Ward 5 semi-annual newsletter

Posted on April 15, 2022

Hernandez Newsletter Header


Dear neighbors,

Welcome to our semi-annual newsletter, where I share news, legislative updates, community events and highlight local art, businesses, and causes that are important to Ward 5 residents.

In this edition of our semi-annual newsletter, I will recap events and important news and resources in the City over the last several months, including the Winter Village, the City’s latest efforts to provide services to help address homelessness, groundbreaking ceremonies for a new park and zoo exhibit, a toy drive at La Placita Cinco, and upcoming events in the City. In addition to important news, I chose to highlight several pieces of art in our City that I am extremely proud of. As we continue progress and tell our unique stories, I want to remind you that there is still work to be done. As your Councilmember I thank you for your support which motivates me to continue advocating for our community, for justice, and for our entire City. I commend each and every one of you that work hard and love this City as much as I do and I am proud to serve as your Ward 5 Councilmember.

Your councilmember and neighbor,
Johnathan Ryan Hernandez

Read my bio

Building community through the arts

Community art features

The last six months were busy for the art community in our city. I want to highlight multiple pieces that I believe are important signs of progression and pride.

If you would like your art to be featured in future newsletters, please submit it to JRyanHernandez@Santa-Ana.org by Aug. 1, 2022.

Coyotl Coyote Sculpture

Location: Sullivan and Willits streets
Artist: Larry Gonzalez

Victoria Barrios Mural

“Victoria Barrios Mural”
Location: The Blue Lot, First and Bush streets
Artist: Fernando Olivares (@FERNANDOtheartist)

Purple Unity Project Mural

“Purple Unity Project”
Location: OCEAA building, 825 N. Broadway St.
Artists: Brian Peterson, Damin “ZAOONE” Lujan, OCEAA students

Brandon Lopez Mural

“Brandon Lopez Mural”
Location: Bristol St and Santa Ana Blvd (on Memo #1 Beauty Salon)
Artist: Fernando Olivares (@FERNANDOtheartist)

Helen Shipp Mural

“Helen Shipp Mural”
Location: Willits and Raitt streets
Artist: Jose Ortiz (@joseortizartwork)

Finding art near you

Everyone should be able to create and be creative in their own way. My daughter and I love to create art together; it’s a great way for us to bond and express ourselves. I wanted to share a few Santa Ana resources for art and arts education:

  • Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center: https://www.occtac.org/
  • Media Arts Santa Ana (MASA): https://www.masamedia.org/
  • The Wooden Floor: https://thewoodenfloor.org/
  • Academy of International Dance: http://www.aidancecrew.org/
  • Segerstrom Center for the Arts: https://www.scfta.org/
  • Arts and Learning Conservatory: https://www.artsandlearning.org/

Community news

Spending plan and community input on FY 2022-23 budget

Thanks to careful financial planning during the pandemic, the City of Santa Ana has an additional $42 million available in its budget for one-time spending. The City Council voted in January to spend some of this money on new projects, events and services.

I strongly advocated for a Juneteenth Celebration to recognize an important milestone in our country’s history, the end of slavery. It’s also important that our City events reflect the diversity of our neighborhoods. I also supported the creation of a pilot graffiti arts program. Graffiti, when done right, can beautify a community and reflect its culture.

Other additional spending priorities include:

  • Tree trimming
  • Sidewalk, alley and traffic improvements
  • Graffiti removal
  • More library services
  • Streetlights

Additionally, the City is currently putting together the budget for 2022-2023 and we are asking for your input. Please click on the link below to find out how to voice your opinion during the Community Budget Meetings.

Learn more about the community budget meetings

SMART program expands homeless services

SMART City Net graphic

Santa Ana’s newly-formed SMART program, (Santa Ana Multi-Disciplinary Response Teams), is a pilot program between the City of Santa Ana and City Net. This program is our newest effort to provide trauma-informed care services to address homelessness within the City. The goal of SMART is to provide more effective outreach and engagement while better utilizing City resources through a diversion of homeless calls from the Santa Ana Police Department and Orange County Fire Authority. The City’s QOLT (Quality of Life Teams), along with Code Enforcement and Public Works, stand ready to assist on any homeless calls where additional support is needed.

The team works 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week and is made up of outreach workers, case managers, substance abuse professionals, mental health clinicians, nurse practitioners and plain-clothes, private safety officers. Should you have a concern or complaint regarding homelessness, need help or are requesting help for a person experiencing homelessness, please call (714) 242-3706 or report it via the mySantaAna app.

Safer Routes to Schools coming to Artesia Pilar

Safer Routes To Schools Graphic

The City’s Public Works Agency partnered with Fremont Elementary, Romero-Cruz Academy (formerly Spurgeon Intermediate) and the Artesia Pilar Neighborhood Association to conduct Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) walkability audits in November 2017 and March 2018.

The City received $5.7 million in grant funds in 2018 for the Fremont and Spurgeon SRTS ATP Project, which has just started the design phase and has an anticipated completion of design by summer 2023, with construction anticipated to start in fall/winter 2023. The work will include bulb-outs, high-visibility crosswalks, sidewalk and wheelchair ramp repairs, bikeways, traffic safety improvements to the intersection of English and 15th streets, a new traffic signal at the intersection of Sullivan and 5th streets, and rubber speed cushions on Washington Avenue from King Street to Bristol Street.

Learn more about the Safer Routes to Schools project

Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction ordinances

Rent Stabilization Ordinance Signing

In October, the Santa Ana City Council adopted two new ordinances to help protect renters. The Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinances took effect beginning November 19, 2021. The City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance is a local law that limits residential rent increases to no more than 3% per year or 80% of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less, for many units. The Just Cause Eviction Ordinance limits the allowed reasons for which a renter can be evicted.

Learn More About Renter Protections

Resident stimulus cards help over the holidays

Stimulus Distribution

In December, I joined City staff who worked through their weekends going door-to-door handing out thousands of stimulus cards worth $300 to neighborhoods with the greatest need as part of the Revive Santa Ana Resident Stimulus Program. We made over 20,000 direct contacts in just three weeks, including almost 18,000 rental housing units, senior apartments and mobile homes. Nearly 12,000 cards valued at over $3.5 million dollars were distributed to residents before the holiday season. The City is continuing to reach out to those we missed, working toward the full $6 million distribution goal.

The Resident Stimulus Program was approved by the City Council as part of the $160 million Revive Santa Ana pandemic recovery initiative, which is funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act. I was able to join City staff on multiple weekends, and it was truly a special experience. The $300 made a huge difference for some families during the holidays.

Learn More About the Resident Stimulus Program

A winter wonderland in Santa Ana!

Hernandez Winter Village

I am proud to say that the Santa Ana Winter Village was a great success! The outdoor, month-long event was open from December 8 through January 2 and provided many residents and visitors with fun-filled holiday activities.

On Thursday, Dec. 9, my colleagues and I participated in the grand opening ceremony. Professional ice skaters performed, Anaheim Ducks mascot Wild Wing and the Ducks slapshot crew joined in the fun, and we had a tree lighting ceremony.

The Winter Village brought residents to the City’s first public ice-skating rink and many other holiday-themed activities for families. It also helped activate our Civic Center Plaza next to City Hall, bringing residents and visitors downtown to enjoy our wonderful local businesses. I hope we are able to replicate this wonderful event for the community in the years to come.

New park coming to Raitt and Myrtle

Raitt and Myrtle Groundbreaking

A new community park is in the works for residents to enjoy when it opens next year. The groundbreaking ceremony for the yet-to-be-named park took place on January 12. The planned 1.18-acre park will be on the corner of Raitt and Myrtle streets. Although I could not attend the ceremony, some of my colleagues grabbed shovels and assisted in the groundbreaking of this much-anticipated park.

The $4 million park will feature a skate park, exercise area, playground, butterfly interpretive garden, drought tolerant landscaping and a walking/jogging path. The park is expected to open in February 2023.

New Santa Ana Zoo river otter exhibit

River Otter Zoo Concept

A new exhibit that will showcase giant river otters swimming through a waterfall while monkeys play above is coming to the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park. The Zoo had a groundbreaking ceremony on January 14 for the giant river otter habitat and primate trails renovation and expansion at the Amazon’s Edge exhibit. The $6.6 million project is the most complex that the Zoo has undertaken and will bring new life and an immersive experience for guests and animals alike.

The project is the first phase of the Zoo’s Master Plan for further development and is made possible by $6 million in parks improvement funds from the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Agency and $600,000 from the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo in the form of grants and donations.

Play and Learn Children’s Patio at the Santa Ana Library

SAPL Children's Patio

The Santa Ana Public Library opened the new Play and Learn Children’s Patio on Tuesday, March 15, as the first step of a major renovation to create a modern and interactive learning ecosystem. The Children’s Patio includes a whimsical Luckey Climber play structure, outdoor reading areas, new landscaping and play surfaces, along with flexible activity spaces for library programming. Some of my colleagues and I were in attendance for the ribbon cutting. It is located behind the Library with access from the children’s area inside. The $884,000 project was made possible by the City’s Cannabis Public Benefit Fund supported by taxes paid from legal recreational marijuana sales.

Learn more about the Play and Learn Children’s Patio

Ward 5 COVID-19 update

While we are probably all tired of hearing about COVID, I feel it’s important to share some info that is specific to our Ward. The County collects data by ZIP code and not by Ward, but here is the most recent information as of April 15, 2022 for the three ZIP codes in our ward:


  • Population: 55,137
  • Total Cases (all time): 11,572
  • Children Case Rate Ages 0-18 (7-day average with 7-day lag):Less than 5
  • Adult Case Rate (7-day average with 7-day lag):2.6
  • Testing Positivity (7-day average with 7-day lag): 2.34%
  • Total Deaths: 190


  • Population: 68,242
  • Total Cases (all time): 14,776
  • Children Case Rate Ages 0-18 (7-day average with 7-day lag):Less than 5
  • Adult Case Rate (7-day average with 7-day lag): 2.7
  • Testing Positivity (7-day average with 7-day lag): 2.04%
  • Total Deaths: 184


  • Population: 37,260
  • Total Cases (all time): 8,305
  • Children Case Rate Ages 0-18 (7-day average with 7-day lag):Less than 5
  • Adult Case Rate (7-day average with 7-day lag): 1.5
  • Testing Positivity (7-day average with 7-day lag): 0.7%
  • Total Deaths: 134

As case rates continue to rise, it’s important that we all remain safe. The best way to do that is to be vaccinated! Case rates are lowest among the vaccinated population, and almost all hospitalizations are of unvaccinated individuals. Vaccines are free to all and don’t require proof of insurance, residency, or citizenship. Visit https://www.santa-ana.org/covid19/vaccine to find a local vaccine clinic. I got my shot, have you?

The above information came from the County’s site and is updated each Tuesday. Visit the County’s COVID-19 webpage for more information.


Toy drive at La Placita Cinco for the Artesia Pilar neighborhood

Hernandez Toy Drive

December 23, I partnered with Leela Project, 1901 Project, Northgate Markets, Kal Attorneys, North 17 Real Estate, and Julio Arana Real Estate to help bring a little joy to the community of Artesia Pilar. Our joint efforts were able to provide 4,200 toys to the neighborhood for children to enjoy their Christmas holiday.

The event took place at La Placita Cinco with a great turn out on a rainy Thursday. I’d like to express my gratitude toward the amazing partners that helped serve our beautiful community.

Honoring 108-year-old Mr. Warren Bussey

Warren Bussey Proclamation

On December 12, I had the privilege of presenting alongside Mayor Sarmiento a proclamation to Mr. Warren Bussey at his home in Santa Ana. Mr. Bussey is a long-time Santa Ana resident, having lived in the city since the early 1950s. He is believed to be the oldest African American in Orange County, recently turning 108 years old on November 21, 2021.

Mr. Bussey is a World War II veteran, a 33-degree Scottish Rites Mason, and a favorite of honorees at the annual Black History Day Parade. His youthfulness is contagious and he continues to be an inspiration to everyone.

Indigenous People’s Day proclamation

Indigenous People Proclamation

n October 5, I alongside the rest of the City Council presented a proclamation to Nellie Myia Turtlehead LeGaspé declaring October 11 Indigenous People’s Day. The City of Santa Ana recognizes that the Indigenous People of the lands that would later become known as the Americas have long occupied these territories. Nellie is an Oglala Lakota and Chiricahua Apache and serves as a Personnel Commissioner in Ward 5.

I would like to personally thank Nellie and her family for joining the rest of the City as we honor and celebrate the thriving cultures and positive values of the indigenous people of our region.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage

Last November, I presented a proclamation to PJ Vegas and Pat Vegas declaring November as Native American Heritage Month. Accepting the proclamation was Pat Vegas of the band Redbone and PJ Vegas, both representing the Yoeme Tribe. PJ Vegas is an award-winning singer, songwriter and sound curator from Los Angeles best known for his sultry vocals and gritty content. In 2017, he won an MTV Video Music Award for “Best Video with a Message.” His father, Pat Vegas, is a founding member of Redbone, a Native American rock group originating in the 1970s that had a Top 5 hit in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1974.

Join me in thanking PJ and Pat Vegas for their contributions of Native American culture, traditions, and music to the entire Santa Ana community!

Dance 4:13 putting Santa Ana on the map!

Dance 413 Recognition

The Dance 4:13 Competition Team was outstanding in last year’s Spotlight Nationals in Las Vegas. They received five placed positions in four different categories, including a 2nd place finish in the Future Gems Teen Division Small Group. Owners Lauren and Jessica opened the dance studio last August at 1517 N. Main St. with the objective of helping dancers develop versatility, confidence, self-esteem, and discipline all while making new friendships.

Dance 4:13 offers classes for children between the ages of 3 and 18 in the genres of ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, tap and contemporary dance.

Because of their outstanding accomplishment, I presented the Dance 4:13 Competition Team with a certificate of recognition for their outstanding contributions to the community. Congratulations to all of you!

Josephine “Chepa” Andrade Day

Andrade Family

December 16, 2021, was officially recognized as Josephine “Chepa” Andrade Day. Josephine “Chepa” Andrade was a resident of the Logan Neighborhood for 80 years from 1926 until 2006. Chepa’s family has resided in the Logan neighborhood for over a century and have been a cornerstone of that community.

Chepa was a long-time community activist and was known for gathering signatures for petitions and persuading and encouraging neighbors to attend City Council meetings to advocate improvements in their neighborhoods. She received countless recognitions and awards for her community involvement, including the Poverty Fighter Hero Award and the Joan of ARC Award.

It was an honor presenting Chepa’s husband, Joe Andrade, and his family with a proclamation recognizing December 16 as Josephine “Chepa” Andrade Day.

Recognizing the first OC Poet Laureates

Headshot of Tina MayHeadshot of Natalie J Graham

On August 28, 2021, local poets were appointed as Orange County’s first Youth Poet and Poet Laureate – 16-year-old Tina Mai and Dr. Natalie J. Graham. Tina Mai is a high school student residing in Newport Coast while Dr. Natalie J. Graham resides in Buena Park and is currently the Chair of African American Studies at California State University, Fullerton.

Both were chosen by a panel of esteemed judges, which included local author and LibroMobile founder Sarah Rafael Garcia, OC Poet Laureate librarians, and Orange County-based community advocates. The OC Poet Laureates program is important because it celebrates and creates visibility for local poets who utilize empowering words to impact social change.

I want to thank and congratulate the first OC Poet Laureates Tina Mai and Dr. Natalie J. Graham for their outstanding contributions to Literary Arts and Poetry.

Orange County Black History Parade

Hernandez and Lopez OC Black History Parade

The Orange County Heritage Council held their annual Orange County Black History Parade and Unity Festival on Saturday, February 5, 2022 in Anaheim. I was fortunate enough to participate in the parade alongside some of my colleagues. The Black History Parade began in Santa Ana in 1980 and was launched by resident Helen Shipp.

More on the OC Black History Parade

Community resources

Report issues with the FREE mySantaAna app

mySantaAna App screenshot

Download the mySantaAna app to report Issues such as graffiti, encampments, illegal dumping, saving parking, potholes and more! Last year, our Public Works Agency received over 200,000 service requests, 55,000 of which were reported through the app. Many reports are resolved within a week. City workers can’t be everywhere all the time, but you can help keep our City beautiful by reporting issues with the app.

Download for iPhone

Download for Android






Check out the new library book kiosks

SAPL Kiosk Banner

The Santa Ana Public Library recently installed a book kiosk at the Santa Ana Police Athletic & Activity League (PAAL) Center and the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center (SARTC). Patrons can pick up, hold items, and browse the books from 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. at the SARTC. Accessing the book kiosk at the PAAL Center is limited to the PAAL Center youth participants during open hours.

For additional information, please call 714-647-5250.

California Mortgage Relief Program

CA Mortgage Graphic

The new California Mortgage Relief Program is now accepting applications. Homeowners may be eligible for mortgage relief funds if they have 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 their mortgage servicers and do not need to be repaid.

Mortgage Relief Program

Affordable Connectivity Program

ACP Graphic

The FCC has launched a long-term program to help low-income residents afford internet access. Eligible participants will get a discount of up to $30 per month for internet services. Households must meet at least one of the listed eligibility criteria to qualify. Click on the link below for more details.

Affordable Connectivity Program

Special events

The Egg-cellent Adventure @ Centennial Park – April 16

Egg-Cellent Adventure flyer

This free egg hunt is for children ages 10 and under and will include activities, entertainment, pony rides, petting zoo, face painting, arts and crafts, trackless train, bounce houses and photos with the Easter Bunny. Local food vendors will also provide tasty drinks and treats for purchase.

  • Saturday, April 16, 2022 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Centennial Park, 3000 W Edinger Ave, Santa Ana 92704

Santa Ana Movies in the Park series – June 8 through August 10

This free movie series will include 10 outdoor movie screenings of family-friendly classics and newly released films. Pre-show activities will include live music, arts and crafts, games, bounce houses, and free opportunity drawings. Local food vendors will be selling tasty drinks and treats. Free popcorn will be provided until supplies last and guests who would like to enjoy the movie selection in a second language will have the ability to rent audio headphones. Tentative location and dates are as follows:

  • June 8 – Jerome Park
  • June 15 – Campesino Park
  • June 22 – Thornton Park
  • June 29 – Portola Park
  • July 6 – Santiago Park
  • July 13 – Memorial Park
  • July 20 – Lillie King Park
  • July 27 – El Salvador Park
  • August 3 – Delhi Park
  • August 10 – Centennial Park

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 – 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Centennial Park, 3000 W Edinger Ave, Santa Ana 92704

Free family events

Zoo Graphic

  • 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




Free food distribution

Food Distribution Graphic

Weekly food distributions are available for those in need.

Food distribution events


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