Galloway Joins the Race for Anaheim Mayor

Former Anaheim City Councilwoman Lorri Galloway has thrown her hat into the race for Anaheim mayor, joining four other candidates campaigning to replace incumbent Mayor Tom Tait, who is termed out in 2018.

Galloway, a Democrat, announced her bid for mayor in a speech on Oct. 11 on the steps of City Hall, where she promised to alleviate homelessness, reduce gang violence and build more affordable housing.

“The city of Anaheim needs a mayor who takes strong actions and follows through on promises and doesn't speak in generalities,” Galloway said in a phone interview.

The other candidates for mayor include former Republican councilman Harry Sidhu, Democratic attorney Ashleigh Aitken, Republican Boys and Girls Club director John Machiaverna, and emergency services consultant Robert Williams, a Democrat.

Galloway is the executive director of the Eli Home, a shelter for abused children and women, located in Anaheim Hills. She served two terms on the city council between 2004-2012.

Often an ally to Tait during her time on the council, Galloway joined him in opposing a $158 million subsidy deal in 2012 for two luxury hotel projects by the GardenWalk shopping center. When she was termed out, she spoke out against a one-dollar-a-year stadium lease for Angel Stadium. 

But Galloway is not without criticism of the current mayor. When she ran against Tait for mayor in 2014, Galloway criticized him for being an isolated, ineffective mayor whose unwavering stances accomplished nothing.

She seemed to echo some of that criticism in her announcement speech stating “that a successful mayor cannot operate in a silo.”

“I know how to reach out to my council colleagues to create relationships based on mutual respect, reach across the aisle and build consensus to get things done,” Galloway said.

Galloway said one of her top campaign issues would be “building an economy in Anaheim that benefits everyone.”

“I think it's really hard to live here when it costs 28 dollars an hour to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment,” Galloway said. “So we need to look at those disparities and we need to create and connect our working people to better training and technical education opportunities.”

Her plans include promoting small business creation and offering microloans to new start-ups.

In her speech, Galloway called for supporting the growth of the Anaheim Resort district “because that brings in thousands of new jobs for our hardworking residents.”

But she didn’t give details about what support for the Anaheim Resort should look like.

Asked about $500 million in luxury hotel subsidies approved by a previous city council, Galloway said she didn’t want to talk about the past.

She also didn’t want to discuss a theme espoused by Tait -- that the Resort District has received disproportionate city resources in the past at the expense of low income neighborhoods.

“I really don't want to talk about what the councils have done in the past,” Galloway said. “I'm not shying away from telling people what I think as an elected official -- I think it's on the record of what I supported and what I didn't.”

A recent Los Angeles Times article about the city’s long history of financial subsidies for Disney, Galloway said, “really shows some of the disparities there.”

In terms of tackling homelessness, Galloway said the current city council is “on the right track” by voting for Councilwoman Kris Murray’s plan, Operation Home Safe, and “cleaning up the encampments so we can reclaim our parks for the community.”

“I believe I can bring business and community and government leaders together to find ways to supply emergency beds…and help get the homeless out of the riverbed into shelters,” Galloway said, without offering specifics.

Galloway also said she would support repealing the city’s anti-camping ordinance.

“The way I see it is, you ticket or you give a citation to a homeless person, and that homeless person does not have the money to pay that ticket, so what happens?” Galloway said. “They have to go to court? Or they don't show up to court, and they get multiple citations and they're in debt?”

“And they're still homeless. It doesn't make it better. It makes it worse,” Galloway added.

Galloway said she would also consider adding language to the anti-camping law “that would include some kind of assurance that would place them in some type of housing.”

Affordable housing is key to solving homelessness, Galloway said, promising to work with developers to create incentives for new affordable housing projects and streamline permits for those projects.

Galloway said the city should be “tough on gangs” while also working with at-risk youth.

“I would work to make sure law enforcement has enough resources for enforcement while at the same time to divert our young people to positive alternatives such as job and special life training,” Galloway said.

Asked whether she would support the formation of a police review commission, Galloway said “I’m not opposed to it, but these kinds of commissions have a tendency to be receive and file committees. I think the real concern is bridging the divide between the police and the community it serves.”

She said increasing community policing, hiring more officers of color, and working with local high schools to create a pipeline of new police recruits would improve the relationship between police and communities of color.

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