TimesOC: Santa Ana tried to defund the police. What happened next?

A protester confronts the police in Santa Ana on May 30.
A protester confronts the police in Santa Ana on May 30. Demonstrators protested against the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Good afternoon, and welcome to the TimesOC newsletter. It’s Friday, Sept. 4.

My name is David Carrillo Peñaloza, the author of the TimesOC newsletter and an editor for Los Angeles Times Community News.

The Labor Day weekend has arrived in Orange County.

As protests continue across the country in support of defunding the police, reporter Adam Elmahrek looked into how immigrants, residents, activists and leaders attempted a similar movement in Santa Ana almost a decade ago.

So how have things turned out for Santa Ana, home to predominantly working-class Latinos?

The fight is ongoing, as the police budget continues to grow and the police union spends heavily to support city leaders backed by the Santa Ana Police Officers Assn.

Elmahrek reported that the controversial detention center that housed immigration detainees in the city jail went away in 2017. He added that the city built a community center near downtown, and it created more park space and a fund to provide legal services to immigrants.

Activists, like Carlos Perea, say that’s not enough.

“The main lesson is that our community needs to build strong political power,” said Perea, an immigrant rights activist who runs the nonprofit CHISPA.

Enjoying this newsletter?

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times at latimes.com/subscribe.

O.C. Democratic leader resigns after sharing post praising Ho Chi Minh

Three days after sharing a Facebook post praising Ho Chi Minh, the late communist leader of Vietnam, Jeff LeTourneau resigned on Wednesday as vice chair and committee leader of the Democratic Party of Orange County.

Reporter Stephanie Lai has the latest on what happened from Sunday, the day LeTourneau shared the post, to the aftermath. She wrote that the post drew immediate criticism from politicians from both parties, including from those who represented the county’s politically active Vietnamese American community, which was built on a bedrock of refugees from communism and the Vietnam War.

The post that LeTourneau shared said that “Ho Chi Minh may be considered some sort of pariah or socially awkward. Instead, Ho Chi Minh liberated an entire poor, colonized nation from 2 of the most powerful imperial military forces in the world (the US and France) and won full independence for the people of Vietnam.”

Peggy Engard, left, and her husband, Ted, center, and friend Kathy Gordon have been making masks since the pandemic started.
Peggy Engard, left, and her husband, Ted, center, and friend Kathy Gordon have been making masks since the pandemic started.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Making masks to fight COVID-19, hunger

Many people in Orange County have taken it upon themselves to make masks for others during the coronavirus pandemic.

A married couple from Costa Mesa and two friends have formed their own mask-making team called the “Dream Seam Team.”

Reporter Matt Szabo featured the foursome, Peggy Engard, her husband, Ted, both retired teachers, and their friends, Kathy Gordon and Cynthia Corley. The foursome not only makes masks to help combat COVID-19, but to help in the nationwide fight against hunger.

The Dream Seam Team said it has raised more than $10,000 for Feeding America’s Los Angeles chapter. The nonprofit has a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs across the country.

Erma Zins, left, and Ron Goble, both with U.S. Air Force backgrounds, work as nurses.
Erma Zins, left, and Ron Goble, both with U.S. Air Force backgrounds, work as nurses in the emergency department at Placentia-Linda Hospital in Placentia.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

4 nurses forge through a 12-hour night shift

Working a normal 8-to-5 job is hard enough during these times. Try picturing what nurses have to go through during a 12-hour night shift in a hospital’s emergency department.

Reporter Vera Castaneda interviewed four registered nurses from Placentia-Linda Hospital in Placentia, all of which agree the work is busy and exhausting. Having a military background has prepared them for the grueling job.

Meet Erma Zins, Ron Goble, Dawn Smith-Looney and Jeremy Salazar. They work together. They have each other’s backs. They don’t stop until the job is done. They are ready for whatever comes their way.

Want to experience the newspaper with a digital subscription?

You can now view the actual Los Angeles Times Community News publications online with our e-newspapers. Here’s Friday’s edition of the Daily Pilot and Sunday’s edition of TimesOC. Hopefully this gives you the same feel as reading the newspaper in your hands.

In other Orange County news:

— Data from the Orange County coroner’s office shows that there has been increase of 64 homeless deaths between April and August compared to that same period in 2019. Reporter Ben Brazil talked with the Rev. Dennis Kriz, an advocate for the homeless, and the pastor believes the rising deaths could be linked to COVID-19.

Sergio Perez has been the executive director of the Orange County Office of Independent Review since May. It looks as though the county’s independent watchdog is getting to work. Brazil wrote about Perez’s first investigations into local law enforcement practices.

— Reporter Lilly Nguyen wrote that federal authorities arrested four individuals — two from Costa Mesa — on charges alleging that a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy downloaded technical drawings and manuals related to military weapon systems and sold the information to a Newport Beach-based company.

— Reporter Sara Cardine reported that a mosquito sample collected in Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park has tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been three confirmed cases of human infection in the county this year, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Orange County's Best: TimesOC's Readers' Choice 2020

Readers can vote on their best products and services in Orange County at latimes.com/timesoc/voting. Voting ends Sept. 30.

Get in touch

Have any questions or suggestions for the TimesOC newsletter? Email me at david.carrillo@latimes.com.

If you want to sign up for the newsletter that is delivered to your inbox every Wednesday and Friday, visit latimes.com/oc-newsletter.

You can also follow me on Twitter @ByDCP and tweet me questions.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and see you next week.