[Best of OC 2008 Post Cards] Shops & Wares: Greetings From Sam Romero
A lifelong resident of Santa Ana’s Logan Barrio, Romero is a vocal opponent of the city’s so-called “Renaissance” plan to redevelop much of Fourth Street. For the past 20 years, Romero has owned Santa Teresa’s Libreria Catolica (St. Teresa’s Catholic Gift Shop in Gabacho), the premier destination for finding holographic Jesus portraits, beads and Virgen de Guadalupe candles.
Right here in Santa Ana, the Logan neighborhood, is where I grew up and where my parents met in 1918 and got married two years later. I was born and raised here, and I’ve been fighting City Hall ever since I got a call from my mom, 35 years ago, saying the city wanted to kick us out of Logan. The city had a plan to make it an industrial area. Chavez Ravine was very fresh in our mind. We were militant-we’d build barricades if necessary.
We organized the neighborhood and helped get homes built for people who were being kicked out. When the city built South Coast Plaza, all the old department stores on Fourth Street closed. It was a ghost town until the Hispanics moved in. We are still fighting City Hall. That’s how we got a $350,000 grant to renovate Chepa’s Park. It’s the only place around here where kids can play outside of school.
What you are seeing today is the third time the city has tried to get rid of the wrong element around here-the brown faces. I call it ethnic cleansing. But there is still a lot to celebrate about Fourth Street. There’s the Mexican bread across the street from my shop, the huevos rancheros at Taqueria Guadalajara, and the meat market down the street, which has the best carnitas you can find. I go around the corner to KV Sports and Shoes to get my Vans tennis shoes. Too bad there isn’t a store here that sells fishing equipment. I’ve been fishing my whole life. I’d buy everything they have.
• St. Teresa’s Catholic Gift Shop, 300 E. Fourth St., Ste. 102, Santa Ana, (714) 542-6907.
• Taquerias Guadalajara, 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 953-1191.
• KV Sports and Shoes, 1130 Bristol, Santa Ana, (714) 454-6117.
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