Council Supports Mayor Sidhu’s $250 Million Neighborhood Revitalization Program & Anaheim First Partnership

Last night, the Anaheim City Council voted unanimously to endorse Mayor Harry Sidhu’s 2030 Neighborhood Revitalization Program – an ambitious initiative to invest $250 million over 10 years into Anaheim’s neighborhoods. Sidhu unveiled his proposal earlier this year at his inaugural State of the City address.

The council also approved a $250,000 matching contribution toward a $500,000 Anaheim Community Assessment.  The other $250,000 for the assessment will be raised by Anaheim First. The assessment will review existing city services, facilities and resident priorities toward developing a strategic plan to improve public services, amenities, quality of life and neighborhood livability.

“For years, the promise of Anaheim has been that as our economy thrives, our people will thrive with it,” Mayor Sidhu said. “We have done a good job of meeting this promise, but we can do better. This initiative focuses the benefits of Anaheim’s growth on the priorities and desires of our neighborhoods.”

The Anaheim First Neighborhood Leadership Council, a group of residents plus business, community and nonprofit representatives, will lead the assessment through a series of town halls, other community meetings and an online survey.

Started in 2018 by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and Visit Anaheim, the Neighborhood Leadership Council is comprised of nearly 100 residents – 15 from each of Anaheim’s six City Council districts as well as 10 business, community and nonprofit representatives.

A number of Anaheim residents who’ve joined Anaheim First appealed to the council to approve the 2030 Plan and participate in the community assessment.

“I am a 40-plus year resident of Anaheim, have been involved in my community for the last twenty years,” said District 2 resident Gloria Ma’ae. “I am here to thank you Mayor Sidhu in seeing the value of a group of residents that have organized and have first-knowledge, first hand experience of the issues going on within our immediate neighborhoods.”

“I hope that all of you show your support for this partnership and see the value that we offer,” said Ma’ae.”We’re made up of residents from all walks of life, all ethnicities, many, many years of service to the community. We are going to be able to impact the city twenty years down the road.”

Keith Olesen, a resident of District 3, said he welcomed the opportunity to involve residents in directing how their tax money is spent in their neighborhoods.

“It’s well worth it. We certainly have nothing to lose we have everything to gain,” said Olesen. “We have a group of very sincere, passionate committed people that want nothing more than to make their neighborhoods a better place, their city a better place.”

“Please support the neighborhood program and the participation with Anaheim First,” continued Olesen. “It’s a great program, a great idea, and I think we can actually get some major accomplishments done in our neighborhoods.”

“As a resident of West Anaheim, may times we feel that we are the forgotten part of Anaheim,” District 1 resident Jodie Mosley told the council. “The part that’s an afterthought and not prioritized when it comes to feeling the benefit of all the great things that are happening in our city.”

“When I heard about Anaheim First and the plan put together by the Mayor and the others to invest in our communities – all our communities – I was really encouraged and really excited,” continued Mosely. “As a member of Anaheim First advisory committee, I want to urge the whole city council to support the city;s partnership with Anaheim First and support the mayor’s 2030 Neighborhood Investment Program. Over the next 10 years this partnership would invest $250 million into our neighborhood priorities like street, parks, libraries and other services for Anaheim residents.”

Benefit To Anaheim Of Community Assessment
Councilman Jordan Brandman, who ultimately voted for contributing $250,000 to Anaheim First for the community assessment, queried Deputy City Manager Greg Garcia on “what benefit will it be to the city that we don’t already know, and why is it necessary for the city to participate in this collaborative?”

“The community assessment is very ambitious, in that it would touch on all areas of our community – not just the parks – but also public safety, our public utilities and public works – all areas,” said Garcia. “And the idea of pulling together a strategic plan for the whole city is something that we wholeheartedly support.”

Garcia said partnering with a non-profit was a twist on the customary approach but one that Anaheim had done before – likening it to the “Committee of 100” that city leaders convened in 1959 to look at “what we want to invest in, what we need to invest in strategically over the next number of years as we grow and expand. And I think that’s what [the Anaheim Community Assessment] is effort is.”

That earlier plan resulted in the creation of many of the parks, libraries and public amenities which residents still enjoy today, including the Central Library, the Haskett Library, the SUnkist Library, the Euclid Library, Brookhurst Community Center, the police station and fire station, building news parks such as Boysen and Pioneer, and buying out the city from Southern California Edison and forming the Anaheim Public Utility.

When asked by Brandman when the city last attempted such a strategic assessment, Garcia said he was unaware of any similar effort since the Committee of 100.  Garcia went on to state that city staff would be actively participating throughout the entire assessment process.

Participating in the Anaheim Community Assessment will be open to all Anaheim residents, community groups, nonprofits and businesses.

According to the city, spending under the 2030 program could include:

  • Upgrades to libraries and community centers
  • New or improved parks
  • Roads, sidewalks and parks
  • Expanded public safety services
  • Expanded youth, homelessness, job-training and other programs
  • Strategic economic development benefiting neighborhoods

Mayor Sidhu will form an ad hoc committee with two other council members to provide oversight of the community assessment process.

Councilmembers Jordan Brandman, Steve Faessel and Trevor O’Neil joined Mayor Harry Sidhu and Mayor Pro Tem Lucille Kring in supporting city participating in the Anaheim Community Assessment. Councilmembers Densie Barnes and Jose Moreno opposed participating in the assessment.

2030 initiative funding is anticipate to come from expected and potential revenue generated by economic development around Honda Center, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and continued growth in The Anaheim Resort, as well as regular city spending on neighborhood improvements.


  1. That was a wonderful display of local civic’s last night. From the contentious debate on issues to the votes, the confusion, the pressure (from the activist crowd) the whole enchilada!

    But, Barnes and quickly Moreno injected race and identity politics on to the plate, in the form of a “Loogie”. Yeah a snotty filled excretion aimed at ruining the “meal” , grossing everybody out and trying to eliminate/erase the fact filled responsible research of Treavor.

    I guess I am left to wonder about Vern Nelson. Why was not the leader of the Anaheim Democratic Club present? Where is Vern?

    There is chatter but, pray tell Dr. Moreno, Ada, Mark Daniels and of course the Robbins…….where is your leader? Where has he been? Vern these people need help. Where are you?

    Vern. Vern. Are you OK?

    OJB and company are quick to point the guns at others…

    • Why all the secrecy? We have been fighting for “open” government for years. In 2016 we finally voted in some of our District Council Members , much to the chagrin of many of our previous Council members, some who are occupying current Council seats. This Anaheim first group is a slap in the face to our current District representatives and to the people who elected them. We elected Council District reps to act in our stead ( districts were overwhelmingly supported in a general election) and yet these “business appointed) representative are often ones who opposed districts or supported losing candidates in 2016. The chamber of commerce (business community) originally proposed this to be a 15 year plan, then changed to 10 year but actually very little will be done until an exhaustive study is undertaken by said business community and generally supported by the Anaheim first members they appointed. Which brings us to the 2020 elections which make this appear to be a political stunt to influence our next round of district elections in an effort to have our entire City Council beholden to the Chamber. So far the plan seems to be smoke and mirrors with no real substance. Can’t imagine going to a bank for a house loan and telling them “it will come” on the like that asks for income.

  2. Matthew Cunningham

    “Secrecy”? Are you kidding? Anaheim First has been out in the open. So much so that Jose F. Moreno and his progressive activist allies have been waging a full-tilt smear campaign against its members – with support from people like Denise Barnes and you.

    I get why Moreno’s trying to delegitimize Anaheim First – he doesn’t want a bunch of normal residents crowding his community organizing turf. He and his cronies are so used to claiming to speak for “the community” and “the people” that last thing they want is input from community voices they don’t script or control.

    What’s mystifying is that Denise Barnes and you join the revolutionaries and the hecklers in denigrating these good people. Barnes ought to be embarrassed by her condescending dismissal of the involvement of Anaheim First members. It’s funny how all the jabber about involving the community and residents goes at the window when it isn’t on terms set by Barnes or Moreno (and their political followers).

    Politics informs everything Moreno does. He and his allies live and breathe political organizing. It takes some gall for him – and you – to point that finger at anyone else, and for no other reason than some Anaheim First members hold differing views on some issues. So much for tolerance and inclusion.

    This is a diverse group of folks with their own ideas. Let’s face it – Denise Barnes spent her first two years on the council as a political appendage of Tom Tait; saying little except when reading from prepared statements, reliably adding her vote to his on each roll call. Now, she’s performing the same function for Moreno and helping advance her democratic socialist colleague’s political agenda.

    • Thank you Matt!
      We all agree.

    • Well said MC! Why would Jose Moreno mind if the residents involved with Anaheim First speak? Why instead of trying to smear them does he not listen to them, after all he sells himself as a “man of the people.”

      If he truly represents all people then he should listen to all people.

      Go Anaheim First, speak up! Every voice should be heard. Every concern should be listened to. Every resident should carefully chose who they vote for. Every resident should do their homework on what their choice stands for. Investigate your choice don’t just believe them. Who are they really? What are their past affiliations? What are their deliverables and have they benefitted you or your city?

      Keep posting Anaheim Blog and thank you.

  3. On top of being Jose Moreno’s wingman, Denise Barnes is channeling Cynthia Ward. It may be Denise’s lips moving, but those are Cynthia Ward’s words coming out. Barnes is an elected sock puppet.

    • Cynthia Ward is her second assistant, and it’s very easy to spot her writing as she takes over for Denise Barnes. Given the chance to speak for west Anaheim, Denise Barnes gave every opportunity away from her first day. There is not one time she has spoken for herself. Shes not involved, initiates or leads, supports or contributes. Its painful she was supposed to help, and has does nothing. Quite sad actually. I feel sorry for her district residents.

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