The Hispanic Affairs Council of the Greater Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce will recommend today that the chamber take a position in favor of Ace Muffler and against the city's condemnation of the shop.
However, after a joint meeting Monday of the Hispanic Affairs and Urban Affairs councils with several top city officials and Ace Muffler representatives at Rancho Santiago College, the Urban Affairs Council decided not to make a recommendation, chamber President Mike Metzler said.
Metzler said a special board meeting will be called later this week to decide whether the chamber as a whole will take an official position.
The Hispanic Affairs Council will base its recommendation on the premise that the chamber exists to support local businesses, one member said. The Urban Affairs Council members present said they did not take a position because of a lack of information and the small number of council members in attendance (five of about 25 members).
At the meeting, city officials--led by Mayor Daniel E. Griset, City Manager Robert C. Bobb, City Atty. Edward Cooper and Deputy City Manager Rex Swanson--seemed to agree with Ace Muffler's owners that the real culprit in the drawn-out affair is Santa Monica-based Urbatec, the developer of an eight-acre site on East 1st Street.
"If this were a popularity contest," Griset said, "Urbatec would perhaps rate a D-minus." Although the company had been invited to the meeting, its representatives were conspicuously absent.
Urbatec has threatened to sue Santa Ana if the city fails to abide by its agreement to deliver the redevelopment site to the developer. The City Council, fearing it could lose millions of dollars, last month reneged on a promise to Ace Muffler owner Miguel Armando Pulido not to condemn the property for a proposed shopping center.
Throughout the year-and-a-half-long affair, Pulido has maintained his desire to stay put and for Ace Muffler to become a part of the shopping center. The shop is a thriving business in an otherwise blighted area.