2020 has been incredibly challenging for families, our resort community and especially our small businesses. The Anaheim City Council began meeting remotely at the start of the pandemic, and we’ve stayed hard at work supporting our residents and businesses and maintaining city services.
Immediately after the state issued its first round of shut-downs, we got to work enacting programs to help residents and businesses struggling with job losses and other economic impacts of the pandemic. We put in place food and mask distribution centers. We directed funds to non-profits around the city to meet special needs. We allocated dollars to Visit Anaheim to help us restart tourism when our resort is allowed to reopen. And, we created a small business grant program to help businesses ordered closed.
I also joined Mayor Harry Sidhu and our business community earlier this year as we called for more local control to facilitate the safe reopening of our resort area.
Now, we’re expanding testing sites so that all residents have easy access to testing to help keep our community safe. This week, we opened a testing kiosk in Anaheim Hills at East Anaheim Gymnasium, 8165 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road.
Public safety funding has been strained due to our extended resort closures. And we’ve been asking more and more of our police and fire officers as they have been on the front lines of our COVID-19 response.
At the council level, we maintained our focus on wildfire safety for Anaheim Hills. We continued in our successful Know-Your-Way evacuation campaign, and our fire personnel responded in force to help our neighbors who were directly affected by a historic fire season.
Throughout 2019 and 2020 I chaired an Ad-Hoc Committee on Housing and Housing Affordability. We recently developed a host of recommendations to encourage housing development at all affordability levels – to increase the available supply of housing and moderate prices. We also initiated a historic workforce housing program – the first of its kind in Anaheim – to provide affordable workforce housing for teachers, first responders and others.
Finally, through my service on the Southern California Association of Governments, we fought back against unreasonable state mandates aimed at cramming affordable housing developments into existing neighborhoods, rather than spreading the burden throughout Southern California.
After years of failed negotiations, the current council led by Mayor Harry Sidhu struck a historic deal with Angels Baseball. The deal keeps the team in Anaheim for a minimum of 30 years and is expected to generate millions of new dollars in tax revenue. In addition, the deal mandates the creation of more than 400 units of affordable housing integrated into quality housing designed for the stadium site. Finally, the proceeds of the land and stadium sale will be reinvested into our neighborhoods for the benefit of our residents.