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  • Writer's pictureGabriel San Roman

Did Santa Ana City Council Approve an Arts Grant With a Conflict of Interest?

Media Arts Santa Ana’s annual OC Film Fiesta wrapped up in late October with a preview of another festival to come. The Bill Medley Auditorium at Santa Ana High School played host to “The Best of Philip K. Dick,” a series of short films based on the late science fiction author’s prolific works. Dick, having been a longtime Santa Ana resident, will be the focus of a film festival in his honor next year.

The planned hometown hero tribute, as well as the short film series warm up, proved central to MASA’s proposal for the Investing in the Artist Grant, one the city council approved on July 17 to several artists and arts organizations. But local artists have cried foul over the jury panel process, accusing arts commissioner Sandra Peña Sarmiento, better know as “Pocha” and who co-founded MASA with her husband Victor Payan, of improprieties with regards to how the organization was ultimately graded and awarded a $6,690 grant.

Read more on my latest OC Weekly Navel Gazing Blog post:

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