Editor’s note: Ahead of next week’s election, Voice of OC is publishing a series of candidate surveys for the various races. Click here to see all of the surveys.

What will the future of Orange and its leadership look like?

Voters in Orange this election year will be choosing a new mayor as well as city council representatives for District 1, 3, 4 and 6 who will lead the city in carving out that future.

That includes issues addressing public safety, transparency concerns around city hall and addressing homelessness.

Voice of OC reporters reached out to all 12 candidates and sent them a list of 23 questions, several of which were submitted by readers in response to a public invitation for questions.

Six of the 12 candidates responded, and each was allowed up to 350 characters per answer, to keep the total length reasonable. 

Kathy Tavoularis and John Russo, the two candidates in District 3 did not respond and so no section is included for that district.

Below is the exact text each candidate submitted in writing for their answers.

To jump directly to candidate responses from a particular race, click one of the following: 

Mayor | District 1 | District 4 | District 6

  1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?
  2. What are your thoughts on the eviction of the Mary’s Kitchen food center for homeless residents? Do you believe the city should help Mary’s Kitchen find a new place to operate?
  3. Old Towne Orange has been subject to ongoing change in the business district, as long time businesses are closed and replaced with trendy restaurants. Outdoor dining was introduced during the pandemic which resulted in street closures. These changes have caused increased traffic and issues for Old Towne residents. At the same time, other parts of the City have not been pressured to accept new and different businesses. What can be done to reduce the burden placed on Old Towne residents with new business development?
  4. What should be done with the site of the Village at Orange?  The property is made up of three parcels owned by three separate owners who do not always agree. The neighbors have rejected a proposal of housing and new retail. What should be done in the near term to mitigate ongoing problems caused by closed department stores and an emptying mall?  What should be done in the long term to redevelop the site to meet future needs?
  5. What, if any, requirements should the city place on development of the Sully Miller, which  has seen multiple attempts to build housing that were rejected?
  6. How should the City manage the growth of Chapman University? And should the City pressure Chapman University to build enough housing for all of their students?
  7. Do you support creating a new park in the city? If so, where and what amenities would it have?
  8. What is your position on SB 1439, which passed in the Legislature and would restrict local elected officials from taking official action to benefit campaign donors within certain timeframes of accepting money?
  9. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?
  10. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?
  11. What is your position on rental assistance and rent stabilization policies in your city to assist those who cannot afford or are at risk of losing housing?
  12. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?
  13. How do you define public safety? What’s your perspective on how the city can best enhance safety for the public? And what specifically would you do to enhance public safety?
  14. Do you support a systematic implementation of protected bike lanes throughout your district? If so, how would you go about doing that and measuring progress?
  15. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?
  16. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?
  17. What do you think of how the agency you’re running for handles public transparency? Do you have any specific critiques or areas that you feel need improvement?
  18. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?
  19. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?
  20. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?
  21. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
  22. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?
  23. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

Mayor

1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?

Mark Murphy: “Public Safety is my number one priority to insure the safety of our citizens and businesses.  We have invested in additional personnel (11 new officers this year) and facilities (New Fire station 1 this month) to provide the resources needed to do the job.”

Dan Slater: “Homelessness.  I want to create a “Homeless Coalition,” made up of concerned citizens, non-profits and faith base institutions.  The courts have ruled that a homeless person can’t be asked to leave a park or public space UNLESS a bed can be provided.  We’re going to provide beds so they must come in for services and assessment.”

2. What are your thoughts on the eviction of the Mary’s Kitchen food center for homeless residents? Do you believe the city should help Mary’s Kitchen find a new place to operate?

Murphy: “Mary’s Kitchen, ignoring multiple city requests over 3 years to correct violations, forced the termination of their license agreement (not a lease). A new team of professionals, non-profits, and faith based organizations deliver a safe superior continuum of care.  Since taking over, 88 individuals have accepted assistance and entered this care.”

Slater: “Mary’s Kitchen should have been reworked.  Instead of providing “handouts,” we need to provide a “hand up.”  With them now gone, the city is on the hook to pay $1 million a year to provide the same services we got for free.  I would like to see Mary’s Kitchen reestablished, but with different focus and direction.”

3. Old Towne Orange has been subject to ongoing change in the business district, as long time businesses are closed and replaced with trendy restaurants. Outdoor dining was introduced during the pandemic which resulted in street closures. These changes have caused increased traffic and issues for Old Towne residents. At the same time, other parts of the City have not been pressured to accept new and different businesses. What can be done to reduce the burden placed on Old Towne residents with new business development?

Murphy: “The Paseo came at the request of our small business’s to survive the pandemic and it helped.  We started an environmental review to study all impacts including traffic to decide whether this is viable to be used again in our Plaza.  A strong business community is vital and competition does sometimes create changes which we see all over the city.”

Slater: “Old Towne is getting oversaturated with alcohol licenses.  We need to access where we’re at today in Old Towne, what we want to look like in the future, and adopt a reasonable plan that preserves our historic district and minimizes impacts to Old Towne residents.  I’d like to see a “paseo concept,” as long as Glassell remains open to traffic.”

4. What should be done with the site of the Village at Orange?  The property is made up of three parcels owned by three separate owners who do not always agree. The neighbors have rejected a proposal of housing and new retail. What should be done in the near term to mitigate ongoing problems caused by closed department stores and an emptying mall?  What should be done in the long term to redevelop the site to meet future needs?

Murphy: “The North Tustin Re-Visioning Ad Hoc Committee is meeting to invite community input for the revitalization of North Tustin street. The property owners also share concepts and receive feedback. The owners will return with an approach including the feedback they have received.  Meanwhile, the upkeep of the property especially externally must improve.”

Slater: “Sears is the main obstacle because they still have a 32 year lease on the property.  But in the meantime, we should gather the property owners and residents from surrounding neighborhoods and come up with viable plans that don’t include housing and don’t compromise long established neighborhoods.”

5. What, if any, requirements should the city place on development of the Sully Miller, which  has seen multiple attempts to build housing that were rejected?

Murphy: “Sully Miller should be cleaned up/restored and then acquired to be used for either active / passive recreational park use and trails.  We have directed our staff to initiate that process with the current owners.”

Slater: “This property should remain as permanent open space.  Once the current owner cleans it up and makes it safe, we can then consider, with input from local neighborhoods and other interested parties, what that open space should look like.

6. How should the City manage the growth of Chapman University? And should the City pressure Chapman University to build enough housing for all of their students?

Murphy: “Chapman University’s growth is managed by a specific plan that is approved by the city pertaining to changes in enrollment, facilities and usage.  Freshman and sophomores are currently required to live in university housing and Chapman is in the planning stages to add a number of living units at Panther village which is adjacent to the 5 freeway.”

Slater: “Chapman University in confined by space restrictions.  The biggest problem is inappropriate behavior by some students living in single family neighborhoods.  That has to resolved before any consideration is given to expanding the campus. I don’t think Chapman should have to provide housing for all of their students, but definitely for a majority.”

7. Do you support creating a new park in the city? If so, where and what amenities would it have?

Murphy: “I am very supportive of adding a park and like the proposed location in West Orange (District 2).  We will ask our citizens what is desired however a walking path, exercise circuit and pickleball all seem to be very popular. Amenities considered for Grijalva Park include a community arts theater, multigenerational community center and a skate park.”

Slater: “Orange is short on park space.  We have long standing areas that were planned for parks that have never been built.  One of the biggest needs is for sports fields.”

8. What is your position on SB 1439, which passed in the Legislature and would restrict local elected officials from taking official action to benefit campaign donors within certain timeframes of accepting money?

Murphy: “I am supportive of SB 1439.”

Slater: “I support.”

9. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?

Murphy: “Our homeless engagement team grew including OPD HEART and Bike Team,added two Outreach Specialists, continued efforts with OC Mental Health, Be Well OC, Psychiatric Emg. and Resp. Team (PERT), and the Crisis Team (CAT) to provide help to our homeless population .  Teaming with our non-profit and faith organizations, delivers outstanding results.”

Slater: “To continue what I mentioned above (Orange’s biggest issue), when people come into shelters, they can receive help, showers, meals, and services.  They cannot spend the nights on the streets, in the parks or in Santiago Creek.  I will not tolerate a “home-free” lifestyle in Orange.”

10. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?

Murphy: “Orange continues to prioritize and add affordable housing units to its inventory by partnering with builders and non-profits to build the housing needed for both workforce and affordable residents.  In the past year, we have approved 638 Workforce housing units and 141 affordable units.”

Slater: “I support building more affordable housing in areas where it won’t impact existing neighborhoods – particularly near transportation corridors (busses, trains and freeways) and near employment centers.  If we give developers more leniency and creativity, I believe they can deliver what the market demands.”

11. What is your position on rental assistance and rent stabilization policies in your city to assist those who cannot afford or are at risk of losing housing?

Murphy: “Any sort of rent control/stabilization simply results in higher rents for all. I am opposed.”

Slater: “From a city perspective, I am not in favor of rent stabilization or rent subsidies.”

12. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?

Murphy: “Signal Synchronization (utilizing Measure M 2) and continued emphasis on active transportation programs (walking, biking, shared use, etc). As Chairman of OCTA, I also look for ways to expand transit service, explore mobility integration, and embracing technology in mobility solutions.”

Slater: “When we’re given opportunities to decrease traffic (like installing offramps at Meats Avenue and the 55 freeway), we need to pursue them.   There have been many additional opportunities to decrease congestion that have been passed up over the years.  I don’t have any suggestions for changing public transit as it exists today.”

13. How do you define public safety? What’s your perspective on how the city can best enhance safety for the public? And what specifically would you do to enhance public safety?

Murphy: “Public safety is my top priority/responsibility as Mayor and is defined as the protection of citizens and public in Orange.  We invest in personnel, resources and training for our safety services and infrastructure.  Over this past year, we have added officers, facilities including a new Firestation and continued training our personnel for duty.”

Slater: “Public safety means giving citizens and businesses a feeling that Orange is a safe place to live, work and play. When elected, I plan to immediately sit down with the city manager and police chief and assess whether or not we have enough officers to keep Orange safe.”

14. Do you support a systematic implementation of protected bike lanes throughout your district? If so, how would you go about doing that and measuring progress?

Murphy: “Orange has a comprehensive network of bike trails that utilize Santiago creek and provide protected lanes for both commuting and enjoyment.  There are additional ammenities that are envisioned and we will add to that network.”

Slater: “I would love to see more protected bike lanes, as long as they didn’t impede or restrict existing traffic.  Monitoring their success or failure would be key, as long as funds were available to do so.”

15. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?

Murphy: “​​Orange spends its dollars responsibly.  We will continue to focus on being business friend to create additional revenues for services.”

Slater: “Orange must stop wasting money on unsubstantiated and ridiculous lawsuits, stop wasting staff time on developments that should never be processed (especially on land that is not zoned for it like Sully-Miller).  We also need to get to the bottom of why our unfunded liability for employee pensions has grown (and keeps growing) to $280,000,000.”

16. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?

Murphy: “Additional library and community center resources are currently being planned for an addition to Grijalva Park.  I believe an additional aquatics center is needed as well.”

Slater: “There are many things (like pools and sports fields) that Orange could benefit from, but only if we can afford them.  Turning valuable retail space into housing will not help us accomplish these goals.”

17. What do you think of how the agency you’re running for handles public transparency? Do you have any specific critiques or areas that you feel need improvement?

Murphy: “Orange has dramatically improved its availability of political filings and city proceedings archives online over the past two years. We have added an app that allows filing of service requests and information availability for the public.”

Slater: “Public transparency is a big problem and has been virtually nonexistent. Instead of behind closed door deals with developers for residential developments the city doesn’t want, the mayor needs to be upfront with all proposed developments.  We also need to open up council appointed committees and commissions to greater citizen involvement.”

18. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?

Murphy: “Continue to augment our online abilities to do business and gather information for citizens and businesses alike.”

Slater: “I will hold regular office hours whereby I can be available to any citizen that has questions or concerns.  I want to promote that philosophy, and overall transparency,  with the other council members also.  It’s important to lead by example.”

19. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?

Murphy: “Agendas are posted as per state law and are available both online and in person. I would support posting agendas earlier with the concurrence of the council.”

Slater: “I believe meeting agendas are only posted a few days before meetings. I feel they should be posted as soon as practically possible.  I would love to increase public participation on budget issues so we can tackle the mess we’re in.”

20. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?

Murphy: “Climate change is impacting us daily and actions related to reduction of greenhouse gas and carbon footprint is important to slow the impacts.  Alternative fuels, efficient building practices, and renewable energy will all play a part moving forward.  Changes in mobility including active transportation and mass transit are also important.”

Slater: “I feel that climate change is real and is driven by pollution. I feel this is more of a state and federal issue, but we can do our part to make sure that car charging stations are more available.  We can also make sure residents are better informed about how to properly sort trash and recycle.”

21. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Murphy: “Incentives and encouragement to utilize mass transit and active transportation are important.  The Youth ride free programs at OCBus are a great example that help the environment while getting youger people to get in the habit of looking for alternatives to a car.”

Slater: “See above.”

22. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?

Murphy: “No.”

Slater: “No.”

23. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

Murphy: “Yes and yes.”

Slater: “Yes.  And I will accept the results of the election.”

District 1

1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?

Arianna Barrios: “Homelessness is an ongoing issue. Neighborhoods around the City have experienced a rising problem with unhoused individuals in our parks, along the riverbed and other public spaces. With the closure of Mary’s Kitchen, Orange has committed to providing a wide variety of services to those in need.”

Jason White: (Didn’t answer.)

2. What are your thoughts on the eviction of the Mary’s Kitchen food center for homeless residents? Do you believe the city should help Mary’s Kitchen find a new place to operate?

Barrios: “In my opinion the matter could have been handled better and with more transparency. To date the City still has not provided a full accounting and that troubles me. I personally met with the organization’s leadership on multiple occasions to reach a resolution. When that failed, the City committed to providing services directly.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

3. Old Towne Orange has been subject to ongoing change in the business district, as long time businesses are closed and replaced with trendy restaurants. Outdoor dining was introduced during the pandemic which resulted in street closures. These changes have caused increased traffic and issues for Old Towne residents. At the same time, other parts of the City have not been pressured to accept new and different businesses. What can be done to reduce the burden placed on Old Towne residents with new business development?

Barrios: “This is a serious issue in District 1 and one I feel keenly as a resident and community leader. The loss of icons like Watson’s do irreparable harm to our hard-won historic relevance. Old Towne is a victim of its own success, and I am fighting for the area’s Specific Plan to be revisited. We are on the precipice of a dangerous oversaturation.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

4. What should be done with the site of the Village at Orange?  The property is made up of three parcels owned by three separate owners who do not always agree. The neighbors have rejected a proposal of housing and new retail. What should be done in the near term to mitigate ongoing problems caused by closed department stores and an emptying mall?  What should be done in the long term to redevelop the site to meet future needs?

Barrios: “The entire area needs reimagining, there is no doubt about that. And, while housing is needed everywhere, it is one of the few large commercial properties in the City. The planning process was deeply flawed and needs to be restarted in full transparency and more imagination of where we can go in 25 years, not just next year.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

5. What, if any, requirements should the city place on development of the Sully Miller, which  has seen multiple attempts to build housing that were rejected?

Barrios: “Yet again, here is another issue that has lacked full transparency to the public. The idea being floated by the Council majority of buying Sully Miller is a non-starter if the corporate polluters do not take full responsibility for the mess they’ve made. Only then can such an idea take place that puts a burden on Orange taxpayers.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

6. How should the City manage the growth of Chapman University? And should the City pressure Chapman University to build enough housing for all of their students?

Barrios: “Orange needs to remain a town with a college, not a college town. Chapman University recently released enrollment data that shows the University has overenrolled for the past 3 years. Yet there are no sanctions or consequences. Long Beach has pioneered smart regulations that keep their University partnerships collegial, Orange should do likewise.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

7. Do you support creating a new park in the city? If so, where and what amenities would it have?

Barrios: “We have opportunities to create recreational open space, particularly the Sully Miller property. I am also a big believer in smaller, pocket parks like Pitcher Park. And the City should be championing special amenities like we are reviewing at Grijalva Park. It is why I championed the city hiring an advocate and grant writer for additional funding.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

8. What is your position on SB 1439, which passed in the Legislature and would restrict local elected officials from taking official action to benefit campaign donors within certain timeframes of accepting money?

Barrios: “I completely support this legislation. The County and OCTA have used this for years and there is no reason why Orange shouldn’t implement it as well.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

9. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?

Barrios: “Orange has been at the forefront of this effort as part of the North SPA cities. With the closure of Mary’s Kitchen the City has made a huge commitment to continuing those services. We also welcomed the opening of the County’s first BeWell facility and are home to numerous shelters. Orange has done a tremendous job and those efforts must continue.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

10. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?

Barrios: “Orange has added a significant amount of new housing in the past 3-5 years. One only need look at the former Town & Country business park to see the dramatic housing growth we have embraced. In addition, we have taken advantage of state funding to underwrite innovative conversions of market rate apartments to affordable units.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

11. What is your position on rental assistance and rent stabilization policies in your city to assist those who cannot afford or are at risk of losing housing?

Barrios: “I do not believe that rent control policies work. As to rental assistance, Orange has been at the forefront of building affordable units and innovations like I mentioned in the previous questions converting market-rate units to affordable ones will fast track accessible units within our city.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

12. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?

Barrios: “You manage congestion with good planning and that is simply not happening in Orange. Particularly in the historically sensitive areas of Old Towne Orange where shuttles should be used. With Anaheim greenlighting enormous projects on our borders, we need strategies to manage future impacts and we are totally unprepared.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

13. How do you define public safety? What’s your perspective on how the city can best enhance safety for the public? And what specifically would you do to enhance public safety?

Barrios: “Public safety is so much more than peace officers. Comprehensive tools that are employed fairly is vital. While I have advocated for additional police and fire officers, code enforcement is essential. That has been blocked by past administrations and it must stop.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

14. Do you support a systematic implementation of protected bike lanes throughout your district? If so, how would you go about doing that and measuring progress?

Barrios: “I would be very interested in pursuing a cost-benefit analysis of such a program and how it would enhance the quality of life our residents currently enjoy.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

15. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?

Barrios: “Our current budget priorities are based on tired, patriarchal leadership within Orange. I have advocated for a Community Needs Assessment Study to ask residents what’s important to them and prioritize based on that information making the Council accountable to our residents.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

16. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?

Barrios: “I do believe we need more of these amenities, but the problem will always be funding, particularly in the older areas of our city. It is why I have advocated hiring advocacy and grant writing services so that City can go after state and federal funding that we have previously missed out on.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

17. What do you think of how the agency you’re running for handles public transparency? Do you have any specific critiques or areas that you feel need improvement?

Barrios: “Orange needs to embrace transparency and good governance. It is my belief Orange relies far too heavily upon Closed Session discussions to protect its actions, nor do we follow simple rules decorum, public meeting formalities, or set rules for political appointments. These are simple changes that would have a large impact.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

18. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?

Barrios: “Regular communications to residents, less reliance on Closed Session discussion, more rules for proper running of meetings and appointments will be a good first step. We also need a lobbying ordinance to residents can clearly see who is influencing their Council.”

White:  (Didn’t answer.)

19. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?

Barrios: “I do but, I also have sympathy for staff upon who this adds additional burden. However, an additional day or two would not be unreasonable. We also don’t properly communicate to residents the tools available to help them access information. These are fast, simple steps we can take today.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

20. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?

Barrios: “It is certainly something we need to take seriously and review what more we can do to protect residents – particularly those in fire and flood prone areas.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

21. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Barrios: “We need a full assessment of all the City’s current operations that contribute to our emissions load. Once that is done, we can begin brainstorming how we begin addressing those issues. Electric vehicle purchases, reduced landscape watering, and more. Everything should be on the table.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

22. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?

Barrios: “Absolutely not.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

23. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

Barrios: “Absolutely.”

White: (Didn’t answer.)

District 4

1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?

Denis Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

John Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Chris Horton: “Addressing homelessness is one of my top priorities. Addressing it will be a multi-layered process, but I believe we must partner with non-profits to aid in this process. Working with non-profits that have already been set up to aid with these issues will alleviate the pressure placed upon our police officers. We cannot continue to ignore the issue.”

2. What are your thoughts on the eviction of the Mary’s Kitchen food center for homeless residents? Do you believe the city should help Mary’s Kitchen find a new place to operate?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “I was shocked when Mary’s Kitchen was shut down. They served a lot of people experiencing homelessness & hunger, & despite the stories, not all of them were criminals. I believe the city should allow Mary’s Kitchen to resume work at the same location instead of contracting with another company & paying close to 1M/year for them to continue services.”

3. Old Towne Orange has been subject to ongoing change in the business district, as long time businesses are closed and replaced with trendy restaurants. Outdoor dining was introduced during the pandemic which resulted in street closures. These changes have caused increased traffic and issues for Old Towne residents. At the same time, other parts of the City have not been pressured to accept new and different businesses. What can be done to reduce the burden placed on Old Towne residents with new business development?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “The first thing we need to do is hire an Economic Development Manager, as their sole position is to attract & retain business. If this position remains open, then we won’t be able to attract any new restaurants or businesses into Orange. I believe the Village Mall would be a great spot for new restaurants & businesses, as it needs to be revitalized.”

4. What should be done with the site of the Village at Orange?  The property is made up of three parcels owned by three separate owners who do not always agree. The neighbors have rejected a proposal of housing and new retail. What should be done in the near term to mitigate ongoing problems caused by closed department stores and an emptying mall?  What should be done in the long term to redevelop the site to meet future needs?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Chris Horton: “First, we must hire an Economic Development Manager to assist us in this process. Next, we MUST listen to the residents that live around the area to find out what will work in the area. Then we need to get a meeting with the property owners to discuss what we all envision for the property that will also attract people from other cities to shop here.”

5. What, if any, requirements should the city place on development of the Sully Miller, which  has seen multiple attempts to build housing that were rejected?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “The city shouldn’t allow any development at the Sully Miller. Past council members have voted to allow the developers to develop on this property, but the residents in that area continue to fight them, and win. These residents are the most resilient group I’ve ever met, but they must continue to fight them on this, and I’ll fight with them.”

6. How should the City manage the growth of Chapman University? And should the City pressure Chapman University to build enough housing for all of their students?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “The city must work with Chapman on their growth, but I believe their student count is high enough. Chapman currently has student housing outside of the city of Orange and I don’t think they should be building anymore housing in Orange. There isn’t any room by the University to build housing, & we will not tear down historic homes to build them.”

7. Do you support creating a new park in the city? If so, where and what amenities would it have?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “I believe, after having the Sully Miller owner clean up the property, as well as the soil, it would be a great place for a park. There is enough room for a few fields, baseball, soccer, football as well as a small skate park. There is enough room for the normal park equipment, bathrooms etc. We must keep our open space to create much needed parks.”

8. What is your position on SB 1439, which passed in the Legislature and would restrict local elected officials from taking official action to benefit campaign donors within certain timeframes of accepting money?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “I am pro SB 1439. I do not think it’s ethical for an elected official to take money from a donor who then brings a project to council seeking a vote. I believe, & will always defend, that the council member should always recuse themselves should this happen. I will always vote for full transparency & believe council members should be above reproach.”

9. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “Addressing homelessness is one of my top priorities. Addressing it will be a multi-layered process, but I believe we must partner with non-profits to aid in this process. Working with non-profits that have already been set up to aid with these issues will alleviate the pressure placed upon our police officers. We cannot continue to ignore the issue.”

10. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “I know the city of Orange has met it’s affordable housing numbers. The only way I would support more is if the area is already zoned for these types of properties & we do not rezone any open space to build them. I would also want to get the residents input & an EIR that shows low to no impact on our infrastructure before adding any housing is added.”

11. What is your position on rental assistance and rent stabilization policies in your city to assist those who cannot afford or are at risk of losing housing?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “I believe if someone needs assistance, especially during these times, to stay in their home or apartment, then they should apply for it. I am not against it. I believe it’s important, especially during these times, that we try to find ways to keep people in their homes, and this could be done with the guidance, knowledge, & resources from the AAOC.”

12. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “I will sit down with the traffic division in our city to ensure their traffic engineering designs are current, & they have enough staff, for the number of cars we have driving through our city each day. I will also want to find out what, if anything, can be done to keep traffic moving smoothly throughout our city & to cut down on congestion.”

13. How do you define public safety? What’s your perspective on how the city can best enhance safety for the public? And what specifically would you do to enhance public safety?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “I define public safety as the protection of every resident, business owner and visitor in our city. The city must ensure our public safety officers, PD and FD, are fully funded, and have the best equipment to do their jobs successfully and safely. We rely on them to protect us, so we must ensure they have the proper tools to do just that.”

14. Do you support a systematic implementation of protected bike lanes throughout your district? If so, how would you go about doing that and measuring progress?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “Again, I will sit down with our traffic division to come up with a plan to implement protected bike lanes throughout our city. If we can save people from being hit by cars when they’re riding their bikes, then I’m all for it. But these bike lanes will also keep in those few bike riders that jump out into traffic without looking.”

15. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “I will dig into the budget to see where money can be saved. This does not mean cutting hours or jobs. But I will start with ensuring we do not buy the Sully Miller site. This will be 10’s of millions of dollars the city doesn’t have. As a business owner, I will bring my business sense to the city council & will vote only on balanced budgets.”

16. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “This goes hand in hand with development. If we don’t allow high-density housing placed at the Village Mall property, then there won’t be a need for a new school. I would choose to create more community centers & parks with a pool & skate park within our city to better serve our resident’s needs.Our city, & our residents, desperately need more parks.”

17. What do you think of how the agency you’re running for handles public transparency? Do you have any specific critiques or areas that you feel need improvement?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “There is no transparency at city hall. If there was, the residents I talk to while I canvass for my campaign would know what’s going on at city hall. And it’s not because they don’t care, it’s because when they go the council meetings, they are shut down by certain council members. The residents are NOT being notified of items on the agenda.”

18. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?

Bilodeau:  (Didn’t answer.)

Newman:  (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “We must allow the residents to have a voice. We must include them in projects, or anything else, that will affect their quality of living in our city. We must hold office hours & be available to speak with the public, we must answer their emails, but more importantly, we must also listen to them and not shut them down. They must have a voice.”

19. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “I believe they should be posted no less than seven to ten days prior to meetings. If there are amendments to meetings, those must be posted as early as possible. This will allow residents/groups that need time to assemble, the time to do so. The city should have a citizen budgetary committee that would be involved in the budgetary process.”

20. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “Addressing climate change will take work from everyone. As a society,we must try to cut down on emissions. Using electric cars is a great start, but we must work with agencies to ensure the emissions coming from our county decrease year after year. Adding multiple high-density housing units will not help but using the general plan will.”

21. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “Using renewable energy, such as solar power will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Orange also needs to promote SCE’s solar panel rebate program, as well as their Smart Thermostat Rebate program, to the residents and businesses in Orange. We also need to follow our own general plan that in place but is not being used. This needs to be fixed.”

22. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “No, I do not believe the last election was stolen. I believe that the democratic process worked during the last election and our current President won the election fairly.”

23. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

Bilodeau: (Didn’t answer.)

Newman: (Didn’t answer.)

Horton: “​​Yes, I agree in a free and fair election. I also agree that there should be no meddling in any election and allow the process to work itself out. I will also accept the results of the election, subject to any recount that may be needed per the rules. At the end of the day, democracy will win out because  this is what our country was built on”

District 6

1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?

Brian Harrington: “Climate change is the single biggest issue for any municipality. I will see Orange transition from the norms of the last century to realities of this century.”

John Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Adrienne Gladson: “Make public safety paramount. Continue our efforts to hire more sworn police officers and retain them! Expand efforts to prevent crime through education and intervention.  Everyone that lives in Orange or operates a business here want to feel safe.  I support having a community stakeholder summit on this matter once in office.”

2. What are your thoughts on the eviction of the Mary’s Kitchen food center for homeless residents? Do you believe the city should help Mary’s Kitchen find a new place to operate?

Harrington: “Disgraceful event. That no solution could be found is shameful, and it seems the true reason was a questionable real estate transaction, not safety. Even better, now taxpayers have to pay for services that were provided by a charity. Complete failure.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “I feel it was heavy handed.   Yes, I believe the city has a duty to assist Mary’s Kitchen in finding a new place to operate.”

3. Old Towne Orange has been subject to ongoing change in the business district, as long time businesses are closed and replaced with trendy restaurants. Outdoor dining was introduced during the pandemic which resulted in street closures. These changes have caused increased traffic and issues for Old Towne residents. At the same time, other parts of the City have not been pressured to accept new and different businesses. What can be done to reduce the burden placed on Old Towne residents with new business development?

Harrington: “Certainly other areas of Orange, especially in East Orange, where my district is located, can be developed. Orange is 140,000 people sharing 26 square miles. The traffic circle area is not the start and finish of our city.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Establish a clear vision plan for Downtown Orange and honor it.  We have so many other areas in Orange where new and different businesses are needed and desired.  The Plaza neighborhoods shouldn’t have to endure noise, traffic, crime, and employee/customer parking.  Old Towne is fed up, wants change, and desires to be heard!”

4. What should be done with the site of the Village at Orange?  The property is made up of three parcels owned by three separate owners who do not always agree. The neighbors have rejected a proposal of housing and new retail. What should be done in the near term to mitigate ongoing problems caused by closed department stores and an emptying mall?  What should be done in the long term to redevelop the site to meet future needs?

Harrington: “Whatever is done with these parcels, the neighbors must be part of the process.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “We need to start fresh.  But to clarify, the neighbors do not object to new retail.   Very high-density housing, yes.  In the near term, start an honest discussion on what’s realistic and feasible for the 60-acre property today.  Long term let’s answer what works within the current zoning before any land use change is pursued.”

5. What, if any, requirements should the city place on development of the Sully Miller, which  has seen multiple attempts to build housing that were rejected?

Harrington: “The site must be completely cleaned and rewilded at the developers expense. If any illegal activities are proven, appropriate penalties should also be imposed. Taking on that property as a city liability as proposed is madness.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “The property owner created this outrageous mess.  They must clean it up. No Bond.  No taxpayer bailout.  Once deemed clean thru proper regulatory oversight, the adopted open space vision of the East Orange General Plan, Orange Park Acres Specific Plan, and the Santiago Creek Greenbelt plan should be implemented asap.”

6. How should the City manage the growth of Chapman University? And should the City pressure Chapman University to build enough housing for all of their students?

Harrington: “Chapman is a key driver of Orange’s vitality. We need to partner with them much more effectively – especially as a business generator. That said, there is a limit to how much they can grow in their current location – and they need to be good neighbors.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “The city should require Chapman University to provide enough housing on-site to house their students with any further expansion.”

7. Do you support creating a new park in the city? If so, where and what amenities would it have?

Harrington: “Current parts need to be properly provisioned and maintained, but new parks should also be developed in District 6. I’d like to see sporting facilities comparable with neighboring cities.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “First, why do we have a park acreage deficit of nearly 300 acres.  How did that happen?  Yes, I support creating new parks in Orange.  West Orange is the top priority, but I would support additional parks in all parts of town.  Amenities would be determined through an outreach effort with all stakeholders and park users at the table.”

8. What is your position on SB 1439, which passed in the Legislature and would restrict local elected officials from taking official action to benefit campaign donors within certain timeframes of accepting money?

Harrington: “Completely support. Pay-to-play must stop.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Staunchly support it. Yes, local electeds should abstain from voting on such contracts, permits, or agreements if they do take those contributions.”

9. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?

Harrington: “First off, the way we view and discuss our brothers and sisters who live unhoused must change. Surveys suggest that something near 2/3 of Americans have less than $1000 in the bank. That’s less than one even away from penury. Once we embrace the humanity of everyone, we can then bring together charities, government, and others and start working.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “I support all efforts to move our homeless into shelters and transitional and permanent supportive housing.  This effort is difficult with I no magic solution.  I support Orange doing our part and propose we expand public/public, public/private, and non-profit partnerships to address this further.  The way to end homelessness is housing.”

10. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?

Harrington: “It seems trite, but the solution to the housing crisis is to build housing. We have sites in this city ready to build affordable housing, we just lack the political will.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “I support workforce housing and those with limited income.  Orange has several successful and long-term affordable housing projects.  Our housing element shows ample sites that provide additional housing opportunities to meet this need.  I support investment in this area to increase the supply of this critical housing need.”

11. What is your position on rental assistance and rent stabilization policies in your city to assist those who cannot afford or are at risk of losing housing?

Harrington: “They may work short-term, but the long term solution is more housing.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “I support all our housing element programs and policies that provide rental assistance to those in need.”

12. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?

Harrington: “I was in the traffic circle area this past weekend. From where I live in east orange, there’s no transit option to get there. There isn’t even a safe way to get there by bicycle. That has to change.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Work with our traffic staff, OCTA, and state agencies to use all methods available to reduce traffic congestion.  Further, I strongly support public transit and efforts to create multimodal first and last mile connections directly to it.”

13. How do you define public safety? What’s your perspective on how the city can best enhance safety for the public? And what specifically would you do to enhance public safety?

Harrington: “Public safety is a result of strong community norms. Get to know your neighbors, take walks in the evening.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Having everyone feel that they are safe in Orange.   Preventing and quickly responding to all crime is the best way to improve public safety and feeling the sense of true security.”

14. Do you support a systematic implementation of protected bike lanes throughout your district? If so, how would you go about doing that and measuring progress?

Harrington: “Absolutely yes. It’s ridiculous that there’s no way to safely get from one part of our city to another by bike. As a city council member, expanding bike lanes will be a priority as will usage of those bike lane.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Yes. Put such projects in our CIP budget.  Seek out grant funding from OCTA, SCAG, and other agencies to build them.   Private projects should also be encouraged to provide them if there is a nexus. Report out the progress as each project is implemented through various platforms and dashboards.”

15. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?

Harrington: “We need to stop doing things that degrade our climate, like repaving roads with blacktop, and truly find solutions we won’t regret as our world continues to heat up.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “I support the recently adopted budget for 22/23.  The area I would change it to broaden the community involvement of the budget development process so the priorities can be determined in partnership with all the citizens of Orange.  Plus, I support economic development funding citywide.”

16. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?

Harrington: “I would like to see enhanced access to libraries, especially on-line.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Yes.  The community is asking for it.”

17. What do you think of how the agency you’re running for handles public transparency? Do you have any specific critiques or areas that you feel need improvement?

Harrington: “The City Council has had the same faces for years. This naturally leads to complacency. Our meetings should be on-line; our meetings should be held in different parts of the city. Anyone who comes to those meetings must be greeted and welcomed as a neighbor.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Poorly. Trust is very low. Folks that come to meetings or ask for answers are often treated as the enemy or dismissed. Delivering excellent customer service and put people first isn’t happening.”

18. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?

Harrington: “Every call to my office will be published as well as the actions taken by office regarding the matter. Radical transparency. My calendar will also be public.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Have topical/educational study sessions. Have meetings twice a month, at least. Open how we do business and how Council makes decisions. I support district town halls with the goal for me to listen as well as share how I make the decisions. Have office hours, fully explain my decisions when I make my vote.”

19. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?

Harrington: “There’s a balance between maintaining a modicum of flexibility and allowing the community to prepare. That said, holding meetings in different areas of the city is one step to increase public input. Another is revising the hosting policies for on-line attendance.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Agendas and notifications are currently in line with legal mandates.   We do need a clear and ongoing educational effort that’s easy for everyone to engage with on what’s in the pipeline or happening at City Hall. This needs improvements.”

20. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?

Harrington: “Climate change is here, it’s real, and we cannot wish it away. We should have taken steps decades ago, but there is still time. We can get a real plan together and bolster our city and our quality of life, or we can respond after a disaster.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Climate impacts need our attention.  Orange has already adopted a General Plan which has climate policies and programs that simply need to be implemented. All it takes is leadership.”

21. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Harrington: “First, we have to start measuring and reporting, but certainly, convert the city away from fossil fuels will be high on the agenda.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “I support the many goals and programs outlined in our General Plan to reduce GHG. The natural resources element has many programs that simply needs Council leadership to implement it.”

22. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?

Harrington: “No, absolutely not.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “No.”

23. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

Harrington: “Absolutely.”

Gyllenhammer: (Didn’t answer.)

Gladson: “Yes.”

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at helattar@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.

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