Reclaiming our quality of life begins with taking back our public spaces, targeting gun violence and auto theft and robbery, and addressing hot spots.
Katz will seek to reclaim our Ward with a block-by-block approach supported by community policing; police working with neighborhoods to address their priorities. Whether it is the Logan Street Gang that has plagued Spurgeon St. in Santa Ana Triangle or the recent influx of homeless into Case de Santiago, Katz’s approach calls for police working closely in partnership with all community stakeholders (neighborhood associations, religious organizations, city prosecutors, youth organizations and businesses) to assess the problem and develop strategic responses.
We cannot and should not abolish the police. But we can escalate community engagement to develop a civilian approach to public safety.
Well-Devised Youth Programming
Unattended and neglected youth fuel each other’s bad behavior and these relationships become the breeding ground for adult criminal activity.
A significant part to solving our crime problem is supporting youth programs. However, these programs cannot simply be a baby-sitting service. They must be smartly designed and they must insist on the participation of parents – particularly where one or both parents constitute a risk factor (e.g., addiction or physical abuse). Valued members of the community should be infused into the program so that risk factors can be replaced with protective factors; positive influences which can model good behavior for our kids.
Enact a Landlord and/or Property Manager Licensing Program
Regulating the condition and operation of rental housing is a major challenge particularly in those neighborhoods experiencing social and economic distress. Many rental properties Santa Ana are neither sound nor well-managed and may have a destabilizing effect on their surroundings.
Katz strongly believes that the responsibility for making sure that landlords maintain and manage their properties well falls to Santa Ana’s City Council, which has the authority to enforce codes and take a variety of other actions under the legal powers Santa Ana is granted to regulate property. The goal of these regulations is not to drive landlords away or to punish them, but to raise the quality bar for rental housing in the community, and ensure to the extent possible that landlords who own property in the municipality are responsible stewards of their properties, working with the municipality to ensure that neighborhoods remain safe and clean.
In order to raise the bar, Katz proposes enacting a Licensing Ordinance establishing minimum standards that a landlord must comply with in order to operate a rental housing unit in Santa Ana. This would allow Santa Ana to move from a reactive and complaint-driven code enforcement system to one that aims at improving the quality of the entire rental stock, not just individual properties that trigger complaints.
Katz proposes a performance-based licensing system which tracks the performance of rental properties and landlords, in terms of such matters as code violations, nuisance complaints and reported crimes, and adjusts the licensing requirements based on the property’s performance.
Phase 1: A mandatory auditing a seminar which includes crime prevention, benefits of applicant screening, crime free lease addendum, evictions, and pro-active management techniques.
Phase 2: CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) certification of the security arrangements on the property.
Phase 3: A tenant crime prevention meeting, with the City of Santa Ana providing materials and assistance to publicize the meeting with their tenants.
Santa Ana has a compelling interest to reduce the number and scope of problems in rental properties, by motivating property owners to become more responsible landlords, fixing the problems with their properties and making sure to the extent possible that they do not recur. The best way to do that is to conduct an annual review of the “track record” of each licensed rental property, and adjust its status going forward on the basis of that review, distinguishing among those properties that are well-maintained and well-managed, those that need help, and those that are chronic offenders.
Enact and Enforce Impactful Ordinances that Promote Public Safety
Katz would propose a new Anti-Vacancy ordinance that would require owners of vacant (including properties under construction) and foreclosed properties to register them with the City. Owners of the properties would pay a periodic fee and be required to maintain and secure properties in specified ways, such as securing windows and doors adequately, keeping the grass cut. Properties cannot remain vacant for a substantial period of time. There are property owners that may be content to continue to pay fines while their properties remain vacant. At some point, this must come to an end.
Our Blight Reduction ordinance needs to be given “teeth” and then enforced. Demolishing condemned properties, removing trash and planting and maintaining vegetation will reduce violent crimes.
Vacant Lot Greening. Empty lots that have been cleaned and greened will have a significant impact on crime rates because they decrease opportunities for illegal activity.
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