UPDATE: All seating for tonight's event is GONE; there is a waiting list, but the better bet is to show up and stand in the aisles to listen. Show up early–doors open at 6 p.m.
Also, there are one-and-a-half replacements. Taking the place of Downtown Inc. is Santa Ana City Council member Busty Bustamante–a puzzling choice given the downtown area isn't his ward. Maybe Larry Mantle will ask Busty about his love of developer money? And on the anti-gentrification side will be Arturo Lomeli, a property owner who will share a slot with Carolina Sarmiento. Lomeli is mad at me because I originally suggested Sarmiento instead of him to AirTalk's producers, claiming I was somehow trying to shut out the anti-gentrification voices. What Lomeli doesn't realize is he wouldn't have received an invite in the first place if I didn't vouch for him. No se me agüite, doctor . . . See ustedes tonight!
UPDATE, MARCH 24, 1:56 P.M.: AirTalk producer Linda Othenin-Girard (who's an OC native–who knew?) let me know that the event is SOLD OUT–that is, there is no more room for seats in the event (tickets were free, but you had to reserve). I, however, have FIVE TICKETS remaining from the Weekly stash. Gotta email me for them, though: two tickets per request. Go for them lest I give them away to my friends, who'll invariably cause an anti-gentrification scene. . . .
Oh, and we're just talking about seats for the panel. Anyone else will have to stand among a bunch of books.
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 15, 12:16 P.M.: This should be fun: KPCC-FM 89.3's eminently listenable AirTalk With Larry Mantle will record a one-hour special on Santa Ana's gentrification wars on March 28 in the belly of the beast: downtown SanTana, specifically Libreria Martinez. Yours truly–who appears every other week on AirTalk's “Orange County Roundtable” segment alongside Orange County Register watchdog extraordinaire Teri Sforza and Daily Pilot columnist William Lobdell–won't appear on the four-person panel discussing the pros and cons of the city's current “revitalization,” only because I suggested to the producers they find other, better people. Thankfully, AirTalk found some good guests, and it should be a great talk. Details on the speakers and how you can score a ticket to the event after the jump!
Scheduled to be on the panel on the pro side of all the new development in the downtown area are Bob Stewart, president of Downtown Inc., the organization charged with promoting Downtown Santa Ana (or at least those businesses that hipsters would enjoy) and, recently, laughably tried to install valet parking in the area. I know Bob a bit, and he's ultimately a good guy who listens, even if I don't agree with all of Downtown Inc.'s ideas. Not so receptive is Councilwoman Michelle Martinez, who once was the Joan of Arc for Santa Ana's masses but is now just another Marie Antoinette for Mayor-for-Life Don Papi Pulido–or is that Claudia Alvarez?
Offering a more nuanced, not-necessarily anti-development counterpoint are two people I know very well: Carolina Sarmiento, a lifelong santanera associated with the chingón Centro Cultural de México, and Eric Altman, head of Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD); together, they and others unsuccessfully tried to get Martinez and her cohorts to enter into a community-benefits agreement so all those Mexis who will be displaced by the coming development can at least get a stray taco here and there.
The event will happen at Libreria Martinez (216 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, 714-973-7900; www.libreriamartinez.net) on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. Mantle will toss questions to the four for about half an hour, then open it up to questions from the audience; the remote broadcast will air later that week. Attendance is FREE–but you must RSVP since there is only room for about 100 people, and it's first-come, first-serve. You can try your luck at AirTalk's page, or try this: The show has been gracious enough to give 10 tickets to the Weekly to distribute to our readers. First 10 people to e-mail me at garellano at ocweekly.com gets them, maximum of two per request. See you there!