Ward 3 newsletter: August 2022

Posted on July 31, 2022

Lopez Newsletter Header
Dear neighbors,
I hope everyone is staying cool in this summer heat, while also taking advantage of the longer days, the sunlight, and the good weather. Our Parks and Recreation team has been hard at work, planning and hosting community events, such as Juneteenth and Fourth of July celebrations, along with weekly Movies in the Park screenings at parks across the city. You’ll find a recap of some of our past events, along with a listing of upcoming activities, in the Events section below and on our City website. If you have some free time, check them out.
Back at City Hall, I have been busy over the past few months, advocating for the issues you care about. I did this by making sure that your priorities were reflected in the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget, which was approved by the City Council back in June. This new budget funds programs and services that you’ve requested, such as more youth services, street and sidewalk repairs, traffic-calming, public safety, and much more. You can read our full budget document on our website.
As an additional fiscal-related highlight, the City of Santa Ana and County of Orange have recently allocated funding to provide direct financial assistance to our local businesses that have been impacted by the construction of the OC Streetcar. The City of Santa Ana stands with our constituents and will continue to do what we can to support local businesses, improve the City’s infrastructure, and enhance the well-being of our residents and community.
On the policy side of things, I’ve been working to advance transparency and accountability. For example, I championed a lobbyist registration policy, which the City Council adopted in June. Furthermore, I brought forth a discussion at a City Council meeting to direct staff to advance robust campaign finance rules for our local elections. You can read more about the lobbyist registration policy below.
To stay on top of what my colleagues and I are doing at City Council meetings, visit our website to check out meeting agendas, find out when we meet (we meet on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 5:45 p.m.), and check out our options for participating in our meetings virtually or in person. Our next City Council meeting will take place this Tuesday, August 2 at 5:45 p.m. at City Hall in the council chamber.
I am committed to continuing to work hard to ensure that you are represented and heard. That being said, your input is extremely important as we work together for the betterment of our ward and City. If there is a particular topic of interest that you’d like to discuss with me, please call my office at (714) 647-6900 or email amorris@santa-ana.org to set up an appointment.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Councilwoman Jessie Lopez

Ward 3 & City news

Cover Image Of Flower Grand First Book

Gustavo Hernandez gives words of inspiration at City Council meeting

I asked Gustavo Hernandez, renowned poet end educator who was born and raised in Santa Ana, to provide some words of inspiration at the June 21 City Council meeting. Gustavo recently released a book, entitled Flower Grant First, with a collection of his poems. The poem he recited during our City Council meeting, entitled “No Matter What You Call It,” is excerpted below:
After those days of blankness that come from hearing too much talk about fathers leaving this physical world, like my father left this physical world, something returns
Don’t get me wrong, there was no giving up
I put myself together like most of us do
Stalked myself up and together in dryness, bone, California limestone
My mother, who still believes improvised alters are lightning rods for a miracle, says that what I’m feeling, what was returned to me, is grace
And I want to agree with her, but who these days really remembers the definition of grace or every one of its definitions and then each one’s reach and breath?
Maybe I can call it sympathy like the sympathy I felt for myself that time I planted a grape vine in the front yard and then ruined the soil with too much water
Maybe I can name it sympathy, but there are days when I don’t want to name a single thing or draw distinctions
Days when I don’t want that to be my job; name giver, analyst
Here is another confession; I am learning to walk again on this thing that feels like faith
Not a faith like my mother’s, although we both count on the days paving a road to one specific place
A place where we are free to again notice the perfume left in our house
Where we are long healed and there is little room for grief
Thank you, Gustavo, for joining our City Council meeting and sharing your work with us.

New City budget expands programs and services

SAPL Front
The City Council recently approved the Fiscal Year 2022-23 City budget, which adds many programs and services requested by our residents. I’m excited that we are able to add more youth services, street and sidewalk repairs, other capital projects, and much more, while also maintaining a $70 million rainy day fund to protect the City’s finances. Some of the highlights in our new budget include the following:
  • More than $26 million – a $5.5 million increase – for youth services, including after-school programs, youth employment and internships, and youth sports
  • Library improvements and a second Knowledge Mobile
  • Over $24 million for housing and supportive housing for homeless residents
  • Over $15 million – a $6 million increase – for street pavement, sidewalks, and traffic-calming improvements
  • More Code Enforcement officers and resources to address public nuisance issues
  • $1 million for police oversight
A special thank-you to our community members who participated in the budget process and shared their input (and a shout-out to our Budget Office for helping with community budget meetings) to co-create our budget!

City of Santa Ana and County of Orange provide direct financial assistance to local businesses affected by the OC Streetcar construction

To help the businesses affected by the construction of the OC Streetcar, the City Council approved an agreement with the County of Orange for $1.2 million to provide financial relief to those businesses. Through this program, eligible businesses could receive one-time grants to support their operations. This County-funded program augments a similar $1.5 million Business Interruption Fund program that the City Council approved back in March.

Learn More About the Business Interruption Fund


20th Street sign replaced

damaged 20th Street sign new 20th Street sign

Sometimes, it’s the little things–like a street sign. These “little” things make a big difference, though. I was walking through the neighborhood and noticed that the 20th Street sign was difficult to read (and it didn’t look very presentable, either). I reached out to our Public Works Agency staff, who quickly assessed the sign and replaced it.

Report an Issue


Lincoln Avenue Pedestrian Pathway Project Completed

Our Public Works team recently completed the long-anticipated Lincoln Avenue Pedestrian Pathway project. This project focused on a 0.2-mile pedestrian pathway along Lincoln Avenue from Park Lane to Santiago Creek. These improvements provide a 12-foot wide pedestrian pathway, landscaping, irrigation, lighting, and fence and wall barriers from the railroad to separate it from the pathway. This project helps facilitate and shorten pedestrian travel routes in general and provide a shorter route to school for student at Fairhaven Elementary School. This project was funded by an Active Transportation Program grant.

Learn more about our capital improvement projects


Partnership with Caltrans to clean up Santiago Creek under the 5 freeway

Santiago Creek Santiago Creek

Santiago Creek Santiago Creek

In a cross-jurisdictional effort led by the City of Santa Ana, we ordered Caltrans to address issues under the 5 freeway overpass over Santiago Creek this past Wednesday, July 27. Crews from Caltrans, alongside City staff, cleared trash and debris from under the bridge. During the clean-up, officers and crews from our homeless response teams helped individuals experiencing homelessness to receive assistance. To continue to hold Caltrans accountable to maintaining their public right-of-way (such as the portions of Santiago Creek underneath the freeway), City staff will continue to work closely with Caltrans to schedule regular maintenance moving forward. I want to thank everyone who assisted with this clean-up!


Commercial Property Compliance Assistance Program

Commercial Property Compliance

New program alert: We recently launched the Commercial Property Compliance Assistance Program as part of the Revive Santa Ana initiative. What this means is owners of commercial properties in qualified areas of the city that were financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can receive up to $50,000 to help restore, beautify, and enhance their properties. Specifically, the program pays for improvements such as signage, awnings, steam cleaning/power washing, fencing, doors, lighting, paint and more.

Learn more about the program and apply


Acquisition of partial property for Bristol Street and Memory Lane intersection improvements

At the June 21 meeting, the City Council approved a purchase agreement to acquire a portion of real property adjacent to Bristol Street to allow for that portion of the right-of-way to be widened from 100 feet to 111 feet. This acquisition is the last of the three partial acquisitions needed to widen the northwest corner of the Bristol Street / Memory Lane intersection to improve mobility along Bristol Street for everyone. The project also includes installing a new curb and gutter, sidewalk, driveway approaches, and both public and private utilities. Construction is anticipated to start in the beginning of 2023.

Read the staff report


City Council approves a lobbyist registration policy

Also at the June 21 meeting, the City Council adopted an ordinance establishing a Lobbying Registration Policy. The purpose of this policy is to promote public confidence, preserve the integrity of local government decision-making, and provide members of the community with access to information about persons and organizations who attempt to influence decisions of City government through paid lobbyists. Among other things, this policy defines “lobbyist,” establishes thresholds for reporting lobbying activity, requires quarterly reporting, and sets forth annual registration procedures. Our City Clerk’s Office will soon be working on implementing this policy–so stay tuned. In the meantime, use the button below to read the staff report and ordinance.

Read the staff report


Expanded cleaning and sanitization program

Earlier this year, the City Council approved the use of $500,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support the Sanitization and Prevention Program. This program provides on-going cleaning and sanitizing of bus shelters, alleys, and streets throughout the city.

Learn more about other American Rescue Plan Act initiatives


Orange County Grand Jury releases report on homelessness

The Orange County Grand Jury recently released a 24-page report on how the county collectively is addressing homelessness. Use the button below to read the full report.

Read the Grand Jury report


Coyote sightings in Ward 3

Coyote sightings are being reported with increased frequency in Ward 3. Although no humans have been harmed, there have been some reports of coyotes approaching people while walking their dogs. Coyotes are medium-sized animals that belong to the dog family. Coyotes are typically nocturnal, but during cooler seasons or in drought conditions they may be seen during daylight hours.
Helpful Tips to Avoid Coyotes
  • Remove sources of food and water, especially at night. This includes pet bowls, fallen fruit from trees, and water in bird baths.
  • Secure garbage can lids or store them indoors.
  • Ensure outdoor enclosures for rabbits, poultry, birds, etc. are well secured.
  • Put away bird feeders and leftover poultry food at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.
  • Do not leave dogs, cats, and other pets outside unattended, especially at night.
What To Do if You See a Coyote in Your Neighborhood
  • Do not approach it.
  • Make loud noises.
  • Habituated coyotes – ones that have lost their natural wariness of people and fail to flee when near people – should be reported to Orange County Animal Services at (714) 935-6848.
Use the buttons below for additional information and resources.

Joint Santiago Creek clean-up event with Catalyst

In late May, I joined forces with Catalyst, a local cannabis business, to host a volunteer clean-up at Santiago Creek. Together, we collected 15 bags full of trash. Our volunteer team plans to continue hosting clean-up events. Thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers for helping keep our open space clean for everyone to enjoy!


Keep Runnin’ Santa Ana is recognized by the City Council

Keep Runnin' Santa Ana Group Photo

I presented the Keep Runnin’ Santa Ana (KRSA) Club with a certificate of recognition for their hard work and dedication to the Santa Ana community. KRSA started with a small group of residents who wanted to run in a safe, group environment. In addition to their group running activities, KRSA also donates running shoes every month to deserving students that may not have the means to buy running shoes.

I want to thank the founder of KRSA, Aaron Garcia, for starting a running club that promotes exercise, gives back to the community, and encourages others to live an active lifestyle. Check out their Instagram for updates and to get involved (they meet every Thursday at the corner of 4th and French Streets).

Check out Keep Runnin’ Santa Ana’s on Instagram


Thanking Orange County Fire Authority Chief Henery for 35 years of service

Group photo of OCFA for Chief Henery's 35 years of service

In May, Mayor Sarmiento and I recognized Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Chief Jim Henery for his the 35 years of service to the City of Santa Ana. Chief Henery cares for the Santa Ana community and uses his strong work ethic to lead by example and make sure Santa Ana is safe and receives the best service from OCFA. We look forward to working with Chief Henery for many more years.


Author Ernesto Cisneros is presented with certificate of recognition

Councilmember Lopez Recognizing Author Ernesto Cisneros at the dais
Ernesto Cisneros is an award-winning author and educator who was born and raised in Santa Ana. During the May 17 City Council meeting, I presented Ernesto with a certificate for his outstanding contributions to children’s literature. He recently published a new novel entitled Falling Short about the special relationship between two middle school friends. You can learn more about his award-winning books by visiting his website. Ernesto currently teaches reading and writing at Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School.
Thank you, Ernesto, for all that you do for Santa Ana youth!

Spectrum awards $10,000 to The Wooden Floor

The Wooden Floor, a Santa Ana-based arts education organization, was awarded the Ovation Award by Spectrum. During their 39-year history, The Wooden Floor has made an enormous impact on the more than 95,000 children they’ve served, including those from Santa Ana. I’m proud to support The Wooden Floor in their mission to empower low-income youth to strengthen their self-esteem, self-discipline, and sense of accomplishment through dance, academic, and family programs.

Learn more about The Wooden Floor


City Council proclaims first Friday in June as National Gun Violence Awareness Day

MOMS Demand Action Recognition At City Council Meeting

In June, Mayor Sarmiento and I presented a proclamation declaring June 3 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. The proclamation was spearheaded by MOMS Demand Action, a grassroots movement of individuals fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.

Learn more about MOMS Demand Action


Recognizing Loosie’s Pizza in Downtown Santa Ana

Councilmember Lopez recognizes the owners of Loosie's Pizza at a City Council meeting

Also in June, I recognized Loosies Pizza, a new business located in Downtown Santa Ana. This pizza establishment was created by Santaneros who were inspired by New York-style pizzerias and wanted to bring something similar to our city. Although they only recently opened, Loosies has already established themselves as a local favorite. Stop by for a slice of pizza next time you’re in DTSA!


LGBTQIA+ Pride Flag raising ceremony at City Hall

Pride flag raising ceremony group photo

Each year, the City of Santa Ana proudly displays the LGBTQIA+ Pride Flag in front of City Hall to celebrate Pride Month and honor the LGBTQIA+ community. This year, I wanted us to do things differently, so I worked with our City staff to host a flag-raising ceremony and community resource fair. Immediately following the brief, yet memorable raising of the flag, we invited the community to the Plaza of the Sun for a resource fair with food distribution, COVID-19 vaccines, and other resources from local organizations. We are proud to be an inclusive community that not only acknowledges, but celebrates our diversity!


Floral Park hands out scholarships to local students

Floral Park held its annual Scholarship & Charity Awards Ceremony & Reception on June 12. Mayor Vicente Sarmiento and the Floral Park president spoke, while I presented awards alongside Floral Park First Vice Presidents Mark Rothenberg and Tracey Stein. A combination of 14 college and high school students received scholarships at the event. Thank you to the neighbors for all that you have done throughout the year to help Floral Park raise money to fund these scholarships and charitable gifts!


City of Santa Ana Celebrates Juneteenth

The Delfonics on stage at the Juneteenth festival
In collaboration with the Orange County Heritage Council, we hosted a Juneteenth festival on Saturday, June 18 at Centennial Park. The event included music performances by The Delfonics, J-Holiday, Howard Johnson, Slum Village, and others, along with speakers such as Daniel Michael Lynem, Harlem Lambert, Curtis Shipp, and Darlene Futrel.
Parks Staff pose with The Delfonics at the Juneteenth festival
About Juneteenth
Juneteenth is a federally recognized holiday that commemorates the abolishment of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth became a celebration of freedom and achievement, gathering family and communities with food and entertainment, spiritual-religious ceremonies, cultural storytelling, and pilgrimages to Galveston, Texas. Today, Juneteenth takes on a symbol of pride in African American experiences and ancestral roots.
Councilmember Lopez With Harlem Lambert

Fourth of July in Ward 3

Fourth of July celebration at Fisher Park in front of fire truck

The Fourth of July is an annual celebration of the founding of our country–the freedom, liberty, and independence that we enjoy each and every day. I had so much fun celebrating the Fourth of July with Ward 3 families! I hope you all had a happy and safe Independence Day!

Couple celebrating the Fourth Of July in the Riverview neighborhood

Closing ceremonies for NESALL

I was invited to the closing ceremonies for the North East Santa Ana Little League (NESALL) to give awards out–not just to the players, but also to their parents. In addition to recognizing the little ones for a good season, I also wanted to recognize the parents for their help in maintaining the field and making sure that NESALL continues to run successfully. Nice job, folks!


Girls Inc. of Orange County Business Showcase

Girls Inc. Business Showcase group photo with Councilmember Lopez

As part of their innovative summer programs, Girls Inc. of Orange County hosts a business showcase. Similar to “Shark Tank,” participating girls present their businesses to a team of investors with the hopes of gaining capital in their business. Through this experience, girls learn introductory and advanced principles of business, such as how to create a business plan. I was invited to attend this year’s business showcase and got to see first-hand how strong, smart, and bold our young girls are.


OCCORD relocates to Santa Ana

Councilmember Lopez speaking at OCCORD

Earlier this summer, the nonprofit organization Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) relocated their offices from Anaheim to Santa Ana. OCCORD is a long-time community advocacy and civic engagement organization that has championed a series of important policies for our community, such as the Sunshine Ordinance, community land trusts, equitable strategic planning, and more. I’m happy to see that OCCORD has a physical presence in our city.

Learn more about OCCORD


Greenleaf Street sewer main improvements to take place from October to December 2022

Construction work on Greenleaf Street (between 17th and 19th Streets) has been scheduled to begin in October 2022, after the completion of the Flower Street and 17th Street Sewer Main Improvements projects. This will affect vehicular travel and parking along Greenleaf Street. Please give yourself extra time to find an alternate route, should you be driving in this area.
Parking Impacts
  • During sewer main upgrade, street parking will be prohibited from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • During concrete street work, on-street parking may be completely prohibited for up to one week at a time.
  • If you have any concerns about parking, please call (714)-647-5629.
For more information, please contact the Public Works Agency General Construction Hotline at (714) 647-5074 or Community Liaison Michelle Micallef at (714) 647-5091 or mmicallef@santa-ana.org.

Goats getting a new trail at the Santa Ana Zoo

On June 21, the City Council approved the expansion of the Goat Trail at the Santa Ana Zoo. The project expands opportunities for goats to express natural behaviors via
elevated structural elements that encourage and display their climbing skills while creating an immersive farm environment for zoo visitors. The project includes the following elements:
  • Pathway and drainage improvements
  • Area grading and signage relocation to increase overall farm accessibility
  • Expanded habitats to improve animal welfare
  • New landscaping and irrigation to beautify the space
The Goat Trail project will contribute to the Zoo’s revitalization and enhance the Zoo’s ability to empower its community to save wildlife and wild spaces through fun, adventure, and learning.


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 meet the following requirements:
  • 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 the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) if you’re 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.

OCTA extends Youth Ride Free program

OCTA Youth Ride

The Orange County Transportation Authority (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 to receive the pass. Any existing passes that were issued in March will be good through September 2022, after which time a new pass will be provided.

Sign up for the Youth Ride Free program


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.

Learn more about the Mortgage Relief Program


Get vaccinated and boosted!

COVID Vaccine 5+

The COVID-19 vaccine is available for children ages 6 months 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 recover from the pandemic.

Get vaccinated


Conserve water during the drought

Conserve Water

Droughts are a recurring fact of nature in California. It is important that everyone make a conscientious effort to use water as efficiently as possible. Use the button link below to find conservation tips from the California Department of Water Resources.

Water conservation tips





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