Longtime Community Volunteer Wants to be Anaheim’s Next Mayor

John Machiaverna, a candidate for mayor, standing in front of the Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim.

John Machiaverna has lived and volunteered in Anaheim since he was a child — and now he says, it’s time for him to run for mayor.

“I’ve lived in the flatlands my whole life.  There’s nobody that knows the neighborhoods like I do,” said Machiaverna, who now lives in the city’s fourth district, a south-central portion of the city home to Disneyland and the Anaheim Resort.

Machiaverna, 59, moved to Anaheim when he was four and attended local schools. In addition to owning a jewelry shop in Anaheim, he is the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim. He served on the city’s Community Services Board for ten years and on the Public Utilities Board for eight years.

He is one of four candidates who want to be Anaheim’s next mayor. Other candidates include former councilman Harry Sidhu, attorney Ashleigh Aitken, and former district four council candidate and emergency medical services professional Robert Williams.

Machiaverna is a registered Republican, but describes himself as a centrist.

Homelessness

Machiaverna says homelessness would be his top campaign issue.

He knows the issue in part through the Boys and Girls Club, which each morning picks up homeless children living in motels and shelters, and takes them to school.

“The need is really great,” Machiaverna said. “Sometimes the parents have mental issues, addiction issues, some just have bad luck and aren’t able to find a job to get them into a traditional housing situation.”

He said the Boys and Girls Club often acts as a family resource center, with services like food distribution, a wellness clinic and counseling for needy families.

“We’ve become a heavily tourist-driven economy, which unfortunately does not account for higher paying jobs,” Machiaverna said. “It’s all service industry jobs, which has really hurt our neighborhoods, our abilities for our families to earn an income, to live in one of the most expensive places in the country.”

Machiaverna says he supports Councilwoman Kris Murray’s recent initiative – dubbed “Operation Home SAFE,” which calls on the city to increase services to the homeless before eventually clearing out a large encampment at the Santa Ana River bed.

He is against repealing the city’s anti-camping ordinance, which allows police to cite people for prolonged camping in public spaces, and, he said, preserves the original use of the parks for the public.

“You cannot have the bathrooms open 24 hours a day,” Machiaverna added, responding to a request by some activists to leave city park bathrooms open overnight so that homeless people can have access to them.

Machiaverna said the public bathroom at Manzanita Park, which is shared with the Boys and Girls Club, has at times attracted illicit drug users. Boys and Girls Club staff now monitor the bathrooms to make sure they are empty before children are allowed to use it, he said.

Homeless people should have access to some facilities, but those facilities need to be monitored, he said.

“You cannot just put bathrooms out there unless there’s somebody that’s going to make sure they are cleaned a couple times a day,” he said.

Community Programs

Machiaverna proposes targeting community problems by allocating money generated by the Anaheim Resort District from the general fund to each council district for neighborhood improvements. He said part of the problem is federal community development block grant money, which is allocated by the city to various groups and nonprofits, has “really evaporated over the last decade.”

The Resort is an economic district consisting of Disneyland, the Anaheim Convention Center and surrounding hotels and entertainment venues.

“I envision that we need to take a percentage of the profits from the [Anaheim] Resort to backfill the money lost from CDBG money,” Machiaverna said.

Machiaverna said he understands the frustrations of those who argue that the Anaheim Resort district has benefited disproportionately from city subsidies and support to the detriment of development in neighborhoods. But he doesn’t necessarily subscribe to that belief.

“We would be Stanton without the Resort District – you wouldn’t have the convention center, you may not have the Angels or the Honda Center,” he said. “So we have a lot of gratitude.”

“Have they been shown unfair favoritism? I’m not sure,” Machiaverna said.

In the last election, several current council members ran against city subsidies for developers of luxury hotels.

Machiaverna didn’t give a straight answer on whether the luxury hotel subsidies were a good or bad idea, but said after the dissolution of redevelopment agencies by the state, “government has to do public private partnerships, but it has to be beneficial for both sides.”

“I think they could have been structured differently. My platform is to look forward,” he said. “You cannot keep complaining and worrying about the decisions that were made behind you.”

He also wants to see more development in West Anaheim.

“The west end has been crying for some kind of revenue stream. You have to have revenue other than the Resort,” Machiaverna said.

City Hall

Machiaverna also named “instability in city hall” as one of his top campaign issues, noting that the city currently has both an interim city manager and interim city attorney.

While the city is conducting a search for a permanent city attorney, the city council has not made any decisions since accepting the resignation of the last city manager, Paul Emery, and appointing City Clerk Linda Andal to the interim position.

“We’ve gone through quite a few of them in the last six or seven, eight years,” Machiaverna said. “The policy makers of the city, it’s their job to make sure the people who work for you are the right people….[and] to make sure those people feel secure and safe in their jobs.”

“Right now the people working at city hall are not happy. We’ve lost a lot of good employees and I know some others are looking,” he added.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • astar2b

    What about Kris Murray ? ? ?

    • Cynthia Ward

      astar2b please don’t even JOKE, the universe may hear you and take that as a request.

      A) Murray is termed out. Anaheim City Charter allows 2 terms for 8 years total (consecutive) regardless of office. She can wait and run in 2022 when the 2018 Mayor comes up for re-election. God help us.

      B) It is widely believed Murray is lying in wait for Todd Spitzer’s office, should he prevail in his bid for the DA’s race. This offers explanation for her constant sucking up to Orange residents and school leaders. God help us.

      C) Mass exodus of residents if we were ever subject to Anaheim Mayor Kris Murray on letterhead or a door plate. God help us.

      D) God help us.

      • astar2b

        LOL

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  • LFOldTimer

    If I lived in Anaheim this is the guy I would vote for. Life-long Anaheim resident, long time Anaheim volunteer, successful business owner, doesn’t live in a gated-community, mature, not a career politician, not a slick attorney, served on 2 Anaheim boards for 8 and 10 years, a meat and potatoes guy who would represent the ordinary resident.

    Thanks for running and giving the people another option, Mr. Machiaverna.

    • RyanCantor

      If Mr. Machiaverna isn’t willing to stand up and loudly proclaim that his neighbors are getting screwed by the resort, particularly looking at the last five years, he doesn’t deserve to be in office.

      Anaheim needs a mayor who will actually represent the ordinary resident. Looking the part is not the same as walking it.

      • LFOldTimer

        He said he would take more resort monies and spread them out into the community. Did you read that?

        Do you think super-wealthy Aitken or Sidhu would be more in touch with the average Anaheim resident? lol.

        • RyanCantor

          That’s not actually what he said (or what was written, rather.) That statement was specific to surplus general fund revenues and has very little to do with any kind of actual reallocation or change. But, we’re not here to argue semantics.

          I don’t see a loud expression that the attitudes of the last five years must stop. I’d very much like to see that from any candidate, frankly.

          I’m less interested in being “in touch” and more interested in a candidate’s ability to stand up to an entrenched and wealthy political machine. If Sidhu or Aitken can do that from their nice houses up on the hill, I’m just fine with it.

          • LFOldTimer

            Are you even aware of what Aitken and Sidhu represent?

            If you truly believe that either one would stand up to the “entrenched and wealthy political machine” I have ocean-side property in Arizona for sale! lol.

          • RyanCantor

            Yes, yes, and let’s say I’m being wildly optimistic rather than despondent concerning the current slate.

          • Cynthia Ward

            Ryan I will go ahead and be despondent about the current slate for both of us.

          • RyanCantor

            . . . that’s not what I wanted to hear. Oye.

        • justanon

          Yet YOU voted for trump, a billionaire, thinking he would stand up for average Americans.
          Hmmm, what’s the difference … what could it be … ???
          Oh yeah, one’s a racist, misogynistic, old white guy and the others are …. not.

          • LFOldTimer

            And in his short time in office Trump has proven to be more in touch with the needs of the common citizen than his all his predecessors going back to the Reagan era.

            “Oh yeah, one’s a racist, misogynistic, old white guy and the others are …. not.”

            Another racist comment from potty mouth.

          • justanon

            Yeah, he sure has, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!!

            He’s running up the government tab on his vacation’s and golfing, his department heads are all charging the government for their exclusive private jets, he’s charging the Secret Service up the whazoo for staying at his properties and have YOU SEEN his tax proposals???

            You’re a complete chump, lol!

          • LFOldTimer

            Trump is working for free! He’s not even taking a salary. Did Obama forfeit his salary?

            So Trump becomes President and according to you he’s not allowed to engage in recreational activities?

            Obama played 333 rounds of golf as POTUS!!!! LOL!

            His wife, Mooshell, spent multi-millions of US tax dollars taking vacations to exotic lands!!! LOL!

            There are big tax cuts for middle-class Americans in Trump’s proposal. Another example of you not having a clue.

            Now open wide and stick your foot down your throat again!

          • justanon

            “Trump is working for free!” ha, ha, ha!

            Hey DOPE, he’s “donating” his salary to charity, which means he’s going to DEDUCT it from his taxes which means WE get to pay for HIS “charitable deductions”! In other words, WE pay his salary AND pay for HIS TAX DEDUCTION!
            Just how DUMB are you people?????

            Trump has played MORE GOLF in his first few months in office and has COST MORE for his travel and golf than OBAMA spent in eight years …. it’s called math, moron.

            And I wouldn’t bring up Michelle Obama when trump’s GOLD DIGGING WH*RE cost us millions because her and that spawn of her’s were too good to move into the White House!

            You are either too poor and on GOVERNMENT ENTITLEMENTS or just too stupid, but there are BIG TAX HIKES for the poor and middle class in trump’s tax cut plan.

            HOW CAN YOU DEFEND THE ELIMINATION OF THE ESTATE TAX,IT IS A HUGE GIVE AWAY TO THE WEALTHY??????

          • LFOldTimer

            “Trump has played MORE GOLF in his first few months in office and has
            COST MORE for his travel and golf than OBAMA spent in eight years ….
            it’s called math, moron.”

            Total BS.

            “And I wouldn’t bring up Michelle Obama when trump’s GOLD DIGGING WH*RE
            cost us millions because her and that spawn of her’s were too good to
            move into the White House!”

            Judicial Watch uncovered an expensive combination of trips by the Obamas to Africa and Honolulu, which cost taxpayers $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses alone.

            Nearly $16 mil on flight expenses on just 2 Obama vacations! lol. For his 8 years in office it was likely well over $100 mil.

            Queen Mooshell spent our money like a drunk Russian sailor on shore leave.

            Big tax hikes on the poor? LOL! The poor pay NOTHING in taxes except for sales taxes! And those on food stamps don’t even pay that!

            You’ve got your head stuffed up where the sun don’t shine! lol.

          • justanon

            Sorry, DATA proves you wrong!!!!

            Trump has been spending an average of 10 million a month, Obama’s travel cost us 97 million for EIGHT YEARS.

            So, for you math-challenged trump supporters that’s 120 million a year vs less than 10 million a year.

            https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/5zuono/presidential_travel_costs_obama_vs_trump_oc/

            “Trump and his family, in their security and travel demands, have already rung up as much in accounts payable by taxpayers as the Obama and Biden families did in eight years, a figure elsewhere calculated, by the Washington DC-based Judicial Watch, as topping $97m.

            How is it possible? The complicated receipt involves weekend trips by Trump to Mar-a-Lago, his resort in Palm Beach, Florida; travel by his children and their government security details on Trump family business; and costs associated with protecting Trump’s Manhattan home, the high-rise Trump Tower building, where Trump’s wife and youngest child live but where the real estate mogul himself has not set foot since becoming president.”

            https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/04/donald-trump-travel-costs-mar-a-lago-taxpayers

            But hey, Barrack and Michelle were BLACK and we all know that’s what you RACISTS really took offense too.

        • Cynthia Ward

          The question here, LFOT, is WHAT “resort revenues” do you/J Mac/anyone running so far propose we spread out into the community? One has to identify INCREASED funding because it is not as if we have funds we are not already using, just waiting for someone to move them over to the neighborhoods. Other than the baseline set in 1995, (plus a minimal annual index increase) the tax base collected on Disney property is already spoken for until 2037, ALL of it, no matter how much more they generate from Star Wars land etc. we will not be better off (from Disney taxes) than we were under Clinton. The return on investment was supposed to come from more hotels OFF Disney property, but that revenue now gets siphoned back to the hoteliers, thanks to the decisions of the past that nobody wants to talk about. So where would you propose the additional revenue will come from?

          Anaheim continues to fund the mitigation of negative impacts resulting from our “economic engine” running on the human fuel of a low-wage workforce, and J Mac knows those impacts himself as he works tirelessly to care for kids whose parents are working 2 and 3 jobs trying to cobble together a decent living for their kids. But I have to disagree with the rest of his positions, we DO need to look back at the mistakes of the past, so we fully understand the impacts of those past decisions and figure out how to plan around those massive mistakes, which could very well push what should be a thriving community into disaster. While I agree that simply finger-pointing and assigning blame is not productive, neither is sticking our heads in the sand because we don’t want to upset anyone who funds the non-profit we live and breathe for. We need to have this discussion so we can identify our next steps.

          Every time we expand the tourism industry through even more subsidy, we also expand the low-wage workforce, and taxpayers are stuck covering the gap between the needs of that workforce vs what comes home in a paycheck. Virtually every quality of life issue we see arrive on the steps of City Hall points right back to the impacts of the tourism economy. The never-ending yard sale, the cars-for-sale-by-owner lining the major arterials, the parking impacts and crowding of schools and housing as families double up in space meant for one family, it all points to good people desperately trying to make ends meet any way they can–including running the Boys and Girls Club to help the kids trapped in what would be a hopeless situation without good men like J Mac working in the non-profit sector….but we need leadership that understands our City’s revenue streams too.

          That is a long way of saying Anaheim’s General Fund will keep working in reverse to fund mitigation while we fail to see increased revenue to cover the costs, much less get ahead to put additional revenue into the neighborhoods. Unless a leader can specifically identify a SOURCE for revenue that will actually INCREASE and is not already spoken for, their promise to use revenue to improve neighborhoods is an empty promise, and indicates a lack of understanding of our City’s finances. I keep waiting for someone to have a clue about the obstacles to prosperity that Anaheim is dealing with, because they are caused at City Hall by the very people elected with special interest money, and all I see is more leadership offered by more of the same people counting on more of the same special interest money. Anaheim is becoming the physical embodiment of the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over….

          • LFOldTimer

            You are light years ahead of me when it comes to knowledge of Anaheim’s finances. I don’t live there so I have no desire to go that deep.

            My comment pertained to the candidate choices so far. There’s no perfect candidate so far. Not even close. But based on what I’ve read so far Machiaverna seems to be the preferable candidate based on personal history and activism in the community.

            I reserve the right to change my mind as the facts change – but if the vote were tomorrow and I had a vote in the City Anaheim Machiaverna would be my choice.

          • Cynthia Ward

            OK yes agreed. But thankfully the election is not tomorrow, it is over a year from now, and hope springs eternal.

    • justanon

      “not a career politician”

      Ha, ha, ha, what a total effing HYPOCRITE you are (although that’s no surprise), here you’ve been dinging Ashley Aitken because she has no “elected office” experience and is not “entitled” to run for mayor :

      “What makes her think she’s entitled to jump straight to being Mayor of a large city w/ no experience in managing municipal governments? Her name?”
      LFOldTimer

      This guy has no elected experience and yet you’re ready to endorse him. Hmmm, I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that he’s an old white dude with an R behind his name rather than a woman who’s a Democrat.

      Your hypocrisy and ridiculousness are endlessly amusing. What a jerk you are.

      • LFOldTimer

        Lack of political experience was not the only reason I would oppose Aitken for Mayor of Anaheim. If not for her last name do you think she would even be in the running for that office? lol. The same difference of Hillary riding on Bill’s coattails.

        Mr. Machiaverna doesn’t belong to a rich dynasty. He made his own name through hard work in the City of Anaheim where is a life-long resident. And considering the competition in the race so far he would be the best choice.

        If you think Aitken would represent the common man and woman in Anaheim you are about as foolish as they come! lol.

        • justanon

          “Lack of political experience”

          It was from the very moment her name was circulated, YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE, who’s been caught with his pants down. YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Smeagel4T

    Interesting answers. Would have loved to have seen him give the answers in person. These are the types of answers that require hearing the style of delivery, reading facing expression, and body language to know if they’re honestly contemplative, or politically carefully crafted.

    Looking forward and not arguing over the past is the more productive approach, but his seemingly too-quick dismissal of the past is not good. A quick dismissal has more the feeling of the usual political game of walking a tightrope trying to not offend anyone.

    “I think [the resort subsidies] could have been structured differently” is walking that tightrope unless he actually presents “structured differently” concepts. Too many people love to say “I could have painted the Mona Lisa”, just believe me. On the other hand, if he actually does have concepts, they might be constructive. Please present them.

  • RyanCantor

    “Have they been shown unfair favoritism? I’m not sure,” Machiaverna said

    #FAIL

    • LFOldTimer

      Still a cut above Sidhu or Aitken.

    • David Zenger

      Of course they have. However, Machiaverna – like the rest of us – may be excused for not knowing the extent of Disneyland’s windfall. What is needed is a complete and independent accounting of all the deals done since the 90’s and an honest presentation to the citizenry instead of political grandstanding and propaganda. I was hoping that would occur after the 2016 election and have been completely disappointed.

      • Cynthia Ward

        DZ, you are right, too many Anaheim residents are running on the informational auto-pilot of “The Resort generates half our revenues” and “honest Mom we were at the movies.”

        • Cynthia Ward

          DZ, yes, we DO need a complete AUDITED review of benefits vs impacts related to the Resort, including the unseen, but experienced, impacts of a low wage labor industry as the leading employer. Would that not be refreshing? I would love to have some kind of local version of the LAO, that reviews items for their true cost before they go to Council for approval, but we would have to find a way to prevent the schlock-house reviews that say, sure, giving away 70% of the tax base is a great idea. Good luck, right?

          We did get something close to that accounting, ALMOST covering the issues, in July 2015, as Mayor Tait had been asking staff for MONTHS for info on the impacts of long-term debt from the Resort, and of course staff produced that workshop the meeting AFTER the Council approved the gate-tax kick-back in July 2015, you can see the video here:

          http://anaheim.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1506

          skip past the Utility workshop to part 2 on long term debt, if I recall correctly it also covered pension obligations and retirement medical etc. (I think)

          This workshop is where we first learned (or had confirmed our suspicions for those of us who had been trying to do the math) that we are indeed overpaying the bonds by $10MM a year, (and climbing) something that could have been reworked had Council received this info BEFORE the prior meeting, (which is likely why we didn’t get it in time) as the overpayment is directly tied to the same conditions that the gate tax kick back was originally tied to in 1996, and (shocker) was supposed to be negotiated in 20 years, instead of Council just cherry picking benefits to Disney entirely out of context to the original purpose. OK now I am just rambling. I am just so tired of seeing Anaheim’s potential for greatness get sucked down by those who have their own motives and purposes for what should be public funds for public benefits. Enough already. Nobody wants to take from Disney anything they currently have, but even a statement that we won’t consider future subsidies to an already profitable company capable of funding their own business expenses is treated like a betrayal of Mickey. Of course the underlying message there is how dare we consider not forking over any further subsidies Disney may demand in the future, because it should ALL be handed over to them without question or objection, and THAT is what makes my head explode. When is it enough? When does Burbank realize that letting the city that hosts your flagship property fall to ruin around your property is not good business? Once upon a time it appeared to be the intent of some to ensure only the Resort was presentable enough for tourists so they would not want to wander into the surrounding community. With experiential tourism being the fastest-growing field of the visitor experience, we better start shifting gears in a hurry and provide tourists with a city they want to explore, and hey if local homeowners have property values boosted and small non-resort businesses score patrons who feel good about visiting their locations, then the more stable property and sales tax base not subject to the volatility of tourism would also benefit. When do we get to discuss that? Ever? I will return to my corner now…