It’s hard to believe, but–yes–we are officially in fall. We wouldn’t be able to tell by the recent warmer-than-usual weather, but it’s a good thing that we’re finally experiencing a reprieve this weekend with cooler temperatures. I hope you and your families have had a fantastic summer and are ready for the new season. As for me, I’m ready for sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and watching the leaves turn.
This edition of my newsletter highlights maintenance fixes, important drought restrictions, highlights of past recent (and new!) City events, and upcoming events.
To help keep Ward 3 families connected, I encourage you to keep a look out for my monthly newsletters that get delivered to your email inbox. If there’s something I missed or if there’s a story you’d like me to highlight in a future newsletter, please let me know (send me an email at email@example.com). For regular news and updates, check out our website’s news feed and follow us on social media.
Councilwoman Jessie Lopez
Ward 3 highlights
Santiago Creek clean-up
We have been hard at work helping keep Santiago Park, the creek, and the trail clean and clear of trash, debris, and maintenance issues. While I applaud the work we’ve done, I share an on-going challenge with the Santiago Creek area: working cross-jurisdictionally with other government agencies, including Caltrans, to hold each other accountable to maintaining the portions of the creek that each jurisdiction is responsible for. For example, the City has been purposeful in working with Caltrans to take ownership of the portion of Santiago Creek immediately underneath California State Route 22. As you’ll see below, we recently were successful in working cross-jurisdictionally with Caltrans and others to address issues underneath the underpass.
This clean-up effort was truly an all-hands approach; the representatives from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), officers from the Orange Police Department, Caltrans staff, and the City’s Quality of Life Team (QOLT) assisted. Large amounts of property were located on the north and south embankments and in the creek next to the bike trails. CHP and Orange officers climbed up the embankments and removed all the property down to the bottom, where QOLT crews loaded the debris into the trucks. Additionally, CHP had a graffiti removal contractor respond and remove the graffiti from under the freeway. I’m grateful for the work we were able to accomplish together–and this would not have been possible without your involvement. Thank you for bringing your concerns about Santiago Creek to my attention and for letting the City know how important it is to your quality of life. We are committed to making sure our public spaces are safe for everyone to use.
Construction continues at Riverview Park
You may have noticed several of our City parks are either under construction. I’d like to share some work that’s going on at Riverview Park:
- Fencing: completed
- Electrical work at the batting cages: completed
- Fencing topper: we’re in the procurement process and expect the topper to be installed by October 14
- Snack bar roof: we’re in the procurement process and the work is scheduled to be completed by October 14
- Asphalt: our team is working to procure an on-call asphalt and concrete vendor to address citywide park issues; once the contract is in place, we will have a cost for this work.
- Rosita score board removal: completed
Edna Park playground repairs
Earlier this summer, residents let me know that the playground at Edna Park was damaged. The slide was damaged and not usable. I reported the issue and our Public Works team responded right away to replace the damaged slide. A huge thank-you to our residents for bringing this to my attention.
Bus bench replacement at 17th Street and Alona Street
I was driving down 17th Street and noticed that the two bus stops at the corner of 17th Street and Alona Street were missing bus benches. Considering that 17th Street is heavily traveled, I wanted to make sure that bus riders who need to sit while they wait for the bus can do so. I reported the issue to our Public Works team and they installed bus benches right away.
Paving project in Morrison, West Floral Park, Floral Park, Washington Square and Willard neighborhoods
Each year during the annual City budget process, the City Council approves a three-year Capital Improvement Program, or “CIP” for short. The CIP is a budget document that is separate from the City’s operating budget and outlines one-time expenses for public works projects. One of those public works projects is the local street preventive maintenance program, where we identify streets that need to be rehabilitated. This year, we’re focusing on rehabilitating the streets in Ward 3–specifically in the following neighborhoods:
- Floral Park
- West Floral Park
- Washington Square
The street rehabilitation includes slurry and crack sealing and pavement surface restoration of asphalt streets. In addition, our local street preventative maintenance includes some sidewalk, curb and gutter repairs. If your neighborhood is affected, you will be notified by the Public Works Agency.
Letter to Tustin City Council regarding traffic and pedestrian safety along E First Street
Last month, I sent a letter to the Tustin City Council to request their partnership in addressing traffic safety concerns along E First Street and N Tustin Avenue, near the Santa Ana – Tustin border. Earlier this year, city staff, Mayor Sarmiento and I met with the residents who live near the E First Street / Tustin Avenue intersection. Several of the residents we met with expressed concerns about the speed of vehicles traveling along First Street, pedestrians using crosswalks at the First Street / Tustin Avenue intersection, street lighting, and crosswalk paint/striping. While I have not received a response from the City of Tustin, I am hopeful that we’ll work together soon to co-create safe solutions for our residents.
Santiago Creek is a bird sanctuary
Have you ever seen “Santa Ana is a bird sanctuary” signs at Santiago Creek or anywhere else around town? Ward 3 resident, Les Hall, pointed these out to me and I was eager to learn more about them. It turns out that in 1991, the Santa Ana City Council adopted an ordinance designating the entire city as a bird sanctuary. In a nutshell, our municipal code provides that it is unlawful for anyone to kill or injure birds, bird nests, and bird eggs in the city.
Pollo Campero celebrates their grand opening
Santa Ana is home to the first Pollo Campero in Orange County and we’re happy to welcome another family owned business to our city! I had a great time being part of the grand opening for one of our newest restaurants in Santa Ana. Make sure to stop by if you are craving tasty chicken!
Movies in the Park at Mabury Park
This summer, the City hosted Movies in the Park events at 13 park locations–and this year was the first time we had one at Mabury Park!
Parks and Recreation Commission supports City’s application for California State Coastal Conservancy grant funding opportunity
The Parks and Recreation Commission submitted a letter of support to the California State Coastal Conservancy for the City’s application for the Santiago Park Trail and Native Habitat Restoration project. Santiago Park is Santa Ana’s only wilderness park, the only designated wildlife habitat area, and is one of the most historically significant parks in the region. The park’s natural features provide an opportunity to view local wildlife, native vegetation, and riparian landscaping. It provides an essential respite within our densely populated city.
About the project
The proposed project includes design and engineering for improving the Main Street entrance to Santiago Park. Plans will include the following elements: native riparian landscaping and irrigation; new and improved parking; viewing decks overlooking Santiago Creek; security lighting; separated pedestrian walkway, bicycle trail and roadway into the park; interpretive signage; and improved ADA accessibility.
Drought 2022: We must take action now and reduce our water use
Weather extremes, such as higher temperatures and less-than-normal precipitation, brought on by climate change have reduced California’s water supply. This reduces the amount of rainfall that fills our streams, lakes, reservoirs, and aquifers.
Earlier this year, California Governor Gavin Newsom took actions to declare a drought state of emergency and implement a Level 2 Water Supply Shortage for several counties–including Orange County.
California is facing a historic drought that has gone on for three years and it’s only getting worse: 2022 had the driest January, February, and March in over 100 years. The state’s largest reservoirs are currently at half of their historical averages, and the state’s snowpack is down to 38 percent of average.
What this means for Santa Ana
Santa Ana residents and businesses must reduce water usage by following water conservation practices inside and outside the home, and at businesses.
Permanent water conservation requirements for all water users
- Outdoor watering of lawns, landscapes or other turf areas is limited to two days a week, and only between the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Leaks must be repaired within 48 hours of notification by the City
- No washing down sidewalks or driveways
- No excessive water flow or runoff that causes water to flow onto an adjoining sidewalk, driveway, street, alley, gutter or ditch
- No washing vehicles with a hose, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle
- No operating a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is part of a recirculating system
- No outdoor watering during and 48 hours following measurable rainfall
Water conservation requirements for businesses
- Restaurants, cafes and bars can only serve water to customers on request
- Hotels and motels must prominently display a notice providing guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily
- No outdoor watering of non-functional or decorative turf at commercial, industrial and institutional sites. Outdoor watering to ensure the health of trees and other perennial non-turf plants is permitted
The Municipal Water District of Southern California (MWD) has rebate programs for residents and commercial property owners. Here’s an overview of some of the available rebates.
- High-efficiency clothes washers
- Premium high-efficiency toilets
- Flow monitor/leak detection devices
- Weather-based irrigation controllers
- Rotating sprinkler nozzles
- Rain barrels and cisterns
- Soil moisture sensor system
- Turf replacement
- Premium high-efficiency toilets, urinals, irrigation controllers, sprinkler nozzles, food equipment and more
- Turf replacement
- On-site retrofit program
Every drop we save today counts. Being water-wise doesn’t have to be a big and scary task. It can be as simple as using a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways or sidewalks or playing your favorite five-minute song to time your shower. No matter your household size, small changes like these add up to big savings and help protect and ensure critical water supplies for future generations.
Let’s work together to reduce our water use.
City of Santa Ana celebrates Latin American independence with Fiestas Patrias
After a two-year hiatus, Fiestas Patrias returned to Santa Ana. Fiestas Patrias is a celebration of the independence of several Latin American countries. This year, in addition to hosting a two-day street fair, we had performances by Beatriz Adriana, Raymix, and El Chapo de Sinaloa. If you were able to attend, I hope you enjoyed it!
Watch the video below to see highlights of this year’s event.
Celebrating Chicano heritage at El Salvador Park
Following the City Council’s proclamation of August as Chicano Heritage Month, the City hosted its first Chicano Heritage Festival on August 28 in El Salvador Park. Check out the YouTube video above to see some of the performances from the event! I had a great time speaking with residents, sharing city resources, and enjoying all the musical acts.
Segments of Fourth Street in Downtown Santa Ana reopened
The long-anticipated re-opening of segments of Fourth Street is now over: Fourth Street is open from Main Street on eastward. Thank you to our businesses and patrons for their patience as the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has been working to deliver the OC Streetcar to our community. Make sure to stay on top of construction updates from OCTA.
Even though there’s still on-going construction along the OC Streetcar route, our businesses are still open! You can follow our Economic Development team on Instagram to find out about our businesses, and you can visit our Downtown Santa Ana website.
Full intersection closures of Santa Ana Boulevard and Broadway and 4th Street and Broadway
Full intersection closures for the 4th Street and Broadway intersection and the Santa Ana Boulevard and Broadway intersection will take place for OC Streetcar track construction. Crews will be present during daytime work hours, but closures and detour routes will be in place 24 hours a day. This work may be loud and the schedule is subject to change due to inclement weather or unforeseen operational issues.
For any questions about the OC Streetcar project, please contact OCstreetcar@octa.net or (844)746-6272.
The Bicycle Tree Receives Recognition at City Council Meeting
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to recognize The Bicycle Tree. The Bicycle Tree is a nonprofit community bike center and shop and their mission is to “equitably support bicyclists and create healthy, bicycle-friendly communities through activities, advocacy, and education.” The Bicycle Tree strives to make Orange County a better place to bike by helping bicyclists fix their bikes, teaching bike maintenance, and other bike-related subjects, by advocating locally for bike-friendly infrastructure, and donating bikes to those in need.
Mid-Autumn Festival – October 1
Tomorrow, Saturday, October 1 is our first Mid-Autumn Festival. We’ll be celebrating at Rosita Park from 4 to 9 p.m. The celebration will include a Lion Dance, drum performance, fashion show, food vendors, kids zone, exhibitors, raffle, music, and free mooncakes (while supplies last)!
- Date: Saturday, October 1
- Time: 4-9 p.m.
- Location: Rosita Park, 706 N Newhope Street, Santa Ana, CA 92703
Financial Literacy Workshops: October 1, 5, 12, 15, and 29
It’s always a good time to strengthen your financial skills. Teens and adults are invited to join a series of workshops from Santa Ana Public Library dedicated to financial matters, including banking, investing, paying off debt and more.
Making Money 101: Personal Finance for Teens (11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Main Library, 26 Civic Center Plaza):
Oct. 1 – Personal Finance
Oct. 15 – Personal Assets
Oct. 29 – Loans and Interest
Money Matters: Financial Literacy for Adults (Bilingual)
10/5 – Holiday Shopping at Newhope Library, 122 N Newhope Street, 6-7 p.m.
10/12 – Holiday Shopping at Main Library, 26 Civic Center Plaza, 6-7 p.m.
Birch Park Halloween Series – every Thursday in October
The Birch Park Halloween Series showcases a classic Halloween-themed film every Thursday in October at Birch Park, located at 210 N Birch Street in Downtown Santa Ana. The movie screenings and concession booths are coordinated by The Frida Cinema. The first 50 guests will receive a free bag of popcorn! We’re validating parking at the 3rd and Birch parking structure (right across the street). Doors open at 5 p.m.
- October 6: Creature from the Black Lagoon
- October 13: Frankenstein
- October 20: The Bride of Frankenstein
- October 27: Dracula (in Spanish)
Indigenous Peoples Day – October 8
Our inaugural Indigenous Peoples Day celebration will take place on October 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Santa Ana Civic Center in Downtown Santa Ana. This free community event celebrates and honors Indigenous Peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. The celebration will include live music, food vendors, exhibitors, and family activities.
- Date: Saturday, October 8
- Time: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Location: Plaza of the Sun at the Santa Ana Civic Center, 22 Civic Center Plaza