Recap of Anaheim State of the City 2013

I went to the Anaheim State of the City event today, and it was much like the past few. I sat next to a very nice young guy named Zachary King, who is partners in the video and film company that produced the films that bracketed Mayor Tom Tait’s speech. The quality and production of the videos were top-notch.

Here’s a brief recap (I’ll post the full text of Mayor Tait’s address when it is made available):

Anaheim Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Farano gave a 5-6 minute speech reviewing the year’s accomplishments and looking ahead to continued success, as well as working with City Hall for a safe and prosperous Anaheim.

Mayor Tom Tait followed. After a very public shout-out of support for departing City Attorney Cristina Talley, the first part of the speech was the “good news” part and covered territory such as city spending, the opening of Cars Land, the building of ARTIC and the continuing progress of the Regulatory Relief Task Force; a vow to defend Anaheim’s Enterprise Zone from the covetous depredations of the state, stating the need for pressing ahead with pension reform.

From there, the mayor moved on to what could be termed the “agenda 2013” section: a police review commission; council district elections; setting aside TOT revenue to a neighborhood improvement fund; and the larger issue of engaging all of Anaheim in a “Year of Kindness.”

Mayor Tait didn’t say, to my knowledge, anything beyond what he has already expressed on the above subjects. The “Year of Kindness” is essentially an enlargement of his existing “Hi Neighbor” and kindness initiative, in response to the shootings and riots of last summer. The mayor pointed to a recent Disneyland-funded study on the challenges confronting the city’s disadvantaged youth and made the fairly unarguable point that the challenges are complex and multi-faceted, and require a comprehensive response beyond government programs. I got the impression the “Year of Kindness” would be softly led by City Hall acting as a kind of clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities within Anaheim.

On the subject of city governance, the mayor went further than I am aware of him having gone in the past, and calling for an end to the current system in which council candidates run at-large and are voted on by all Anaheim voters, and replacing it with a system of electing councilmembers from districts. He called on the council to place a council districts measure before the voters.

[Personally, I think council districts are a terrible idea for a number of excellent reasons, among them is council districts mean citizens are governed by councilmembers they had no voice in electing — save for the mayor and their own district councilman. It also seems premature to call for a city-wide vote on a council districts measure when the Citizens Advisory Committee still has 10 meetings scheduled over the next four months, and has not presented its recommendations to the council.]

The speech closed with a well-done video featuring soundbites from various people who are active in Anaheim community organizations, to the accompaniment of a live orchestra.


  1. Excuse me but is Mayor Tait under some grandiose opinion that he invented kindness in Anaheim? I am a second generation Anaheim resident and our neighborhood has been engaged and supportive of eachother without his direction since before I was born. Seriously, what does this Mayor have to offer the city other than some seriously worn out platitudes. Anaheim families, neighbors, communities were taking care of each other for more than 100 years before he came here and long before he was elected Mayor.

  2. Don’t you see AnaheimFirst? It is the perfect “initiative” for a leader who has none. Kindness cannot be measured. Also, although he says he wants us to be the kindest city, how does one compare with another? It cannot be done! Therefore it is easy for The Czar of Kindness to declare himself victorious without any real way to quantify. Also, who can have honest dialogue about his job performance without appearing “unkind?”

    Newsflash: the recent hurricane victims on the east coast or even the community of Sandy Hook did not need to look at some “kindnesss manual” to know how to respond to the needs of one another. Over and over again we have witnessed organic acts of brotherly love in such situations and not government mandated policies. It all seems so trite – so plastic – so inauthentic.

    Instead of dangling carrots of distractions with your saccharin “policies,” Mayor Tait, support your APD for a change… Now that would be an act of kindness.

  3. I myself gave then-candidate Tait some serious grief for the whole “kindness and freedom” platform he ran on in 2010. I thought it was naïve and simplistic, and frankly insulting. I expect kindness in the social contract of friendship; from City Hall I want some basic courtesy and respect. Give Tait time to explain his intent and it does come together. Kindness may well be instinctive for most of Anaheim’s residents, but we encourage those habits we consciously think about, and to push kindness to the front of the line may help us to step it up above simply holding the door for another patron at Coffee Bean.

    The East Coast communities cited by “Copy That” are smaller towns than Anaheim, their size drives a more neighborly mindset. Anaheim’s big city population does make it harder to get to know each other, he wants us to get out there and befriend our neighbors, to know who lives on our block, who might have special needs in the event of an emergency. While you would like him to “support Police for a change” our Police (and Fire) are so well supported they can afford to live in much nicer places-meaning in the case of a disaster Anaheim is on our own, our emergency services personnel will be called into work but they will in all likelihood not be able to get here. So we had better know that there is a 72 year old woman living alone midblock who hasn’t been seen since the earthquake, and we had better know who has shovels and other hand tools in the garage so that we can start digging for her. And knowing her name because we met her at the neighborhood potluck that we had been meaning to host for years with the best of intentions but finally got off our butts and scheduled because Mayor Tait encouraged us to do it makes it a lot more likely that we will start digging for her. Sadly that cannot be boiled down to a cutesy sound bite or given a trite wonk-speak moniker like “P-3.”

    So tell me, why the venom against someone who has done everything possible to encourage Anaheim to be the best place we can be? He inherited a deficit that none of us knew about thanks to the costly “visionary” practices of previous leadership, and he has put us back in the black again. Apparently his greatest crime was having the audacity to point out to the people of Anaheim that our coffers were not left as full as we may have believed, and it is that perception of “attack” on the grand visionary cult leader that seems to have launched the retaliatory assault weapons ever since.

    Mayor Tait is not being derided for his projects or his programs or his leadership style, those are the excuses used to berate him so as not to appear petty. He is being attacked for not sufficiently worshiping at the altar of his predecessor and possessing the stones to tell it like it is.

    • Why do you always need to claim that you are a martyr and only “tell it like it is”…give us a break. No one is buying it..

      What leadership traits does Mayor Tait exhibit. And don’t leaders need followers?

      I don’t think you can make an argument that Mayor Tait is a leader.

      What has he led? What are his accomplishments? Riots. Losing vote after vote to his council colleagues. Even the newest Council member, Brandman, is running circles around Mayor Tait. Clearly Tait is not leading, and thankfully not in charge. We deserve more than “Hi Neighbor” and riots in our streets! That is what the “Tait Leadership” has given us.

      Now his closest ally at City Hall is forced to resign because she was proven to be wrong by the FPPC. No wonder Talley worked so hard to keep the FPPC letter from coming out.

      What’s next, you are going to tell us that Robert Rizzo was a great City Manager.

      Cynthia you make less sense every day. You and Jason Young are quite a pair.

      If Tait was a real leader, for starters he would release immediately release a statement denouncing the call for more riots in Anaheim. But I wont hold my breath.

  4. Sad State of the City

    I attended the prayer vigil on the City Hall steps for the Sandy Hook victims and there were 4 distinct groups alongside each other – nobody interacted and we were there to pray for goodness sake.!!! Having lived in Anaheim for 16 years I have never seen it so divided and so nasty. City events have become a chore and are no longer enjoyable. We have been practicing kindness in our neighborhood since we moved in and always believed it was the natural thing to help one’s fellow man. The Mayor’s preaching is hollow because the results after 2 years is a more divided nasty environment than ever before. It is now a tale of 4 Anaheim’s.
    Yesterday’s State of the City left me cold and uninspired and anyone I speak to feels the same way.
    Other Cities are looking so much brighter to us ….maybe it’s time to get out of dodge!

  5. Sad State of the City – you seem to forget that:

    1. your pals Eastman, Murray, and Sidhu started all of this division when they voted to giveaway $158 million in future tax revenue to their friend Bill O’Connell.

    2. when Eastman praised the riots for stopping a vote that would allow the people to decide on subsidies and districting.

    3. when Murray stripped Galloway of her Mayor Pro Tem status as retribution for her stance on the giveaway.

    4. when Murray lied from the dais and stated it wasn’t really $158 million

    5. or when Sidhu lied and stated that allowing voters to vote on subsidies would tied the hands of the council when negotiating with the Angels.

    6. when Murray, Brandman, and Eastman fired City Attorney Cristina Talley because she wouldn’t play their games.

    7. when Eastman stated on 8-8-12 that she knew better then the residents of Anaheim when it came to districting.

    8. when Murray and Eastman voted to spend $300+ million on a streetcar who’s sole purpose would be to shuttle Disney guests and employees. A decision that also padded the pockets of former council candidate and dirty cop Steve Lodge.

  6. Are you honestly trying to say that you were oblivious to your neighbors and their needs or that you never attended a community potluck until the mayor told Anaheim to do so? Or that you never picked up your neighbor’s newspaper or mail while they were out of town until the mayor told you to do so? It is absurd!

    Also you state that kindness is only inherent to small towns but the world will recall that on 911, NYC was iconic and synonymous to the most basic elements of human kindness. And by the way, that kindness was color-blind!

    Also the fact that this mayor has breathed life into some of the most dangerous and hateful factions within our city evidenced by a solid year of police bashing on the podium has crippled Anaheim on a multitude of levels.

    The kindest act this mayor could do is to encourage and help avert the energies of these gang families to a higher cause. For example, instead of Gang-mom instigating hateful speeches and protests supported by our mayor, he should instead encourage her energy towards volunteering her time (and those of her following) at the Anaheim Boys and Girls Club or Cops for Kids to help the next kid from avoiding the gang lifestyle that ultimately led to her son’s death. Instead of police bashing at every council meeting, she could instead be reporting about the wonderful work that is being done to save Anaheim kids from a life of gang violence. She could be working with Chief Welter to create change in her community. These sorts of attitudes unite Anaheim instead of the division we have today.

    Finally, your camp continues to misrepresent opposing points of view by stating that Tait “is being attacked for not sufficiently worshiping at the altar of his predecessor” but that cannot be further from the truth. The problems he has had for the past year has nothing to do with his current governing philosophies, he is entitled to vote as he sees fit. The problems he has had are instead and totally related to the actions he has participated in after the votes have been cast or when he thinks that nobody is is looking:

    1. Collaborating with Jason Young of Crescent Bay Films convicted of identity theft and burglary to create “Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods” which raised almost $25K to fund his not-so-kind and sleazy mailers against Councilman Jordan Brandman.

    2. Calling an impromptu council meeting turned town-hall last year knowing Murray, Eastman and Sidhu (who was in the middle of back surgery) could not attend but that created the not-so-kind narrative and backdrop that continues to theme Anaheim.

    3. The not-so-kind public broadcasting with Galloway on radio, television and news media with an anti-Anaheim pro-gang climate that has all but scared away the NBA and now possibly the Angels. Who would ever want to do business in a city that turned into Gotham overnight?

    I could go on and on with these types of examples but why bother as it seems you are not open to honest dialogue about where we are today as a city. The not-so-kind governing style of this mayor has divided us more than ever and to paraphrase “‘Sad State of the City’ other cities are looking much brighter these days.”

  7. Cynthia Ward – who are you to tell the City of Anaheim that Mayor Tait is the person who put the city in the black again. He was the one vote against the AMEA concession to take a salary cut and reduce the deficit by half. Mayor Tait’s cohort Lorri Galloway would have cost the city a billion dollar investment by Disney if she had succeeded in carving up the resort district – according to the budget workshop yesterday, the city is up more than $3M at mid-year because of that investment. The worst recession since the great depression is what caused the reduction in city income – not previous policies. Your absurd hatred for former Mayor Pringle – who is still widely respected and beloved in my community – colors everything you say in public. Your twisted and convenient spin of Mayor Tait’s politics does not add up – he is attacking public safety, he is attacking the business community, he is attacking council colleagues, he is lying during council meetings on important city issues, he is willing to destroy the city to get his way. This is not kindness and any Mayor of the great City of Anaheim should be held to a higher standard of ethical leadership. He is failing.

  8. AnaheimFirst – please stop hiding behind your alias. Who are you?

    Jason Young

  9. CopyThat – more lies and distortions of the facts while hiding behind an alias.

    Jason Young

  10. Why would anyone respond to Jason Young with their identification when he has been convicted and served time for burglary and identity theft? Why do so many on this blog spend so much time responding to his rants? He has no position in the city of anaheim, no influence as evidenced by the last election, and clearly no sanity. I’m baffled …

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Why do so many on this blog spend so much time responding to his rants?

      For the same reason a person pays attention to an irritating skin condition that refuses to heal.

  11. City Employee- Jason is a convicted felon who drums up conspiracies and ruining people’s lives. His cohort is Cynthia Ward. They are ill informed, delusional and full of it.

  12. Wow, the insults keep getting better. I’m impressed at the quality of people this blog attracts.

  13. Matt – more insults. Do you feel better now?

    • Matthew Cunningham

      I can’t say there’s anything about interacting with you that makes me feel better, Jason. But I think my metaphor was a truthful one.

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