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.