Updated, with new info on the bottom:
For years, people have accused the artists in the SanTana Artist Village, that heavily subsidized attempt by Mayor Don Papi Pulido and others to bring "culture" into the city, of gentrifying the downtown. Now, some of those artists are accusing the city of finally, truly gentrifying the downtown area with the debut of an $8 valet service this weekend.
The first attempt was yesterday, in front of the Santora Building on Broadway, with plans to extend the program across the Artist Village. This, in an area where parking in the huge structure on the corner of Sycamore and Third Street usually doesn't go for more than two bucks.
"Yup is happening...we are being converted to yuppie's shit men," one wrote in an email obtained by theWeekly
--and that was probably one of the nicer sentiments.
"This is an 'Artist Village' Folks," artist Matthew Southgate wrote. "That is the popularity of the place. If the City, or 'Downtown Inc.' [the group of business owners in downtown SanTana who collaborate to bring people into the area] is intent on gentrifying the area, must they be so sloppy about it? If the idea is to upgrade the clientele of the area, it is not going to be achieved by depopulating the area first. That is not going to work!"
And he went on: "$8.00 Valet Parking is not a security measure! It is a show off for Pimp Daddies, Wannabe High Rollers, C.E.O.s and Ignorant Tourists that want to 'slum' but not really slum and get drunk! The loyal customers of the Artist Village don't need or want any of this. They just want the alleys to be lit, a cop patrol car and security cameras in the vicinity. This is not 'Vegas' and no artist, art patron, or Santa Ana resident wants it to be."
Rebeccah Quevedo-Prastein also sent off a mass email. "In my opinion, a valet parking plan that supplants the free parking that is currently available on Broadway and/or Sycamore on weekend nights spells the death knell of the art community as we know it," she opined. "This is Santa Ana, not Laguna Beach. I understand the desire to replace broke lookey-loos unable to afford to pay even for parking with wealthy arts patrons who will appreciate and pay for the
convenience of not having to walk to their cars. However, as Matt pointed out, the way to do that is NOT to first 'clear out the riff-raff' and then hope the desired clientele shows up. And where are the artists supposed to park?"
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The Artists Village is still recovering from the shock of a murder in the area in October, which has yet to be solved.
UPDATED: Vicky Baxter, executive director for Downtown Inc., doesn't want anyone to publicly criticize the program--especially Southgate.
"How was this email blast useful?," she wrote in an email obtained by the Weekly. "The City has begun a 90 day pilot program asked for by the Restaurant Association (not part of Downtown Inc). We are very involved with the Restaurants like we are all of you at the Artist Village. Already there are issues and they will be addressed. This email is exactly what has been wrong with downtown Santa Ana. Why not just give me a call and let's talk."
Baxter's whine didn't sit well with Theo Hirsch, who recently dressed up as Jesus to confront Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps when his band of loons threatened to protest a play held in downtown SanTana. "How was it not useful?," he wrote. "It was just an opinion. That's the real problem with Americans in general, a very large percentage of us still believe that if you have certain opinions you should hold them inside, we wouldn't want the general populace to 'think outside the box.' God forbid people think a little exercise is ok and that Valet parking stupid; and that having security that my 11 year old daughter could beat up is smart.
Hirsch really has a problem with the area's rent-a-cops, whom we have ridiculed before. "Truthfully though, who else would feel more comfortable with security guards that you would actually find dominating a Mash [sic] pit at a punk show? Or that could play some football and kick some ass and score a few touch downs?"