Lights in the trees again on Main Street?

MAIN STREET in Garden Grove was lit up for the holidays in 2018 (Orange County Tribune photo).

It could be looking a lot like Christmas in Garden Grove’s downtown. At least in a couple of months.

We are told that last year’s temporary decorative lighting along a one-block stretch of Main Street during the holiday season was so popular that it will likely be repeated this year, with the city picking up the tab.

In 2018, not only was the street where Garden Grove was established in 1874 lit up, but also so was the nearby Gem Theater and City Hall. We’re not sure if this year’s illumination will include those two locations as well, but it would be great if it did.

But that’s not all. We are also told that funding for a permanent installation of that lighting might be inserted into a city budget, providing bright lights in the trees in the community’s original business district year-round.

Such a move would underline the city’s emphasis on enlivening and expanding the downtown area, which is undergoing a building renaissance as exemplified by the opening of the SteelCraft urban eatery one block east of Main.

Round and round and round …

One of the most picturesque parts of the City of Orange’s downtown is the Plaza, a small park inside a traffic circle (also known as a roundabout) at Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street.

There’s some discussion about putting a roundabout on Main Street in Garden Grove where it intersects Acacia Parkway. Proponents like the “traffic-calming” effect of a roundabout and the opportunity to add to the area’s visual appeal with landscaping and perhaps art. Skeptics worry that a traffic circle confuses some motorists and aren’t sure if there’s enough room at the spot for a proper roundabout.

Nothing’s been approved but – again – it’s an example of efforts to follow a national trend of enhancing downtowns and enhancing pedestrian and bicycle transportation.

Is it really us against them?

Ethnic politics is not a new force in American politics. Many of us tend to vote for people who look and sound like us. In Rhode Island – where editor Jim Tortolano was born – there are so many Italian-Americans that if your name doesn’t end in a vowel you might as well not bother to run for office.

However, in the local battle in Westminster in which all five members of the city council are facing recall drives, a nastier spin on that approach is emerging.

At recent meetings of the Westminster City Council, several speakers from the audience have argued that this was a matter of a struggle between Vietnamese residents one side and “white Americans” and Hispanics on the other.

It’s one thing to rally around your kinsmen out of pride; it’s something else again to characterize people who not of your ethnic origin as the enemy.

Regardless of which side folks of Westminster may stand on the recalls, let’s hope that some leadership will rise up and say, “This is about politics, not race.” If that’s not understood, everyone will be a loser in a city which can’t bear too much more division. 

Usually Reliable Sources is posted on alternate Wednesdays. Usually.



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