Election 2018: Anaheim Mayor Candidates Share Their Priorities And Thoughts On Local Issues
By: Staff Report, Orange County Register
Date: October 24, 2018
“Voters will go to the polls Nov. 6 to pick who will represent them on the City Council and as mayor.
Ahead of the election, all candidates were invited to share information about themselves and answer questions about their priorities and local concerns for this voter guide. In each city, all were asked the same questions and given the same word count for their answers. The newspaper reached out to contacts provided to the city clerks and Orange County Registrar of Voters. Responses were not received from a few of the candidates, as is noted in the guide.
In Anaheim, eight are vying for the mayor seat on the City Council.
Harry Sidhu, 61, Anaheim business owner
Question 1: What are your top two priorities if elected?
Harry Sidhu: We need to bring jobs back to Anaheim and protect the safety of our neighborhoods. Anaheim should attract jobs and small businesses while ensuring that when a business benefits from our city, every Anaheim neighborhood gets the benefits it deserves. To protect the safety of our neighborhoods, I’ll fight to ensure police and fire have the necessary resources to keep Anaheim safe, and we’ll develop a strong, but compassionate, solution to the growing homeless problem.
Question 2: How can the relationship between Anaheim and its largest employer, Disney, be improved, and should any kind of tax incentives to encourage development be an option?
Harry Sidhu: I applaud the recent “reset” decision reached by both Disney and Anaheim. Disney and the city both agreed to end the tax incentive program for Disney’s proposed hotel. Ending this program has removed one of the major sources, if not the biggest source, of contention between the city and Disney. We need to be able to work together as partners in order to provide the benefits that all Anaheim neighborhoods and families deserve.
Question 3: Should the city be looking for new revenue sources to address residents’ needs and increasing costs, and if so, what are your ideas? If not, where do you think the budget could be cut to avoid a deficit?
Harry Sidhu: I think the city certainly should be looking for ways to bring in new revenue to address rising costs and the needs of Anaheim residents, but the city should not raise taxes. Instead, we should adopt policies to attract jobs and small businesses to our city. Those businesses will contribute additional city revenues without raising taxes. We should conduct an audit of city agencies to identify cost-saving measures to reduce waste and increase efficiency.
Question 4: Communities across the state are grappling with rising pension and other post-employment benefit costs. What do you think needs to be done to deal with this problem?
Harry Sidhu: Anaheim is facing hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded pension liabilities. As a businessman, I could not run, and would not run, my business like that. I will work with the City Council to focus on solutions to protect taxpayers by reducing these unfunded liabilities. We must increase city revenues by focusing on creating and maintaining jobs by helping small businesses survive and grow in order to contribute additional city revenues without raising taxes.
Questions 5: On the ballot this November, voters will be asked to decide on whether to repeal the recently enacted increase to the state gas tax. What is your position on the gas tax?
Harry Sidhu: The gas tax increase should be repealed. People pay enough already. California has the second highest gas tax in the country. The gas tax is regressive, hitting working families harder than middle and upper income people. For too long, the legislature has balanced the state budget by raiding transportation funds to pay for other expenses; they need to stop diverting those funds away from transportation. I strongly support Prop. 6 to repeal the gas tax.
Question 6: The high cost of housing in California has spurred increased interest in rent control. On the ballot this November is Proposition 10, which would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act. What are your thoughts on rent control?
Harry Sidhu: Rent control actually worsens the problem that it is trying to solve. It has been shown repeatedly that in areas where rent control is imposed, landlords stop doing upgrades and stop adding amenities. Some landlords even convert apartments into condos, leaving renters without homes. Prop. 10 even permits rent control to be imposed on people renting out a room in their own home.
Question 7: Prop. 64 authorized the legalization of marijuana, while granting local jurisdictions the authority to approve or deny certain marijuana-related businesses. What are your thoughts on marijuana legalization to date and what do you think of your own community’s policies on marijuana?
Harry Sidhu: In 2007, I voted to ban marijuana dispensaries in Anaheim. Currently, Anaheim only allows marijuana to be grown in people’s homes and backyards. Anaheim does not permit front yard or commercial cultivation or sale. However, I understand the city has changed in the past 11 years, so I would support putting a ballot measure before the voters of Anaheim to let the people decide whether or not Anaheim should allow marijuana-related businesses.
Question 8: Senate Bill 54 limits the role of state and local law enforcement in enforcing federal immigration laws. The law has drawn legal challenges from some localities which want the flexibility to work with the federal government. What do you think of SB54?
Harry Sidhu: I believe that SB 54 infringes on the important ability of local police to work with the federal government. When a person has already been arrested for other crimes, the police should be able to cooperate with the federal government in dealing with that person. I’m an immigrant myself, and I’ve followed the law all my life. Law-abiding immigrants have nothing to fear. SB 54 only protects criminals who give other immigrants a bad name….”