Our work in Santa Ana is centered around three principles: Openness, Transparency, and Participation. We work closely with Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities (BHC) in the Equity for All working group, a partnership of Santa Ana resident leaders and nonprofit organizations. We have also worked as a core member of the Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development (SACReD).
Sunshine Ordinance (2012)
In 2012, SACReD won the passage of Santa Ana's Sunshine Ordinance, a comprehensive government transparency ordinance. The Sunshine Ordinance was developed in response to major planning and development decisions that left residents out of the process and ignored their concerns. It requires developers to hold community meetings, requires elected officials and department heads to keep open calendars, increases language and noticing requirements for public documents, and other provisions intended to make Santa Ana's local government more transparent and accountable to the public.
Community priorities in the Five Year Strategic Plan (2014)
Building on the victory of the Sunshine Ordinance, SACReD and BHC partnered to advocate for community priorities in 2014's Five Year Strategic Plan, which lays out Santa Ana's specific budget and policy priorities. SACReD and BHC members held community forums, developed a policy platform, and advocated for our vision, meeting with allies, city staff, and city council members to explain the community’s goals, vision, and policy requests. In May 2014, the City approved the 2014-2019 Strategic Plan, which included nearly all of SACReD and BHC’s priorities. The City’s full Strategic Plan can be found here.
Community Lands in Community Hands
In 2015, SABHC discovered that the City was intending to sell off surplus public lands to private buyers, despite a lack of community space in the city. Through research and advocacy, we successfully won a commitment from the City to donate public lands to a Community Land Trust, which would administer the land on behalf of the community. These lands will now be able to provide much-needed affordable housing, community agriculture, community centers, or other amenities, and provide a foothold for community resources in the face of rising property values, gentrification, and displacement. For more information, see Growing Together, OCCORD's report on the potential of a CLT in Santa Ana.