red tape and improve existing services. That position was filled in May – with the appointment of Susan Price.

In May, the Orange County Board of Supervisors also voted to open the competitive bidding process for an operator for the county’s first permanent, year-round shelter and multi-service center, which was unanimously approved by the board in November. The new shelter will provide shelter to 200 people, with supportive services available to help the homeless with everything from employment to mental health care.

Collaborating to help homeless veterans

Orange County has also partnered with local lawmakers and non-profit organizations to expand assistance programs and maximize mental health spending.

In April, American Family Housing announced that, thanks in part to the county’s assistance, it was receiving $1.7 million for a new veteran housing project in Midway City. Expected to open in November, Potter’s Lane will provide housing and wrap-around services to homeless veterans.

In June, the Orange County Board of Supervisors moved forward with an application for an innovative pilot program focused on “whole person care.” If selected, the county and federal matching-funds would allocate $23.5 million to provide targeted wrap-around services to at-risk groups.

###

A former Orange County prosecutor, Supervisor Andrew Do represents the First District communities of Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Midway City, Santa Ana and Westminster.

 

    

The new County Civic Center Transitional Center for the homeless is opening soon

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Homeless

Transitional Center for Civic Center Homeless Readied for Opening

Comprehensive Civic Center Survey Released

Two contracts for the operation of a round-the-clock transitional center with emergency shelter beds and enhanced services will be considered Tuesday by the Orange County Board of Supervisors for the former Santa Ana Transit Terminal, which has been renamed “The Courtyard.”

The plan to use the former terminal was proposed by Supervisor Andrew Do at a special Board meeting earlier this month, with a directive to open the center within 30 days providing access to showers, food programs, storage and comprehensive service referrals. Public restrooms have been available at the former bus terminal since 2009; in August, the County installed additional portable toilets.

“We set an ambitious goal to have this shelter up-and-running within 30 days,” said Supervisor Do, whose First District includes Santa Ana. “Midnight Mission is the right operator to run this shelter that will get people off the streets and onto a productive path to self-sufficiency.”

He added, “Our homeless population, many of whom are veterans that honorably served our country, deserve our attention and a helping hand up.”

The operation and service coordination contracts with The Midnight Mission and Kingdom Causes Inc., also known as City Net, call for expanded services to be available at The Courtyard beginning the week of October 1 for those who have congregated in the Civic Center. The estimated cost to operate the center is $1.4 million for a year.

“This is a start to a larger effort to identify ways to help those in the Civic Center without a home to find permanent shelter and to create a safe space for people to rebuild their lives,” Board Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District, said.

“Homelessness is a complex problem. It hurts those who are living on the streets and their families, and it causes serious concerns about public health and safety,” said Board Vice Chair Michelle Steel. “We are committed to doing what we can to work with city governments, non-profits and local communities to reduce the number of people living unsheltered on the street and to improve life for all Orange County residents” said Vice Chair Steel, Second District.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson urged his Board colleagues earlier this month to create a more permanent location for homeless services in Santa Ana in addition to the temporary opening of The Courtyard. “We can and should have this facility up now but this is not an answer to anything long-term,” said Supervisor Nelson, Fourth District. “We need to take ownership of our own destiny and find a more permanent solution.”

Supervisor Todd Spitzer said the Board must consider additional alternatives for assisting those without permanent housing, including creating a possible “campus” style cluster of buildings and shelter space with services including drug and alcohol detox, mental health services, job training and access to permanent housing such as the national best practices model in San Antonio, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona.

“We need something above and beyond the steps we’ve taken,” said Supervisor Spitzer, Third District. “After recently touring a national best practices model in San Antonio, I’m looking forward to having a comprehensive discussion about how the County’s effort should piece together to provide services in a more permanent and efficient way.”

A recently completed survey by County staff and non-profit organization volunteers found 461 people who said they were living permanently in the Civic Center, a 13% increase over a survey conducted at the same time last year. Among other findings:

  • The bulk those surveyed – 57% — said their last permanent residence was Santa Ana.
  • Four in 10 people said they had been living in the Civic Center for less than a year.
  • Two-thirds said they are receiving Medi-Cal and CalFresh benefits (food stamps).
  • The reasons people cited most for why they were living in the Civic Center: a sense of community, the availability of free food and lack of housing.

A copy of the 2016 Orange County Civic Center Homeless Survey can be found here.

More information on Tuesday’s meeting and the proposed contracts can be found here (click on Revisions and Supplemental Agenda Items).

The Courtyard is only one component of a larger network of services to assist those without permanent housing. Two weeks ago, the Board of Supervisors selected Mercy House Living Centers Inc. to operate a new 200-bed year-round emergency shelter and multi-service center in Anaheim, as well as operate seasonal cold-weather shelters at National Guard armories in Fullerton and Santa Ana.

The County paid $4.25 million for the 24,384 square-foot industrial warehouse and 12,842 square feet of office space, situated on about 1.87 acres with 68 parking spaces. The cities of Anaheim and Fullerton contributed $500,000 each toward the project, with $100,000 coming from the city of Brea.

The County has operated a seasonal armory shelter program in Fullerton and Santa Ana for the past 28 years. However, the armories are only open part of the year and only at night. The Fullerton armory program is slated to be discontinued when the Anaheim service center opens.

More information on the new emergency shelter in Anaheim and the cold-weather armory program can be found here.

    

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