Police Cite Homeless After Santa Ana Removes Artists Village Benches

No benches for the weary. Photo by Sarah Rafael Garcia

Second Street Promenade is the centerpiece of Santa Ana’s Artists Village–and now another front in the city’s war against the homeless. The cobblestone courtyard welcomes people to restaurants like the Den Cafe and Lola Gaspar as well as Grand Central Art Center. It’s also a place where the city’s homeless have rested on benches watching the day go by or have washed up with the water trickling down from the promenade’s central fountain.

That is, until all the benches in the promenade got removed a few weeks ago, leaving people with nowhere to sit. The city insists that the decision to take out the benches wasn’t done to deter the homeless from the area.

“The benches were temporarily removed last month because of they were in need of maintenance and repair,” says Daisy Perez, city spokeswoman. “The benches will be replaced in the future.”

Either way, the decision is already making the area feel more unwelcoming to homeless people. With the benches gone, Santa Ana police officer Frank Aragon approached a black homeless woman on Sept. 10 and gave her an early morning misdemeanor citation for storing property in public.

“I’m going to give these out all day long,” he told her before giving a loitering lecture. “We’re going to have signs up here pretty soon. The signs are going to say ‘no loitering.’”

Downtown Santa Ana resident Sarah Rafael Garcia filmed the encounter as it continued. The homeless woman pressed for more answers. “You can’t just sit here,” said Aragon. “You can walk here but you can’t be sitting.”

The city didn’t respond to Weekly questions about loitering signs to come.

Two years ago, Anaheim removed benches at bus stops near Disneyland on the grounds that homeless people used them as beds under a makeshift shelter. Garcia views Santa Ana’s explanation for removing the Artists Village benches with great skepticism.

“I walked by the benches on a daily basis,” she says. “They always seemed sturdy. They didn’t seem to need any work done on them.”

Since their removal, Garcia has noticed less homeless people in the Artists Village area, save for those who find rest sitting on a stoop. To her, it’s far from just being coincidental.

“Witnessing homeless people get asked to leave the Artists Village when sitting on the benches has led me to believe that this is a direct action against them,” she says. “If the city says the benches are going to come back, I’ll be here to see if that actually happens.”

Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!

17 Replies to “Police Cite Homeless After Santa Ana Removes Artists Village Benches”

  1. I witness a cop literly assault a homeless lady in dtsa at night, don’t know his name but he is bald fat asshole running the beats, their and the two wanna be mouties are dickwada and abuse their horse cause one of them got lamfoot

    1. Great decision. The benches should be removed! This will help deter drugged out vagrants from destroying the area further. The tax paying citizens and business owners negatively impacted have rights also. What choice is there at this point? Let homeless walk the streets and pitch there tarp anywhere they want? Nada no way shouldn’t be happening.

      1. I agree, the homeless I observe are drugged out and just want to do nothing, then when they do leave a area they been sitting they leave behind trash, used needles, cigarette butts, etc etc why do people support this way of life?

  2. I used to feel bad for the homeless until i had them in my neighborhood, 17th and lincoln by the hometown Buffett. They are dirty and give no fs about what they do. They not only loiter like crazy, they also steal, I’ve already had my solar lights stolen 3 times a total of 7. My neighbors cars have been broken into a few times already. You guys should see all the bikes they bring and take apart, im guessing to sell separately and not get caught. I can’t even go on walks with my kids in my own neighborhood without them staring. Worst of all is finding needles on the floor and having my kids ask why they are there. They have no respect for us. Just the other day i was walking with my daughter and this homeless man comes up to me and asks if he could go into my house to charge his phone in there, really come on man. Something needs to be done about these homeless.

  3. I have been homeless in Santa Ana for a few years and I must say that in the last year it has become a crime to be homeless in Santa Ana I have walked so much before that I had blisters on the bottoms of my feet it was excruciating but I was made to walk from place to place just like the officer said the police right tickets for everything and anything if you are homeless I have a ticket for walking the wrong way on the sidewalk no joke if you are believed to be homeless you are treated with disgust and if it known you are homeless you are treated like a cancer to be removed and because the police treat us like that the public in Santa Ana have begun to follow suit. And the benches Definitely were removed to keep the homeless from resting there or is it a coincidence that every bench in Santa Ana needed maintenance this year also the police went to the chamber of commerce and told businesses that they would fine businesses if they let homeless comgragate at their establishments they would be fined hence the reason for benches being removed public restrooms being closed power outlets being covered it has been a war on the homeless people when it should be a war against homelessness

    1. Justin Dillon, here is a solution. Get a job, get off drugs or get psychiatric help. Typical poor me excuses instead of actually trying to help yourself out of your situation. Sorry, I have zero sympathy for people who complain about being homeless but do nothing to fix their issues.

    2. Instead of posting comments on “your computor”, trying looking for a job. How do you have time to read the news and not have a job. The unemployment rate is at an all time low, stupid. The homeless are a blight on humanity and rampantly out of control thanks to libtards like Sarah Rafael Garcia. People like here a promoting homelessness, disease, crime, and drug addiction. Sarah Rafael Garcia is scum.

    3. Who pays mobile you used to comment? Thought so. I was homeless, and escaped my prison-worthy captor with just my life and yrs of body damage. But I got respectable, honest, no-begging work, and created my life. No group, charity, govt dept helped me. OC has shelters, find them; StaAna College has free career courses, enroll; luxuries I never had. I never smoked, toked, needled, boozed or nastied. Put your next 3 Starbucks bags $20 into goodwill work clothes, dollar store job/school supplies + food. If you aren’t off the street in 4 days, it’s your own fault. I know from experience, in OC and the entire west US. Since (as 70%+ homeless know) Alaska’s free annual $100s or $1,000s Permanent Fund Dividend is no longer a guarantee under Gov. Newsome, you’ll be considering the more perilous BHO 2015 migrant solution (that Gov. Brown so eagerly signed, he later rewrote it as StaAna law). Oh, 4G may be iffy and, no Starbucks. (I retired after 35+ career yrs averaging 100 hr work weeks, and gave 25 yrs more yrs serving OC’s community needy.) Don’t be stupid trying to join beg-gangs at Alton/Harbor, 17/Alb+Grand, SAZoo+Usps, Tust/Redhill + AutoCtr, etc making 24/7 broc wads so big they can’t even pocket them. They’ll cap you. Others are pccw. Grow up or leave. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Every_Kid_in_a_Park

    4. You want to be homeless, fine then go do it in the poorest part of the country. The rest of us work our asses off to live here. You are wearing out your welcome. Get off drugs and or Alcohol and stop being a drain on societies resources. Either take the help that’s offered and transition out of homelessness or leave the state and go live someplace you can afford. The homeless in my neighborhood are drunks and junkies across the board. I give money to Father Joe’s village every month, the number of people that refused to go into shelters because they have to be sober is getting tiresome.

  4. I dont understand some people. Where do you want them to go? They have to go somewhere! They take up space, are made up of cells and atoms, you cant just expect them to not exist. You can’t just snap them out of reality. I dont get it when people say they don’t want homeless people around? Homlessness is a symptom of our society. Funny, the most privileged of us all tend to be the least understanding. Never provide solutions though…

  5. I am with Sindee. I once felt compassion for homeless people. Until they stole from me, costing me over $1000 in a year, urinate and throw dirty needles all over the streets where kids walk home from school, and one came into my complex HIGH, armed, and threatening people. If they behave like animals, don’t expect human compassion from me.
    .

  6. The homeless are victims of a broken society. They are also victims of street crime, gangs and suburban kids jump them and rob them. They need to be aware of their second amendment rights. That is why we should help them obtain firearms. I have some old guns that I don’t use, get a coupla boxes of ammo and help a homeless person get some self respect. Arming the homeless is a grassroots movement, free guns for the homeless, we are legion.

  7. Think – do you ever see homeless in any four-season states in deep Winter, or in redneck cities, or blazing deserts, or where rain pounds nonstop with 35mph winds? How about at remote Indian reserves, or CA badland US Parklands? No. The sub-culture population of America’s underbelly known as Transients (homeless is a Democrat badge given them), you’d know their fwys, haunts, scams, all their crimes, gigs, and games; and you’d know the difference between lazy, needy, or greedy by sight, smell, and 6th sense. Or, till you’re robbed or worse. Been there, know it too well. Please, woke up.

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