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|Mayor’s State Of The City Focuses On Freedom And Kindness |
Tait says pension relief is key to City’s future fiscal health
ANAHEIM, CA - (January 31, 2012) - In today's State of the City address, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait focused on three topics: the City's fiscal outlook, economic freedom and creating a culture of kindness. Presented before an audience of more than 800 attendees, the mayor outlined his vision for a city that is resilient, fiscally healthy and tightly connected.
"Imagine an Anaheim that is truly connected," said Tait. "Where neighbors know neighbors, where people work together to keep their neighborhoods safe, where there are no lonely senior citizens, where there many watchful parent eyes on neighborhood children—keeping them not only out of harm's way but keeping them on the straight and narrow."
As part of his effort to create stronger, more connected neighborhoods, the mayor announced that the City will be partnering with NextDoor, a free, private social network which allows residents to connect with their neighbors. Describing it as a "Facebook for neighborhoods," the mayor said he believed that "when people connect, good things happen."
Despite having to steer the City through a major budget reduction in his first year in office, the mayor said Anaheim is in good shape: "What is the state of our City? In a nutshell, Anaheim is strong, it's healthy, and it's happening."
Early in his remarks, Tait introduced his fellow city council members and applauded the teamwork of the council. His speech also highlighted accomplishments from the previous year and applauded City staff for their hard work and dedication to serving the community.
Tait spent some time walking his audience through a top-line explanation of the impact public pension obligations are having on the long-term fiscal health of the City.
"As pension costs continue to go up—and I believe that they will—this problem will only get worse," Tait said. "Pension costs for the last 10 years have gone up five-fold so that they account for 28% of individual salaries. And if we do nothing, they will continue to rise."
He called for action, saying, "Our economic future as a state will certainly be determined by how seriously the legislature, the voters and employee groups take these issues."
The mayor wrapped up his speech with a video tour of the City which showed residents helping each other in various ways and showcased local Anaheim talent singing and playing the song, "Lean On Me."
Below are highlights and excerpts from his 2012 State of the City speech. The State of the City luncheon, which was hosted by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, was held at the City National Grove of Anaheim. The speech and the video can be viewed on the city's website, www.anaheim.net.
The Anaheim Enterprise Zone
Budget and Pensions
ANAHEIM AND THE NBA
ANAHEIM'S CULTURE OF KINDNESS AND RESILIENCY
"There is no doubt that our economic problems are affecting families in a very real way. A government doesn't know when a particular family is in need. But the people in our lives generally do—whether it is one of our neighbors, another parent at our kid's school or a friend from church. And when people are in need, friends and neighbors can step up with small or large acts of kindness. Anaheim has a rich tradition of this, but we need to improve—now more than ever."
Mayor Tait's Hi Neighbor program continues to be a strong emphasis on neighbors connecting with neighbors for three core purposes: neighborhood watch, emergency preparedness and community building.
"In fact, studies have shown that knowing and caring for your neighbors drastically improves a person's quality of life. Having a connection with your neighbors has been proven to reduce crime, improve safety, reduce loneliness, save lives—I could go on and on."
The mayor's Hi Neighbor initiative caught the attention of a federal program last year, and as a result Anaheim was selected as one of seven pilot communities across the country chosen to study improved homeland security through community resiliency. The Community and Regional Resiliency Institute (CARRI) is a program funded by the federal government.
In support of the Hi Neighbor program, Tait today announced the launch of the City's partnership with NextDoor, a free, private social media network which will allow residents to connect with their neighbors. NextDoor Anaheim will provide a tool by which neighbors can organize a neighborhood party, sell a bicycle their child has outgrown, or alert neighbors to critical information.
"I cannot overstate the need to improve our social infrastructure. It is what a mayor should be talking about. It is what a city should be doing. When people are connected, a city is resilient. And resiliency is built by people through acts of kindness," said Mayor Tait.
Media Contact: Ruth Ruiz 714.765.5060more city news
ABOUT ANAHEIM – The City of Anaheim, founded in 1857, is one of the nation's premier municipalities and is one of California's most populous cities. Anaheim covers 50 square miles with more than 343,000 residents and more than 2,950 City employees. The municipal corporation's annual budget is $1.5 billion. Anaheim supports a thriving business community with companies such as Carl Karcher Enterprises, Inc., L-3 Communications, Pacific Sunwear, and Disneyland Resort. Successful sports franchises call Anaheim home, including Angels Baseball, Anaheim Ducks, the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team, the 2012 Olympic Games Silver Medal winning U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team, and the Professional Arena Soccer League Anaheim Bolts. Anaheim also boasts world-class meeting and entertainment venues with the Anaheim Convention Center, LEED-certified and the largest on the west coast, Honda Center, City National Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim GardenWalk, and Angel Stadium of Anaheim. In addition, Anaheim embraces its vibrant cultural arts community, including the world-renowned Anaheim Ballet. Annually, Anaheim welcomes millions of visitors to the city, truly making it where the world comes to live, work and play. For more information, please visit www.anaheim.net.
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