ANAHEIM, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2016) -- Anaheim is poised for a strong 2016 and beyond, Mayor Tom Tait shared today at the annual State of the City event held at City National Grove of Anaheim.
More than 800 attendees joined Anaheim City Council members, community and business leaders as Tait presented a positive picture of Anaheim as the center of southern California, with an eye toward new and expanded community programs. Tait highlighted the historic electoral districting process, creating a drug free Anaheim, Unite4Good and his City of Kindness initiative, among other topics. The speech can be read in its entirety by clicking here. In November, and for the first time in Anaheim history, residents will vote on Council candidates according to districts.
"I applaud all involved in bringing us to this historic day," Tait said. "We're bringing Anaheim's citizens closer to their city government in a big way. City Hall will now be more responsive than ever before to the people we serve. I can't wait to see what we will accomplish together.
The districting map defines six district areas. Residents will vote for their Council representative based on the district in which they live, with the mayor continued to be elected at-large.
"Each of these districts is unique," Tait said. "From this day forward, their local issues and concerns will have a stronger voice in City Hall. That's good news for all of us."
Tait introduced an innovative program called Drug Free Anaheim. Formed in partnership with Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada, Tait presented a future where those needing help will get it.
"From now on, drug addicts will be encouraged to come in and ask for help," Tait said. "Our officers will be trained and prepared to receive anyone who walks in and will get them the help they need. I truly believe Drug Free Anaheim will reduce crime while fighting this terrible epidemic."
Tait also introduced a second program,Unite4Good, aimed at supporting the volunteer efforts of local high school students through an online community.
Unite4Good builds upon the City of Kindness initiative, according to Tait.
"The kids of the Anaheim City School District committed to deliver one million acts of kindness," he said. "And last year, they did it. Our High School students are now committing to year-round activities. They're some of the first to take part in a national online volunteer program, Unite4Good. I believe we'll be seeing millions more acts of kindness from our school children before I leave office."
Throughout his speech, kindness was a common theme, weaving through policy decisions and city culture.
"I've always believed the real source of improving city life is the people." Tait said. "It's our people who actually build thriving neighborhoods, create a strong economy, lift the poor out of poverty and teach our children."
To close out the State of the City, singers and musicians from the Chance Theater sang the classic song, "Show a Little Kindness," and were joined by eight children from the Chance Theater youth program. Each child wore a T-shirt with a letter, and together they spelled out the word K-I-N-D-N-E-S-S. It was a fitting tribute to the sold-out event.
Net proceeds from today's State of the City address totaled more than $80,000, all of which will serve Anaheim youth through Accelerate Change Together for Anaheim, or ACT Anaheim. In 2014, ACT Anaheim was formed when Tait called upon community leaders Angels Baseball, Anaheim Ducks and Disneyland Resort and encouraged them to seek ways to engage youth and parents in programs that strengthen families and communities.
Since its formation and an initial commitment of $3 million, ACT Anaheim has garnered support beyond its founding supporters. In 2015, $1.8 million was invested back into the community, providing opportunities for Anaheim's youth.