In his post live-blogging Wednesday night’s Anaheim Republican Assembly candidate forum, Chris Nguyen details the candidates’ answers to the two – count ’em, 2 – questions they were asked, notes the oddness of a GOP candidate forum in which Democrats outnumber Republicans, and pans the forum format as “one of the worst forum formats I’ve ever seen.”
We are live from the Anaheim Phoenix Club for the City Council Candidate Forum sponsored by the Anaheim Republican Assembly (the Anaheim unit of the California Republican Assembly).
Uniquely for a CRA forum, non-Republican candidates are participating. (Editor’s note: 11 candidates participated, 6 Democrats and 5 Republicans.)
I estimate the audience to be nearly 100 people.
The moderator is David Florez.
District 1 Opening Statements
- Denise Barnes (R) thanks the audience and says the districts mean Councilmembers are people’s neighbors. She says neighbors are struggling and children can’t visit their grandparents or go to parks while living in motels. She says the city is rich and has great resources but needs more fire and police. She states there are too many tax giveaways. She wants to fix parking, streets, and sidewalks. She says Anaheim Hills looks 100% better. She says a strong community can improve the city.
- Mark Richard Daniels (D) says he was born in Anaheim in 1958 when the city was a small time full of farmland. He says he has lived in Anaheim his entire life. He states he will represent the people’s interests rather than special interests. He pledges to hold meetings across District 1. He says he does not have the donors, PACs, and interest groups behind other candidates and asks the audience for contributions. He pledges to work for the whole city.
- Freddy Fitzgerald Carvajal (D) says he grew up in the district, attending local schools. He says his family still lives in District 1. He says District 1’s schools, parks, and streets have been neglected for years. He says all the candidates are wonderful people who bring something special to Anaheim. He notes his degree in public administration. He points to his work with the German “Congress.” He says there are no homeless people in Germany, streets are perfect, and pools are plentiful. He wants to bring the German experience to Anaheim.
- Orlando Perez (R) says he has lived in West Anaheim for 30 years after being born and raised in Bell. He says he is not corrupt. He is the son of Cuban immigrants. He moved to Anaheim after 21 years in Bell. His top priorities are public safety, the economy, and homelessness. He wants to improve police and fire after the 2008 economic crisis. He recalls his childhood in Bell. He wants to work with business. He wants to solve homelessness. (He’s not very specific.)
- Angel VanStark (D) is 24 years old. He was homeless when he was 19. A homeless man confronted him saying there are lots of opportunities for youth then died that night. VanStark has worked in government because of his belief in public service. He worked for a city with 88,000 constituents. He pledges to make Anaheim as successful as possible.
District 3 Opening Statements
- Jose Moreno (D) opens by attacking Anaheim Blog for caricaturing him as a Communist. Moreno discusses being a plaintiff in the lawsuit that brought districts to Anaheim. He says there were previously districts anyway: the Resort District and the rest of the city. He states there is a Corporate Party and the People’s Party. He pledges to invest in the children of Anaheim rather than the children of tourists. He states there is no strategic plan for handling affordable housing for the staff of the three newly approved hotels.
- Robert Nelson (R) says districts bring Councilmembers who understand neighborhood issues. He says he is on the City Public Safety Board and the Anaheim Union High School District Bond Oversight Committee. He cites his work with veterans and his efforts helping Anaheim Police. He wants to focus on public safety, parks, streets, and myriad other things he said too quickly to catch. He says he will not cater to Disney.
District 4 Opening Statements
- Arturo Ferreras (D) speaks of his various community leadership roles. He states he would bring the community together. Over 5 years, he brought homeowners and apartment dwellers together.
- Robert Williams (D) says everyone else is part of the establishment except him. He has lived on Anaheim for 13 years after living in Fresno. He says he has seen Anaheim at its best and its worst. He wants everyone to work together for the best interests for Anaheim. He wants to bring jobs, businesses, and education back to Anaheim. He says he has no agenda or long term goals. He just wants to serve the people of all six districts. He says electing the establishment would simply repeat existing problems. He calls for new blood and new energy.
District 5 Opening Statements
- Sandra Angel (R) says she is a regular person who wants to fight Disney and ARTIC. She does not want to sell the city to Disney or Chinese investors.
- Mark Lopez (R) welcomes the audience to District 5 and thanks the organizers and attendees. He says he has been involved in the community and has spoken to residents. He says there is a growing disparity. He says there is a focus on corporations and luring jobs. He says there is a better path for economic growth. He says he wants to work on traffic, transportation, and civic upkeep. He speaks of slurry sealing and improving State College Blvd. He says Anaheim’s General Fund is barely larger than Santa Ana’s but points out Anaheim has the Angels, Ducks, Convention Center, Disneyland, and California Adventure. He says there should be greater resources, like restrooms in parks.
The moderator asks about the Anaheim street car and tax incentives.
- District 1 Candidate Denise Barnes rambles before saying it is a waste of money.
- District 1 Candidate Freddy Fitzgerald Carvajal blasts it as a waste of money and points to various other community programs it could be spent on.
- District 1 Candidate Angel VanStark pledges to be more critical and fiscally responsible to help Anaheim residents, not tourists. He wants to prioritize children and society’s most vulnerable.
The moderator asks about short term rentals (e.g. Airbnb).
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