Spring is in the air, and many exciting projects are blooming in our beautiful city!
In Ward 3, improvements to the Santiago Park entrance and a possible new science park at the Discovery Cube are taking root. At City Council, our hard work has bared fruit with the approval of the General Plan update, adoption of a new ward map, the roll out of pandemic recovery programs, and the opening a new children’s area next to the Main Library.
While spring is the season of new development and new hopes, summer is on the way. At City Hall, that means a new budget. I appreciate all of the input and feedback regarding the City budget that you have all provided, because we need your opinion in order to approve a budget that meets the needs of our constituents. I encourage you to continue to stay involved as the City Council discusses the budget in upcoming meetings, with approval expected before July 1. We will continue to support local businesses, improve the City’s infrastructure, enhance the well-being and safety of our residents and community, and grow our programs for children and families.
I’m very excited about all the positive changes we’re creating in our neighborhoods, but we can’t do it without your help. If there is a particular topic of interest that you’d like to discuss, please contact my office to set up an appointment. As always, feel free to reach out if the Ward 3 Team can be of assistance. Contact Angie Morris to schedule an appointment.
I’m looking forward to working with you. Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend. City Council will return for our next regular meeting on June 7.
In this issue…
- Local Updates:
- Join the Budget Process
- General Plan Approved
- New Council Wards Map Approved
- Investing in the Artist Grant
- Abstention Policy
- Drought and Conserve Water
Ward & City news/updates
Discovery Cube looking at outdoor Science Park
Santa Ana’s famous Discovery Cube could expand with a new science park next door! The City Council approved a memorandum of understanding on March 1 with the Discovery Cube to pursue grant applications and study the feasibility of a future outdoor science park on City property next to the museum. The Outdoor Science Park is envisioned to provide STEM and Nature Education to Santa Ana’s youth through an exciting blend of hands-on STEM exhibits with elements of nature. The Science Park would have several featured exhibits, a lush native garden, recreational trails and a pavilion overlooking Santiago Creek.
Read the Report to the City Council: https://santa-ana.primegov.com/portal/item?id=48035
Santiago Park entrance makeover
The Santiago Park Main Street entrance is getting a makeover. The City Council approved an agreement on March 15 to design a new entrance for the park, which will help beautify the corridor into our wonderful Santiago Park.
City Council approves Abstention Policy
On March 15, the City Council voted to amend the City Municipal Code to prohibit Councilmember abstentions unless legally required, to require unauthorized abstentions to be counted and recorded as a vote with the majority, and to describe the conflict disqualification process. I supported this change so that we have a clear policy and Councilmembers cannot simply refuse to take a stance on controversial or difficult issues.
Council approves General Plan Update
The Santa Ana City Council unanimously voted to adopt the General Plan Update during the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 19. The General Plan Update will provide long-term policy direction and communicate the City’s vision and priorities for the next 23 years, through 2045. The goals and policies of the plan will guide the City’s physical development, fiscal and environmental sustainability, and overall quality of life for the community.
General Plan Update: https://www.santa-ana.org/general-plan
New City Council Ward map approved
On Tuesday, April 5, the Santa Ana City Council approved a new Council ward boundaries map that immediately went into effect. Councilmembers for the new Wards 2, 4 and 6 will be elected in the November 2022 election, and for Wards 1, 3 and 5 in the November 2024 election. You can find an interactive map that allows you to locate which of the new wards your address is in at the link below.
Revive Santa Ana programs rolling out
Last year, the Santa Ana City Council approved the first half – $80 million – of the Revive Santa Ana pandemic recovery initiative funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Since then, City staff has been working hard to roll out many new and exciting programs. We distributed $300 gift cards to 15,000 households in need through the $6 million Resident Stimulus Program, and the work is continuing. Our library has created new technology and digital literacy programs and added dozens of new events (read about these below), and the Police Athletic & Activity League (PAAL) has started youth softball and baseball teams and a running club.
We also have created a digital marketing seminar with a $1,000 grant for local businesses and are funding our Investing in the Artist Grant Program (read more about these below and apply today!) The City Council recently approved up to $900,000 for agreements with five local nonprofits to provide food distributions in Santa Ana. I’m proud of the work we have done so far, and much more is still to come!
Helping out downtown businesses
As work on the OC Streetcar continues on 4th Street, the City is working with the project manager, OCTA, and taking its own steps to support local businesses that are being impacted. This is a high priority for the City Council, which approved $1.5 million in grants to help the affected businesses. We’ve also extended our parking assistance, not only providing free parking from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at four City-owned parking structures, but also adding two hours of free parking after 5 p.m. and on the weekends. Please help out these local businesses by eating, shopping and playing in downtown Santa Ana!
City Manager’s homelessness update
You can watch our City Manager’s May 3 homelessness update to the City Council in this video. The City of Santa Ana continues to proactively address the challenges and impacts of homelessness on our neighborhoods and businesses while taking a compassionate approach to helping unhoused individuals.
Santa Ana Zoo celebrates birthday with $2 million gift
On March 8, I joined my fellow Councilmembers and state Sen. Thomas J. Umberg as he presented a check for $2 million to the Santa Ana Zoo for design and construction of a new Education Hub building. The Zoo’s 70th birthday was also celebrated at the event, with cake, cupcakes, and cookies. The new environmentally sustainable facility will include a flex space, classrooms, and a hub for community volunteers and education coordinators. The classrooms will be flexible in design and layout to maximize their use potential throughout the day and year.
The Education Hub, nicknamed “the Hive” because it will be buzzing with activity, was conceptualized as a part of the 20-year Master Plan for the Santa Ana Zoo approved by the City Council in 2018. Community surveys in 2020 and 2021 showed widespread support for the Zoo and the desire for additional educational opportunities and programming. The Education Hub is a pivotal piece of a program the Zoo is developing and implementing entitled Community Connections: The Zoo & You.
Investing in the Artist Grant
ALBI (Active, Learning, Believe & Inspire) conducted dance, visual arts, and poetry lessons for students at Hoover Elementary using a previous artist grant.
Our annual Investing in the Artist Grant Program is back as part of our federally funded Revive Santa Ana pandemic recovery initiative. We have $300,000 available to disperse among qualified individual artists and nonprofit organizations for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Applications are available now!
You can also apply to be on the Review Panel to score the applications. This is a great program that supports our local arts community and creates beautiful public art for everyone to enjoy.
Apply for investing in the Artist Grant: https://cityofsantaana.submittable.com/submit
Library opens Play and Learn Children’s Patio
The Santa Ana Public Library opened the new Play and Learn Children’s Patio on March 15 as the first step of a major renovation to create a modern and interactive learning ecosystem.
I was thrilled to join in the ribbon-cutting event. The Children’s Patio also includes outdoor reading areas, new landscaping and play surfaces, and flexible activity spaces for library programming. It is located behind the Library with access from the children’s area inside.
The $884,000 project is made possible by the City of Santa Ana’s Cannabis Public Benefit Fund supported by taxes paid from legal recreational marijuana sales.
Read More About the Children’s Patio: https://www.santa-ana.org/latest-news/play-and-learn-childrens-patio-begins-transformation-santa-ana-public-library
Go on an adventure with Teen Excursions Program
The City of Santa Ana’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Agency is introducing a new teen excursion program for teens who live in Santa Ana ages 13 to 17 years of age.
This program is FREE of charge and excursions will take place once a month at a variety of teen-friendly locations. Some of the excursions consist of visiting amusement parks, watching sporting events and private movie screenings. This is a great opportunity for teens to travel around Southern California with friends and be introduced to different environments and experiences.
The next trip will be on Saturday, May 14th, 2022, they will be watching the LA Galaxy soccer game from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. All participating teens must register.
Sign Up for Teen Excursions: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/santa-ana-ca/catalog
Check out a State Parks Pass at Santa Ana Public Library
The Santa Ana Public Library (SAPL) has partnered with the California State Library to provide free vehicle day-use entry to over 200 participating state park sites to library card holders! When you check out a California State Library Parks Pass from the Santa Ana Public Library, you can visit any of the 200 participating state park units during a period of three weeks. The SAPL currently offers six passes ready for check out.
Reserve a State Parks Pass: https://sapl.tlcdelivers.com/#section=resource&resourceid=1413197248¤tIndex=0&view=allCopiesDetailsTab
Learn More About the Parks Pass: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=30806
City budget: Share your ideas about City services
Which City services and programs are important to you? Public safety? Libraries? Street repairs? Join an upcoming City Council meeting as we work to finalize the budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The Council’s next budget workshop is on May 31.
You can also try balancing the City budget yourself with our online budget simulation tool. The simulation tool is available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
The Budget Engagement Simulation Tool (BEST) is fun and easy to use. It’s a great way to learn about the City’s budget and see how the City Council makes tough budget choices. You can choose one or both of the following simulations:
- Simulate: Create a balanced budget by adding or subtracting money from existing programs. Add money to your own idea for a project or program. This tool focuses on the spending side of the budget. There is information about the City’s revenue sources, but you cannot make any changes because that would require voter approval.
- Prioritize: Tell us how you would spend $11 million. You can make choices from the items listed and include your own idea if you wish. Once you have made your selections to spend $11 million, rank them in order of importance.
As your Councilmember, I strongly encourage you to participate in this process and help us create a budget that best serves the Santa Ana community.
Learn More About the Budget: https://www.santa-ana.org/finance/budget
Council creating Joint School Collaboration Subcommittee
On April 19, the City Council adopted a resolution to establish a Joint School Collaboration City Council Standing Subcommittee between the City of Santa Ana and the Santa Ana Unified School District. The purpose of the Joint School Collaboration City Council Standing Subcommittee is to discuss issues of mutual interest between the City and SAUSD focusing on youth services, joint use of SAUSD and City facilities; library facilities; educational programs; and other related topics. This is an important step to help the City work hand-in-hand with the school district to help us both better serve the community.
Marytza Rubio recognition
In our April 5 Council Meeting, I presented a Certificate of Recognition to Marytza K. Rubio for her Outstanding Contributions to Literary Arts and to the Artist Community. Marytza K. Rubio is a writer who was born and raised in Santa Ana. She is also the founder of the Makara Center for the Arts, a nonprofit library and art center that was a brick & mortar space on Main Street with the vision to provide access to free books and artistic programs for the Santa Ana Community. Congratulations, Marytza!
Certificate of Recognition to Santa Ana Pony Baseball
In our March 15 City Council meeting, I presented a Certificate of Recognition to Elias Cazales, the president of Santa Ana Pony Baseball. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing young baseball players the opportunity to develop and enhance their skills, and prepare them for high school baseball and beyond. At Riverview Park, they volunteered their time and resources to make improvements to the park snack bar, added new artwork, upgraded the snack bar bathroom facility, installed new deadbolt locks, installed a fan for air circulation, and added new LED lighting. For that, we are grateful for your contribution. Thank you, Mr. Elias Cazales and Santa Ana Pony Baseball!
Find summer youth jobs with SAY Program
The Santa Ana Youth Employment Program (SAY) is currently taking applications for the summer! The SAY Employment Program provides paid work experience to youth ages 16 to 21 years old. In order to qualify, applicants must:
- Live in Santa Ana
- Be 16-21 years old
- Be a U.S. Citizen or have legal permission to work
- Submit a Request for Work Permit through SAUSD if under 18 years old
Selected participants can work 20-40 hours per week. Hours are flexible around school schedules. The selection process is first-come, first-served.
Apply for SAY Employment Program: https://www.santa-ana.org/SAYEmployment
OCTA extends Youth Ride Free program
OCTA is providing extended blue passes as a continuation of the Youth Ride Free program that started in September 2021. Youth will be able to acquire their free passes through schools, an online request form, or walk-ins to the OCTA Store. This free pass for youth ages 6 to 18 will allow them to get to all of their important destinations on safe, clean, reliable buses. Updated parent request forms will need to be submitted in order to receive the pass. The pass issued in March will be good through September 2022, after which time a new pass will be provided.
Sign Up for Youth Ride Free: http://www.octa.net/Bus/Fares-and-Passes/Specialty-Passes/Youth-Pass/
Mortgage Relief for homeowners
The new California Mortgage Relief Program is accepting applications. Homeowners may be eligible for mortgage relief funds if they missed payments for their primary residence, faced a financial hardship during the pandemic and are at or below 100 percent of their county’s Area Median Income. Funds awarded to qualified homeowners through this program will be given directly to mortgage servicers and do not need to be repaid.
Mortgage Relief Program: https://camortgagerelief.org/
Get vaccinated and boosted!
The COVID-19 vaccine is available for children ages 5 and older. If you’ve already received the vaccine, booster shots are available too. I encourage everyone in Santa Ana to get vaccinated so we can protect our community, keep our businesses open and get back to normal life.
Vaccine Information: https://www.santa-ana.org/vaccine
Conserve water during the drought
Droughts are a recurring fact of nature in California. It is important that everyone makes a conscientious effort to use water as efficiently as possible. Go to the link below to find conservation tips from the California Department of Water Resources.
Water Conservation Tips: https://water.ca.gov/water-basics/conservation-tips
New City website launches
If you go to the City’s website, you may have noticed a different look. Our new website (with the same web address as before) is designed to be more user friendly and make it easier to find the services and information you need. The website is a work in progress and we will be making regular updates and improvements to better serve the community. Please check out the website below and click the feedback link to share your ideas.
New City Website: https://www.santa-ana.org/
Events & meetings
Resident Days at the Zoo • Third Sunday of each Month https://www.santaanazoo.org/
Bowers Museum free Sundays • Santa Ana residents get in 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/
Juneteenth Celebration @ Centennial Park – June 18
In observance of the Juneteenth holiday, this event will commemorate the abolishment of slavery in the United States of America and celebrate African American heritage, culture and achievement. The event will include live music and dance performances, exhibitors, vendors, food, and fun activities for the whole family.
- Saturday, June 18, 2022 – 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Centennial Park, 3000 W. Edinger Ave, Santa Ana
Free food distributions
Weekly food distributions are available for those in need.