Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cultural diversity forum addresses tensions in Santa Ana - latimes.com

Cultural diversity forum addresses tensions in Santa Ana - latimes.com

On Thursday, it was Alvarez who was helping lead a forum on cultural diversity to examine issues of hate that have cropped up not just in Santa Ana but throughout Orange County.

The invitation-only event quickly underscored the anger and frustration still being felt.

"How is this going to help anything?" one woman asked.

Said another: "Our civil rights are being violated, and it is kind of a secret thing to get rid of the Mexican community in downtown Santa Ana."

This all comes at a difficult time for the city, which could see a $30-million deficit in the next fiscal year. As of Sept. 30, there was only $313,000 on hand in the General Fund, said Francisco Gutierrez, the city's finance director. However, Santa Ana is still expecting revenue from sales and property taxes before the end of the year.

The battle by Latino business owners against a special property tax, which is what led to Alvarez's Hitler comment, looms large in Santa Ana, where 78% of the 324,000 residents are Latino. Some contend that the tax money benefits businesses that don't cater to families or the Latino clientele.

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