A Beautiful City
Why have not our City’s recent councilmembers recognized the psychic damage that irresponsible development and absentee planning inflicts?
Beauty matters. Every person longs for it.
Bad design is a blight on the city that allows it. It crushes your soul. Every culture recognizes this and always has recognized it.
Santa Ana did too, until the 1950’s. Our architecture has never recovered. It has gotten worse. It is corporate, dated, haphazard and indifferent to aesthetic. Architecture is an expression of a society’s values, its history, its culture, and its customs. Imagine flying to Rome and seeing that all the medieval churches had been replaced by cinder block boxes. That would be ugly. It also wouldn’t be Rome anymore. When a city cares about its history, its buildings reflect it.
Katz will focus on the City’s nurturing relationships with developers who honor our City’s unique and historic character. We have no room for narcissistic developers who merely honor themselves.
Our pathway back to a beautiful Santa Ana begins with a vision. Not simply is vision expressed in words. But a true vision created by the brush strokes of imaginative people.
The Value of a Vision
In January 2020, a Los Angeles City Council member spearheaded an initiative to create a vision for Hollywood Blvd. A draft plan designed by Gensler and a team including Studio-MLA introduced this vision:
In 2016, the same design firm, Gensler, helped Santa Ana create a vision for South Main Street.
Ward 3 Needs a Vision
By contrast, Santa Ana has meandered without a clear vision for Ward 3. In the absence of a vision, the look of our Ward is designed by default – at the discretion of the developer or by a misguided City Council and its Planning Department.
Katz believes that we have a responsibility to developers who are willing to invest their dollars within our City’s boundaries: we must clearly outline our vision of our City’s future. Then, we must facilitate the developer’s attempt to create that vision in way that assures economic success for the developer.
Our City officials must respect that vision and articulate it to prospective investors. The urban element of the current General Plan, adopted in 1998, is written beautifully. However, in a recent conversation with a member of the Santa Ana’s Planning Department, he confessed to have never read it.
Our City government should care, but decisions by the City Council over the last 50 years reflect that they don’t care. Who can walk through Historic French Park and not feel aghast by the misguided policies of our City? Beautiful craftsman homes now overshadowed by outsized projects.
Creating a Remarkable Entry into Ward 3
Providing thoughtful and deliberate focus on the aesthetic of our City’s structures and the design our neighborhoods is one of the most important initiatives we can adopt to improve our physical environment and enhance our lives.
Katz was a vocal opponent to the 2525 Project. Not because he is anti-development. Rather, Katz understood that the project, as proposed, represented a missed opportunity for Santa Ana to reclaim its history and its beauty. Below, watch Katz’s presentation to the City Council on November 19, 2019.
Katz promises to infuse the City and its Planning Department with discipline: do not focus on developing a single building; focus on building a neighborhood.
Santa Ana is a great city. It deserves to be a beautiful city.
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