Ward 2 newsletter: December 2023

Posted on December 21, 2023

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It has been an honor to serve the City of Santa Ana and Ward 2 residents this past year. I have been humbled by your trust in my leadership. We are here to serve and protect the children, families and workers of Ward 2.

The City Council adopted resolutions placing two ballot measures on the November 2024 election. Santa Ana voters will get the chance to decide: (1) whether you want to enshrine the Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance in our Charter, and (2) whether you want the City of Santa Ana to allow non-citizen voting for municipal elections (e.g., Mayor, City Council, local ballot measures).

Sworn In

Ward 2 and its residents have many immigrant families, and we increased the Immigration Legal Defense fund annual budget by $100,000.

We have opened up a new park on Raitt and Myrtle and a second is coming to Bristol and Tolliver. We have started to pave alleys with cement and continue to improve throughout the area. The Public Works team also increased parking on Walnut and hope to duplicate these efforts where possible across the city. We will have our first outdoor library at Jerome Center and the fight for a full library in Central Santa Ana continues.

We hope to continue 2024 even stronger, and my office will host training and workshops for resources offered to our community. In addition, we will have budget town halls to bring more residents of Ward 2 into the conversation of what we should prioritize with our limited resources.

Benjamin Vazquez, Councilmember – Ward 2


  • New park opens in Ward 2
  • Homeownership opportunities
  • Councilmember Vazquez in the community
  • Board and commission appointments

Important Dates

Ward 2 & City News

Ed Caruthers Park opens in Ward 2!

Ed Caruther Park

Spotlight photo

Ed Caruthers

Santa Ana’s newest park opened in Ward 2 on Oct. 17! The new park, located at the corner of Raitt and Myrtle streets, is named in honor of Edward Julius Caruthers Jr., a long-time Santa Ana athlete and community leader who won the silver medal for the men’s high jump in the 1968 Summer Olympics. 

The park offers a variety of amenities and features designed to serve the diverse needs and interests of the Santa Ana community. Its highlights include a playground area, exercise zone, skate park, picnic areas, a new restroom facility, and drought-tolerant landscaping. The project also includes 3,300 square feet of Bioretention Basins and a subsurface infiltration system designed to efficiently capture and manage storm water runoff. This eco-friendly feature underscores the City’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Read more about the Ed Caruthers Park opening.

City receives $3.5 million grant for Bristol-Tolliver Street Urban Greening Project

Bristol-Tolliver Street Urban Greening Project

On April 3, 2023, the City of Santa Ana Public Works Agency was awarded $3,502,500 from the California Natural Resources Agency’s Urban Greening Grant Program for the Bristol-Tolliver Street Urban Greening Project in Ward 2. The Urban Greening Grant Program is a competitive statewide program aimed at reducing greenhouse gases while also transforming the built environment into places that are more sustainable, enjoyable, and effective in creating healthy and vibrant communities.

The project features the transformation of approximately 1.25-acres of vacant parcels at the intersection of Bristol and Tolliver street into a new urban green space and public park. It includes pedestrian pathways, drought tolerant landscaping, lighting, waste receptacles, seating, interpretive signage, recreational features, and a stormwater treatment system that will capture stormwater runoff from the surrounding neighborhood and reuse it for park irrigation. The project will provide significant aesthetic and environmental benefits to the community and further advances the City’s strategy of viewing stormwater as a resource. Final design of the project is anticipated to be complete in spring 2024. Construction is anticipated to start in summer 2024 and be completed in summer 2025.

Support for Immigrant Legal Defense Fund

Early in my term I joined the City Council in increasing the budget for the City’s Immigrant Legal Defense Fund by an additional $100,000, to $300,000 annually. As a city, our duty is to keep our community safe and secure and to protect the well-being of our residents. By upholding due process, we maintain trust in the justice system and our local institutions, including law enforcement. Having efficient, effective and fair representation in immigration proceedings is the best way to keep the system working and keep us safe.

If you or someone you know is in need of immigration assistance in Santa Ana, please contact the City’s contractor:

Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Phone: (213) 634-0999
Fax: (213) 282-3122
Email: info@immdef.org

Shop Local, Shop Santa Ana

Shop Santa Ana Logo

The City’s Economic Development Division is continuing its Shop Local, Shop Santa Ana campaign to highlight the small businesses that make Santa Ana the unique and vibrant community it is. The campaign kicked off on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25 and runs through the end of the year.

Santa Ana small business owners can actively participate in this campaign by subscribing to the business registry. Your businesses will be featured on the City’s Shop Local webpage, receive marketing material, and may also be featured via social media.

Shoppers can win prizes by shopping local and tagging the Economic Development Division on social media. Learn more at the link below.

Shop Local, Shop Santa Ana

Leadership changes at City Hall

City Clerk Tom Hatch

One of the most important jobs of the City Council is to hire three positions that report directly to us – the City Manager, City Clerk and City Attorney. This year, the City Council hired a new City Clerk, Jennifer L. Hall, who has extensive experience at the City of Anaheim. The City Clerk is the City’s official record-keeper and elections officials.

We also saw the departure of City Manager Kristine Ridge after nearly five years of service, including leading the City through the pandemic. We have appointed veteran municipal executive Thomas R. Hatch to serve as Interim City Manager while we conduct a search for a candidate to permanently fill the City Manager position.

Read more about the City Clerk

Read more about the Interim City Manager

Santa Ana investing $10 million in affordable homeownership programs

A teenage boy, a woman, and a man holding a young girl stand outside on a porch with a water tower in the background.

The City of Santa Ana is making a historic $10 million investment in affordable homeownership opportunities to help residents achieve their dream of becoming a homeowner.

The Santa Ana City Council approved the funding, which is the City’s largest single investment in affordable homeownership, on Oct. 17. The $10 million includes $7.7 million for the development of new affordable homeownership projects and $2.3 million for down payment assistance for new homebuyers.

Learn more and apply for down payment assistance.

Know your rights as a renter

Renter Protections

The City of Santa Ana has a Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance that provides new protections for renters. This local law limits rent increases to a maximum of 3 percent per year for certain residential rental units and mobilehome spaces. The Ordinance also provides “just cause” eviction protections for most tenants that occupy a residential real property or mobilehome for 30 days.

A new addition to the law was the creation of a rental registry. Owners of all residential rental units and mobile home parks in Santa Ana must register their rental units with the rental registry. This includes multifamily and single-family rental housing. You do not need to register if you live in your home and no room, bedroom, or other portion of your home is being used for any residential rental purposes.

The Rental Registry is used by the City of Santa Ana to monitor compliance with the Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance. Landlords can go to the link below to register, and residents can visit the Renter Protections page to learn more about their rights under the ordinance.

Renter Protections

Santa Ana Rental Registry

Sign up for the Renter Protections newsletter

My Projects

Ward 2 Board, Commission and Committee appointments

Commission Appointed

Commission Appointed

Since I took office one year ago, I’ve been busy appointing a diverse group of community members to City boards, commissions and committees. Below is the list of those I’ve appointed so far. 

  • Joese Hernandez, Arts and Culture Commission
  • Ginelle Hardy, Historic Resources Commission
  • Zacarias Torres, Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission
  • Gabriela Hernandez-Castillo, Personnel Board
  • Manuel “Manny” Escamilla, Planning Commission
  • Carlos Perea, Police Oversight Commission
  • Tracy La, Rental Housing Board
  • Ilyn Jaimes, Youth Commission

I’m still looking for candidates to represent Ward 2 on the Santa Ana 2018 Measure X Citizen Oversight Committee and the Environment and Transportation Advisory Commission. You can submit an application for these and all future openings.

Apply to serve on a Board or Commission

National Association of Latino Elected Officials annual conference

National Association of Latino Elected Officials annual conference

I attended the 40th annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) in July in New York. The conference, recognized as the nation’s “Latino Political Convention,” is the largest annual gathering of Latino public officials in the country.

Certificate of Recognition Presentation

Presentation to Jimmy Rumsey

Certificate of Recognition to Jimmy Rumsey for Outstanding Contributions to the Community.

Presentation to Latino Health Access for Outstanding Contributions to the Community

Latino Health Access

Presentation to Latino Health Access for Outstanding Contributions to the Community

Presentation to VietRise for Outstanding Contributions to the Community

Presentation to VietRISE

Presentation to VietRise for Outstanding Contributions to the Community

Proud to participate in Fiestas Patrias

Fiestas Patrias Fiestas Patrias

Celebrating at the Juneteenth Festival

Juneteenth Juneteenth

Calle Cuatro shines at Plaza Navideña

Plaza Navidena Tree

Speak at Plaza Navidena event

Public Works Family Event

Public Works Week

Demonstration at Public Works Week

Events & Meetings

Santa Ana Winter Village – Until December 31

Santa Ana Winter Village

The Santa Ana Winter Village continues through the end of the year! This month-long event includes family friendly events and activities, including ice skating, a holiday light show, food vendors, and more. Reserve ice-skating tickets online at the link below.

  • Dec. 2-31 (open to the public Thursday through Sunday)
  • Civic Center Plaza, 717 W. Santa Ana Blvd. (by City Hall),

Santa Ana Winter Village

Ride of Lights holiday bike ride – December 21

Ride of lights

Join Santa Ana Active Streets (SAAS) for their Ride of Lights, a family-cycling event starting from Latino Health Access. This free event will offer a short 2-mile route for beginners and families, and a long 5-mile route for experienced adults. Both routes will be a flat, slow-paced ride. Don’t forget to show off your holiday spirit by decorating your bike and dressing up! SAS will provide FREE helmets and bike lights to anyone who needs them before the ride. Don’t have a bike? Reserve one in the registration form. Bikes are limited and reserved for those who do not own one. For more information, contact Maria Baeza at 714-202-7393, maria@saascoalition.org or go to https://saascoalition.org/events/.

  • Thursday, Dec. 21
  • 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Latino Health Access, 450 W. 4th St.

Ride of Lights

Read to a Dog – January 4

Read to a Dog

The Santa Ana Public Library would like to invite our young readers to join us for a delightful and heartwarming experience at our Read to a Dog children’s program! Children of all reading abilities receive the opportunity to improve their reading skills while building confidence in a non-judgmental and supportive environment. Come read, practice, and get to know some amazing canines.

  • Thursday, Jan. 4
  • 4-5 p.m.
  • Main Library, 26 Civic Center Plaza

Winter Break Sports and Kids Camps – December 26-29

If your kids ages 6-13 need something to do over the holidays, check out Parks and Rec’s Winter Break Sports Camp and Kids Winter Camp at Jerome Center! Sign up at the links below.

Winter Break Sports Camp

Kids Winter Camp at Jerome

Rhythm/Ritmo Santa Ana – January 10 & 30

Tuesday Dancing

Follow the rhythm of your heart, move your feet, and make a beat at the Santa Ana Public Library. In collaboration with The Segerstrom Center for the Arts, we are pleased to present Rhythm/Ritmo Santa Ana, a vibrant series of dance and music classes suitable for all ages and abilities.

Studio D: Dance & Music Community Class is a great way for friends and families of all abilities to have fun and participate together! All are welcome and no registration/signups are required.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 10
  • 12-1 p.m.
  • Newhope Library, 122 N. Newhope St.


  • Tuesday, Jan. 30
  • 4-5 p.m.
  • Main Library, 26 Civic Center Plaza

Tuesday Night Dancing – January 16, 23 & 30

Rhythm Ritmo Dance

Join the Santa Ana Public Library and Segerstrom Center for a weekly dance class exploring a range of styles and movements each month. This month will focus on hula dancing. Open to teens and adults.

  • Tuesdays, Jan. 16, 23, & 30
  • 6-7 p.m.
  • Main Library, 26 Civic Center Plaza

Free Resident Day at Santa Ana Zoo – January 21 and February 18

Free Resident Day

Santa Ana residents receive free admission to the Zoo on the third Sunday of every month. Proof of residency (such as ID or a utility bill) is required.

  • Sunday, January 21 and February 18
  • 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (last admission is at 4 p.m.)
  • Santa Ana Zoo, 1801 E. Chestnut Ave.

Visit Santa Ana Zoo

Tet Lunar New Year – February 3

Tet Lunar New Year

The inaugural Santa Ana Tết Festival, hosted by our Parks, Recreation & Community Services Agency and the Santa Ana Public Library, will take place on Saturday, February 3, 2024, at Centennial Park. I was proud to support the City Council’s approval of our newest cultural celebration!

  • Saturday, February 3
  • 2-7 p.m.
  • Centennial Park, 3000 W. Edinger Ave.

Tet Lunar New Year Festival

Who do I call at City Hall?

  • Important phone numbers:
    • City Hall main line: (714) 647-5400
    • Code Enforcement: (714) 667-2780
    • Graffiti Hotline: (877) 786-7824
    • Emergency Water Services: (714) 953-8026
    • Public Works dispatch (street sweeping, trees): (714) 647-3380

Utility services

Starting a small business?

Food assistance: 

Download mySantaAna App to Report Issues

MySantaAna App

The mySantaAna mobile app puts the power of the Santa Ana city government in the palm of your hand! Residents with an iPhone or Android smartphone can now download the mySantaAna application for free allowing them to quickly and easily report issues with photos to the City for clean-up. You can report potholes, downed tree branches, graffiti, trash and much more!

Download the mySantaAna App

Local Events

Resident Days at the Zoo • Third Sunday of each Month

Bowers Museum free Sundays • Santa Ana residents are free each Sunday (http://bowers.org/images/pdf/Bowers_Museum_Free_Programs.pdf

Discovery Cube Waste Free Days • Santa Ana residents get free admission to the Discovery Cube on the first Tuesday of the month (https://www.discoverycube.org/promotions/)


Parking Tickets: https://www.santa-ana.org/pd/parking-enforcement-and-ticket-information

Public Works: https://www.santa-ana.org/pw

Neighborhood Initiatives: https://www.santa-ana.org/neighborhood-initiatives

Utility Services: https://www.santa-ana.org/finance/municipal-utility-services

Schedule a bulky item pickup: Call Republic Services (657) 467-6220

Police Non-Emergency Line: (714) 245-8665

Emergency Water Services: (714) 953-8026

Who Do I Call?  https://www.santa-ana.org/who-do-i-call

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