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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Local

City of Santa AnaCandidate for City Council, Ward 2

Photo of Sandra Pena Sarmiento

Sandra Pena Sarmiento

Teacher/Arts Commissioner
10,990 votes (20.5%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Improve public safety creating new revenue streams for law enforcement without raising taxes, also developing programs that prevent crime as well as implementing restorative justice programs for first-time non-violent offenders.
  • Promote healthy economic development that benefits all Santa Ana residents and that includes affordable housing.
  • Bring back free programs for youth and senior citizens, helping our children expand their horizons, do well in school and become productive members of society and help our seniors have quality of life in their golden years.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Media arts teacher, award-winning filmmaker
Media arts teacher, Independent Educator (1994–current)
Member, Santa Ana Arts & Culture Commission. — Appointed position (2015–current)

Education

UC San Diego Bachelor of Arts, Visual Arts and Sociology (current)

Community Activities

Leader, Eastside Neighborhood Association (2015–current)
Co-founder, United Artists of Santa Ana (2012–current)
Cofounder, OC Film Fiesta (2007–current)
Co-founder, Media Arts Santa Ana (MASA) (2016–current)
Communications Consultant, Save Our Centro Coalition (2005–2007)

Biography

Sandra Peña Sarmiento is a native Santa Ana resident. She grew up in Ward 2 and still resides there with her husband, writer/humorist Victor Payan, retired mother Marty, and a family of chihuahuas. Sandra has taught video & silent cinema to youth across the country for over a decade and is currently getting certified to become a foster parent to Unaccompanied Refugee Minors. Providing children and families with tools and opportunities to succeed has been her lifelong passion.

Sandra Peña Sarmiento is an award-winning filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist. She aired her first music video on MTV in the late 1980’s, followed by a stint in Europe studying Art History.

Sandra completed BA’s at UC San Diego in Visual Arts and Sociology, showcasing her video art in museums and film festivals. In the early 90’s she adopted the moniker “Pocha Peña” while an MFA student at UCLA’s School of Film & TV, soon embarking on a decade of producing Spanish-language shows and promos for Latino networks.

In the late ‘90s, Sarmiento published her “Pocha Manifesto” in Jump Cut film journal, moving on to curate and direct film festivals in L.A., San Diego and Texas. Pocha has penned stories for La Opinion, Tu Cuidad Magazine, and a feature film screenplay.  After associate-producing hit a LGBT feature in 2006 (East Side Story),Sarmiento returned her creative focus to writing, indie video and staging live performance interventions.

She is an alumna of the 2009 San Antonio Creative Capital Professional Development Program, received the 2010 Idea Fund via the Andy Warhol Foundation, and founded a multicultural film festival in Orange County, the OC Film Fiesta. Sarmiento currently teaches video in her hometown of Santa Ana, California, where she serves as Chair of the Arts & Culture Commission.

 

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (1)

  • LOCAL 721 SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION (SEIU)

Elected Officials (6)

  • EL MONTE CITY COUNCILMAN JERRY VELASCO
  • WESTMINSTER CITY COUNCILMAN SERGIO CONTRERAS
  • RANCHO SANTIAGO COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT BOARD ZEKE HERNANDEZ
  • RANCHO SANTIAGO COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT BOARD PRESIDENT NELIDA MENDOZA
  • SANTA ANA CITY COUNCILMAN SAL TINAJERO
  • SANTA ANA CITY COUNCILMAN DAVID BENAVIDES

Individuals (11)

  • FILM ACTRESS DYANA ORTELLI (COCO), LOS ANGELES
  • FILM ACTOR PEPE SERNA, ORANGE COUNTY
  • FOUNDER, LATINO URBAN FORUM JAMES ROJAS
  • ORANGE COUNTY ARTS LEADER RICHARD STEIN
  • LOS ANGELES ART COMMISSIONER TOMAS BENITEZ (RETIRED)
  • SANTA ANA COMMISSIONER ADOLFO SIERRA
  • SANTA ANA COMMISSIONER RICHARD SANTANA
  • SANTA ANA PLANNING COMMISSIONER ROMAN REYNA
  • SANTA ANA PLANNING COMMISSIONER KEN NGUYEN
  • SANTA ANA PLANNING COMMISSIONER ERIC ALDERETE
  • FILM ACTOR DANNY “LITTLE PUPPET” VILLAREAL (STAND AND DELIVER), LOS ANGELES

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

ARTS & ECONOMIC PROSPERITY 
Santa Ana is the geographic center of Orange County, a global hub for creative production and design. Creative Industries generate over a million jobs and billions in wages throughout California, yet Santa Ana has not tapped into these vibrant regional industries. Digital Media & Creative Industries also earn far higher than any other local option and provide an excellent opportunity for our city to invest in becoming the much-needed diverse workforce for this thriving regional economy. 

TOURISM & TECHNOLOGY
Santa Ana is located between Disneyland and the best beaches in Orange County and should be leveraging its historic assets better. To tap into this lucrative industry, that draws millions of visitors from all over the world, quality of experience is key. Art Markets, Music Festivals, Culinary Excursions, Cultural Celebrations and the Cannabis industry are growing areas of revenue for our city that draw thousands of visitors. For a city with an airport & a train station, we could be doing so much more business. City technology also needs an upgrade, with investment in dark fiber, a data center and incentives for employing local residents

21ST CENTURY EDUCATION 
Creative Industries and Technology are poised to transform our county. Santa Ana will either be at the crest of that wave or pulled under. Unable to import in foreign workers, tech companies are hungry for diverse talent. The building trades are also looking for workers to keep up with regional demand. These are great opportunities to offer targeted workforce training for certification in trade skills, judicial careers, coding, design and an update to our school curriculum.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Santa Ana is one of the oldest cities in California and has a wealth of historic resources. Its important to preserve and promote our historic assets, which are reflected in our architecture, music, food, festivals, businesses, diversity and traditions. These treasures can bring our residents a world of wealth, belonging and opportunity if we leverage their presence for increased film/tv production, tourism, placemaking and connection to the history all around us.

QUALITY OF LIFE
Quality of Life affects all of Santa Ana’s residents. We must prioritize the safety and comfort of our community by encouraging more housing options, innovative zoning and walkability. As the County seat, we’ve carried more than our share of the County’s housing burden. Sandra proposes leveraging regional resources, a carve-out from cannabis and local partnerships to address our housing challenges, encouraging the development of dignified dwellings for all.

YOUTH
Santa Ana is one of the youngest cities in America. Having half of our population in K-12 instruction provides a valuable opportunity to upgrade our resident’s earning potential. Investing in K-12 STEAM education and Information Technology, Trade certification and Digital Media training for our transitional-age youth will pay off in rich dividends. Currently, Sandra is planning the City’s first Youth Summit in the hopes of building a vibrant network for career development & community involvement.

LGBT COMMUNITY
Sandra has been a longtime ally of the LGBT community.  She hosted an AIDs-Ride fundraiser at her infamous DTLA loft and Associate Produced the hit indie Queer feature, “East Side Story,” a Romeo & Julio story of Love in East LA. Since LGBT youth comprise over 60% of the homeless youth population, Sarmiento proposes designating them a special class so that designated housing can be built to accommodate this vulnerable group. She also supports festive & safety-driven placemaking initiatives to make Santa Ana a more LGBT-friendly environment.

SENIORS
Orange County has long been a retirement destination. Safety and sustainability is important so that our seniors can enjoy our beautiful weather and neighborly city. Sandra wants to create more opportunities for inter-generational community-building through festivals, health activities, art-making, historic preservation and placemaking. She will address housing instability by encouraging co-operative living, creating elder activity hubs and developing sustainable long-term alternatives for elder renters.

INFRASTRUCTURE
Santa Ana has been winging it for too long. We need to install a data & business-friendly infrastructure to power our vitality well into the 21st century:
— Invest in having Dark Fiber installed on all of our major arterials
— Finance a City-owned data-center to ensure secure service
— Repurpose the City jail into a Data/Tech startup center

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