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Rescue Mission in a Santa Ana Neighborhood

June 19, 1988

The city of Santa Ana, under the guise of redevelopment, relocated a blight, namely the Orange County Rescue Mission, from the downtown redevelopment project area into a residential neighborhood and adjacent to a city park. In order for the mission to operate in the new location, it was necessary for the city to issue a conditional-use permit, which imposed certain restrictions on the mission.

Naturally, when the mission moved, its clientele, who were responsible for the blight to which the downtown business community so adamantly protested, went along into the neighborhood and into the park. Since the mission moved in, nearby residents have been reluctant to walk the streets in the vicinity of the mission; customers avoid the businesses in the area; homes and businesses are being vandalized.

The mission has violated its conditional-use permit. Yet, it is permitted to operate. Why? Is it because the present city manager was instrumental in the relocation of the mission into the residential neighborhood, and he will not permit his staff to take appropriate actions? Is it because outside interests, those who can afford to influence policies, are responsible for keeping the mission operating in Santa Ana? Is it a case of: "We'll supply the support and food as long as the mission is kept in Santa Ana" or "The mission activities are to be commended and supported as long as they don't take place in my city?" A case of "not-in-my-back-yard" syndrome.

The area next to the mission has become the cesspool of Santa Ana and has deteriorated so badly that it is now included in the proposed Bristol Redevelopment Project area. Concerned residents of Santa Ana are convinced the mission has violated the requirements of its conditional-use permit.

Our elected representatives have agonized and procrastinated much too long on this issue. It's time they revoked the mission's conditional-use permit.



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