Ward 3 Newsletter: February 2024

Posted on February 15, 2024

Councilmember Lopez Newsletter Headers

February 2024

Dear neighbors,

Happy New Year, happy Black History Month, happy Lunar New Year, and happy Valentine’s!

As we embark on Black History Month, it is imperative to honor the enduring legacies of the remarkable Black leaders who fought tirelessly for freedom and equality for all, recognizing that their contributions extend far beyond the pages of history books. Let’s seize this moment to delve deeper into Black history and reaffirm our commitment to building a more just and equitable society. In celebration of Black History Month, the Santa Ana Public Library will be screening the movie “Harriet” on February 27 at 6 p.m. 

Furthermore, I’m delighted to welcome the Lunar New Year, Year of the Dragon. The year of the Dragon is anticipated to bring auspicious opportunities and exciting advancements. The dragon’s energy and the grounding influence of the wood element inspire imagination, leadership, and new ideas. I wish our vibrant community a joyous Lunar New Year as we embrace the opportunities and advancements the Year of the Dragon is anticipated to bring. 🐉 Chúc mừng Năm Mới!

As we celebrated Valentine’s Day, it was an opportunity to reflect on love in its various forms. In that spirit, I want to share the things I love about my city:

  • Our rich and diverse culture
  • Downtown Santa Ana
  • Distinct neighborhood character
  • Santiago Creek and its thriving biodiversity
  • Some of my favorite restaurants, like Benchmark, Acapulco, and Bangkok Taste
  • My friends and family, who grew up with me in this city

I encourage each of you to take a moment to reflect on what you cherish about our wonderful community. And let’s not forget to indulge in those post-Valentine’s Day chocolate sales! In Ward 3, we take pride in our identity as a diverse community. As always, it is an honor to represent and serve the residents of Ward 3 and our broader community. I hope you enjoy this curated newsletter highlighting the work we have undertaken in the New Year!

As a friendly reminder, City Hall is closed this Friday, Feb. 16 (and every other Friday), and we’re also closed Monday, Feb. 19 in observance of Presidents’ Day. Street sweeping will be canceled.

With gratitude,

Your Councilwoman Jessie Lopez 

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Ward 3 Highlights

Gas House Project Grand Opening at Santiago Park

As I sat in my grandmother’s house, a sense of disbelief washed over me as I received a congratulatory text message. Little did I know, I had been named among the OC Register’s 125 most influential people in Orange County. I am incredibly grateful to the OC Register for recognizing the principled and diligent work we’ve been doing on the City Council. This dedication isn’t something that began last year; it’s been a commitment I’ve held long before stepping into office.

Since being elected to represent Ward 3 in 2020, my dedication to serving residents has only strengthened. I am resolute in my commitment to fulfilling the responsibilities entrusted to me by the people of Ward 3. Thank you for your support and trust. I will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf.

Willard Jazz Band Recognition

Many of you are aware that I was born and raised in our city–and I take great pride in being a product of our public school system.

During my time at Willard, I had the opportunity to play the flute, bass drum, and snare drum. I owe my involvement in music to my sister, who inspired me by playing the flute. Recently, I had the chance to revisit my alma mater, Willard Intermediate, and engage in conversation with some incredibly talented kids–specifically, the Jazz Band!

It’s heartening to learn that the Jazz Band will soon embark on a journey to Washington, D.C. For many of them, this trip will mark their first plane ride and their first venture beyond the boundaries of our city–a sentiment I’m sure many of us can relate to. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about their travel plans and the instruments they are dedicated to playing, and I had an awesome time being back in my old band room.

I am bursting with excitement and pride for our kids, and I eagerly anticipate the incredible experiences awaiting them in D.C. GO JAGUARS! 🤟🏾

Lunch with Leaders at Santiago – Go Turtles!

Congressman Correa, SAUSD Trustee Hector Bustos, and I had an incredible time with our young students, engaging with their challenging questions and offering insights into my decision-making process. However, when it comes to movies, I can choose without my parents’ input. Huge thanks to the booster club, the PTA, and all the classified staff at Santiago Elementary for creating such an outstanding experience for our children. I also want to thank our Arts and Culture Commissioner Debra Russell and ETAC Commissioner Maria Baeza for generously sharing their professional responsibilities with our students. Your contributions are invaluable!

Santiago Park Clean-Up with OC Habitats 


We kicked off the New Year with a park clean-up in the creek. A heartfelt thank you to our incredible volunteers for their unwavering dedication to maintaining the cleanliness of our local parks and creek. Once again, we came together to host a successful park clean-up event with OC Habitats. Thanks to our community rep., Valerie Magdaleno, for leading the event.

Bandito Taqueria 


Bandito’s story embodies resilience and entrepreneurship. Jorge and Jesus have overcome many challenges, starting with a humble comal and a dream. Despite facing setback after setback, they persisted, establishing a small taco business in DTSA. Known for their signature pink tortillas, fresh salsas and addicting tacos, I was proud to recognize the Bandito team for their hard work. I hope you’ll join me in supporting our young Santaneros and support their scrumptious Tijuana-style taquería small business.

Black History Parade 

I was proud to represent the City of Santa Ana with Councilmembers Johnathan Ryan Hernandez and Benjamin Vazquez, supporting the Orange County Heritage Council and the Black community in Orange County. Santa Ana’s history is Black history, and we’re committed to championing inclusive policies.

We were thrilled to see so many of our residents supporting the parade and unity festival. Happy Black History Month! Special thanks to the Orange County Car Club for the ride!

Tet Celebrations (Santa Ana Tet Festival and UVSA Tet Festival)  

Lunar New Year Festivities Recap: Embracing the Lunar New Year was truly remarkable! I enthusiastically participated in various celebrations both within and beyond the city, marking the arrival of the Year of the Dragon. Extending warm wishes to all who partake in this culturally significant event, may your Lunar New Year be filled with joy and prosperity!


Orange County Counselor of the Year!


I was thrilled to help celebrate National School Counselor Month with our local hero, Brandon Irvine Gernux! Brandon’s dedication to our students shines through as he’s honored by the Orange County Department of Education for his outstanding service as school counselor of the year!⭐️🥳

Brandon’s passion for guiding others stems from personal experiences, driving him to empower and enact change for those who need it most. Cheers to Brandon and his incredible team of counselors for this well-deserved recognition.

Dutch Brothers Coffee – First Look (1819 N. Tustin)

As part of the City’s business attraction efforts, Planning and Economic Development staff have been working with Dutch Brothers Coffee to find a suitable location to open in the city. They have located a potential site and have submitted preliminary plans to our Planning and Building Agency for a “first look”. A “first look” is an informal screening process that provides an applicant an opportunity to discuss major project issues before submitting a formal application for Site Plan Review. We look forward to working with Dutch Bros to open a location in Ward 3.

Upcoming Repavement of 17th St. from Fairview and Flower

All American Asphalt, Inc. has been awarded a contract in the amount of $1,899,983. The work consists of excavation, grading, removal and replacement of asphalt concrete pavement and portland cement concrete, landscaping, irrigation, and signing and striping. Once completed the improvements will enhance the street’s drivability, visual appearance, accessibility, and drainage issues. This project will combine two rehabilitation projects, 17th Street from Fairview to Bristol streets and 17th Street from Bristol to Flower streets, to efficiently perform improvements at a cost-effective rate. The City inspector on the job is Hugo Prado and the City construction manager is Alex Olmmos. Should you have any concerns regarding this project during construction, please don’t hesitate to call our inspector at (714) 750-6672 or project manager at (714) 647-5629.

El Barco Celebrates their Grand Opening

Congratulations to El Barco Mexican Cantina on their grand opening! A newly established business at 1120 W. 17th St., owned by a local Santa Ana family. We’re delighted to celebrate this accomplishment and thrilled to offer our support. Thanks to our community representative, Valerie Magdaleno, for presenting them with a certificate of recognition. Check out El Barco and their tasty menu!

Santiago Park Clean-Up with OC Habitats 

I want to extend a heartfelt appreciation to our Public Works team for their tireless dedication. Our city’s essential services operate 24 hours a day, thanks to the unwavering commitment of our workers. Despite the recent enduring days of relentless rain, they promptly addressed all issues in Ward 3 and across the entire city. Amidst the downpour, a main line break occurred in the City’s water system at 2701 N. Grand Avenue on an 8-inch cast iron pipe. Without delay, crews were dispatched, swiftly repairing the line and restoring water service. Within the next three weeks, Ward 3 residents will witness the completion of the final trench restoration and paving. Your hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed. Thank you, Public Works!

City News

Thanks to the Orange County Health Care Agency & Supervisor Sarmiento for hosting the California Health and Human Services Agency and the Governor’s Office. I valued the chance to emphasize the crucial affordable housing opportunities needed in Santa Ana.

Santa Ana Sanitation Service Fee Update


The City Council partnered with an outside firm, Stearns, Conrad & Schmidt Consulting Engineers, Inc., to complete a comprehensive Cost of Service Study on sanitation services. The Sanitation Fee, established in 1991 and last adjusted in 1996, is currently $5.35 per residential, commercial, or industrial unit. The fee supports essential services such as illegal dumping/rubbish removal, roadway cleaning, street sweeping, sanitation and right-of-way inspection and enforcement, and weed abatement. The comprehensive study’s findings determined the need for an adjustment due to inflation, increased service levels, and rising operational costs, including contractual services.

For more information, I encourage you to read the staff report on our website. For additional information, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at JessieLopez@santa-ana.org.

Read the Staff Report

Homeless Prevention and Stabilization Pilot Program

In line with our office’s initiatives to end homelessness, I’m proud to support Supervisor Sarmiento’s Homeless Prevention and Stabilization Pilot Program. Prevention is a vital, yet unfunded, need that has gone unaddressed for too long. This program would be the first to address the prevention of homelessness through an economic solution. We must shift our focus from post-crisis spending to proactively creating stable households. Supporting this innovative program isn’t just about addressing homelessness; it’s a smart investment in our community’s well-being.

Our community representative, Valerie Magdaleno, spoke in support of the pilot program at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

February Spotlight: SAUSD Community Voices Share Heartfelt Stories on the Impact of ‘We Care, Get Help’

In February, we are featuring voices from the SAUSD community, with individuals sharing heartfelt stories about the real impact of “We Care, Get Help.” Last year, I was proud to recognize the many individuals who fight for mental health access for our young residents. Explore Fernanda’s perspective as a student at Santa Ana High School, gain insights from Cesar Flores, Principal at Lathrop Intermediate School, listen to Laurie Tristan, Counselor Coach at SAUSD, hear from Nicki Phillips, a teacher at Lathrop Intermediate School, and discover the perspective of Sara Marin, Principal at Madison Elementary School. Click on the linked names to access their stories.

The City will be lighting the water tower in red from February 20 to February 22 in recognition of SAUSD’s “We Care Day.”

Travel Santa Ana

Travel Santa Ana released their 2024 Santa Ana Visitors Guide. In addition to our hotels, the publication will be available at the City’s Planning counter, select California Welcome Centers, John Wayne Airport, LAX and San Francisco-area airports. Travel Santa Ana utilizes the guide as a destination-selling tool when attending tradeshows and media marketplaces.

 View the Travel Santa Ana Guide

Gerardo Mouet Park Ground Breaking

I was honored to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for one of our future parks, dedicated to the legacy of Former Parks & Rec Director & City Manager Gerardo Mouet. We celebrated his rich contributions to our Golden City, and the community voted to name the park after him in recognition of his lasting impact on us young Santaneros. I’m grateful to the Mouet family for attending and sharing Gerardo’s memory with us.

I’m also proud of our community’s decades-long effort to transform an unused dirt lot into an amenity for the kids of the Minnie community. Thanks to our dedicated staff, Supervisor Sarmiento, Adela Montanez, and Victoria Zaragoza, for their constant advocacy, and, of course, Gerardo for his vision to fight for park equity for working-class residents of our city.

 Little Saigon City Sign Unveiling 

I was thrilled to join the celebration of the new Little Saigon sign at Harbor and West First Street in Santa Ana! Our diverse immigrant communities have played a crucial role in shaping this city, and today, I’m honored to spotlight the vibrant Vietnamese community, one of the largest contributors to our rich tapestry. Congratulations on this milestone! 🎉 

Check out the Planning and Building Agency’s Major Development Projects Webpage

Our Planning and Building Agency does amazing work moving development projects forward in our city. Our website provides an overview of these projects and includes an interactive map to show you real-time progress. If you’re interested, check out our website to learn more.

View projects

Local Upcoming Events and Student Resources

Monthly Office Hours – Sunday, Feb. 18 at 10 a.m.

I invite you to come and ask questions, share your concerns, and make suggestions about your neighborhood or about the City of Santa Ana. I look forward to meeting with you and your neighbors to openly discuss important community issues.

Justice Outside is Now Accepting Applications for its Rising Leaders Fellowship

This fellowship supports the continued career development of individuals in entry- to mid-level positions within the outdoor/environmental/ environmental justice sector.

Specifically, Justice Outside seeks to engage Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and allies who are committed to effecting culture change within their organizations, in order to ensure that communities of color are authentically seen, valued, and connected to the outdoors.

The Rising Leaders Fellowship builds professional capacity while creating a supportive network of like-minded leaders through a project-based cohort series that focuses on social justice and racial equity in the outdoors.

Apply for the Rising Leaders Fellowship


Justice Outside is Now Accepting Applications for its Rising Leaders Fellowship

This fellowship supports the continued career development of individuals in entry- to mid-level positions within the outdoor/environmental/ environmental justice sector.

Specifically, Justice Outside seeks to engage Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and allies who are committed to effecting culture change within their organizations, in order to ensure that communities of color are authentically seen, valued, and connected to the outdoors.

The Rising Leaders Fellowship builds professional capacity while creating a supportive network of like-minded leaders through a project-based cohort series that focuses on social justice and racial equity in the outdoors.

Apply for the Rising Leaders Fellowship

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) is recruiting for its Internship Program.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

The program equips participants with legislative knowledge, cultural competency, an extensive network, and personal and professional leadership skills.

Interns will attend weekly programming sessions centered on CHCI’s four Pillars of Leadership: self-discovery, transformation through collective power, being rooted in personal strength, and planting seeds for tomorrow.

The next application deadline is March 1. To learn more and apply, visit CHCI’s website here. 

Other Local Events

Resident Days at the Zoo • Third Sunday of each Month.

Bowers Museum free Sundays • Santa Ana residents get in free each Sunday.

Discovery Cube Waste Free Days • Santa Ana residents get free admission to the Discovery Cube on the first Tuesday of the month.

Stay in the loop with our office! Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on our social media platforms. If you need assistance, please reach out directly via email at jessielopez@santa-ana.org or by phone at (714) 822-0891. Thank you for staying connected with us. To access previous newsletters, please visit https://www.santa-ana.org/jessie-lopez/. You are receiving this email because our records show that you reside in Ward 3 or because you have subscribed to Mayor Pro Tem Lopez’s newsletter. If you would like to opt-out of this newsletter, please email aulmer@santa-ana.org

We refrain from selling or sharing your personal information with anyone, and we make every effort to avoid filling your inbox with spam.

To book a meeting with Councilwoman Lopez, please contact aulmer@santa-ana.org

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