This community update from Councilwoman Kris Murray came over the transom yesterday:
Anaheim’s Public Safety Budget Initiative – Right on Track
Great news in Anaheim – city revenues are keeping pace and in some aspects exceeding budget projections. At a recent mid-year budget report, the city’s finance director updated the City Council on the status of the city’s budget across all departments. I am pleased to report that our public safety commitment is coming to fruition with significant hiring of police and fire. The “40-in-4” initiative I authored last year and passed unanimously by the Council is right on track. This program is focused on restoring the Anaheim Police Department to the 2008 level of 404 officers, up from today’s 360 officers and equal to the staffing levels existing before the economic downturn by adding 40 sworn officers over the next four budget years, all without increasing taxes.
During the presentation, Police Chief Raul Quezada said the department expects to add 55 officers, with many transferring from other departments, along with 20 new recruits entering law enforcement for the first time, bringing the current potential to 415 officers – which would exceed our goals in the “40-in-4 initiative.”
Anaheim/OC Hotel & Lodging Association Leading the Way
The Anaheim hotel and lodging community plays a fundamental role in the health and vitality of Anaheim’s economy. I recently spoke to a standing-room only crowd of key hospitality industry representatives in Orange County to give an update on the state of the city’s resort area – and its positive impacts on city revenues used to fund public safety, neighborhood improvements, parks and libraries.
On the horizon, Anaheim has a very real opportunity to successfully compete for the world-renown Comic-Con convention, which could be looking for a new home after San Diego’s convention center expansion efforts fell through. Anaheim, along with the cities of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, are being mentioned as possible alternatives.
Anaheim has begun the 7th expansion of our Convention Center, which will maintain its status as the largest convention center on the west coast, with more than 1 million square feet of usable space. The Convention Center is a vital component of the Anaheim resort area, which provides nearly 50 percent of the revenue to fund city services for all residents, creating thousands of jobs and keeping taxes low.
Orange County Black History Parade Returns to Anaheim
This past weekend, Anaheim hosted the 35th annual Orange County Black History parade. This community event included a parade and cultural faire along the downtown promenade celebrating African American heritage and Black History Month in February.
Supporting the parade and festivities this year were a host of legislative leaders, local officials, and celebrities in television and radio. The Orange County Black History Parade and Cultural Faire is organized by the Orange County Heritage Council .
Access California – Preserving Dignity and Enriching Lives
Anaheim’s leading organization supporting the city’s refugee and immigrant communities hosted its annual Access California Gala on February 7 at the Anaheim Hilton. The event honors the efforts of volunteers and supporters who work throughout the year providing access to healthcare and education, financial and family counseling, as well as youth engagement and other services for individuals and families who have come to the United States from countries around the world. The work that Access California does is vital to serving those who have come to our country from the most desperate circumstances.
Please include Access California in your annual giving. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are more than 52 million refugees around the world today – more than any time since the end of World War II. Thank you Access California for all you do to serve thousands of refugees in our community and across Orange County.