- Strengthening Our Community
My favorite thing in Anaheim Hills has always been our Fourth of July celebration. Even as a kid, I'd leave the house early, walk down the hill to the parade route and not come home until the fireworks at Peralta Park were over. More than anything the Anaheim Hills Fourth of July celebration always reminded me of the strength of our community.
Over the past few years, our community has been finding new ways to grow strong. New online forums, through the Anaheim Hills Buzz and Nextdoor.com, have grown into robust community gathering places for sharing news and connecting with our neighbors. Participation in the City of Anaheim's neighborhood meetings has also increased in recent months.
We need a political leader that will continue to help grow these community forums and events, and will find new ways to strengthen our community. I am committed to championing the continued engagement between the City of Anaheim and these forums, as well as holding regular community meetings so residents can make their voices heard directly by city staff. Community engagement is critical to well run city, and I'll do whatever it takes to ensure our voices are heard in City Hall.
- Public Safety
Over the past few years, Anaheim Hills has experienced an increase in crime which has made our community feel less safe. We're seeing more homes and cars broken into, oftentimes by professional crews from out of the area. Many of us have installed video systems and Ring doorbells to help deter this type of crime, but it hasn't been enough.
We need a leader who will work with the Anaheim Police Department and neighborhood groups to bring enough of the right resources to address our crime problem before it gets any worse. The Anaheim Police Department is very good at supporting residents who express interest in setting up Neighborhood Watch groups and reducing crime in their neighborhood. However, I want to take a more proactive approach where, instead of waiting for residents to approach the City, the City reaches out to residents before there are enough problems with crime to cause concern.
Homelessness has become an acute crisis in Anaheim. As a cyclist, I have seen this crisis grow over the past few years as I've travelled up and down the Santa Ana River Trail. Over the past few months, that trail has been unusable for transportation or recreation due to the homeless encampments on the riverbanks. Thankfully the City of Anaheim has been partnering with the County of Orange and neighboring cities to address the crisis on the river. However, the solutions they are offering are short-term and do not address the systemic problems that are causing homelessness. We need to find ways to address the causes of homelessness in our community in order to return the use of our parks and recreational facilities to all Anaheim residents, and, more importantly, to move the residents of the homeless encampment out of homelessness.
Despite the City and County's efforts in the past, the number of homeless residents in our community continues to climb, what our current leaders are doing simply isn't working. In addition to helping people get off the street and into housing, we need to work to keep people off the street in the first place. More than a quarter of the homeless individuals living along the Santa Ana River called Anaheim home before they became homeless. This is a group of residents that we can and should help.
Too many Anaheim residents live paycheck-to-paycheck. If anything goes wrong in their lives, such as a medical issue, a car accident, or getting laid off, they are unable to make rent. Often times, when people get evicted, they get help from friends and family for a time, but if they can't get their feet back under them they end up on the street.
The City of Anaheim and the Anaheim Housing Authority should be looking at ways to help these residents stay in their homes. It is a more compassionate way to treat our neighbors, and will be far less expensive for the City in the long run.
Anaheim needs a leader that will bring this type of new approach to ending homelessness in our community. As somebody with experience as an affordable housing developer, and who knows many of the non-profits working to end homelessness through my service as Chair of the Anaheim Community Services Board, I have a thorough understanding of the issues that lead to and exacerbate homelessness. I'll take a pragmatic approach to addressing homelessness for the sake of our homeless residents and our community as a whole.