- Strengthening Our Community
For decades, Anaheim's strength has been the way its businesses and residents worked together to create one of the best places in the world to live, work, and visit. Unfortunately, the past few years have seen that close relationship between business and residents deteriorate. This has been lead in no small part by our City Council. Anaheim's City Council has become polarized, and council members have stopped talking and working together for the common good of our city. We need community leaders who are able to work well together, even when they disagree. In other words, we need community leaders who are able to disagree agreeably.
Today, Anaheim has very real issues it needs to solve, but it also has incredible potential to become the world-class city it should be. The only way to solve our problems and reach our potential is by having a city council that can work well together. Ensuring we have a functioning city council isn't the most pressing problem in our community, but it's the first problem we need to solve otherwise we won't be able to solve any of the others.
I have spent the past decade building relationships with all factions within Anaheim, and I can work well with all of them. There are no groups in Anaheim that I agree with all of the time, but even when we disagree I can treat others with respect and am generally afforded the same courtesy. Everyone involved in our community desires to see it be the best place possible for them to live and work, shop and play. When this simple fact is kept in mind, it's easy to retain respect for others, even when we disagree, which allows us to disagree agreeably and successfully moving our city in the right direction.
- Public Safety
Ten years after the start of the 2008 financial crisis, amidst the longest running economic recovery in a century, the City of Anaheim still hasn't regained the fire and police protection it had a decade ago. Anaheim must replace the public safety positions it lost during the Great Recession.
After 2008, Anaheim laid off 24 firefighters and have only replaced three of those positions. This downsizing of our fire protection force has required that three of our fire engines only operate with three firefighters on board, instead of the typical four firefighters per engine. This slows response times, and makes it more difficult for each engine to put out fires on their own.
Our police force has suffered similar reductions in staffing. Over the past four years the Anaheim City Council has worked hard to rebuild our sworn police force by adding ten new police positions in each of the last four years. Unfortunately, the police department relies heavily upon non-sworn police personnel so they can accomplish their work. These non-sworn personnel do things like assemble case files for investigators, process evidence, and ensure police equipment remains in working order. By not replacing these positions, our police force is unable to solve crimes in a timely manner, which allows criminals more time to commit additional crimes. We need to replace these non-sworn police positions so our police department is more effective in solving and stopping crimes in the future.
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 year, 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 who had been 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.