We have submitted questions to the two Democrats running for Anaheim Mayor, Lorri Galloway and Ashleigh Aitken. Galloway got back to us right away and we’re still waiting on Aitken. The questions are similar.
Here’s what Galloway had to say:
- You ran for Mayor in 2014 and finished second but well behind Tom Tait; has your message to Anaheim voters substantially changed since then and if so, how?
Anaheim needs solutions to the problems we face today and that’s what I’m focused on. We need to make our local economy work better for everyone; we need to address the homelessness crisis impacting our residents and neighborhoods; we need to tackle the scourge of crime and gang violence. To accomplish this we need a mayor with experience who takes strong action and follows through on promises – who doesn’t speak in generalities, but instead offers specific steps to address our many challenges and move Anaheim forward. During my eight years on city council I focused on issues that would bring clear and tangible results to the residents of Anaheim and that is what I will do as mayor.
- What made you decide to run for mayor instead of a city council spot?
I believe I can make an even bigger impact on the issues facing Anaheim as mayor. I’m running with a vision to solve the unique challenges facing our city and provide the leadership that our city deserves. I will be a voice for all of Anaheim, bridging the east hills to the west end, the resorts and small businesses, and law enforcement and the communities they serve. I have the vision and experience gained from a lifetime of service to get results for all of Anaheim.
- The homelessness crisis in Anaheim has dramatically increased since the last election; how has your experience at The Eli Home equipped you for dealing with this crisis?
As the founder and executive director of the Eli Home for Abused Children, a Presidential Citation-winning nonprofit that has provided housing, counseling, and support services to homeless victims of child abuse and domestic violence for over 34 years, I am uniquely positioned to address our homelessness crisis head on. My experience means I know how to leverage resources at every level – from the federal government to community and business leaders – to clean up our city and return our parks and riverbeds to residents.
In order to accomplish this, we must ensure services are available to accommodate those we will help get off the streets. Drawing on my three-plus decades of experience, I will bring business, government, and community leaders together to supply emergency beds that get our homeless off the streets and into shelters.
Our long-term goal should be to eradicate the root causes of homelessness in our community by addressing issues impacting the mentally ill and drug-addicted to the formerly incarcerated and the urban poor. I have decades of experience working directly with the populations most affected, and a proactive plan to get real results.
We will aggressively implement early childhood intervention programs, drug counseling and rehabilitation, and economic growth packages to confront the epidemic of homelessness in our neighborhoods.
Finally, I will work to increase the stock of affordable housing in Anaheim so hardworking families are not pushed into homelessness or forced to live in cramped and overcrowded apartments to make ends meet. I will work directly with developers to incentivize affordable housing developments and alongside city staff to streamline permitting for those projects, building on my successful track record of bringing nearly 3,000 affordable housing units to Anaheim.
- There are other candidates for Anaheim mayor who have pronounced fundraising leads over you; can you catch up?
I think voters are frustrated by this mindset that elections can be bought. Voters want a mayor who wins because they have the best vision for the future, not because they have the deepest pockets and corporate donors. That being said, I have only recently opened my campaign account and will be growing support and raising ample funds with those who believe we can do better for Anaheim.
What is important is that I am the right choice for mayor because I have the vision and expertise to get things done.
I served two successful terms on the city council and have the name recognition, experience, and policy priorities to make Anaheim proud.
I have been fighting in the trenches for the people of Anaheim for years, and my lifetime of service gives me unparalleled insight into the diverse needs of this city – from the east hills to the west end.
I have the knowledge and credibility to get results, and the pragmatism to reach across the aisle to build consensus. I am respected by leaders on both sides of the aisle and can collaborate to solve our many challenges. Voters want a new direction at city hall, and I am the only candidate with the concrete vision to bring change to our diverse community.
- What is your position on short-term rentals?
I respect the rights of residents to do what they want with their own property. However, when short-term rentals become nuisances to neighborhoods we must step up enforcement to prohibit these problems. We need policies that clearly define what will be allowed in our neighborhoods.
- What is your position on all of the staff turnover in city hall?
Staff needs a vision they can get behind. I can provide that long-term vision and certainty that gets people in the door, where they will remain excited to stay and be a part of the effort to improve our city. We need to hang a big sign on City Hall that says “Open for Business.” When we get government working for the people of Anaheim again, staff will want to be a part of solving problems.
- What should the city’s relationship with Disney be like?
Business’s role is to make money. It is government’s role to make sure every deal the city enters into benefits the people of Anaheim. As I did for eight years on the city council, as mayor I will evaluate every proposal that comes before me on a case-by-case basis to determine if it offers significant benefits to residents. What’s most important to me is that we create an economy that works for the residents of Anaheim.
- Outside of Disney, there seems to be very little economic growth in Anaheim; how would you handle this?
We need an economy that benefits everyone in our city. I will be a mayor for all of Anaheim, from the families in the hills to those in the west end. For far too long, many residents have been working multiple jobs just to make ends meet, with no hope of career advancement in sight. Every Anaheim resident should have the chance to get ahead, and that means making local investments in infrastructure, providing incentives for a living wage, job creation, and community redevelopment.
Over the past 25 years, the median home price in Orange County has increased by 57 percent while the average annual wage has increased only 18 percent. Our city is becoming unaffordable for the people who live here, and that must be addressed now.
I will work to decrease income and economic inequality in our city by connecting the working class to better training and technical education opportunities, advocating for a living wage and fair working conditions.
We must ensure economic success reaches beyond the resorts, and that our small businesses have opportunities to grow and succeed, including making it easier to open a business in our city and offering micro-loans to new startups that spark innovation and job creation.
We also need new development prospects in older neighborhoods like west Anaheim, where blight has overtaken formerly thriving streets and storefronts. I am working directly with developers to revitalize our neighborhoods with retail and other ventures without displacing long-term residents.
Combine this with incentives to attract new businesses with quality, high-paying jobs to Anaheim, and we will chart a new path for the city where no one is left behind.
- Will you or won’t you seek Mayor Tait’s endorsement for his job?
Mayor Tait has always fought for what he believes is best for the city. We will have to wait and see what happens in the race.
- Do you think Anaheim should have taken steps to be a sanctuary city before Trump was sworn in?
Regardless of what could have been done, California’s legislature has passed a law making California a sanctuary state that limits how much local law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration agencies. As mayor, I will work to implement this policy in Anaheim to the fullest extent of the law. And as a daughter of immigrants, I will always fight to protect our hard-working immigrant communities.
- You have a reputation for working across the aisle; how would you continue this with members of Tom Tait’s majority?
We have to build relationships based on mutual respect. I am running for mayor because I want to get things done. That means working in a bipartisan way to accomplish goals. I will take the time to understand my council colleagues, what they want to accomplish and work to build consensus that achieves results.