It’s been nearly a year since “The People’s Council” was sworn in for the City of Anaheim, and the only real accomplishments it has achieved are terminations and resignations of the top brass at City Hall.
The City Attorney – fired. The City Manager – resigned. The Police Chief – resigned. The Assistant City Manager – Resigned.
From 1988 to 2012, Anaheim had three city managers. They’ve gone through that many in just five years under the Tom Tait regime. And while Tait makes the argument that Bob Wingeroth and Marcie Edwards resigned for other positions, what he won’t say is that his management style was primarily responsible for pushing them out the door.
Add to staff departures Jonathan Borego Deputy Planning Director and Sergio Ramirez Deputy Director Economic Development. Both of whom live in Anaheim and left given conditions at City Hall. To the outside observer, attempts at transparency were limited to going after council staff and businesses in town who didn’t support their campaigns.
In many ways, Tait’s management of those who run city hall mirrors that of President Trump. Positions remain unfilled at Anaheim City Hall or are occupied with those who have “interim” in their titles. The Trump administration is nearly a quarter of the way through his term with hundreds of unfilled positions that require Senate approval.
Anaheim City Hall under Tait isn’t far behind. So much for the notion of running government like a business. It makes one wonder what the turnover rate is at Tait’s family business.
The city has paid out nearly $2.5 million to departing managers who leave with institutional knowledge that can only be gained through experience. Experience matters and Anaheim’s new majority is chasing away this experience.
There was the Task Force on making Anaheim a “Welcoming City” for everyone which pretty much offered recommendations either already in place – but it did avoid the “Sanctuary City” Label that Tait did not desire.
There’s the Homeless Task force that’s accomplished very little while the homeless population in Anaheim continues to soar and the Santa Ana River Trail is effectively Orange County’s “Skid Row.” The Anaheim City Council will consider recommendations developed by Councilman Jose Moreno’s Homeless Policy Working Group at Tuesday’s meeting. Some of the recommendations, which took nearly a year to develop, include installing portable bathrooms and showers for homeless camp residents; the construction or creation of year-round emergency shelters; and, other forms of housing for the homeless on city-owned land. This also includes possible new taxes and fees to pay for this while the Republicans who run the Orange County Board of Supervisors sit on millions of dollars in federal aid that Anaheim could be using. Moreno has correctly identified surging housing costs and high rents as a culprit for increases in homelessness, but short of the city running a apartment complex for the homeless, I doubt he has the votes necessary to do very much.
The Short Term Rental issue remains a hot button as is Police oversight, which the council will take up at its next meeting (and still falls short of what advocates want). The City still has not acted on council member Denise Barnes’ votes while under a cloud of conflict of interest.
Anaheim made zero effort to attract Amazon’s second North American headquarters to the city – and one could argue it’s because the company giant might find housing costs in OC to be prohibitive while others will argue that no one in city leadership had the vision to think to make a play for a new kind of economic engine.
Job growth in the city is anemic, unless you’re an aide for Mayor Tait and got a huge raise.
Other than getting elected, this council majority has accomplished very little except settling scores.
It makes one wonder what they won’t accomplish in 2018.