Defining Santa Ana’s Role in the LA Region

The Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Statistical Area is defined as Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, and Santa Ana has always been a control city, meaning that freeways lead in this direction, in part if not mostly because of its governmental role.

So what is Santa Ana’s role in this LA region? Many people will immediately think that all is no good in this town, but this has much to do with whatever reporter covering Santa Ana doesn’t do to find good news. It’s not that there are no good news here, it’s just reporters only scratch the surface and it doesn’t matter if it’s an LA Times or Register reporter. Crime reports are so easy to get, and you don’t have to physically come to Santa Ana to find a story, piece o’ cake.

Santa Ana has Federal, State and County government offices. It’s the Orange County seat of government but that’s truly not saying much, because while the City of Santa Ana votes more so Democrat, the entire County of Orange Board of Supervisors is Republican.

So what about this Democratic island in a Republican stronghold called Orange County? How much is it like other “OC” communities? Its ethnic makeup resembles that of many majority Latino LA communities, and it’s dense like these communities. It’s the closest thing there is to LA in OC, although on a much smaller scale obviously.

What role can this city play in the future of the LA region? Is it willing to grow up and stay on a progressive path?

Santa Ana’s influence, it must be said, may be stymied by the OC Board of Supervisors. Santa Ana wants to develop mass-transit oriented projects and communities but it needs the involvement and the okays of the OC Board and the OC Transit Authority.

John Wayne Airport (airport code, SNA), located on a corner of Santa Ana pecked at by Newport Beach and Irvine, recently opened an international flights terminal and is about to offer flights to Mexico City starting on June 3rd. Los Angeles Airports would surely want to see Santa Ana’s airport pick up its share of international flights. So LA Airports should buy and operate SNA like they do at Ontario.

Here’s an idea: Since Santa Ana’s ethnic makeup is nearly 80 percent Latino of Mexican descent, and many residents here have family in Mexico and can travel there, why not offer more flights out of SNA to more destinations in Mexico like Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, etc? Hmmmm… The airport is run by the County so the responsibility lies on them to do their part for the region.

Santa Ana is leading the effort to bring back rail and streetcars to this county, and maybe other OC communities will catch on far down the line. They’re going to need to and LA Metro surely needs them to catch on in order to alleviate LA’s future transit needs.

So here is this place that embraces LA-like transit projects, is a Progressive stronghold and overall looks like a microcosm of LA. Theses types of projects would surely receive support and funding from the LA Metro Transit Authority.

If only Santa Ana had stayed as part of LA County back in the 19th century, maybe we’d have our West Santa Ana Branch of the Pacific Electric Right of Way built already. Remember the CenterLine that was to run on Bristol? Yep, that would have been built too. And SNA would be run by Los Angeles Airports and offer expanded international flights to alleviate LAX.

Santa Ana’s responsibility and its role is to live up to the Greater LA Metropolitan Statistical Area’s name. It’s always been an integral part of this definition. It has to be a functioning part of the Los Angeles region and not be subjugated to the stymying, conservative and resistant interests of Orange County.


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